Borkland House

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Borkland House1.jpg
Marion is filled with historical houses, each with its own interesting story. The home at 803 Quarry Road, built in 1912, is one of these houses (Assessor). Its former address was es 1 n Wabash Pike (1923 Directory). This showed that it was on the east side of the Wabash Pike and was the first house north of Quarry Road. Sometime between 1942 and 1950 the address was changed to Quarry Road instead of Wabash Road (1942 Directory). This home is on the site of a former stone quarry that is now a beautiful pond. Over the years, the property was parceled off onto several smaller properties that are now along Quarry Road, Wabash Avenue, and Gustave Place. The house only had two owners in its first 60 years of existence, but over the past 30 years, it has had at least six owners. The most intriguing of these owners was Gustave Walter Borkland, the owner of Borkland Plastic Laboratories (Borkland Rites). Borkland was a very important person in the plastics industry during the 1940s and 50s. His involvement in the history of this house makes it an important historic house in Marion.

Construction by Noah Hollingsworth

The Borkland House, from across the lake and former quarry
The house at 803 Quarry Road is a white one-and-a-half story house that has an area of over 3000 square feet (Assessor). The property has two utility buildings and another building with an apartment and commercial space (Assessor). Noah Hollingsworth built all three of these buildings in 1930. Hollingsworth, a rural mail carrier in Marion, was the original owner of the property (1923 Directory). The house features a screened-in patio overlooking the lake. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and 1 half bathroom (Assessor). The house is built along the side of a hill and looks beautiful during a snow-filled winter.

Gustave Borkland and Borkand Plastics

Gustave Walter Borkland was born of Swedish ancestry in New York City on September 2, 1900 (1930 Census). He then moved to Chicago and married Victoria Gwen (1930 Census). They had a son, Walter, who was born in 1926 (1930 Census). According to the 1930 census, Borkland worked as a salesman in Cook County, Illinois. In 1944, he and his family moved into the residence at 803 Quarry Road (1945 Directory). In this building, he set up Borkland Plastics Laboratory. Borkland was an innovator in the plastics industry (Borkland Rites). He was granted a patent in June 1948 for a plastic molding process that he invented (Borkland, G). While Mr. Borkland lived in Marion, he was a member of Meshingomesia Country Club, the local Elks lodge, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, and the Union League Club in Chicago (Borkland Rites). Along with being a great innovator in the plastics industry, Borkland was an accomplished sculptor and artist (Borkland Rites). Gustave ran Borkland Plastics Laboratory until his death on November 21, 1961 from a heart attack, while eating at a Troy, Ohio restaurant (Borkland Rites). He and his wife were on the way to visit her father in Springfield, Ohio (Borkland Rites). His wife, Gwen, then ran the company for sometime after her husband’s death (V. Gwen).

Gwen was also important in the community. She participated on the boards of the Marion-Grant County Humane Society, YWCA, Marion General Hospital, and the Marion General Hospital Auxiliary (V. Gwen). She was also a member of the YWCA and the Hostess House (V. Gwen). She was very interested in animals and their treatment. Because of this interest, she was a member of many national, state and local humane and Audubon societies (V. Gwen). She served as president of Borkland Laboratories after her husband died, but closed the company when she moved to a house on National Avenue (V. Gwen). She lived in that house until her death in 1994 (V. Gwen). The street that was adjacent to part of the Borkland property, Gustave Place, is named after Gustave Walter Borkland. The Borkland family, especially Mr. Borkland, was very important to the plastics industry and they prove to be the most historically significant part of the house.

Later Owners

Since Borkland Plastics Laboratories vacated 803 Quarry Road, many different owners have lived in the house. The owner after Gwen Borkland left was William Allan (1974 Directory). He lived in the house until 1980, when Phillip Fozo took ownership of the property (1980 Directory). Fozo lived there for only a year, and then the house was vacated (1981 Directory). Between 1981 and 1999, many people lived in the house. In 1999, the current owner, David and Susan Liddick, took over the property (Assessor).

Businesses at 807 Quarry Road

The former Borkland Laboratories, now Hair'atage salon
In addition to having many different owners over the life of the house, some of the property was parceled off to build different buildings. One of these was 807 Quarry Road (Assessor). This also housed part of the Borkland Laboratories during the time Borkland owned the properties. This building is currently the home of Hair’atage Hair Salon. However, before Hair’atage moved into this building, it was formally the Bob Rodger’s Gift and Book Shop (1981 Directory). Bob Rodger’s Shop moved into 807 Quarry Road into the location in 1980 and occupied it until 1993. As the name suggested, this shop specialized in books, trinkets, greeting cards, etc. After Bob Rodger’s shop vacated the building, the lower part was left unused while some of the upstairs was used as an apartment. In 2001, Hair’atage Hair Salon moved into the building, and has occupied it ever since. This building was an important part in the history of the house.


The house at 803 Quarry Road is an significant house in the history of Grant County. One of the greatest minds and inventors in Grant County history, Gustave Walter Borkland, was an important owner in this house. Since Borkland’s wife left the property in 1973, at least six different owners have lived at the residence. The house has been kept in good shape over the years, which has kept it as beautiful as it was when it was first built. Though not many people are aware of its history, it is an important site in the development of Marion and Grant County.

Works Cited

  • 1923 Marion City Directory
  • 1930 US Census for Cook County, Illinois
  • 1942 Marion City Directory
  • 1945 Marion City Directory
  • 1948 Marion City Directory
  • 1973 Marion City Directory
  • 1974 Marion City Directory
  • 1980 Marion City Directory
  • 1981 Marion City Directory
  • Borkland, G. Walter. Apparatus For and Method of Forming Sheet Material. Patent 2,442,338. 1 June 1948.
  • “Borkland Rites Set Wednesday” Leader Tribune” 21 November 1961, Morning Ed.: Al
  • “V. Gwen Borkland” Chronicle Tribune 21 December 1990, Morning Ed.: A9
  • “Social Security Death Index.” 14 May 2005. <>.
  • “Assessor: Property Information.” 13 May 2005


This article was written by Kyle Turner and submitted on May 19, 2005 for Mr. Munn’s AP US History class.