Episode 14: Franklin Weber – The Prairieland Printer


Franklin Weber age 88 of Manteno, operating his Miehiel Vertical Letterpress in July 2021.

You may know him as Mr. Weber or Franklin but I know him as Papa. Born in 1933 and raised in Manteno, it didn’t take Franklin Weber very long to discover what he was truly passionate about: printing. While visiting his aunt and uncle on the south side of Chicago one day, Franklin was given a small table top letterpress by one of their neighbors. He was only 11 years old at this time. From that point on, my grandfather continued to learn and upgrade his printing equipment. Finally, by 1971 he was able to open up his own print shop, F. Weber Printing Company, on route 50 in Manteno, along with my grandmother, Anna. The shop was in operation until December of 2020. Since then, my family and I have been in the process of cleaning out the building and selling our printing equipment. Spending a lot of time in the old print shop lately has brought back so many wonderful memories of my childhood and also the time I spent working there from 2007 to 2015. I thought this would be a good time to share my Grandpa Weber’s story and legacy.

This episode is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Franklin’s story. If you want to read more, you can purchase his memoir, “The Prairieland Printer: The Life & Story of Franklin Weber”. 

I wouldn’t be who I am today without his help, knowledge, and guidance. I love you, Papa. Thank you for all you’ve done for not only me but the entire family. 

Much Love,

Jake LaMore

P. S. We are recording our very first episode of Kankakee Podcast in front of a live audience on Saturday, August 14th at Heroes, Hogs, and Hot Rods in downtown Manteno from 1:30pm to 2:45pm! This is absolutely FREE to the public. Anyone can come! Thank you to our wonderful sponsors, KCC Foundation, Kankakee City News, Noble Dairy Queen Stores, and Digital World Design, for helping make this live episode happen.