Celebrating 125 Years of History at JP Cullen

By / May 22, 2017

The Founding of JP Cullen

1860 – George P. Cullen becomes a respected carpenter and home-builder in Janesville, WI

1892 – George’s son John Patrick (J.P.) Cullen founds his company, originally named Cullen Brothers, emphasizing housing construction

The First Projects

1903 –  Cullen Brothers builds a library in Clinton, Iowa – one of its first projects outside Wisconsin

Council Bluff Library JP Cullen built in Clinton, Iowa in 1903
Council Bluff Library in Clinton, IA 1903

1905 – A contract is secured for erecting a federal courthouse and post office in Hammond, Indiana – Cullen’s first such job

Project at General Motors

1916  – Construction begins on Samson Tractor Company in Janesville. When the company is purchased by General Motors in 1919, Cullen builds the automaker’s assembly plant; J.P. Cullen Company is incorporated

Sampson Tractor Building JP Cullen built in Janesville, Wisconsin
Sampson Tractor Building in Janesville, WI
Mark A. Cullen Joins the Firm

1918 – The company is renamed to J.P. Cullen & Son when Mark Cullen joins the firm after World War I

1921 – J.P. Cullen & Son construct Janesville High School which still stands in downtown Janesville as an apartment complex

Janesville High School JP Cullen built in Janesville, Wisconsin
Janesville High School
Opening the Door in Madison

1925 – John Patrick (J.P.) Cullen is born on September 28; Mark Cullen starts work on the University of Wisconsin’s Bascom Hall

JP Cullen's first dump trucks sits on Bascom Hall at UW-Madison
JP Cullen’s first dump trucks sits on Bascom Hall at UW-Madison

1930s – During the Great Depression, contracts are received for federal buildings and post offices around the United States

1941-1942 – Camp McCoy built in central Wisconsin

1950s – The firm works on several UW buildings, including a Diagnostic Center for the medical school, the state lab of hygiene and the Army Mathematics Research Center

1958 – Work commences on the Wilson Street state office building in Madison

1 West Wilson Street JP Cullen built in Madison, Wisconsin
1 West Wilson Street in Madison, WI

1960 – J.P. Cullen named company president

1968 – JP Cullen builds the Beloit Memorial Hospital

12 Year Refurbishment Process of Wisconsin State Capitol

1970s – The firm’s first in-office IBM Systems-32 is installed.  It builds George Hormel & Company plants in Iowa and Beloit, as well as water treatment plants, power plants, schools, more medical facilities and government buildings.  One tough job is the start of a 12-year refurbishment process of the venerable Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol Restoration project
Wisconsin State Capitol Restoration
Cullen Brothers Move to Management

1982 – J.P. Cullen steps back from company management, with sons Mark becoming president and David as vice-president

1983 – The Cullen’s win the refurbishment contract for the Parker Pen offices in Janesville

1986 – Nine-story Manchester Place is completed, helping the revitalization of downtown Madison

1987  – The company updates the Chrysler Motors Corporation assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois

1990 –   Continuing its long history of construction partnership with General Motors, J.P. Cullen remodels the firm’s Janesville production facility, totaling over 3,000,000 sf over time

J.P. Cullen Foundation

1992 – J.P. Cullen celebrates its 100th anniversary with a party on September 17 at the Janesville Country Club; a J.P. Cullen Scholarship is established at the University of Wisconsin to encourage construction careers, as well as a J.P. Cullen Foundation to aid charitable causes

1996 – The Masonry Division is established

Masonry Division workers building a wall
Masonry Division is formed
Process Improvement

1997 – Richard Cullen and team implement Process Improvement, challenging everyone to identify and eliminate wasteful and unnecessary procedures

1999 – Construction starts on Wisconsin’s expansive Law and Justice Center; the company’s Milwaukee branch office opens

Cullen Construction College

2000 – The Cullen Construction College is launched, helping staffers to academically advance in their chosen fields

2003– The University of Wisconsin Engineering Center project begins and is completed the following year

2004 – The firm’s bid is accepted to construct the Verona Learning Campus for Epic Systems Corporation, the first of many building projects over the ensuing years for the mega-giant healthcare software developer

2005 – Fort Atkinson Hospital is expanded

2009-2010Milwaukee City Hall exterior renovations are ongoing

2011 – Extensive work is underway for much-needed refurbishment at the University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium

First Non-Family Member Company President

2013 – Ron Becher becomes first non-family company president

2015 – J.P. Cullen becomes general contractor for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Freshwater Sciences complex and opens downtown Madison office

UW-Milwaukee Freshwater Sciences JP Cullen built in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
UW-Milwaukee Freshwater Sciences

2016 – Work commences on the Milwaukee Bucks Arena and Training Center where JP Cullen provides critical construction services

Fifth Generation Joins the Firm

2009-2016 – The 5th Generation of Cullen’s have joined the firm after earning related College Degrees and external employment in the AEC industry


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