Halloween is right around the corner, and with Halloween comes spooky tales of ghosts and ghouls. Many of America’s oldest companies have a haunted story attached to their name, and Jockey is no exception. Jockey has operated out of the same building since 1900, and over the last one hundred plus years, there have been many ghost stories whispered through the halls.
Exterior of Jockey International building in 1926. Jockey corporate continues to operate out of the same building in Kenosha, Wis.
One of the most popular ghost stories in the Jockey building is the story of Ida. Ida was a seamstress during the 1920s, around the time when the Cooper Union Suit was patented and our union suit with drop seat was making waves in men’s underwear fashion. She was popular within the building, but she was notorious for showing up late.
Story has it that, after her death, Ida decided to continue working in the building. Several workers have reported that, late at night, you can hear Ida’s footsteps still running down the hall. This story is especially eerie because many employees have reported that they were the only ones in the building at the time. Many believe that Ida still haunts the Jockey building to this day.
Taken in 1920, this photo shows employees sewing Jockey products, including Jockey underwear for men, on the fourth floor of the building. The sewing machines remain intact to this day.
While Ida might send chills down your spine, she’s not the only nighttime visitor wandering the halls of the Jockey building. During the 1910s, a huge party was held for the Cooper Underwear Company (the former name of Jockey International), which was operating out of the building. During this party a man and woman met, fell in love and later married. The couple lived a happy life, but after they died, they began making appearances throughout the Jockey building. From time to time, people still claim to see the couple roaming the halls of the building in their Sunday best. However, while these visitors may seem creepy to most, they do not appear to mean any harm.
Jockey was the first company to introduce an underwear fashion show at the National Association of Retail Clothiers Convention in Chicago in 1938. Jockey was able to get around “indecency laws” at the time by putting cellophane wrap around the bride and groom in the picture. This is the same material that Jockey pioneered as underwear packaging in 1935.
The Perfect Game
One final ghost story features a bowling alley. For many years, there was a two-lane bowling alley built at the bottom of the building right around the time the classic Jockey briefs for men were being invented in 1934. One mechanic would spend every night at the bowling alley, and he was known as one of the best bowlers in town. In later years, the bowling alley was removed in order to add more manufacturing space. Though the alley is no longer there, many claim that you can still hear the sound of the mechanic bowling at night. Maybe one day he will bowl the perfect game and finally, be ready to settle down.
Jockey’s corporate headquarters is an iconic building with a long, rich history. Though there seem to be many ghosts within this building, fortunately, they are all friendly.