An immigrant from Sweden, Levin Faust arrived in Rockford in 1887 as a young man and worked as a machinist for W.F. & John Barnes Company. His ambition soon led him to join three fellow workers to organize the Mechanics Machine Company in 1890.
With the company’s success, Faust became a Rockford investor in the early twentieth century, often joining with fellow industrialist P.A. Peterson to form new companies and encourage young entrepreneurs. He invested in and helped organize Rockford Drop Forge, Rockford Tool Company, Rockford Milling Machine, and Estwing Manufacturing, among others. Faust also became involved in Rockford’s quality of life, serving five years as Board President of the Rockford Park District.
In 1929, he launched his most ambitious project: the construction of the Faust Hotel, a massive hotel and apartment complex that was the largest building in Rockford at the time. However, the business was soon caught up in the Great Depression. Subsequently, in a bankruptcy filing in 1933, Faust lost the hotel and most of his fortune. He died three years later.