Lumber Yards

The following history is offered by Amy Lungren Shoffner.

The Rock Island Lumber and Coal Company was located on Main Street, north of Black’s orchard and across the street from the blacksmith shop which was once run by Ad Lile. Carol Hoppes Cashier identified some of the people pictured: On the porch of the Hardware Store are Mr. Berrick (father of Mrs. Bill Hess), Mrs. Hess, daughters Alberta and Wilma Hess (standing in front of Alberta). The lumber & coal company was owned by Bill Hess and burned in the early 1920’s.

Carol Hoppes Cashier says "Only the lumber & coal part burned. The hardware building was later taken across the railroad tracks to replace the Shepherd’s house which had burned. " Hazel Madison Staley recalls that fire. “It was a frightful night. So many explosions” She said that it was thought the fire started in the south building in the office area. That was the area for storage of the shotgun shells. The town was awakened when the shells started exploding in the fire. She remembers that there were a lot of explosions in that fire. During that time there was no fire truck so locals just watched the buildings burn. Behind the building were 4-5 large coal bins. These were different size/varieties of coal. Those bins caught on fire and burned for weeks.

The second one was located north of the present church and was established in the early 1930s. This was built by Watson Wade. He built the house to the east of his lumber yard and which was later owned by Whit [Eli] and Opal Whitten and currently [2006] is the Mazzaferro Home. The hardware store burned in the late ‘30s or early ‘40s but the lumber storage remained standing. It was taken down in the 1980’s. (Carol Hoppes says this hardware store was an earlier site for a livery stable, but Hazel doesn't remember a livery stable.)

In the late 1940's and early 1950's Frank and May Whitten owned the hardware and lumber yard business. In the 1950's it was sold to Ralph and Finace Watts, who continued the business into the 1960's. They moved the hardware business into the bank building.

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