Woodford Lumber and Home’s cornerstone is providing outstanding customer service and quality materials.
Make that “exemplary” customer service, in the words of one of the founding owners of the company, C.R. Woodford.
Woodford Lumber and Home’s products have changed to meet changing customer needs since its founding in 1869. But one thing that hasn’t changed is our fundamental philosophy of serving the customer. We treat our customers like we would like to be treated. We work with you honestly and fairly. We provide quality materials and stand behind them.
The company “…has seen Clear Lake through many periods of depression and prosperity,” according to the Centennial Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter publication. “While its roots are firmly planted in the past, the members of the firm have their eyes turned toward the future and have a deep interest in the progress and welfare of the town.”
There have been five generations involved in ownership and management of the business. Truman Woodford, a brother of the great-great-grandfather of the present owners, founded and started the business in 1869. A genial man who lived in Milwaukee, he was well known in North Iowa but made frequent trips here to look after this lumber yard and the one which he started a year later in Garner, Iowa.
The first Clear Lake manager, Winslow C. Tompkins, was a “colorful and interesting person” who was a Civil War veteran and family relative. Before settling down to married life and a job, he had many adventures, going west at the time of the Gold Rush, then taking part in many battles of the Civil War and spending several months as a prisoner of war.
George G. Woodford, brother of Truman and great-great-grandfather of the present owners, purchased an interest in the business, and came from New York in 1879 with his wife and 18-year-old son, Charles R. Woodford. Both George and Charles Woodford began at once to work at the yard and each continued to do so until the end of his life.
Charles R. Woodford, great-grandfather of the present owners, managed the business from 1890 until his death in 1937. From time to time other lumber yards were acquired. At one time, the Woodford-Wheeler chain included some 12 lumber yards in north central Iowa. Clear Lake, Ventura, Garner, Britt, Chapin, Goodell, Charles City, Pomeroy, Thornton, Meservey, and Fonda were some of the communities involved.
Esther Woodford Ashland and her husband, L. Earl Ashland, took over the ownership and direction of the business in 1937.
James F. Connell, served as General Manager of the business from 1950 until 2000. There were 9 lumber yards in the Woodford-Wheeler chain at one point in his tenure.
General management responsibilities are now being carried out by Manager Darle Hoshaw, Assistant Manager Michele Collins and Jan and Tom Lovell.