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  • Andrew Casey, ACF, RF

Giant Lumber Company Update

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

When researching information about the Giant Lumber Company I learned that the idea for a flume emerged because of a flume located in Caldwell County. I made a few inquiries but never spent much time following up. Several years ago, while working on a client’s property in Avery County, I asked the caretaker if he was aware of any lumber flumes in the area. He laughed and said "Son, turn around and look down the hill and you'll see where a lumber flume started". The caretaker’s father had worked on the lumber flumes owned by the W. M. Ritter Lumber Company, who had a sawmill in Mortimer, NC.

W. M. Ritter Lumber Company was incorporated in West Virginia in 1901. The company had operations in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. Ritter operated a large bandsaw mill in Mortimer. Some lumber was cut by smaller mills and flumes were used to get the lumber to the railroad. The 1916 flood destroyed the mill facilities and the mill was not rebuilt.

Three of the four founding partners of the Giant Lumber Company; J.M. Bernhardt, W.J. Palmer, and F. G. Harper were from Caldwell County and obviously got the idea for the flume from the Ritter Lumber Company.

For more information on the Giant Lumber Company in Wilkes County -

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