The Village of Pawnee was settled in 1854, and the Baker Lumber Yards was established just two-years later. So the Pawnee Lumber & Hardware Company has been around almost since Pawnee’s very beginning! Baker Lumber Yards was founded originally by FA (Fred) Baker. The Pawnee Post wrote about the Lumberyards 40-year anniversary on March 4th, 1937. The Post reported, “The Company has developed the enviable position of being the most completely stocked and best equipped yard in Central Illinois.”
While the name has changed to the Pawnee Lumber and Hardware Company, the statement about being one of the best stocked and best equipped yards is still true today. The building where the lumber yard sits was a lumberyard before the Baker family purchased it so its history even predates the 1854 date.
J.R. Richeson President of the Company has been with the Lumberyard since graduating from high school in 1978. His Uncle was a fixture at the lumber yard for years. “My Uncle Bill Frazier worked here for 50 years; I’ve got 41 years in now.”
It’s easy to see that once employees start at the lumber yard, they like it and stay. Today 13 employees work at the Pawnee Lumber and Hardware Company.
Over the years as the business has grown, they have added to the yard, but kept the main building intact. “We have nine buildings and one lot,” J.R said. “When one building had to be updated, we turned it into a showroom.”
The older buildings have a bit of history as well, one of the buildings served as Pawnee’s first post office.
At their 6th street address, customers still find the same nostalgic building with the original hardwood floors, 12’ ceilings and cool glass shelves that remind them of yesteryear. “People like the old style,” J.R said, but added, “We are fully computerized now. In the past everything was paper, but since November of 2019, we are entering all our tickets and bills. People prefer emailed tickets. No one carries cash anymore, it’s a big change.”
The important thing to know about the Pawnee Lumber and Hardware Company is J.R. says, “You can get anything you need here. We are a full service lumber yard. We have a huge inventory.”
The word is out! Pawnee Lumber and Hardware Company material was featured on the Coliseum remodel at the Illinois State Fair Ground. Materials from the lumber yard were used in the Governor’s Mansion, the Lincoln Home, and the Muni Opera. “They know we can get it there quickly and efficiently,” J.R. said
Right here in our home town quality, service and quantity is in our own backyard!
You don’t have to go to the City for your building needs. “We have plumbing, electrical as well as regular lumber and hardwoods,” J.R said, “We are one of the few lumberyards that have tons of Western Red Cedar.”
J.R. said the Cedar is used for many things like pergolas and decking rather than the treated lumber. Many are also using the Cedar for siding as well. Customers find paint, Cedar and wood shingles. They carry fire treated lumber, siding, and they also stock exterior and interior doors and really anything needed to build a home or commercial building.
Besides the lumber aspect, they also have a huge inventory of bolts and fasteners bringing farmers and automotive customers into the lumberyard as well. “We get farmers coming in for parts for older tractors too.”
Best of all though is the knowledgeable staff available to assist customers with questions. “We have a tremendous amount of product knowledge with staff willing to go the extra mile to locate the products and go to the suppliers. You can even bring in the blueprints and we will make you a materials list.”
Not sure exactly what you want? That’s okay! At Pawnee Lumber they will help hook you up with Plumbing houses etc to help you make an informed decision!
Customers don’t have to arrive at the lumberyard with their pickup truck ready for a big load; the lumberyard has free delivery if you live within about a 40 mile radius.
To find out more about the Pawnee Lumber and Hardware Company, log onto their website at http://www.pawneelumber.com/. There is also a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Pawnee-Lumber-Company-567623399928893/. Call 217-625-2771 for questions, or email Mike Watson at Mike@pawneelumber.com.