Our History

Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States. Henry Ford set a new automobile land speed record of 91.37 mph and Cy Young of the Boston Americans pitched the first perfect game. The year Spahn & Rose started it’s history in the lumber and building materials industry.

Spahn & Rose Lumber Co. was organized in 1904 as a retail lumber company with the express goal of providing knowledgeable staff, excellent service & a superior-quality product mix. Since 1904, the same core values hold true. We are dedicated to providing the resources that hit the nail on the head for your home-building & improvement projects. We are the best of the best!

History

Timeline

Timeline 1904 Horse

The Spahn & Rose Lumber Co. received its charter from the State of Iowa, January 24, 1904. It was incorporated by Mr. J. C. Collier, Mr. C. J. Spahn & Mr. G. D. Rose in a meeting on January 30, 1904. They immediately elected Mr. J. T. Adams & Mr. J. T. Carr to the Board of Directors. Mr. Rose was 25 years old & Mr. Spahn was 32 years old at this time.

On March 10, 1904, the group purchased the Citizens Lumber Co. of Minneapolis, Minnesota. There were nine yards involved: Waverly, La Porte City, Baxter, Parkersburg, Sinclair, Williams, Webster City, Sulphur Springs & Storm Lake.

Mr. Spahn & Mr. Rose handled the day-to-day operations of the business that bore their names while Carr, Adams & Collier focused on their sash-and-door mill company, to be known later as Caradco.

The primary products & services offered at that time were lumber, millwork, wood shingles, wood lath, nails, bricks, lime, plaster, wood posts, barbed wire & coal.

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Timeline 1911 Fire

In 1911, the main yard in Dubuque & the Corporate Office suffered a devastating fire. But giving up wasn’t an option for the men who founded the company. Spahn & Rose then built a new lumberyard at 11th & Jackson Streets, where the store still operates today.

Spahn & Rose Lumber Co. was born before two world wars, survived two national economic calamities & has seen plenty of historic cultural events.

Spahn & Rose has witnessed a lot of changes, inside & outside of the lumber trade, but the core beliefs that built the business remain the same: Quality products & quality employees.

As the Midwest grew, so did Spahn & Rose. At one time, there were 42 lumber yards bearing the Spahn & Rose name.

With improvements in transportation, smaller operations were consolidated with nearby yards to be more efficient.

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The year 1950 was the close of an era. All the organizers & original stockholders had passed & the second generation took over: Mr. C. J. Spahn was President; Mr. P. Adams, Vice President; Mr. R. H. Collier, Vice President; Mr. H. W. Nielsen, Secretary; & Mr. D. I. Meyer, Treasurer.

Timeline 1951 Flood

In 1951, a major flood hit downtown Dubuque, closing the Spahn & Rose General Office.

As technology improved, so did our need for upgrades. Spahn & Rose renovated many of our locations, relocated some to new buildings & opened more locations in new communities in the second half of the century.

At one time Spahn & Rose was in the ready-mix business & dabbled for over a decade in modular-home construction. Those units were eventually sold.

The Spahn & Rose operational blueprint has always been small markets. Dubuque is as big as it gets. It’s a matter of the right fit, & smaller lumberyards remain the heart of the business. That is what we do best & is obvious in our longevity.

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Spahn & Rose History Dubuque

Lumber generates a big number for Spahn & Rose, but our products include construction materials ranging from drywall, millwork & cabinets to insulation, roofing, siding & paint. When the big-box retail concept caught fire in the 1980s, Spahn & Rose felt the temptation to follow but resisted. It comes down to what we do best: quality.

Spahn & Rose is a closely held corporation under the active management of third & fourth-generation shareholders of the company’s founding families.

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After Chuck Spahn’s sudden death in January of 2002, John Hannan was named President of Spahn & Rose, making him the first non-family president in the company’s history.

Spahn & Rose Store Front

Today, Spahn & Rose has 24 retail lumber and building material stores in Iowa, Illinois & Wisconsin, as well as a lumber-distribution facility in Independence, Iowa. Lumber arrives by rail & truck, & is then shipped to the individual yards.

Our product line has expanded significantly to include engineered lumber, fiberglass insulation, drywall, siding & a much larger variety of woodwork including cabinetry & flooring, hardware items & much, much more.

There’s something to be said for tradition. Over the years, Spahn & Rose Lumber Co. has relied on time-tested methods of doing business, focusing on customer needs & delivering products & services that generate long-term trust & reliability.

So what’s in our future? More of the same. We’ll continue to deliver innovative products & strive for the highest levels of quality in all aspects of our business. That’s been our objective since 1904 & will continue to be through the next 100 years.

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