Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wilkinson Lumber Company Drawings Online



The Ball State University Libraries is pleased to announce the release of the Wilkinson Lumber Company Architectural Drawings digital collection. The collection contains 144 drawings made in the 1930s by the design service bureau of the Wilkinson Lumber Company. These drawings represent plans for 51 houses and one boat dock. Only one set of drawings is associated with an address; the others appear to be stock plans that customers could purchase to build their house. This practice was widespread among lumber companies; several offered similar services, and many continue the practice.

The Wilkinson Lumber Company was named for Indianapolis businessman Allen A. Wilkinson. Wilkinson attended a business college in Glens Falls, New York, as a teenager before moving to the Midwest with his parents. He started his business career in Muncie, Indiana, in 1882. Ten years later, he and his wife moved to Indianapolis, where he became secretary-treasurer of S. L. Greer Lumber Co., a business owned by his brother-in-law. Eventually, he gained an ownership interest in the business, which became Greer-Wilkinson and then, in 1906, the Allen A. Wilkinson Lumber Co.

Wilkinson eventually opened 36 branch locations and built a massive woodworking and joinery shop at 907 E. Michigan St. in Indianapolis, before his death in 1929. Anna Greer Wilkinson then assumed control of the business and ran it through the late 1930s. About 1946-47, the name of the firm was changed to Midland Building Industries. The building on Michigan St., then known as the Midland Building, remained actively used for lumber purposes into the 1970s. It was later turned into the Midland Antique Mall.

Images: Wilkinson Lumber Company plans 482, 441. Wilkinson Lumber Company Architectural Drawings, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.