Morris Lumber Company, located on west side of Niles-Vienna Road in Vienna Center, was established by John Morris, the purchasing agent for Republic Steel Company, in the 1920s. Morris had joined, as partner, the Ira B.Mackey Lumber Company at the request of Vienna businessman Ira B. Mackey, Jr. (Ira B. Mackey, Sr., had been involved in the lumber industry after the Civil War. See an advertisement in Western Reserve Chronicle, October 3, 1866, at right). Upon Mackey's retirement, Morris purchased outright the business and located it in the Mahoning National Bank Building, and later the Central Tower, in Youngstown, Ohio.
The Mackey Lumber Company and the Morris Lumber Company were suppliers to the region's steel mills and other manufacturing businesses that employed lumber for shipping and storing steel and other products. Wood was used in "car blocking"--securing the manufactured products for rail shipment.
In 1932, Morris was forced to move his business from Youngstown into his residence on Niles-Vienna Road in Vienna. He enlarged the dwelling's basement to accommodate his office. The lumberyard, full of rough lumber for the car blocking business, was moved onto his property.
Prior to World War II (1939-1945), Morris Lumber Company operated four to six portable sawmills in eastern Ohio. The War's increasing demand for lumber increased the number of sawmills in operation. Ten to twelve portable sawmills were operating in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Jack and Richard Morris purchased the business in the late 1940s, just as retail lumber sales of finished products were introduced. A new office building and display rooms were built for the lumber company. The business continued in this location until the mid 1980s when it merged with the A.G. Sharp Lumber Company in Youngstown, also owned by Jack Morris.
The Morris family home is one of the oldest houses in Vienna and had originally been owned by Reverend Robert Stranahan, who, also as a justice of the peace, performed 50 to 100 weddings in the house. The last wedding there was much later--Betty Morris, daughter of John Morris, was married there to William Bradbury in June, 1942, by the Reverend Pruitt, minister of the Vienna Methodist Church.
This article is adapted from Betty Bradbury, "Morris Lumber Company," in Vienna, Ohio, Where We Live and Let Live: Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 261-262.