Photo from the Manitoba Archives
Manitoba Success Story
American Lumber Co. was established in
1906, before the town
of Rivers was named, but after it was common knowledge that the Grand
Trunk Pacific Railway would be passing through. As such, the operation,
which would expand into a national building supply company, was ready
and willing to supply materials for the town that grew almost overnight
as the rails approached.
Edward A. Konantz, owner of Citizen’s Lumber Company of Bow Bells,
North Dakota, joined forces with Charles Lee, appointed as General
Manager, and started North American Lumber and Supply Company (Limited).
The conditions for the establishment of a lumber company were
excellent, with a strong economic climate and the building of the Grand
Trunk Railway across the Prairies offering the means by which outlets
could be supplied.
The partners opened their first lumberyard in Rivers, Manitoba, in
1907. By the fall of 1908, the partners had established 16 more yards,
with a total of 19 yards in place by the spring of 1909.
view of Rivers in 1908 shows the North American
Lumber Co., near
the left, on Second Street.
American Lumber suffered through the Great Depression along with the
rest of Canada, with the rural yards hit the hardest, but by 1936, 56
yards had survived the worst part of the depression.
Through the ‘40s and ‘50s, North American Lumber continued to grow and
diversify, meeting the ever changing needs of post-war society, and
purchasing several yards in Saskatchewan and rural Manitoba. In 1948,
North American Lumber opened the Carberry yard. In 1954 the company
purchased the Minnedosa yard from the Valley Lumber company and the
Brandon yard from Wade Lumber. The pre-fabrication plant that began in
the 1940s in Winnipeg prospered, as the demand for housing in Canada
increased. North American Lumber made a great contribution through the
extensive development of the “Ezy-Built” business- garages, cottages,
homes and farm buildings. The company also diversified into the
construction industry with the founding of a new division – Ready-Mix
In 1966, North American Lumber and Supply Company (Limited) and
Citizen’s Lumber Company (Limited) amalgamated to form North American
The mobile and modular home industry expanded throughout the ‘60s and
‘70s to meet an increasing need for housing in rural areas. North
American Homes Sales continued to serve this market with sales offices
in Lockport, Brandon, Reston and Warren.
Today the company employs over 200 people in a variety of related sales
and service companies including North American Lumber, North American
Homes Sales, Ready-Mix Concrete, and Pre-fab Truss factory. We
celebrated our 100th anniversary and maintain our commitment to growth
*Adapted from The North American Lumber Co. Website