Bear Lumber 1

Bear Lumber

at 25 East Jefferson, where it has been ensconced for some 65 years. Rough-and-tumble T. L. Bear started it in the mid-1930s as a general building contractor, but in the early days he was frowned upon by the grand old-time contractors of the day. To fix that, “TL” got himself elected to the School Board, probably in reaction to the “opulent” schools, like Lanier and Capitol Heights, that had recently been built. Soon he was Board Chairman, which gave him a social and economic credential. But TL had all these sons, so to the lumber and construction biz, he added a millwork operation and real estate development branch, and it was a Bear Brothers show. In 1950 their letterhead boasted seven Bears.  As time marched by, the old contractors and their gentile ways were forced out of the market, but the Bears stood firm. And for 30 years their mill-shop produced all my nefarious home cabinet projects; in 1954 I bought the second lot sold in the Bear’s Gay Meadows subdivision; I sent my daughters off to Minnie Bear Elementary School; became an officer in Westminster Presbyterian Church, virtually founded and built by the Bears; was allied with Bear Brothers in many a construction project. It was a good run. I’m gone, but the Bears are still there, holding their ground.

-Charles Humphries

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