320-983-2132 / (888) 201-7770

atillman@milacabuildingcenter.com

100 3rd Avenue Southwest

Milaca, Minnesota, 56353

HOURS: Mon-Fri: 7:00-5:00

Sat: 7:00-12:00 (noon)

Our History

Our Timeline


 

Frank Kotsmith

In 1932 Frank started a coal and wood business, operating out of the old potato warehouses, and pickle factory buildings where the present office building is located. Frank’s son, William E. Kotsmith, who was employed by Central Lumber Company in Foley, joined him in 1932. They started hauling native lumber from the Cass Lake area and shipped in hemlock dimensions from Wisconsin. This was the start of the lumber business known as Foley Fuel and Lumber Company.

More about Frank: In 1888 he started a General Merchandise Store, later expanding into the buggy and machinery business. His employment through the years included working for the Great Northern Railroad as a tie inspector, spent forty years as an auctioneer, operated a pickle factory, farmed cabbage and other vegetables, operated a sheep ranch, and managed the Rudd Lumber Company, which was a chain lumber company in Foley.

 

William E. Kotsmith

Frank's son, William E. Kotsmith purchased the business in 1945. William E. Kotsmith expanded the Foley Fuel and Lumber Company into a complete building material lumber yard. He built a new office building, dismantled some of the old potato warehouses and built new coal and lumber sheds.

In 1965 William E. Kotsmith retired and his two sons continued their partnership until 1969 when the business was incorporated. In 1969 a monumental decision was made to keep the lumber business within the Foley city limits. A rebuilding of the company was started and in 1979 the rebuilding of the warehouses and store buildings into a modern lumber yard were completed.

 

William L. Kotsmith

In 1956 William E. Kotsmith’s son, William L. Kotsmith, joined the firm. In 1959 they bought out Central Lumber Company, in Foley, closing that yard and utilizing the facility for storage.

 

Terrance J. Kotsmith

In 1962 another son joined the firm; Terrance J. Kotsmith. In 1963 brothers William L. Kotsmith Terrance J. Kotsmith formed a partnership.

May 1, 1979, the corporation bought Don Johnson Lumber Company in Milaca, Minnesota. The company was renamed, The Milaca Building Center. William L. Kotsmith’s son Christopher A. Kotsmith was hired to manage the company in Milaca.

 

Christopher A. Kotsmith

In 1993 William L. Kotsmith retired from the lumber business and Christopher A. Kotsmith bought William L. Kotsmith's half of the business at that time.

Today the Milaca Building Center and Foley Lumber Yard are owned and operated by cousins Christopher A. Kotsmith and Randall Kotsmith.


The Full Story:

In 1881, Enoch Kotsmith moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Benton County and farmsteaded in Alberta Township. He had four sons -- Enoch, Jim, Frank, Charles. Frank Kotsmith, at the age of 16 years, worked for the Foley Brothers Logging Firm as a cook.

In 1888 he started a General Merchandise Store, later expanding into the buggy and machinery business. His employment through the years included working for the Great Northern Railroad as a tie inspector, spent forty years as an auctioneer, operated a pickle factory, farmed cabbage and other vegetables, operated a sheep ranch, and managed the Rudd Lumber Company, which was a chain lumber company in Foley.

In 1932 Frank started a coal and wood business, operating out of the old potato warehouses, and pickle factory buildings where the present office building is located. Frank’s son, William E. Kotsmith, who was employed by Central Lumber Company in Foley, joined him in 1932. They started hauling native lumber from the Cass Lake area and shipped in hemlock dimensions from Wisconsin. This was the start of the lumber business known as Foley Fuel and Lumber Company. Frank Kotsmith died in 1945, and William E. Kotsmith bought the business at that time. William E. Kotsmith expanded the Foley Fuel and Lumber Company into a complete building material lumber yard. He built a new office building, dismantled some of the old potato warehouses and built new coal and lumber sheds. In 1956 William E. Kotsmith’s son, William L. Kotsmith, joined the firm.

In 1959 they bought out Central Lumber Company, in Foley, closing that yard and utilizing the facility for storage. In 1962 another son joined the firm; Terrance J. Kotsmith. In 1963 brothers William L. Kotsmith Terrance J. Kotsmith formed a partnership. In 1965 William E. Kotsmith retired and his two sons continued their partnership until 1969 when the business was incorporated. In 1969 a monumental decision was made to keep the lumber business within the Foley city limits. A rebuilding of the company was started and in 1979 the rebuilding of the warehouses and store buildings into a modern lumber yard were completed.

May 1, 1979, the corporation bought Don Johnson Lumber Company in Milaca, Minnesota. The company was renamed, The Milaca Building Center. William L. Kotsmith’s son Christopher A. Kotsmith was hired to manage the company in Milaca. In 1993 William L. Kotsmith retired from the lumber business and Christopher A. Kotsmith bought William L. Kotsmith's half of the business at that time. Five years later in the year 1998 Terrance J. Kotsmith retired from the lumber business and his son Randall Kotsmith bought Terrance J. Kotsmith's half of the business at that time.

Today the Milaca Building Center and Foley Lumber Yard are owned and operated by cousins Christopher A. Kotsmith and Randall Kotsmith.