The Lowell Area Historical Museum is taking us on a stroll along Main Street and sharing the history of buildings in Lowell’s historic downtown. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.
Address: 120 W. Main
Builder: King, Quick and King Co.
1st business: King, Quick and King Sawmill Office
King, Quick and King Lumber Co. (Francis King, Reuben Quick and son, Frank T. King) built this building near their shingle and sawmills in 1883 to be their office. Their sawmill was north of Main Street near the east bank of the Flat River and their shingle mill was on an island in the river. Trees were cut down during the winter by lumberjacks, many of whom were farmers, and in the spring, the logs would be floated/driven downstream in a massive log drive to the sawmill. This sawmill operated from 1871 to 1892.
This building was constructed on the east side of the Flat River near the sawmill of King, Quick and King to be their office in 1883. It was on the corner of Avery Street and Lafayette Street which is today’s Riverwalk.
In 1890, with the end of lumbering in sight, Frank Twining King, Francis King, Reuben Quick and Charles McCarty, purchased the defunct Superior flour mill on the west side of the Flat River and organized the stock company ownership as the King Milling Company. The former lumber office building was moved to this location on Main Street, placed on a new foundation and painted in 1900. It became the main office for King Milling Company. Now the building is used as an engineering office and the main offices of the King Milling Co. are at 222 W. Main.
In 1900, another local lumberman, Thomas F. Doyle, purchased part-ownership of King Milling and his three sons, Charles, Renis, and William, went to work for the company. The picture above shows wheat being brought to King Milling in the winter of 1908.
You can see the King Milling office in the background of this photo taken between 1910-1920.
In 1936, William Doyle assumed management of the company.
The structure behind the office was destroyed by fire on March 7,1943; the office survived. William C. Doyle worked hard to rebuild the mill in a continuous cement pour operation with the help of the community. However, Doyle died ten days after the new mill commenced operations. William Doyle’s sons, King (age 23) and Mike (age 15), assumed ownership. King, who was serving as an Ensign on a U. S. Navy destroyer in the South Pacific (WWII), was called home to take-over operations. Mike joined him as vice president after serving in the U. S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
The King Milling Co. buildings, machinery, and silos have since been expanded and updated several times. Ownership has remained in the hands of the Doyle family for five generations.
Here’s what the office building looked like after it survived the fire of 1943.
And here’s what 120 W. Main Street looks like today: