Lumber was big business throughout the Tahoe basin from the time of the Comstock, when thousands of acres of Sierra forest were cut down to construct underground support systems for the mines as well as the towns they founded. Numerous lumber companies had logging operations and band mills in the mountains, with planing mills and storage yards in the valleys below.
By 1900, the Reno Mill & Lumber Company, founded in 1889, needed more room and better facilities for its growing business. Moving just a few blocks east of its original location, the company constructed a planing mill and sash and door factory at this site. Spur tracks ran from both the Central Pacific and NCO Railroads into the expansive yards, which could store over a million feet of lumber at a time. Carloads arrived daily from the band mill near Beckwith, where the company owned several thousands of acres of pine.
In 1902 the company completed the large fireproof brick building that still stands. There, the lumber was finished and manufactured into sashes, door frames, and other building supplies that were both sold locally and shipped out of town by rail. At the time, the company was one of the city’s largest employers, with between 90 and 100 men on the payroll—around 50 in town, and the rest at the band mill on the Sierra Valleys Railroad.
The property was sold to the Verdi Lumber Company in 1913 to serve as their sash and door factory. By the late 1920s, the company was foundering, following the burning of its Verdi sawmill, storage yard and roundhouse, as well as the depletion of its timber stands. In 1928, A.T. Eveleth, a former purchasing agent for the Verdi Lumber Company, bought its mill and lumber yard and founded the Eveleth Lumber Company, which operated for over 50 years. With much of its original machinery intact, the 1902 building, along with the wood-frame structure once used for administration and retail, served for many years as storage for Ray’s Tire Exchange.