Kratt Lumber Company
Your full service lumber dealer

 

1714 16th Street South
La Crosse, WI    54601

(608) 788-2600

 

HOURS:

 

7:30-5:00

 

9:00-12:00

Monday through Friday

 

Saturday

 
Home
History
Vendors
Projects
Contact

Founded in 1948 by Joseph E. Kratt.

Richard M. Kratt ran the business with his father Joseph, until 1975 when Richard purchased the business.

Michael R. Kratt purchased the business from his father, Richard, in 1989 and continues to run Kratt Lumber Company today.

 

old photo

This picture is from 1949 on the Northwest Corner of Losey Boulevard and Weston Street.

 

This was part of a 50 home development built by Kratt Lumber Company and Osborne Nolop.

 

MORE PHOTOS

 

 

Kratt Lumber Company was founded at a time when there were about a dozen other full-service lumberyards in town. Those other yards have disappeared over the years, but Kratt Lumber has survived and is now in the hands of a third-generation owner, Michael Kratt.

 

There are a lot of memories stored along with the building materials in Kratt Lumber warehouses at 1714 S. 16th St. “Dad and Grandpa built most of the houses from here to Losey Blvd", says Michael Kratt, who took over the business from his father in September of 1989. The Kratts supplied the lumber for the contractors who constructed most of those South Side homes.

 

The business operates from its original location, although warehouses have been added over the years so that Kratt Lumber now stretches from its front on 16th Street all the way through the middle of the block of 15th Street. Old railroad tracks are in place beside the warehouses, and even though lumber now arrives on trucks, Michael notes that rail delivery could be used in a pinch. But that isn’t something he would encourage.

 

He began working for his father and grandfather when he was in high school more than 30 years ago, and remember hot days spent tossing two-by-fours out of boxcars. The business was started in 1948, when Joseph Kratt left his job as sales manager for another local lumberyard to start his own company. He brought his son, Richard, with him, and together they built the business. “We went in a hurry between ’48 and ’50,” Richard recalls. That’s when most of those warehouses were built, to help meet the post-World War II housing boom. “There was a helluva scramble for housing,” says  Richard, who also remembers pouring the concrete footings for their 16th Street office.

 

Returning soldiers qualified for low-interest government loans, and could buy a lot and have a two-bedroom house built on it for about $7,000”. Joseph, the company’s founder retired in 1975. Michael says there is a niche for a full-service lumberyard, despite competition from what he calls “cash-and-carry” operations. “People don’t have time to do anything anymore,” he says. “But if someone comes in here with a problem, we can take care of them”. The lumberyard supplements its crew with subcontractors, but customers wanting decks or sun rooms or garages built or doors or windows installed have the convenience of dealing with one person.

 

 

 

 

[Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved.]