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The E.E. Paterson Lumber & Supply Co. was started about 1928 after Patterson Bros. Logging operations ceased. Eugene Patterson built a home next door to his company on the riverbank on the south side of the bridge. In August 1932 he bought the old Van Ostrand house across from his warehouse which he had extended earlier. Gene Patterson, who came to Fifield in 1884 retired in 1940 when he sold the lumber business to W.W. Patefield of Stratford, Wisconsin and Leo Schoenhofen of Marshfield, both lifetime lumberman. The name now, Fifield Lumber & Supply Company.

After Mr. Patefield's death, the business was sold by the Schoenhofen's to Fred Steiger of Park Falls in 1950. Steiger had various managers operate the business until it was sold to Peter Movrich in 1963, who operated it until just before his death. In April 1971 it was purchased by Ron Ernst of Park Falls and the name was changed to Ron Ernst Lumber Co. The building was remodeled to provide more storage and display space, change office, and added a bathroom.

A few years later the business was incorporated and name as now known, was changed to Ron Ernst Lumber Inc. Since Ron's purchase in 1971, he has continually made changes and updated to keep the business a leader as a building material supplier for the area. Purchases include the old Fred Kleese Garage, which was remodeled into a warehouse for material storage, and a garage for the delivery trucks. The truck fleet also includes two National Crane equipped trucks for unitized deliveries.

1990 saw the computer age come to Ron Ernst Lumber Inc. with the installation of YARDMASTER Point of Sale, Inventory Management system and terminals. Ron also traded in his drafting pencil and T-Square around the same time for a SOFTPLAN computer aided system for state of the art designed plans for his clients and contractors.

2006 marks the 35th anniversary of Ron Ernst Lumber Inc., which has survived the the ups and downs of the economy and building industry. Ron's son Richard, now has taken on the responsibilities of managing and operating the business. Ron still does the design and drafting, along with providing his years of building and business knowledge as a consultant. Ron also runs the planning mill, which his father, Joe Ernst ran from 1971 till shortly before his death at age 92. Ron Ernst Lumber Inc. will continue to improve and update to maintain superior service and competitive pricing as a local area retail building material supplier for the home owners and contractors.

Planning Mill:

Fifield Forest Products was located to the south of the lumberyard, on the current StoraEnso property. It was a sawmill and in 1954, purchased a Newman No. 500 Planer and Matcher from Newman Machine Company, Inc. of Greensboro North Carolina. Peter Movrich bought the Fifield Forest Products property and equipment around 1961. After a fire destroyed the sawmill, Peter moved the Newman No. 500 Planer/Matcher, after purchasing the lumberyard from Fred Stieger, to its current location at Ron Ernst Lumber Inc.

Ron's father, Joe Ernst, a longtime area carpenter, decided to help his son and retire from the carpentry business to run the planning operation, along with Ron's father in law, Dick Smith, who was also retired. Joe Ernst ran the planning mill until his late 80's, he said all the work and exercise is what kept him going. Today Ron himself runs the planning mill and provides customers the service of planning their rough lumber into a finished product. This is a service that is getting harder to find in our area.

The 1954 Newman Model No. 500 Planner and Matcher feeds 40 feet up to 150 feet per minute. It will plane boards up to 13-3/4" wide and up to 6" thick. Ron has the side heads for Surfacing 4-square sides, Shiplap, Centermatch, and the most popular, WP-4 V-Groove Panel profiles. The bi-product from planning, shavings, are blown into a semi trailer and sold to ABC Farms of Spooner for turkey bedding. The shavings are better for animal and bird bedding since they are dry and do not contain the fine dust like normal wood sawdust.

Ron will continue to run the mill for custom planning in his 35th year of business to provide the customers with the service of producing the finished product from their lumber.

Ron Ernst has a long history and experience in the building industry, working with customers and contractors for over 50 years. This is an ad published in our local paper in 1959 by his former employer.

Ron Ernst Lumber - Fifield, Phillips, Park Falls, Butternut, Glidden Ogema, Kennan, Catawba, and Prentice service areas


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