The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 24.


Smith-Nuppnau Company Is One of Oldest Firms In County; Dates Back To '68

Few Porter county business houses can claim as long and as active a part in the actual building of the community as the lumber yard at the foot of Indiana Avenue in this city, which has been operated for the past ten years by the firm of Smith-Nuppnau Company.

In 1868 this yard was established by two prominent pioneer families, Theron C. and Daniel S. White, brothers, and Hubbard Hunt, under the firm name of White, Hunt and Company. In those early days, much of their lumber was shipped down across Lake Michigan from the forests of northern Michigan and Wisconsin, and unloaded on a pier north of Baileytown, then hauled overland with wagon teams to Valparaiso.

In 1882 the interests of Mr. Hunt were purchased by James McFetrich, who had come to Valparaiso from Ohio, a number of year earlier, taught both in the college and Valparaiso high school, and had married the daughter of Daniel S. White. For a time, the business continued under the name of White, McFetrich and Company, but later Mr. McFetrich took over the entire project and operated as James McFetrich, Lumberman.

Mr. McFetrich, a sturdy Scotch-Irish Presbyterian and a man of highest integrity, continued the yard until the time of his death in 1912, when the business was taken over by the McFetrich Lumber and Coal Company, a Company owned by Abe Lowenstine, and managed by Gus Jones and Harry H. Smith.

Under this management, the yard was enlarged, a planing mill erected, and a general contracting department added, and they continued until 1921, when the plant was purchased by Byron Smith, who still remains with the present operators, and Harry E. Smith and his son, Earl V., under the corporate style of Smith and Smith Company.

In June, 1926, Harry E. and Earl V. Smith retired from the company and their holdings were taken over by Charles P. Nuppnau. The name of the company was changed to Smith-Nuppnau company, the yard and offices were rebuilt and a branch yard was established at Kouts, Indiana.

Under the present management, the company has grown to a commanding position in the building industry in the county, and it has to its credit many of the finer homes of the community, full sets of modern farm buildings on many of the better farms of the county, and many large industrial buildings including the Indiana Steel Products Company's main factory, two units of the Continental Diamond Fibre Company's Valparaiso plant, and a large addition to the McGill Manufacturing Company's Bearing Plant is now under construction.

While the business history of the firm dates back to 1868, the present operators likewise come from families who have long been identified with the growth and development of Porter county. Byron Smith, the present of the company, is a son of the late Arthur C. Smith, a life-long resident of Valparaiso, and a grandson of Sylvester W. Smith, who came to Porter county in 1836, when Valparaiso was still called Portersville.

Charles P. Nuppnau, the secretary-treasurer, is the oldest son of the late Paul C. Nuppnau, veteran Valparaiso banker, who immigrated to Porter County from Germany in 1881. After completing school in Valparaiso, Mr. Nuppnau opened the first store in the new town of Gary, which he operated for twenty-one years, and which he sold just before coming back to Valparaiso to enter the lumber business.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


CSS Template by Rambling Soul