David Baird Co. Closes Business After 72 Years

Camden Courier-Post – June 7, 1950

Lumber Firm Was Important Factor In U.S. Industry

By Oscar W. Magnuson

The David Baird Co., lumber dealers, a business which was started in Camden 72 years ago, has been discontinued.

Announcement of the closing of the business was made today by David Baird Jr., president of the concern, and son of the founder, David Baird Sr.

Termination of the business was announced to all of the customers of the company in a letter which Baird mailed, notifying them that the actual business had ceased as of June 1.

As he made the announcement, Baird said that he will now give his full time to the Smith-Austermuhl Co., general insurance brokers, of which he is the president.

Closing of the business ends the life of a concern which through the years has been much in evidence in the business life of not only Camden but in many other cities and states in the union.

Baird said that the lumber yard property on Delaware avenue and Pearl streets will continue in the ownership of the David Baird Co., but that it is in the market for sale “to any industry, and especially the lumber business,” he declared.

David Baird Sr., who came to the United States from Ireland in 1859 and to Camden in 1861 and who took a job in a Camden lumber yard, started the business at the southeast corner of Point and Pearl streets, a site now occupied by the RCA Victor plant.

The elder Baird bought the old Patchin property in 1901 and this included all the ground from the south side of Pearl street to 75 feet south of Linden street, and from Front street to the pier head line on the Delaware River.

He later sold Linden street to the City of Camden and the property where the first house is located at Front and Linden streets. Then he sold property to the old Victor Talking Machine Co., now the RCA Victor and to the H. Humphreys Co., now occupied by the Esterbrook Pen Co.

Operated Sawmills

Before organizing the David Baird Co. in 1903, after David Baird Jr. had been graduated from Princeton, David Baird Sr. operated saw mills and timber camps in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

After incorporating in 1903, David Baird Sr. discontinued spar yards in Baltimore, Md., Mystic, Conn., Boston, Mass., and Bangor, Me., and kept only the Brooklyn Spar Co. which was operated until 1935 by the David Baird Co. In 1927 David Baird Sr. died, since which time the management of the business continued under David Baird Jr.

“The David Baird Company specialized in heavy construction timber, piling and pars and with the passing of the majority of the wooden steamships, barges, and lighters, we discontinued the making of spars in 1935 and therefore discontinued the Brooklyn Spar Co.,” said Baird. “Since 1935 the demand for Baird company specialties, heavy timber, has been greatly diminished due to the substitution of creosoted lumber, reinforced steel and large concentrated yards starting in this area,” he said.

Other Company Officers

In addition to Baird, the present officers of the company are David Baird 3d, vice president; Maurice F. O’Neill, treasurer; George S. Bingham, secretary. Directors are Baird Jr., Baird 3rd, O’Neill and T. Gordon Coulter.

The announcement telling the trade of the termination of the business also stated that Watson Malone & Sons, Philadelphia has purchased most of the lumber inventory of the Baird company. O’Neill, who has been with the Baird company for 28 years has been engaged by the Malone concern and will service old customers of the Baird company at the Philadelphia concern’s yard at Allegheny avenue and the Delaware River.

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