A Calamitous Night
George’s Woodcrafts had just turned 20 years old. George Martin’s efforts had grown a custom, solid wood furniture-making business that employed about 8 full-time craftsman. George and his family had retired for the night on April 28, 1989. Suddenly, the dog started barking and someone began pounding on the door, frantically ringing the doorbell. George bolted for the window and then yelled, “The woodshop is on fire!” “Call the fire department!” “Get the vehicles out!”
Many fire departments responded to the fire. The firemen called it an “all-nighter”. Obviously, the wood shop contained a lot of fuel for the fire. The firemen were able to save some wood stored in the lower level of the barn as well as the wood piles stored outside but the rest was a total loss—machinery, patterns, lumber in the barn, and finished furniture in the storage area waiting to be delivered to customers.
During the fire, I (Ava Lee) went to find George. He was sitting on an upside down bucket between the lumber yard and the burning barn. He looked at me and said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”, a quote from Job in the Bible.
Over the next two days, neighborhood farmers and men from churches in the area came with machines and chain saws to help clean up the ruins. Women brought food to feed the hungry workers. The Brotherly Aid Insurance Company came immediately to assess the damage and quickly gave approval to release funds allowing the rebuilding process to begin within days of the fire.
A Craftsman Turns General Contractor
Following the lead of one of our craftsman, an experienced builder, our entire team of craftsmen became carpenters as they helped to build a new woodshop where the old woodshop once stood. No one was injured in the fire or during reconstruction process. The new roof rafters were set on a drizzly day in May,1989, a month that held a record-breaking 10 inches of rain. Within 3 months of the fire, one wing of the woodshop was built and we were back to crafting solid wood furniture! Our craftsman rebuilt the furniture that was lost in the fire, while work continued on the rebuilding the rest of the shop.
A New Shop Brings Efficiency, a New Kiln, a Showroom, and More!
George often said, “I was happy with the shop in the dairy barn. When God took away that one, He must have wanted me to have a new one.” The new one is more efficient, and more conducive to giving shop tours. The new shop includes room for a showroom and a wood-drying kiln on the first level.
We’d love for you to stop in! Come by and check out our shop and view our gorgeous solid wood, handcrafted furniture!