James E. Casto/For The Herald-Dispatch Duncan Box & Lumber was a Central City fixture for 120 years.

Editor's note: This is the 122nd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.

HUNTINGTON - For 120 years, Duncan Box & Lumber Co., 1034 W. 14th St., was a familiar part of Huntington's Central City neighborhood. Founded in 1895, it closed in 2015.

The company was founded in by M.L. Duncan and his brother-in-law, J.W. Graham, and from its beginning operated in the same W. 14th Street location. Graham left the business after only a few months, and generations of the Duncan family then operated it.

Originally the company was named the Beader Box & Manufacturing Co. and it primarily built boxes, crates and industrial pallets. Soon it entered the building supply, custom millwork and cabinetwork field. In 1917, the name was changed to Duncan Box & Lumber.

When it was founded, the company's net worth was $3,635.98, the lot where the plant stood was valued at $200 and its buildings at $1,250.When the company began, it had four employees. By the 1950s it had more than 100 workers on the payroll. The company's three-acre plant was located on both sides of W. 14 Street, with 11 buildings and a half million board feet of lumber stored in its yards. Two spur tracks lead into the plant from the adjacent Chesapeake & Ohio Railway main line.

Long known for its custom millwork, Duncan Box in recent years had mainly relied on its hardware business and lumber sales.

In 2012, Norman Taylor, acting in a joint venture with his brother and sister, purchased Duncan Box from the Duncan family. Taylor is vice president of another Central City business, Taylor Iron & Metal Inc., a recycling center.

When Taylor closed Duncan Box in 2015, he said that although he and his siblings had high hopes for the company when they purchased it, they ultimately found they couldn't effectively compete with today's big-box retailers.


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