Editor’s Note: This is the 312th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Fine furniture made in Huntington once helped make offices, hotels, hospitals and homes across the nation attractive and comfortable. It was manufactured in the big plant of the Huntington Chair Corp., located at the foot of 20th Street.
In a typical year, 2.5 million board feet of native hardwoods came into the busy plant, where it was turned it into chairs, tables, sofas, desks, bookcases, bedroom suites and other furniture units.
The company moved to Huntington in 1944 from Conneautville, Pennsylvania, where it had operated since 1921 as the Art Furniture Co. Looking for a new site, the furniture chose Huntington because of its proximity to vast stands of oak and black walnut, prized for furniture making.
When the company decided to relocate to Huntington, it changed its name to Huntington Chair and moved into a 100,000-square-foot plant previously occupied by the old Nicholson-Kendell Furniture Co.
In 1953, the furniture company’s payroll approximated $600,000 to its 240 employees.
Every day saw rail cars packed with lumber arrive at the plant’s siding. Once unloaded, the lumber was stacked outside in the yard for two to eight months for air drying, then put in kiln dryers for 10 to 12 days. At that point, it was thoroughly dry and ready for the saws, shapers, steam-bending devices, drills and other mechanical devices necessary to its transformation into a completed piece of furniture. Carefully packed, it then was sent to the loading dock, ready for shipment by train or truck to customers across the nation.
Huntington Chair Corp. was declared bankrupt in 1963.