Woods Lumber has been in business for over 130 years. The Founder, Oscar Edwin Woods, was the son of a Union Army Colonel from Iowa. Colonel J.J. Woods moved his family to Montana, Kansas at the end of the Civil War. Oscar Edwin Woods, or O.E. Woods as he was called, along with his children, three sons and a daughter, founded O.E. Woods Lumber Company in 1889, and opened their first yard in Oswego, Kansas. With hard work, smart economic practice, and good business judgement, they were able to create a successful business and expand O.E. Woods Lumber Company into Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma having as many as 21 operating yards at one point.
In 1903, nearly 14 years after O.E. Woods Lumber Company began, the Woods family opened its first yard in Independence, Kansas. The yard was located at 11th and Sycamore. In 1923, the family decided they wanted also to reside in Independence, and built a home at 419 South 4th St. With the family relocated, the O.E. Woods Lumber Company also moved its general office from Oswego to Independence and established themselves in the Citizens National Bank building. That same year, the Company bought the National Lumber Company which was located on the south side of Independence at that time. The O.E Woods Lumber Company assumed the National Lumber Company name while the office resided there to avoid confusion with mail and telephone calls. The final move came in 1956 to the general location it is today at 915 N. 8th St. in Independence, and the name returned to that of it's Founder, O.E. Woods Lumber Company.
In 1970 Ray H. Woods, the great-grandson of O.E. Woods, purchased controlling interest of the business, and became the manager of O.E. Woods Lumber in Independence taking over for Cress Elliot. Prior to taking over the business, while working in the Independence yard Ray had purchased Rock Island Ready Mix, and changed the name to Independence Ready Mix. It was moved to it's present day location at 920 North 10th in 1972 where it remains in operation today. There were still more changes to come for the family business under the management of Ray H. Woods. In 1974 a Cabinetry and Flooring department was added, and in 1979 O.E. Woods Lumber became Woods Lumber of Independence, Kansas, Inc. Another change for the business that happened in the late seventies was that Woods Lumber became Member/Owners in two separate building material Cooperatives. DoitBest and Allied Building Stores.
Mark P. Woods became the 5th generation to work full time in the family business in 1991. About 5 years later, in 1996, a new 18,800 square foot retail facility was constructed at 915 N. Penn. Ave. in Independence. This location is still the current location of Woods Lumber Company today. As time went on, Woods Lumber continued to expand. In 2001, Woods Lumber entered the Rental Equipment business, and has continued to grow and expand it's fleet of rental parts, tools, and equipment every year. Mark P. Woods assumed controlling interest in 2009 of Woods Lumber Company of Independence and today is carrying on the tradition as the 5th generation owner. Tell Tommy and Kyle Woods that they need to learn as much as possible so they can take over the operation and let their father retire. You can visit Woods Lumber today in Independence Kansas at 915 N. Penn. Ave.