F W Honerkamp

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The tree hides the tail end of the name, but this is a sign for the F. W. Honerkamp Co., lumber manufacturers, who were located here on the corner of Bryant Avenue and Garrison Avenue, the Bronx, from 1947 to 1989.

Bloomberg.com gives the following description of this business: "F.W. Honerkamp Co. Inc. engages in the wholesale of building materials. It offers adhesives, hardware, hardware, high pressure and metal laminates, plywood and composite panels, green building products, green building products, thermofoil and wood doors, veneer and edgebanding products, other specialty products, and stock sheet products. The company was incorporated in 1871 and is based in Bronx, New York. It has a service location in Central Islip, New York. As of November 27, 2012, F.W. Honerkamp Co. Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Rugby IPD Corp."

F. W. Honerkamp had three predecessor companies. These were George W. Read Co., approximately 1870 to 1883, H. T. Bartlett, 1883 to 1891, and the E. D. Albro Co., 1891 to 1904. Beginning in 1874 all of these companies were located at 200 Lewis St., Manhattan. This location was approximately where East 5th Street and East 6th Street meet the East River. George W. Read and Henry T. Bartlett were independent lumber dealers, Bartlett succeeding Read.

George Washington Read (1813-1882) was born in Vermont 2 Sept. 1813 and died in Wallingford, Connecticut, 19 Sept. 1882. He appears in the 1875 New York State Census living at 15 Garden Place, Brooklyn, when he was 62 years old and a "veneer merchant." This ad for George W. Read & Co. dates from 1870. This was before the business moved to Lewis St. Offices were on Centre St., factories on Monroe St. and Madison St. This ad for George W. Read & Co. appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 7 Jan. 1878. Read's death notice in the New York Times, 21 Sept. 1882, pg. 5, read, "Read - At Wallingford, Conn., on Tuesday, Sept. 19, George W. Read. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral from his late residence, No. 15 Garden-place, Brooklyn, on Friday, the 22d inst., at 2 o'clock."

Henry Thurlow Bartlett (1839-1898) was born in Massachusetts 19 November 1839 and died in Holliston, Massachusetts, 24 October 1898. In 1878 Henry T. Bartlett applied for a passport when he said he was 39 years old, born in the town of Newbury in the state of Massachusetts 19 November 1839. He asked that the passport be sent to Geo. W. Read & Co., No 186 to 200 Lewis street, East River, New York. He appears in the 1880 U. S. Census, living at 137 Madison St., Brooklyn, 39 years old and a "dealer in hard wood." This ad for Henry T. Bartlett dates from 1890.

E. D. Albro was a business located in Cincinnati, Ohio, who took over from Bartlett in 1891. This was reported in Carpentry and Building, 1 July 1891, as follows, "The E. D. Albro Company, with mills at Nos. 685 to 711 West Sixth street, Cincinnati, Ohio, have issued a notice to the trade to the effect that they have completed arrangements by which they succeed to the business of H. T. Bartlett, New York, and have established an Eastern branch with that gentleman as manager and F. W. Honerkamp as assistant manager. A full line of veneers, thin stock and cigar-box lumber will be carried and a specialty will be made of lumber cut by the Bartlett process. In addition they will carry a full supply of all kinds of cabinet woods and hard-wood lumber."

E. D. Albro Co. was founded by Edwin D. Albro (1838-1914), whose life was included in the Centennial History of Cincinnati, by Charles Theodore Greve, 1904. This includes, "Edwin D. Albro, president of the E. D. Albro Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati, producers of lumber and veneers, is one of the prominent and representative business men of this city. Mr. Albro was born in Cincinnati, July 16, 1838, and is a grandson of Henry Albro, and son of Henry and Harriet (Smith), the former of whom was born at Middletown, Rhode Island. The father was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, and the mother at Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Henry Albro, father of our subject, started out in life as a youthful purveyor through the country of those small articles dear to the isolated housewife. He traveled through a large extent of country in what was then the West, at Mount Sterling, Kentucky, meeting the lady who later became his wife. On April 11, 1831, they came to Cincinnati, and in the following year Mr. Albro erected the first veneer saw ever in use west of the Alleghany Mountains. During his journeyings through Ohio and Kentucky, this enterprising business man had noted the fine hardwood materials in the forests, and although the erection of his first factory was something in the light of an experiment, his judgment and foresight made it a success. It soon became necessary for him to establish a depot in New York City to handle the products of his mills, and our subject, then but a boy of 17, was sent to take charge of it. He remained and capably filled the position for four years. Edwin D. Albro ... took a deep interest in his father's business. He recalls that very often when his companions were engaging in various sports, he found the most pleasure in watching the logs passing through the different stages of conversion into lumber and veneers in the great mills. Thus he so early became qualified to fill the important branch of the business in New York. In 1864 he succeeded to the business and soon became engrossed in the improvement of the machinery and ere long had made many changes by which the various methods were conducted with more efficiency and more economically. He continued in the business until 1877, when the E. D. Albro Manufacturing Company was incorporated. The plant is now the largest and best equipped one of its kind in this country. The main buildings, mills, warehouses, etc., occupy nearly the entire block of ground from Sixth to Sloo streets, between Freeman and Carr. One feature of this great industrial plan is that all the veneers and lumber are produced direct from the raw material, the facilities being such that it can be most profitably done. Commercial relations cover the whole of the United States and Canada and include many foreign countries. These works are well worth a visit, and those who delight in rare cabinet woods and veneers will find there rare specimens."

This ad from 1890 for E. D. Albro in Cincinnati precedes their acquisition of H. T. Bartlett in New York. This ad from December, 1891, is for the New York branch. Henry T. Bartlett has been retained as manager. F. W. Honerkamp is assistant manager.

The first directory listing for Frank William Honerkamp (1856-1921), the founder of F. W. Honerkamp Co., came in 1891, when he was a clerk, living at 653 Hancock St., Brooklyn. That same year he appeared in E. D. Albro ads as assistant manager at Albro's New York branch. The last listing for E. D. Albro in New York city directories was in 1904. Frank W. Honerkamp seems to have assumed proprietorship at that time, and to have renamed the company F. W. Honerkamp Co. Until 1946 they continued at 200 Lewis St. where George W. Read had located them in the 1870s.

The following obituary for Frank W. Honerkamp appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 29 May 1921, "Frank W. Honerkamp, former Republican leader of the 5th A. D., died at his home yesterday after a short illness. He was prominent in the veneer and lumber trade, having worked himself up from office boy to head of his own concern, which has been established in Manhattan for more than 50 years. He was born in Jersey City in 1856 and had resided for nearly half a century in Brooklyn. Mr. Honerkamp entered the lumber business as an office boy in the George W. Read Company and later served as manager for the E. D. Albro Company. When this was absorbed by the International Mahogany Company, Mr. Honerkamp continued in the same trade and finally bought out this company. He was an authority on veneers. He was a member of Genazzano Council, No. 164, C. B. L., and the 9th Regt., New York Veterans. He was active in political life in his district and was at one time a member of the Kings County Republican Committee. A requiem mass will be celebrated on Tuesday morning at 9:30 o'clock at the R. C. Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, with interment in St. John's Cemetery. Mr. Honerkamp is survived by two daughters, Elizabeth and Mrs. P. P. Hobberg, and three sons, Frank C., Fred W. and William E. Honerkamp."

On his father's death, the business was continued by Frederick William Honerkamp (1883-1960). Frederick W. Honerkamp was born 5 November 1883 in Brooklyn and died 20 February 1960, at the age of 76. The following death notice appeared in the New York Times, 23 Feb. 1960, pg. 32, "Frederick W. Honerkamp Sr., president of the F. W. Honerkamp Plywood Corporation of 940 Bryant Avenue, the Bronx, died Saturday in St. Clare's Hospital after a brief illness. He was 76 years old. Mr. Honerkamp became associated at the age of 14 with the business that his father had established in 1871. Also surviving are two sons, Frank W. and Frederick W., Jr.; a daughter, Mrs. Margaret McNally; a brother, William E.; two sisters, Mrs. Grace Hobbs and Miss Elsie Honerkamp, and ten grandchildren."

Frederick W. Honerkamp was succeeded by his son, Frederick William Honerkamp, Jr. (1920?-2003). His death notice appeared in the New York Times, 5 May 2003, pg. 8, reading, "Honerkamp - Frederick W. Jr., 86, of Southold, died at Eastern Long Island Hospital on May 2, 2003. Husband of the late Mary (Worthington). Chief Executive Officer of F. W. Honerkamp Co., Inc., of the Bronx. Graduate of Notre Dame University, Class of 1939. Father of Anne Olsen and her husband Gary of Southold, Frederick W. III and his wife Kathleen of Midland, Michigan, Joseph P. and Catherine of Garden City, NY, and Mary Beth Snee and her husband Joseph of West Chester, PA. ... burial ... St. John's Cemetery, Middle Village, NY."

In 1990 F. W. Honerkamp Co. left 940 Bryant Ave. and relocated to 500 Oak Point Ave., the Bronx. As a subsidiary of Rugby Architectural Building Products they are still located here as of 2016. The Rugby website includes their Bronx location at 500 Oak Point Avenue.

As of April 2015 the Honercamp facility at 500 Oak Point Avenue, the Bronx, sported this sign .

Copyright © 2016 Walter Grutchfield