It was New Years Day, 1900, that 26 year old William Henry Augustin embarked on a business venture with his partners H.W. Neidert and Mathias Meiers to offer both rough and dressed lumber to people in the Loretto area of south central Tennessee. Meiers Augustin and Company purchased what was, in those days, the costly sum of $40 an acre of land along the banks of Mill Creek (They used the water from the creek to steam power the saws, until 1957 when it burnt down). A portion of the grounds had been a horse racing track. Local legend has it, Andrew Jackson attended these races in the early 19th century.
By 1920, Augustin had bought out the interest of his partners and began operating the business by himself. W.H. Augustin directed the business throughout the twenties and thirties. During the Great Depression, he provided a spark of life to the community during a period of bleak economic times. He continued to offer jobs and paid cash for timber, thus providing much needed income to families in the area. W.H. Augustin remained the sole owner and proprietor of the lumber company until 1944 when the stock was divided among his children, and the business was renamed Augustin Lumber Company.
In the early 1950’s, the operation had become a prosperous business turning out more then three million feet of lumber each year. Augustin Lumber was supplying builders and lumber yards as far away as Franklin, Pulaski, and Savannah, Tennessee as well as the north Alabama area. The company had built a reputation for providing quality materials at competitive prices.
A disastrous fire in 1957 saw thousands of feet of lumber and a half century of dreams consumed in flames. But, like the mythical Phoenix, the business rose from its own ashes. Purchasing replacement equipment from a mill in Mississippi, the business rebuilt and was soon up and running.
The company’s next major trail came in the form of water. Mill Creek has been prone to flooding during periods of heavy rain. The largest flood in memory is the flood of 1975, when Mill Creek flowed out of its banks and washed lumber out of the sheds and brick out of their stacks in the brick yard. Another smaller flood in 1997 damaged lumber stacked on the east side of second street.
One hundred years after its beginning as Meiers Augustin and Company, Augustin Lumber Company is still owned by the heirs of W.H. Augustin. W.H. Augustin died on October 16,1956, at the age of 83. He had been in the lumber business for 56 years. Through his hard work and keen business sense, he was able to turn a simple sawmill on the banks of Mill Creek into a thriving lumber business. That business is still in operation today, carrying on the high traditions of the Augustin family and providing quality building materials throughout Southern Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama.