For nearly 100 years, Johnson Madison Lumber has supported the needs of Great Falls contractors, homeowners, high school students, charities, and others, with great products, friendly service, and expert advice. As the crew looks ahead to their centennial, they look back at how far they’ve come.
“This has been Great Falls’ hometown lumberyard since 1923,” says General Manager Joel Brueland.
Prior to co-founding Johnson Madison Lumber Company, William Madison Sr. had been managing Great Falls Lumber Company’s yard in Carter. The company also had a location within Great Falls’ city limits, founded by Union Lumber Company, under G.H. Goodrich of the Goodrich Lumber Company. Goodrich had been running lumber in Great Falls since 1885 but sold out to the Great Falls Lumber Company in 1910. But by 1922, operations in both Great Falls and Carter stopped.
With the yards closing, the Great Falls Lumber Company asked Madison Sr. if he’d like to lease the Great Falls yard. He said yes, but in order to run it properly, he would need help. His brother-in- law, Arthur Johnson, had been in the lumber industry for twelve
years at that point and was a skilled drafter. Together, Johnson and Madison Sr. opened Johnson Madison Lumber in 1923.
Over the next 26 years, Johnson Madison Lumber helped (literally) build Great Falls, selling lumber and construction supplies long before there were any franchise home improvement stores in town.
In 1949, William (Billy) Madison Jr. joined the company.
Johnson Madison Lumber underwent many other transitions over the years. In 1952, Arthur Johnson retired, leaving Madison Sr. the sole proprietor of the company. In 1954, the business expanded to offer home renovation and construction products, such as paint and moldings. And in 1955, Madison Jr. was named vice president as Johnson Madison Lumber became an incorporated company.
Madison Jr. operated the business with his father until 1958, when Madison Sr. retired. He continued to run it until his own retirement in 1986.
Madison Jr.’s sons, William L. and Wayne (“Larry”), led the company into the new millennium, keeping Johnson Madison Lumber in the family for a third generation. In 1990, the lumber yard was moved to 815 10th Street North, one block from the original location and in 2009, expanded
with a receiving and delivering yard on the east end of town.
“We want to keep building onto what they built,” says Sales Manager Chris Munsterteiger.
Because customer needs vary, the company’s inventory is in a constant state of expansion.
The company also has an ever-growing list of services, including delivery, estimation, and kitchen and bathroom design. They offer project how-tos, and they carry green building supplies that promote environmental stewardship and demonstrate the company’s sense of duty to the planet.
Johnson Madison Lumber Company takes pride in its roots as it adapts to the needs of each new generation.
“We’re looking forward to 2023 being a special year for everyone,” says Brueland. “This in not just a celebration for JM Lumber, but for the whole community of Great Falls.”
Johnson Madison Lumber Company is located at 815 10th Street North in Great Falls. For more information, visit jmlumber.com or call