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It was over 100 years ago, in November of 1904, that D.A. Pike entered the hardwood lumber industry by establishing D.A. Pike Lumber Company in Wabash, Indiana. Following a tradition of honesty and integrity established by his ancestors, he succeeded not only in his chosen field but also in instilling his love of the industry in the second of his three daughters.
In 1933, D.A. Pike relocated in the northern Indiana town of Akron. His daughter Helen, sensing his disappointment at not having a son to assume his role in business, decided to emulate him. “I told my dad I wanted a sawmill of my own, and I no sooner said it than I got it – just like that,” she later recalled. With a crew of 20, she took the D.A. Pike Lumber Company name across Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan to cut railroad ties.
Eventually, she married Howard Utter, a lumberjack her doting father sent along with her team to “watch my little girl.” Together, the two made an indomitable team.
When D.A. Pike went into another business, the Utters moved their operation and the Pike name back to Akron, where they purchased an abandoned sawmill and began a program that remains ongoing. They were so determined to succeed that for several years the company continued to cut railroad ties, often managed by Helen Pike Utter, while Howard Utter operated portable mills across Indiana to help pay for improvements to the Akron plant.
In 1978, they broadened the company’s base by building a second sawmill at Carbon in west central Indiana. The Utters’ hard work combined with top-notch employees made the business grow. The Pike name had become synonymous with quality hardwoods, excellent service and a strong commitment to forest stewardship.
Pike Lumber Company is now Indiana's largest manufacturer and distributor of quality hardwoods to buyers such as the cabinet, millwork, furniture, and musical instrument industries – companies who have exacting specifications for widths, lengths, color, manufacture, inspection, kiln drying and a great guarantee. We control the manufacturing process from the forest all the way to the kiln-dried delivered board. We have approximately 200 employees at three plants in Akron, Carbon and Milan, Indiana with three main divisions:
- Forestland and Timber Procurement Division with over 20 degreed foresters, forestland managers for private landowners, buyers of forestland, standing timber and logs
- Sawmill Division
- Distribution Yard Division
Helen & Howard Utter circa 1989