Morsches Builders Mart is descended from the lumber business of Simon Jack Peabody, a major benefactor of Columbia City. Simon was born in Noble County in 1851. In the late 1880s, Ferdinand F. Morsches began working as a laborer at Peabody’s company. The son of a German immigrant brewer and baker, he rose to become manager of the company’s three mills, which by 1907 employed sixty-five men, including teamsters, timber cutters, and miscellaneous laborers. Morsches later became vice president under Peabody.
After Peabody’s death in 1933, the mill became the Morsches-Nowels Lumber Company. It continued to manufacture all types of northern Indiana hardwood, producing between seven and 10 million feet annually and employing approximately 125 workers by 1940. Ferdinand Morsches was president of the firm, J. H. Morsches, vice president, and A. S. Nowels, secretary. The Morsches family later gained full ownership of the company. The Morsches Lumber Company eventually became exclusively a retail lumberyard beginning in the 1960s becoming Morsches Builders Mart. Four generations of the Morsches family operated the plant; Paul Morsches, Sr., was followed as president by his son, Paul, Jr., and later by Franz.
Click each image for a larger view