History of Brown & Rutherford
Brown & Rutherford was established in 1872 by two industrialists by the name of Alexander Brown and Thomas Rutherford. They started the company as a small planing mill in the early l870's,the first such mill in Western Canada. In the beginning Alexander Brown and Thomas Rutherford engaged in contract work as carpenters. ln August 1872 Brown explained to his wife "We took on another contract on Saturday to build 4 houses. We get 1000 dollars for building them. We will have to get more men.
The Frontier conditions of Winnipeg during the early 1870's appear to have offered skilled tradesmen like Brown considerable opportunities.
By this time, Alexander Brown and Thomas Rutherford were in the process of buying machinery for a fledgling planing mill, laying the foundations of the firm Brown & Rutherford Co. Ltd.
Brown & Rutherford enjoyed steady growth after it was established, manufacturing sash, doors, blinds and general builder's supplies in the lumber line. The bustling planing mill on Bannatyne Avenue, which employed some thirty-five workers at the time, was fed with lumber shipped up from Minnesota. In 1879 Brown and Rutherford expanded its operations to manufacture lumber as well, building a Saw Mill on Lake Winnipeg, with a daily manufacturing capacity of 25,000 board feet of lumber. Brown & Rutherford purchased a steamboat and several barges which were used to freight lumber from the Lake Winnipeg mill to the plant in the city. The expansion of the firms business had, by 1882, compelled Alexander Brown and Thomas Rutherford to relocate their Winnipeg operations to a larger plant. They sold the Bannatyne site and built a large planing mill and lumber yard on Sutherland Avenue in Point Douglas in 1911. This is the company's present location.