BIDDEFORD – For nearly as long as people have lived along the shores of the Saco River, they have been pulling logs from its cold waters to provide timbers and building material for homes, businesses and many other buildings that form the landscape of Biddeford and Saco.
This past week, Deering Lumber, a family-owned business whose Biddeford yard is built on the southern shores of the river, held an open house and a lumberjack and timber sport exhibition as part of its celebration of 150 years in business.
C.D. Armstrong, current president and CEO of Deering Lumber, greeted contractors, vendors, politicians and the public as he welcomed them to learn a little more about his business and the traditions from which it came.
“I want to thank you all for coming and help us celebrate 150 years of lumbering at this very site,” he said to a crowd of 150 spectators and guests. “It’s pretty exciting for me to be involved in an organization that’s been going for 150 years.”
As Armstrong spoke to the assembled crowd, most could not help but notice the traditional and historical logging exhibits set up along the shores of the river.
“This business has been fortunate to be part of this industry, on this site, for 150 years. We started shortly after the Civil War ended and with the support of people growing wood, harvesting wood and turning it into lumber products, we have operated continuously since then,” Armstrong said.
Those sentiments were echoed by a number of area officials who came to the event.
“Deering Lumber remains strong because of their community connections, outstanding service, friendly and knowledgeable staff and great leadership,” said Craig Pendleton, executive director of theBiddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce. Bonnie Pothier, the former mayor of Biddeford and current York County representative for U.S. Sen. Angus King said, “In Maine, historically, we have built our lives around forestry and this industry. It is a huge part of our history and our economy. Just yesterday, Sen. King released a press note about some new legislation he’s working on to strengthen the forestry and lumbering industry here in Maine. We are blessed and proud to have Deering Lumber here as part of our community here in Biddeford and also in Kennebunk and Sanford and Springvale.”
Armstrong’s parents, former and current employees and many customers came by to wish him well and thank him for the hospitality of the day. Armstrong smiled as each person greeted him. Always smiling, he thanked them for coming to the open house, shook their hands and said he hoped they enjoyed the celebration.
After they left and before Armstrong moved on to the timber sports exhibition, he reflected on his job and the service his company provides.
“As with any business enterprise, it is a group of people who get together to do something productive in their community that other people value. I’d like to think we’ve done that,” he said.