A loaf of bread cost 7¢ and a pound of steak would run you about 26¢. The gummy bear was just invented in Germany, and Babe Ruth was the most famous person in the country. It was 1922, and it was the year that Barney & Carey Company Inc. was founded on the banks of the Neponset River in Milton, MA.
At the site of the old Neponset Coal Company, Barney & Carey took advantage of their access to private docks, receiving lumber shipments from schooners that traveled from the Maritime Provinces in Canada to ports along the eastern coast. By the mid 1950s, the schooners had given way to steamers, and then to diesel-powered vessels. And while a few schooners continued to make lumber deliveries to ports in the Boston area, access to Barney & Carey company by sea had been limited by the construction of Boston’s Southeast Expressway, which featured several low bridges.
Barney & Carey began to grow. A second location opened on Amory Street in Jamaica Plain, and a third on Walter Street in Brookline, though that location was taken for the purpose of building a condominium complex and the company moved to a different location on High Street. By the end of the 1950s, the Amory Street location had closed and business stayed centered at the flagship location in Milton and the Brookline location on High Street.
Around that same time, co-founder James Carey bought out the Barney family’s ownership, and eventually handed the company down to his son, James Carey Jr., who ran the business until he passed away in 1976. His wife, Harriet, briefly assumed control of operations, but quickly sold the business to Keevin Geller, a Boston-area real estate developer and one of Barney & Carey’s biggest customers. Geller is still part-owner of Barney & Carey today, and the last we heard from Harriet, she was in her 90s and delighted to hear that Barney & Carey was still in business doing the same thing it had built its reputation on so many years earlier: selling high quality pine, hardwoods, specialty lumber, and custom millwork.
Under Geller’s ownership, Barney & Carey continued to grow. Eventually, Geller moved the Milton location to a larger, state-of-the-art facility in Quincy, MA. He also purchased the Goodhue Lumber Company in Freetown, MA. By the mid-1990s, Geller sold both the Quincy and Brookline locations, and moved the company into a formerly water-powered mill building that had been the headquarters of the Sharon Box & Lumber Company in Sharon, MA. He leased building space to DBI Woodworks, a local mill shop that specialized in custom millwork, cabinetry, CNC routing, and furniture building and restoration.
In 2016, Geller sold the building in Sharon, but rather than liquidate the venerable business, he opted to take on two partners: Dovi Hirsch, the owner of DBI Woodworks, which merged into Barney & Carey, and Ben Pinkowitz, who was a builder and customer of Barney & Carey for years. Together, these partners purchased an old mill in Avon, MA, and that’s where you can find Barney & Carey Company, Inc. today.
Not many lumberyards can say that they’ve been in business for almost a century, never mind in business and still doing the same thing they were doing on day #1. But we can. Barney & Carey has been providing specialty lumber, blades, bits, and custom millwork since 1922…and we hope to continue doing what we love for another 100 years. There is no one better equipped to supply you with the specialty items you need for finish carpentry, furniture building, woodworking, cabinetmaking, or whatever craft you’ve found passion in.
Need a special type of wood? A rare blade or bit? Have a custom built-in or piece of furniture in mind and need help bringing it to fruition? Contact us today!