The History of Century Mill Lumber
Century Mill Lumber has been a family-run business since 1851. To make this remotely possible, William and Sarah Ratcliff had moved from Essex, England in 1846 to the present site, 3993 Stouffville Road, between Kennedy & McCowan Roads Stouffville, ON. Originally, the site was a 140-acre farm, but also possessed one important ingredient- a tributary of the Rouge River. So in 1851, a water-powered sawmill was built to serve the local communities. Later, the family installed a large single cylinder diesel engine. It was added to augment the dwindling water supply. In 1981, this diesel engine along with the log-carriage, was donated to the Markham Museum (located at Hwy. 7 & 48 in Markham, ON). During the summer months, you may find this engine being operated at one of their special events. In 1982, the Mill was hit by lightning. (So now you know why the previous paragraph was inserted. You can now say, “…wasn’t that a lucky move!) All that remains now is the water turbine (as it was located underground). Over the past 160 years, Century Mill Lumber has had different names and performed different functions. However, it still remains a family owned business. One thing has remained constant- we still sell lumber.
What Makes us Different?
A good question. After all we, along with a host of lumber companies, sell lumber. However, we believe we provide some unique products that the large lumber yards do not handle. This means, for instance, that:
- We can offer cedar posts, hemlock planks and timbers, and 1x6 white oak to farmers and horse ranches
- The hobbyist and small business folk come and pick through pine, cedars, and hardwoods, live edge or reclaimed lumber for such items as crafts, fencing, and furniture
- Maybe you are interested in a new floor? We can suggest pine flooring, wide plank or rustic.
- Perhaps you may be considering something unusual for the rec. room? How about a rough cut fir or a walnut mantle piece?
- We offer shop services such as planing, jointing, glue ups etc. See Services page for more details.
- Finally- I’m running out of breath- and best of all, we provide information.
Stop by and get to know our staff. Michelle (Howard’s Grand Daughter and Keith’s niece) is the first voice you will hear when you call. Don’t let her pleasant demeanor fool you, she can be tough when she needs to be AND she knows her lumber. Derrick and Mark handle quoting and sales. Our drivers, yard staff, warehouse and shop staff all contribute to the success and customer service here at Century Mill. It is true that a company is only as strong as its employees. Most importantly there is NO sales pitch or pressure to buy at Century Mill. We are a down-to-earth get-to-know-our-customer lumber company. We want to get to know you because you too have much information and many experiences to share.
Check out our ads in:
- Canadian Woodworking Magazine
- Ontario Sailor Magazine
- Life 100.3
- Love It or List It (episode 50119)