The tag line Hewitt-Lea-Funck Company (HLF) used to advertise their plans and building materials was "Designers of Homes for the People." The Progressive era was beginning to wane, but populist sentiment remained strong in the Pacific Northwest where the company was based.
As has been noted elsewhere on this site, dozens of small and medium size lumber companies expanded their business to include plans and materials to be ordered through a catalog and shipped by rail or boat to the home owners location. HLF, with its offices located in Seattle and main mill in Sumner, had access to some of the most beautiful timber in the the United States.
Old-growth Douglas fir from ancient forests provided straight, tight-grained boards. HLF notes in the catalog that the wood from a single tree, "twelve feet through at the butt," would build any house in this book. Each tree, cut into four sections, with each section making a car-load. Those were some amazing trees! and one of the reasons the early 20th century houses have withstood the test of time.
The building materials and plan business must have been incredibly competitive and many companies lasted for just a few years. HLF seems to have also supplied materials and plans for barns and silos. It appears that HLF was a casualty of the 1922 recession, emerging as a smaller company (Funck Company) that focused on silos, and then later with a variety of wood products. In 1933, it was purchased by Willard Young.
Regardless of the short duration of the Hewitt-Lea-Funck Company, it was responsible for some delightful plans that are typical of the small, middle-class house that is near and dear to our hearts.
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