Lycoming County’s dominant lumber industry led to many related businesses, including a number of construction companies. One such company was the Vallamont Planing Mill, founded by J. C. Winter in 1891. It began in the section of Williamsport which shares its name, Vallamont, with its headquarters at the corner of Market and Hawthorne Streets. In fact, Mr. Winter built many of the homes in this neighborhood, and they still bear one of his trademarks: the textured cinder blocks in the foundations. The machine pictured here, displayed in our Hall of Farming, Crafts and Industry, created those blocks. Also pictured are the templates, showing how the textured effect was achieved.
Eventually, the Vallamont Planing Mill moved to the 400 block of West Third Street and transitioned from construction to the manufacture of fixtures such as window frames and church pews, to be used by other construction firms. However, their original mill buildings still stand at Market and Hawthorne, converted to apartment buildings with new facades, but with the same textured blocks still very much in evidence.
As an additional note, J. C. Winter’s granddaughter was local artist and teacher Eve Archer, showing that innovation, creativity and skill were family traits.