Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes started in East Corinth, Maine around 1920. It was started by George B. Dow and his son Albert C. Dow. The mill was a grist mill (a mill that grinds crops into grain) and a shingle mill. They would grind farmer’s crops into grain, and also did custom sawing. They did this type of work until the early 1940’s. After bagged grain started to become popular the grist mill was closed and the sawing of laths was added. Then instead of selling the laths for snow fence Albert decided to manufacture snow fence himself. George and Albert along with a few employees would saw shingles all spring, summer, and fall, in the winter they would saw laths and produce snow fence. The company went along this way through the 40’s and 50’s.
In 1963, at the passing of Albert C. Dow, his son George L. Dow — Lyford as he was called — who had worked with his father all his life, bought the mill from his mother. Lyford ran the mill for many years sawing shingles and laths, and making snow fence. Lyford ran things the same way until the winter of 1978-1979 when he sold the snow fence machine and just sawed laths. The laths were sent out to Pennsylvania and made into snow fence. He sawed laths until the winter of 1983-1984 when the lath mill was shut down. At that point shingles were sawn year round until 1993.
In 1993 Lyford retired and enjoyed life, and the mill was closed down, never to reopen on the Exeter Road in Corinth, Maine.
In 1998 the dream of the Dow family sawing shingles was once again coming alive. Lyford’s son Jeffrey B. Dow, Sr. and his son Jeffrey B. Dow, Jr. started construction on a new mill at 547 Mudgett Road in Corinth, Maine. Jeff Sr. had his own business in heavy truck and trailer repair for many years. Jeff Jr., fresh out of college and working at General Electric in Bangor, decided to once again manufacture the very best and highest quality eastern white cedar shingles. For years they had received calls inquiring if the family still make the best cedar shingles, so together they built a state–of–the–art saw mill, which included the use of laser and automated hydraulics. They also added sawn shakes. Shakes are sawn the same way as shingles; they are just thicker and longer. They added the sawn shakes because customers were wanting top quality shakes for historical projects. Shakes were used on building way back in the early years of building construction. In the beginning the operation was just part–time, working together to saw out orders as they came in.
In 2002, with the mill growing more and more, they could not keep up with just a part–time operation. At that time Jeff Sr. decided to just focus on his heavy trucking business. Jeff Jr. decided to leave General Electric and turn the mill into a full time operation. To keep up with the growing demand he added another machine, and 4 full–time employees.
In 2006, at the request of many customers, hand–split shakes were added to the product line. Hand–split shakes were on many of the earliest buildings that the first settlers built when coming to America.
Jeff Jr. delivers most all the shingles and shakes that they manufacture on his own truck, or gets Jeff Sr. to deliver them with his big truck. Delivery is offered for a few reasons. First, if the shingles and shakes are put on their own trucks and they deliver them in person, the product will not be damaged. Second, it gives Jeff Sr. and Jeff Jr. a chance to meet and talk to their customers in person, personally answering any questions they might have, and establishing a very good personal business relationship. Both Jeff Sr. and Jeff Jr. like the idea of repeat customers so customer satisfaction is a must.
Taking a quote from George B. Dow,