In the 1950s, J.J. Clark established a saw mill in Jackson County, Tennessee, just over the line from Macon County. That was the start of five generations in the lumber industry.
Hugh Clark (now known as "Mr. Hugh") grew up around his grandfather's sawmill in Jackson County. Mr. Hugh married Madeline Jones in 1955, shortly after both of them graduated from high school in Red Boiling Springs.
Madeline's grandfather and father (Lee and Genie Jones) were also owners of a saw mill, theirs in Macon County. Both Mr. Hugh and Madeline had grown up around a saw mill, so the nature of the business was instilled in both of them. Mr. Hugh went to work at the Jones sawmill in 1959.
Later, Mr. Hugh's son, Hugh Wayne, decided in high school that he wanted to go into the lumber business. Hugh Wayne went to college, got a degree in agribusiness, and then joined his father in the saw mill.
Clark Lumber Company was incorporated in 1982.
A lot has happened since the first saw mills of J. J. Clark and Lee and Genie Jones:
In 1955, the mills produced 6,000 board feet of lumber per day. In 2011, the mills produced 175,000 board feet of lumber per day. State-of-the-art saws, material handling equipment and drying kilns are used to produce lumber to meet each customer's exacting requirements.
Today Clark Lumber Company employees over 100 people at its two mills, one in Red Boiling Springs and one in Lafayette. In addition to hardwood lumber, Clark Lumber also produces 2,000 cubic yards of bark each week (enough to landscape 350 homes) and 2 million pounds of wood chips a week. Most of the wood chips are sold to paper mills. The remainder are used in landscaping for parks and playgrounds. The sawdust produced is used for fuel in the wood waste boiler to create heat for the kilns.
“No part of the tree goes unused” Hugh W. Clark states “Technology has made it possible to cut our waste.”
The Appalachian Region is known throughout the world for the fine quantity and beauty of its hardwoods. Macon County is Tennessee's second largest producer of hardwood lumber, and Tennessee is the second largest state in the production of hardwood lumber.
Brandon Clark, son of Hugh W. and Jo Clark joined the business in 2003. Brandon joined Clark Lumber Company right after graduating from high school. “It’s in his blood,” the two Hugh Clarks said. “Brandon can do things now that I can’t do and don’t know about, “said Mr. Hugh. “He does grading, looks at and buys timber. He’s learning every facet of mill work.”
“God has blessed us here with a renewable, natural resource. We’ve got to be good stewards of it for all future generations to come. I feel like our company and our family is doing just that.” states Hugh W. Clark