Ramsey County History – Winter 2007: “‘If It Can Be Manufactured from Wood, We Can Make It:’ A History of the Villaume Family and the Company They Built”
“If It Can Be Manufactured from Wood, We Can Make It:” A History of the Villaume Family and the Company They Built
Author: Steve Trimble
In 1847, Joseph Villaume, a Frenchman, arrived in St. Paul, and his two nephews joined him in 1873. One of them, Eugene, landed a job as a woodworker with a local company. In 1882, he and his brother opened a box-making company on the city’s West Side. The company, which started with beer boxes, soon diversified into other wood products. Eugene also dabbled in real estate. The second generation of the Villaumes continued the business and started producing fancy millwork. The company survived the Great Depression. Another generation took the business through World War II and the changes during the postwar era. The big flood of 1952 had a widespread but short-term effect on the firm. Financial problems in 1954 led to grandson Robert Linsmeyer heading up the company, bringing in new business with truss production, and introducing new technology. His son, Nicholas Linsmeyer, carried Villaume Industries, as it is now named, into its fourth generation and oversaw the relocation of the business to Eagan, where it celebrated 125 years of continuous operation.
PDF of Trimble article