In 1986, NRCA published One Hundred Years of Roofing in America to commemorate the association's centennial. This year, NRCA has revised and updated the book, and One Hundred Twenty-five Years of Roofing in America debuts at the 2011 International Roofing Expo.® As readers of the book will learn, the industry is full of roofing companies with storied histories. What follows is Professional Roofing's tribute to three such companies.
Henry C. Smither Roofing Co., Indianapolis
Founded in 1868, Henry C. Smither Roofing was one of the founding members of the National Association of Master Composition Roofers, a forerunner of NRCA. Company founder Henry C. Smither served on the Indianapolis City Council and originally manufactured materials used for gravel and asphalt roofing. Pictured is a roofing crew circa late 1800s, Henry C. Smither and current company president Bill Bubenzer.
J.A. Piper Roofing Co., Greenville, S.C.
J.A. Piper Roofing, founded in 1908, perhaps is best known for NRCA's J.A. Piper Award, named for the company's founder and former NRCA President J.A. Piper. However, Piper also founded the Carolinas Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association in 1943 and served as editor of its magazine. Pictured is a J.A. Piper Roofing crew circa 1915; St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, a J.A. Piper Roofing project in 1955; J.A. Piper circa 1915; and a company postcard from 1939.
Knickerbocker Roofing and Paving Co., Harvey, Ill.
Bernard Kelly came to Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871 and found his future rebuilding the city's streets and sidewalks. In 1886, he purchased a company that eventually would be known as Knickerbocker Roofing and Paving (his son-in-law, Mark Cronin, expanded the business to include roofing). Cronin's three sons entered the business, followed by five grandsons and one great-grandson. Currently, Knickerbocker Roofing and Paving is one of the largest commercial contractors in the Midwest. Pictured is a Knickerbocker Roofing and Paving crew working on the Wrigley Building in Chicago circa 1942; a company truck circa 1924; the company's third generation in its office circa 1950; and the company's current leadership.