Ganahl Lumber Company is the oldest lumberyard in all of California. Others have come and gone but we are still here prospering! It all began in 1884, when an Austrian immigrant named Christian Ganahl and his brother Frank moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis where they were shopkeepers. Building was flourishing in L.A. and many people were moving west because the transcontinental railroad was offering trips to California for $1.00. And a new industry was developing - oranges from Southern California won first prize at the International Exposition in New Orleans, defeating Florida oranges. Los Angeles had a growing population of 22,000, and Christian Ganahl seized the opportunity to purchase a lumber company he named the C. Ganahl Lumber Company. A few years later, Christian made a daring move and opened another lumberyard in the area. Although his "branch yard theory" was a new business idea, it took off and eventually he had several yards located throughout the Los Angeles area, including one he opened in Anaheim in 1904. Up to this point the C. Ganahl Lumber Company sold only lumber and cement.
Two years after the Anaheim operation opened, Christian took another risk and added a new product - plywood. In 1921, Christian's nephew, Ernest, bought a part interest in the Anaheim yard partnering with Charles Grimm, the yard's manager, and calling it the Ganahl-Grimm Lumber Co. In 1928, they built a second store in Lake Arrowhead. This yard thrived during the depression years because the movie industry was booming and Hollywood movie stars were building summer homes there. Following the death of Mr. Grimm in the 1930's, Ernest Ganahl bought out the Grimm family's interest and changed the name to the Ernest Ganahl Lumber Company. He also made his contribution to the changing inventory of the lumber business by adding hardware to Ganahl's growing product line.
After World War II ended, Ernest's son, John, returned home and joined the family business. In the late 40's there was a growing interest in millwork products so Ganahl opened a mill division. John became involved in manufacturing cabinets for schools being built in the area. Ernest died in 1959 and John became President of the company. In 1964, John changed the name to Ganahl Lumber Company. It was always customary for the Ganahl children to spend time working in the family business. John's sons and daughters worked at the lumberyard part-time and during summers while they were going to school. John's son, Peter, joined the company full-time in 1968 and became the President of the company in 1973 upon the death of his father. That same year, John Jr. and his brother Andrew joined the company. Peter and John have continued their great-grandfather's "branch theory" and have acquired other locations throughout the Orange County area in the last few decades, making the company the ten-store business it is today.