History

Learned Lumber Historical PictureLearned Lumber was originally known as Tri-Cities Lumber when it was founded in Hermosa Beach in 1924. George Vincent Learned chose the name because of its location near the three South Bay cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach. The company was originally a small retail lumberyard in a sleepy beach town where many of the residents spent only the summer months at the shore.

The name was changed to Learned Lumber in the 1930’s when the company was located at 635 Camino Real and the phone number was 4727. Business was slow because of the depression and George often planted vegetables between the lumber stacks. During this same era the Highway Department (known as Cal-Trans today) wanted to widen Camino Real so they could run Highway 1 through the town. Ten feet of the building was torn down to make way for the new highway.

Business conditions didn’t improve until after World War II when the shortage of housing fueled by increasing employment in the aircraft industry created demand for wood products. In 1947 Richard H. Learned was able to purchase the company from his father, and form a new corporation. Richard had graduated from Redondo Union High School in 1928, went on to USC on a track scholarship, and eventually served in the Navy during World War II.

The beach cities had become full time residential communities, and housing tracts were springing up throughout the South Bay. With his Navy contacts, Richard was able to get precious supplies of lumber during a period of shortages. The business grew and a branch was operated in Gardena from 1952 to 1958, and in El Segundo from 1973 to 2011 to service these housing tracts.

By 1960, a great deal of change had taken place in the lumber business with many lumberyards converting to the Do-It-Yourself/Home-Improvement Center format. Soon these so-called Home Centers came to dominate a large part of the business. However, Learned Lumber continued to cater to the self-employed local contractors and homeowners, and enjoyed a steady business.

The company’s major product lines include lumber, plywood, hardware, and doors and windows. The major market is Los Angeles County, with the emphasis on the Westside and the South Bay communities.

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