Frank E. Jones

Frank E. Jones has won through his own ability a place of prominence in connection with the great industrial and commercial interests of Grand Rapids, as is evident when it is stated that here he is the efficient and popular manager of the carloading department of the Furniture Manufacturers Association of Grand Rapids and also the Furniture Manufacturers Warehouse Company – concerns that have as constituent members virtually all of the important furniture manufacturing corporations of the city. The carloading department was organized in 1910, through the efforts of William H. Gay, of the Berkey & Gay Furniture Company, Robert W. Irwin, of the R. W. Irwin Company, and David H. Brown, of the Century Furniture Company, and others. The primary object of the organization was the facilitating and expediting of the safe shipment of the products of the great furniture manufactories of the city. The functions of the association, now greatly expended through the medium of the Furniture Manufacturers Warehouse Company, a co-ordinated organization, have grown to be of great importance. From 1910 to 1916 the association had its headquarters I the old warehouse of the Michigan Central Railroad, at the corner of Cherry and Ionia streets, and removal was made to the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad warehouse, on Island street. In 1920 the association purchased the site on which it erected its present modern building, which is of brick construction, two stories ad basement, and 400 by 82 feet in dimensions. In the rear of this building, which is of fireproof construction, was purchased by the association the two –story building that is 165 by 40 feet in lateral dimensions and that was remodeled for the uses to which it was to be applied. Later the association built the large loading dock, 440 by 25 feet, and there has been acquired also an additional frontage of five hundred feet on Seward avenue, northwest, for the purpose of adding in the near future new and needed buildings to the plant. During the first four years the associations’ operations averaged one carload daily, and the present average is ten carloads. The value of this carloading department is two-fold – service and economy. From and article published in the Furniture Record are taken the following quotations, with a few minor changes: "Less than carload traffic under modern commercial conditions calls for an alert transportation service. Small units of transportation, and many of them, are needed, whereas the railroads have building larger cars and larger engines, with the object of operating longer trains made up of greater tonnage capacity. The natural result is that thousands of cars of 100,000-pounds carrying capacity move daily with less than 15,000 pounds of merchandise. At the same time the freight houses at transfer and terminal points are frequently filled with less than carload shipments, which they are unable to move, because of lack of cars and other elements that go to make u an efficient transportation service. In March, 1910, the Grand Rapids furniture manufacturers, in recognition of these conditions and of the value to the dealer and to the Grand Rapids market, of an efficient carloading arrangement, established a carloading department through which, by pooling their shipments for the same destinations, they could give their customers the benefit of carload service at carload rates. Such pool cars to the more important points afford an appreciable saving in time and transportation on shipments destined to points in the same territory, to which they may be re-shipped by local freight from the point at which the pool car is distributed. When the carloading department was first organized it was thought that the service would be of value only to dealers on the Pacific coast and other far-distant western and southern points where goods had to travel long distances and where there was a wide spread between the carload and less than carload rates; but later it became apparent that the service could be extended to eastern points where time in transit and condition of goods on arrival were more important than the saving that might be made in freight costs. With this in view, a pool-car service to New York City was established, and from two or three cars a week this service has grown to three or four cars of furniture shipped daily from Grand Rapids to the national metropolis. Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts, were the eastern points that next received attention, and the value of this service to Grand Rapids manufacturers and to dealers in the New England territory can scarcely be measured in dollars and cents. On account of the numerous embargoes placed by eastern railroads there have been many instances where Grand Rapids furniture would have been shut out of this territory for months at a time except for the arrangements made by the carloading department of the Furniture Manufacturers Association of Grand Rapids to distribute goods through their Boston and Springfield cars. The department has thus justified its existence by rendering a service that could not have been given through any other medium. The department also assembles cars for individual dealers. The general service of this department relieves the factories of the responsibility of loading any cars except where they have enough of their own goods to constitute a carload for some individual dealer. The department has provided an active and efficient influence in the Grand Rapids market and in spreading Grand Rapids "trade."

In a home a short distance north of Grand Rapids, Frank E. Jones, manager of the Furniture Manufacturers Association of this city, was born August 18, 1870, his father having there purchased land in the belief that it would eventually become a part of the city. Mr. Jones is a son of William H. and Albertine (White) Jones, the former of whom was born at Wasau, Wisconsin, the later in Oakland county, Michigan, where her father, Elam White, was a cooper by trade and vocation. William H. Jones was a son of Rev. Almon Jones, who was a clergyman of the Baptist church and who came from New York state to the west in an early day. Almon Jones remained for a short period in Chicago, which was then a mere village, and after residing a few years in Wisconsin he came to Michigan and purchased a pioneer farm near Davidson, Alcoma county, the remainder of his life having been passed in this state. As a youth William H. Jones learned the trade and art of photography, and in his early days he traveled about with a photographic car drawn by horses. He was not yet twenty-one years old when he settled north of Grand Rapids, and in 1877 he removed with his family to Kansas, where he remained three years. After his return to Michigan he opened a photographic studio at Rockford, Kent county, and in 1882 he removed to Cedar Springs, this county, where he long conducted a prosperous photographic business and where he continued to reside until 1916, when he again became a resident of Grand Rapids, where he died the following year, his wife having passed away in 1905. Frank E. Jones earned his first money by carrying water for a construction gang engaged in railroad building, and his early education was mainly obtained in the public schools at Cedar Springs, where he was graduated in the high school. At the age of eighteen years he learned telegraphy and as an operator he was thereafter employed in many parts of the United States. In 1906 he became chief clerk of the local freight office of the Pere Marquette Railroad in Grand Rapids, and thereafter he was for seven years employed in the offices of the Wallin Leather Company, on Front street. Since 1914 he has been the vital and efficient manager of the Furniture Manufacturers Association of Grand Rapids, and he has been a resourceful executive in developing the valuable service of this organization. His wife, Lillian A. is a daughter of Lafayette Cox, long a representative farmer near Ravenna, Muskegon county, Michigan.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 20 February 2005