Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spadoni Bros. Inc. Since 1946

I was dropping some items off at the downtown Goodwill location on the corner of Rosedale Street and Stinson Avenue in Gig Harbor, when I noticed this sandwich board.

It brought back a flood of memories when I was working in business insurance and I was assigned to handle Spadoni Bros. Inc. insurance account during the 1980s.  They performed both public and private work:  asphalt paving, land clearing, excavating and road construction.  Their work took them all over Pierce County and ranged from smaller contracts up to $3,000,000 in size.  During the time I helped on their business insurance, I visited this location frequently.

I found this overview of the company in the Research Room at the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor.  This is was published in recognition of their 50th anniversary.  The founding Spadoni Brothers were:  Roy, Julius, Claude and Rudolph and the second generation:  Leonard, John, Roger and Larry.  
Pioneer Way office 1946

SPADONI BROTHERS, INC. has been helping to build Gig Harbor - in the most literal sense of the word build - since they first began logging in 1946.

After Rudolph and Roy returned from WWII, Rudolph joined his other brothers, Julius and Claude (Mike) to start the company and ran the business from their family home.  The only piece of equipment they had was a 1930 Model A Ford truck.  Logging was their primary activity, but the brothers worked at a variety of jobs ranging from house moving to hauling rocks and dirt with that old Model A.

In 1948 the brothers brought the property on the corner of Stinson and Rosedale, where their existing offices remain open for business.  With the property, they purchased the business that occupied that corner, McKenzie Fuel.  The selling of coal & presto logs was now added to their variety of jobs and with the purchase of a bulldozer , their also began to clear land.

In 1950 and 1951, the logging business began to slow down.  To make up for the loss, Spadoni Brothers bought a second bulldozer and began to focus more on land clearing and road building.  With the addition of their brother, Roy, as an employee, the brothers were now ready to move ahead in force.

As the population of the Peninsula continued growing, Spadoni Brothers started to oil mat (tar & gravel) public roads.  To cut the cost of oil matting, they bought rock crushers and a gravel pit in Crescent Valley.  At about this time a contract was let for  building the Fox Island Bridge.  Spadoni Brothers built the approaches to the bridge, working all summer and into the fall, placing fill brought in on barges.  

In the mid 50’s the company started asphalt paving.  They bought their first large grader and developed their first subdivision, West Bridge.  To take advantage of all the construction on the Peninsula they added several dump trucks and other newer equipment to their fleet.  With the increase in paving, they bought their own asphalt plant in 1963.

In 1965, the company was restructured and Roy Spadoni joined the ownership with his three brothers.  The 60’s also brought the advent of the second generation.  The sons started working in the business as soon as they were able to push a broom, hold a shovel, or drive a truck.  They were expected to learn the business from the bottom up.

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the company continued to expand with more equipment, more employees and the second generation became more involved in the daily operations.

Between 1982 and 1985 the four founding brothers retired.  Julius’ son, Roger, Roy’s sons, John and Larry, and Rudolph’s son Leonard, took over the company’s management.

Spadoni Brothers, Inc. still does a variety of commercial and private jobs, asphalt paving and maintenance, construction, storm grain age, building site development.  “If we can’t do a job, we know someone who can.”

In 1996, Spadoni Brothers, Inc. will celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Julius was born in 1914 in Tacoma, and moved to Gig Harbor at age 6 months, and throughout his life was very private about his numerous charitable activities.  His favorite statement about charity was “A good deed done and made known is of no credit to its doer.”  However, following his death in 1984 and the completion of the boardwalk at Murphy’s Landing, that statement was overlooked.  The City Mayor Ruth Bogue, and marina owners Marvin and Janet Turner dedicated the marina boardwalk to Julius in June 1985.  The next time you walk the waterfront in downtown Gig Harbor, walk along the boardwalk where you will find the placque which reads: “Spadoni Boardwalk dedicated 1985 in memory of Julius Spadoni “The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook” Prov.18.4.

Rudolph a plane crash in 1991 and Roy died in 1994.

But the families and second generation company officers, still wanted to celebrate the milestone of their company, and its history.  

However by the time the calendar moved into a new century the economy started its fluctuations again like in the 80s, and by 2001-2-3 it suffered a downturn.  And, of course, the officers were getting older; they had been running the company for 29 years but working in it for far longer.  That might have played a part in their decision to close the business doors, but I cannot say that with certainty.   They sold the property at the corner of Stinson and Rosedale, Gig Harbor to Steve Skibbs  who leased it to Gig Harbor Dirtworks.  Spadoni Bros. stayed in operation, mostly in cleaning up their other properties and asphalt paving, until September of 2005.

Stinson and Rosedale Office Building & former Equipment Yard

But active or inactive as a construction company, Spadoni Brothers, Inc. and the Spadoni family has played a major part in the history of Gig Harbor.  Some of the members are still active as the sign at the beginning of this blog shows us.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

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