The Lumb Brothers

We mentioned before how Poughkeepsie was once famous for being an industrial city. There used to be several prominent factories along the waterfront that produced everything from lumber and building supplies to milk products and steam automobiles. The men who created these factories left their marks on the city landscape. Some of these marks are still standing, while others are long gone. Take for example, the Lumb brothers and their sash and blinds factory. These men added several buildings to the city for various purposes, though only a few remain.

George and his little brother Levi Lumb were born in England in the 1830s. Their father Thomas brought the family to Poughkeepsie when they were very young in the hopes of making something of himself. Thomas began working at the Pelton Carpet Factory in 1839. Both of the boys were educated locally before entering work at the carpet factory with their father. The brothers served honorably during the Civil War, George with the Navy and Levi with the Dutchess County Regiment, the 150th N.Y. Volunteers. When they returned from the war, they both worked for William E. Beardsley’s Sash and Blinds Factory before starting their own businesses in the same line of work.

The brothers had worked together since 1866 but went onto build factories on different corners of Main Street; Levi’s on the east side of the train tracks; and George’s on the west, on North Water Street. The Lumb brothers had their sons join them in their separate business endeavors. They supplied the fine woodworkings in local places like the Hudson River State Hospital, Luckey-Platt Store, and all of the woodwork inside the original portion of Adriance Memorial Library (hey, my work space!).

In 1885, Levi began construction on a large building on the northwest corner of Main and North Clover streets, this became known as the Lumb building. Upon its completion in August of 1890, people were confused by the large cornice on top of the building. When it was seen from further up Main Street, it looked like a large tent among the trees on the other side of the river; in fact it was just a piece of the building’s architectural design. The Lumb building went on to house everything from apartment to an apothecary, and even the Poughkeepsie Day School got its start there before moving into the Wheaton mansion. After Levi died in 1905, his nephew Charles Lumb took over the building, and sold it in 1921 for $18,600. It appears to have been torn down sometime around 1930, and a much smaller building was built there (El Azteca Mexican restaurant occupies that space now).

The brothers began their operations in the late 19th century, but in 1908 George’s North Water Street factory burned down. He had retired by then, and died in 1910. The other factory continued to operate well into the 1950s, before it was demolished to make way for an expanded Route 9. Operations were moved to Smith Street, and the firm that Levi had started was still operating into the 1990s. George and Levi moved their families next door to each other (not far from their factories) at numbers 16 and 18 on Davies Place. These houses have stood the test of time and are there today.


Poughkeepsie Eagle News – 16 Aug 1883, 26 Dec 1885, 29 Aug 1890, 22 Jan 1905, 13 Apr 1910, 8 Jan 1921, 30 Mar 1925

Lumb Woodworking Company brochure – Commemorating Nearly Sixty years – 974.733 P.

Statement of Significance: 18 Davies Place, by Holly Wahlberg 2016


GeorgeLumb – Photograph of George Lumb taken at Vail Brothers Photography studio. LH Collections

LeviLumb – Photograph of Levi Lumb from company brochure. LH Collections

PEN-Aug-29-1890 – Article from the Poughkeepsie Eagle News concerning the new Lumb Building, 1890.

LeviLumbfactory – Photo of the Levi Lumb factory. LH Collections

4V70LD24 – Lumb building, on the corner of North Clover and Main. 1890. LH Collections

Lumbhouses-Today – Modern street view of the Lumb homes on Davies Place.