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National Lumber’s History in Little Italy

National Lumber original shop in Little Italy

National Lumber’s enduring legacy intertwines deeply with that of Baltimore City’s history. For over a century, spanning five generations, we’ve been integral in supplying premium building materials to countless builders across Baltimore. Since our establishment in 1919, National Lumber has experienced a remarkable journey, having thrived in various locations that we’ve proudly called home. Today, we’re excited to embark on a nostalgic journey back to our roots, over a century ago, in the heart of Little Italy. Join us as we explore the origins and evolution of National Lumber, tracing our humble beginnings in this vibrant Baltimore neighborhood to the significant role we play throughout the community today.

Humble Beginnings

NL horse carriage lumber delivery

At the start of the 20th century, Baltimore was still evolving. In the early 1900s, immigrants from various parts of the world sought new beginnings in the United States. Among them was Alexander Fruman, an Eastern European immigrant who arrived in 1919. With a background in carpentry, Alexander noticed the growing demand for custom window and door sashes. This observation led to the birth of National Lumber, as he set out to cater to these needs. It was in the community of Little Italy that our journey began.

Setting Up Shop in Little Italy

Accompanied by his two sons, Isadore and Phillip, Alexander established their inaugural base in Little Italy, marking the birth of National Lumber on Stiles Street. Remarkably, remnants of our heritage endure to this day, with a National Lumber sign adorning the original building’s location. As time progressed, the company evolved, leading to a move to 300 South Central Ave, broadening its horizons from Little Italy. Additionally, in an intriguing historical footnote, National Lumber utilized Pier 6, now a renowned concert venue, as a storage facility for its lumber materials during that period.

National Lumber Today

"your great grand dad was a satisfied customer"

By 1933, National Lumber had firmly established its presence across Baltimore, with the next generation stepping into the family legacy. Isadore’s son, Leonard, began his journey in the family business while still attending high school. Over the following 25 years, the company operated from a snug, three-story triangular building serving as the hub for offices, warehousing, and crafting windows and doors. However, the turning point arrived in 1958 when National Lumber acquired the P.M. Womble Lumber Company based in Canton, sparking a pivotal expansion into the industrial and commercial sectors. Just a decade later, the company transitioned to its current site on Pulaski Highway. Today, the fifth generation, Neal and Kevin Fruman, proudly helm and continue the legacy of National Lumber, ensuring its commitment to excellence and service to the community.

Baltimore’s Preferred Building Supplier

With a rich history spanning over a century, National Lumber stands as a steadfast pillar in the Baltimore community, upholding a lasting commitment to excellence in professional services and top-tier building materials. Throughout five generations, our dedication to serving Baltimore remains unwavering, now extending our expertise to Washington D.C. For seamless access to the finest building materials for your project, look no further than National Lumber. Contact us today or visit one of our design centers to discover how we can cater to all your building material needs with our legacy of quality and expertise.

More to explore

Lumber Market Update Fall 2023

Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the lumber market has been significantly influenced, undergoing numerous price, supply, and

Kitchen DEsigner

Laura brings 18 years of experience to our kitchen design team. She helps customers build exceptional kitchen spaces down to the finest details. 

Every client has unique needs, and Laura enjoys the puzzle of figuring out how to fulfill them. She combines her technical abilities with her background in interior design to balance functionality and beauty.

She listens to her clients to help them narrow down their choices and presents a curated selection to make the process less overwhelming. Laura finds creative solutions to check off their wish list while keeping them on budget.

Her personal favorite design trend is a transitional style with a hint of traditional details. She loves the mix of painted colors and the textures and variations of natural woods. However, the best
part of her job is the opportunity to work in every design style
and come up with different combinations of styles, materials,
and finishes executing her client’s unique vision.

Personally, she loves everything involving water- the ocean, pools, boating, and long baths.
She also enjoys anything with a story- books, movies, shows, etc.
Her newest hobby is attempting to have as much fun cooking as she does exploring new restaurants.

Kitchen DEsigner

With over 15 years of experience, LindaRose brings deep knowledge of how to achieve beautiful kitchen designs at the right price. 

For LindaRose, listening to a client’s needs is paramount to achieving a great design. Creativity is key to kitchen design, requiring out-of-the-box thinking to achieve an excellent final product. 

Some of her favorite design trends she introduces to clients include transitional, clean lines, and dark islands with light perimeters. 

Before entering the world of kitchen design, she spent 20 years in theatre as a singer and actor, working in notable local theatres like Round House and Everyman.

In her free time, she enjoys other creative endeavors such as working with textiles including quilting, embroidery, and weaving. 

Kitchen DEsigner

Rick Bechtel is an industry expert with 7+ years as a kitchen designer. He brings unique insights to design thanks to his 15 years as a carpenter and contractor.

Rick believes in the importance of listening to the needs of the clients he works with. Utilizing his experience s a carpenter and contractor, he strives to make every layout as economical as possible through wise cabinet selection. 

Rick makes informed suggestions for products or features that can improve the cooking experience. He’s an expert in taking the dream items clients identify online or in showrooms and introducing options that better fit their design needs and are less cost prohibitive.

As a designer, he’s an expert on contemporary or transitional styles, light colors, and wood accents. 

Rick is passionate about woodworking and contracting but transitioned his career to spend more time with his children. He enjoys projects around his (or his children’s) house, and weekend trips with his wife.