The Story of TAMKO's Founding

TAMKO Building Products is one of the largest privately-owned manufacturers of commercial and residential building products in the country. Today, the company has manufacturing facilities and offices located nationwide and produces roofing products, deck and railing products, waterproofing, cements and coatings. For more than 70 years, the company has remained true to its commitment to provide the quality building products and build long-standing customer relationships.

The company was founded in 1944 by E.L. Craig in a streetcar barn on High Street in Joplin, Missouri. Before founding TAMKO, Craig co-owned a roofing company in Kansas City, Missouri. The company was founded in the mid-1930s and began operations in 1937. Craig and his business partner later split, and E.L. retained ownership of the Kansas City plant, while his partner founded a new roofing business in Joplin, Missouri.

Though the business in Kansas City was thriving, Craig was not satisfied and chose to purchase his former partner's plant in Joplin after his passing. At the time, the manufacturing plant was unfinished and lacked the necessary equipment to begin operations. Craig provided one-third of the capital for the business and asked two others to join him in his venture: Rose Brewen, the mother of the Kansas City roofing plant's sales manager, and Fred J. Wolfson, a Kansas City lawyer and friend of the Brewen family.

The three families took ownership of the Joplin plant, called Lehrack Asphalt Roofs, Inc., in 1944. The company was renamed TAMKO a few months later, a named created by Craig's wife Mary Ethel. The name stands for the states where the company expected to do business- Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. TAMKO began its operations at the High Street plant on March 19, 1945. At the time, the plant employed 35 people but already had plans to have up to 75 employees.

The company was already looking to expand in 1946. It acquired the small Joe Jones Refinery located nearby, which would make asphalt for the roofing plant. The company continued to expand from there to eventually become what it is today. To learn more about TAMKO and its founding, please visit

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