In 1925, an Italian immigrant, Antonio Valente, established a sawmill in the mountains of Taborton, New York. For $600, he bought a used tractor, sawmill, carriage and motor. With a 5 year-old son, Louis, in tow, he and two other men began to eke out a living. Using horses, axes and crosscut saws, they worked in the winter to cut down the logs and in the summer they turned those logs into lumber.
Antonio delivered his lumber to foundries in Albany. In 1941, the sawmill burned to the ground. At this time, Antonio decided to build his new mill closer to the location of a woodlot that he owned in east Poestenkill. A piece of property, near the Averill Park and Poestenkill town line, became the site of L.J. Valente, Inc. This site included a barn for the horses that they still used for logging.
The work was difficult and also dangerous, but slowly it became more automated. In the early 1940's, Antonio bought a chainsaw, the first one in the area which was considered a radical move. Within a few years, Antonio's other son, Tony, became more and more involved in the business. By the early 1950's, Louis and Tony completely ran the lumber business. With the mill in its new location, the business began to change and to prosper. Louis and Tony were no longer involved in the logging part of the business. Instead, they hired out the cutting of the woodlots and they also bought logs from independent loggers. With the help of newer equipment, the sawyer could eventually do the work of three men.
As time went on, two of Louis' sons, Anthony and Steve, began to work in the lumberyard, and later took over the mill. In the 1970's the four Valente's worked side by side to help the business grow. Up until 2005, Louis stilled sawed everyday. Both he and Tony have since passed away. Anthony and Steve are still running the business and their sons are taking their place as the fourth generation.
Naturally, since 1925, the lumber business has changed tremendously. The equipment and customer base are vastly different. Much of the lumber, at one time, was used to make hockey sticks, tennis rackets and loom for weaving. With the advent of plastics and fiberglass, that is a thing of the past. Now, much of the lumber is sold to local contractors, wholesalers, and for the use in making pallets and furniture. In addition, L. J. Valente, Inc. has an expanding millshop that produces a large variety of hard and soft wood floors, trim, and paneling, as well as any type of moulding desired.