150 Years of building a better future for the communities we serve
Dunlap & Company has been in continuous operation in Columbus, Indiana since 1873, making it the oldest General Contractor in the State of Indiana.
In 1873, J.R. Dunlap started the business at the corner of Fifth and Jackson streets in Columbus, Indiana. At first, the operation consisted of a milling and planing and kiln drying business. With the growth of Bartholomew County, the business grew, and by the early 1900s, Dunlap and Company, as it was now known, was recognized as one of southern Indiana’s leading contractors, doing business over a wide section of the state. In 1924, Dunlap and Company incorporated and established several retail operations in southern Indiana. The company expanded into material distribution and general contracting.
During the 1930s Depression years, the company promoted home building by combining all services – plans, construction, and financing – and took the innovative step of hiring a registered architect to create owner plans.
During World War II (1941-1945), Dunlap started building housing, hospitals, and airports in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In 1945, Dunlap expanded into other areas to complement their original business.
In 1957, three new divisions were established – Dunlap Construction, Dunlap Mechanical, and Dunlap Building Materials.
In the 1960s, Dunlap began playing a major role in housing developments. Some of the neighborhoods built during this period include Mead Village, Meadowbrook, Circle Terrace, Eastgate, Northgate and Fairlawn additions. Subdivisions were also created in Shelbyville, Seymour, North Vernon, Madison and Edinburgh.
Dunlap and Company has also had a large role with buildings in Columbus associated with the City’s architecture program. Some notable buildings built by Dunlap include Lillian Schmitt Elementary (1957), W.D. Richards Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library and Columbus Fire Station No. 4. The company also built Fire Station No. 1 (1941) on Washington Street and Donner Center and Donner Aquatics Center (1948)
Jerald B. Dunlap announced a merger with Southwest Forest Industries, a diversified forest products company, in 1970. In 1974, Southwest Forest Industries reorganized the company, extracting the Building Materials Division from Dunlap and Company, and setting up that company as Southwest Forest Industries, Dunlap Division.
In 1976, Dennis E. King purchased a majority of the outstanding stock. With Mr. King at the helm as President, Dunlap constructed a new office building and relocated to its present location. Mr. King then purchased all remaining stock in the company and became the sole owner in 1991.
As of 2020, all stock is owned by Brian E. King, President, and Thomas F. Dowd, Executive Vice-President.