Russell Ambrose Townsend, Sr. established the R. A. Townsend Coal Company in 1928.
Photo: The company's first location at the corner of 9th and Ripley in Alpena, Michigan.
Photo: Our River Street office and the second home of the R. A. Townsend Coal Company.
R. A. Townsend Coal distributed coal to homes and businesses throughout the Alpena, Michigan area.
Photo: R. A. Townsend Coal receiving a load at their yard by the Thunder Bay River, Alpena.
Photo: R. A. Townsend Coal truck delivering to the residence of Russell Sr. and his wife, Flora.
A friendly crew and pristine fleet of trucks were a core part of our success then, just as they are today.
Photo: Our fleet of trucks. The Model T
in the center has been restored today
and can be seen each year in the
4th of July parade!
In 1947, at the age of 18, Russell Townsend, Jr. assumed the leadership role at the R. A. Townsend Coal Company after his father suffered a disabling heart attack.

Over 50 years later, R. A. Townsend, Jr. is still active in his company. Today, several of his children lead and support the business, carrying the R. A. Townsend

company forward with their innovation and expertise.
Shown here: Three generations. Russell Sr., Russell Jr., and Tom.
In the late 1940's, the company began providing heating contracting services to customers in addition to supplying coal.

By the mid-1950's, R. A. Townsend, Jr. and his brother-in-law, Bernie Lamp, realized that the heating industry was changing. They began to shift their focus from retail sales to wholesale supply, and in 1962, the R. A. Townsend Company was officially incorporated.
Shown here: R. A. Townsend Company's Bernie Lamp, demonstrating a new furnace.
In 1967, the two business partners eventually disbanded the coal business altogether, concentrating their efforts entirely on the wholesale supply business.
Photo: The R. A. Townsend Coal yard as it was viewed from the Second Avenue bridge.