Four generations of lasting quality

Bemidji Woolen Mills is coming up on 100 years in business

If you’re having trouble imagining the time period, you can listen to some Louis Armstrong while you read:


World War 1 has just ended. The American economy is booming. New businesses are popping up everywhere and the industrial output in the United States is skyrocketing. It’s the golden age, folks.

The logging industry is having great prosperity as well, and Minnesota loggers are demanding clothing that will last in the tough environment of the lumberjack.

Enter the entrepreneurially driven father/son duo, Ira Preston and Ira Hubert Batchelder, who meet that demand by producing the highest quality, authentic outdoor woolen apparel in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their shop, Bemidji Woolen Mills, is located right in their hometown of Bemidji, Minnesota, where they manufacture all of their products.

The success of the company hinges on a vision for lasting quality and an unwavering support for American tradition and natural wool fibers.

Fast forward through The Great Depression. Through World War 2. Through the economic prosperity of the 1950s. Through the cold war. Through the housing market crash of 2008. Through four generations of ownership. To today.

Over the past century, Bemidji Woolen Mills has been through our nation’s highest highs, and lowest lows. Ira Preston and Ira Hubert may be gone, but their business lives on through the legacy they created.

Today, the success of the Bemidji Woolen Mills still hinges on their same founding vision: one of a commitment to lasting quality and natural wool fibers, and an unwavering support for American tradition.


Maybe this short poem, first spoken by Ira Hubert Batchelder and passed down each generation, says it best:

Walk before you run.
Be careful for what the future holds.
Don’t be afraid to change.
But never forget where you came from.
The famous Bemidji Buffalo Plaid scarf is available in our 2019 Lumberjack Box.

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