(Submitted by Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc.)

Jim Stone and Dana Fitzpatrick both worked for Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. in the early 1950s, when Murphy & Son and Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. were the main employers in Ellicottville.

At the time, they produced last blocks — rough, turned forms that were made from hard maple timber, shaped like a foot and were kiln dried and sold to the finish last manufacturers, who in turn supplied lasts to the shoe manufacturers. Leather was stretched around the last and tacked, so the parts of the shoe could be sewn together to give the shoe its form and style. All shoes were made on wood lasts — men’s, women’s and children’s. The government purchased lasts to make shoes for the military.

Both companies started manufacturing in Ellicottville around 1895 and continued until the late ’60s, when plastic parts replaced the wood lasts.

Bill Murphy, owner of the Murphy Company, was tragically killed in 1964, and Fitzpatrick & Weller purchased the company in 1966 and diversified its sawmilling and wood component manufacturing for the furniture and cabinet industry. Today, exports are a large part of the company business.

Dana Fitzpatrick is the chairman of the board of Fitzpatrick & Weller, and this month he is celebrating 60 years with the company. Jim Stone is retired.