of Steward Mellon quality
By: Mark Naugle
2009 marked Steward-Mellon Company’s ninetieth anniversary. In 1919 E.G. Steward and A.E. Mellon joined forces as a partnership concerned with the installation of marble, tile and terrazzo. They later incorporated as Steward-Mellon Marble and Tile Company in 1921. Looking over the old charter, by-laws and minutes is a great lesson in history.
The company formed at the start of one of the greatest construction ages in the state of Florida, The Boom. The firm prospered over the next several years as evidenced by reasonable cash dividends paid to the shareholders up until 1927. Notes included in the 1927 minutes indicated an economic slowdown in the making. The shareholders made the observation at the February 1, 1929 annual meeting: “the business prospects for 1929 appeared none too bright.” This was quite the understatement. On October 29, 1929 the stock market crashed. This was the infamous “Black Tuesday” which most historians and economists agree was pivotal to the start of the Great Depression. 1929 was also a year of loss for Steward-Mellon. E.G. Steward was tragically killed in an automobile accident. In spite of the economy and loss of a shareholder, the firm survived, and indeed flourished during the Great Depression. Some years marked losses, and some accounts were paid to the company with worthless stock certificates, but the company emerged even stronger than before. I believe the secret of the company’s success during such hard times was a commitment to conduct business honestly, to treat its employees fairly, and to provide the highest quality work in the industry. We are just as proudly committed to these principles today.