Nello L. Teer Company

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Formed in 1909 by Nello L. Teer, Sr., became a worldwide construction company over the course of the 20th century. Merged with Koppers Company in 1980, and real estate division spun off as Teer Enterprises. Sold in 1985 and management transferred to Teer Associates.

Timeline per "Courage Ever"

1888 - Nello L. Teer Sr. born in Durham, NC

1904 - Nello starts work at a brick factory in East Durham

1906 - Nello experiences a critical accident and loses his right hand.

1909 - The Nello L. Teer Company is formed as a sole proprietorship. 

1909 - Nello marries Gertrude Adcock in Durham County

1914 - Nello Jr. is born on March 8th

1920 - The company owns over 300 mules and employs approximately 200 men

1920 - Robert Dillard Teer is born on May 12th

1920 - Nello purchases 50 acres in Durham to build a family home

1921 - The Federal Highway Act is passed by U.S. Congress

1923 - Marion Page Teer is born on April 30th

1927 - The company takes a contract to provide excavations and embankment work for Kenan Stadium at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

1928 - The Nello L. Teer Company is commissioned to perform site preparation for East campus, West campus, and Wallace Wade stadium at Duke University

1928 - The company begins the process of mechanization, which is completed by the following year.

1932- Nello L. Teer, Jr. enrolls in the School of Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill

1935 - Nello L. Teer, Jr. joins the company

1935 - The company is awarded the first contract for the Blue Ridge Parkway and completes a total of 17 sections of the scenic highway

1938 - Dillard joins the company and becomes a full-time employee two years later.

1940 - The Nello L. Teer Company enters a joint venture to collaboratively bid on defense projects

1941 - Cherry Point Marine Corps air station is commissioned and the Company takes a contract for the project

1941-45 WWII

1946 - The Nello L. Teer Company is incorporated.

1948 - The company enters its first foreign contract, a highway construction job in Cuba.

1950 - The company launches the Quarry Division

1951 - Construction begins on the Moroccan Air Bases

1952 - Nello L. Teer, Sr. steps down as company president after 43 years; Nello, Jr. become president of the company and R. Dillard Teer becomes Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.

1954 - The company acquires controlling interest in the Durham-Southern Railway.

1954 - Eisenhower authorizes the national system of Interstate Highways

1955- The Central American division is established in Guatemala City.

1956 - The Moroccan Air Base project is concluded.

1962 - Nello L. Teer, Sr. receives the Civic Honor Award from the Durham Chamber of Commerce

1962 - The company receives recognition from the American Road Builders Association for their contributions to the National System of Interstate Highways.

1963 - Nello L. Teer, Sr. passes away at the age of 75

1964 - The company completes the Rama Road in Nicaragua

1965 - The Building division is established.

1966 - The company buys the Trust Building in downtown Durham to be used as the office headquarters

1968 - Work begins on the Great North Road in Tanzania

1969 - The company creates a real estate development division, called Teer Enterprises, and begins work on Research Triangle Park Service Center.

1972 - Formation of the Heavy and Industrial Division

1973 - The Cerron Grande Dam project is launched

1973 - The company is awarded the contract for the North Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield headquarters building.

1973 - Nello Jr. and Dillard are recognized by the Durham Chamber of Commerce

1974 - The company acquires Romeo Guest Associates of Greensboro

1974 - Webster County Coal Company is created.

1974 - The company starts work on a section of the Washington D.C. Metrorail subway system

1976 - The Ramada Inn International Hotel is started in Doha, Qatar

1979 - In a joint venture, the company starts work on the Israeli Air Bases asa part of the Camp David Peace Agreement between Israel and Egypt.

1980 - Dillard announces his retirement; the company is acquired by Koppers Company of Pittsburgh, PA.


I worked for Nello L Teer on the construction of the Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, Malawi in 1979 and was wondering if it was possible to contact someone who I was good friends with and worked with me at that time. His name is Ed(ward) Bennett and I believe he had fought in the Vietnam War in the 70s.
I know this is a looooong shot.
Thank you
Mike Kennedy

In reply to by Mike Kennedy (not verified)

Mike, I also worked with Ed Bennett, but it was in Cotonou, Dahomey, 1978-79.
I also knew Tom Hasty, Tiny Bigger, Rick Ryan, Monroe Akers, Eric Dagseth, Howard Frederick, Bob Teer and Sam Koff, plus some others whose names I don't recall. I am sure that some of these have probably passed away since they were much older than I was at the time. I wouldn't mind finding out about them if you have information. Anyway, nice to reminisc. I was the Engineer supervising Nello Teer at the time.
Joe Ferretti

Looking for information on an employee that may have been sent to one of the Guatemala projects back in the late 50's or early 60's. James Thomas Love. Born 1914 and his Social Security record shows his death in 1962. I am searching for a lost family member and would appreciate if any pictures are available or any other data.
Thank you in Advance,
Judith Chesson
Genealogist/Family Secrets
Winnabow, NC

In reply to by Judith Chesson (not verified)

Judith, I may have a picture of Jim Love!!! I was the engineer on the Aliquippa, Pa. Job 1954-56 and Jim visited the job on several occasions. It is an old black & white photo taken in our equipment maintenance garage, during one of our annual babeques. As mentioned below, I do have numerous color photos of that job but unfortunately was not that well equipted or skilled at the time the B&W's were taken. Let know if you would like for me to see if I can tind the old pic?
with best regards, Bill/Shad Hankins

In reply to by Bill/Shad Hankins (not verified)

To Bill Shad Hankins: We saw above that Judith Chessoms had posted for information on James Love with Nello Teer who died in Guatamala in 1962. We are the family that she was posting for but have not heard from her in years. If you do have a picture of Jim Love we would be very excited to see it. We have determined that Jim Love is my husband's biological father. We would love to hear anything about him that you could share with us.
Thanks so much,
Karen and James Moore

In 1981 I interviewed Bill Musak (Musack?) in the NT office in Guatemala for some stories I was writing about forestry. I still have my notes if they interest anyone.

My biological father also worked for nello Teer. And my mom too, she was Tanzanian called Esther between 1974 / 1975 she worked for nello teer n Tanzania. And at that time she dated a foreigner from Europe or America. The Foreign man also bought a Landrover while in Kilimanjaro.. Later on, he went to Malawi for a nello teer project togethr with Esther. However after some time, esther says that The man, her finance at the time died of a plane crash between 1975 or 1976 or 1977. Anyone who knows the man,and his names and whether he is alive, his particulars and nationalityI will appreciate.

Dear Mike,

I have been searching for details about my biological father, yesterday I arrived in Lilongwe Malawi to see my Stef father who is critically ill and during the emotional moments with mum I asked her the question I have dreaded to ask for the last decades. And eventually she told me the story;

In 1979 she was dating a Japanese guy who was working at the Kamuzu international airport construction project however a few months into the relationship he was deported back to Japan and only given 24 hours to leave, this was the act of the then dictatorship on Malawi Congress Party led by Kamuzu banda. They objected to the fact that foreing workers were dating local malawian women. At this point my mother was two months pregnant.

A few weeks after he was deported and after endless efforts to try and contact him my mother was advised by his colleagues that he was involved in a motor bike accident when back home (she thinks it was Japan) and she was advised by political leaders not to try to contact.

I am assuming this must have been news to most and someone is bound to know or recall something about it.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated, I am currently based in United Kingdom and hope to find more details of him.

Best regards


I need to get i touch with someone who once worked with Esther Lameck- Tanzanian i n Tanzania and Malawi

Hi Mike,
I knew him in Lilongwe around about the same time. I last saw him in America in the late 80's, his address was 300 Commerce Street, Appt 104, Harve de Grace, Maryland 21078. I hope this is helpful, regards, Juliette

ook at what I've found!!!! Where I spent the first five years after finishing my degree in Civil Engineering. They were very pleasant, but very mobile years. In 1956 I had an offer to join a high school friend in a small brick plant in Dalton, Georgia and my wife and I decided it was time to settle down. I'm pleased to state that I practiced football under Coach Eddy Cameron and Wallace Wade in the stadium named after the latter and the in-door stadium named after the former. Stood in line all night to as a "Cameron Crazy"get my allotment of Souther Conference basketball tickets for scalping purpose. I have a wealth of color photos of my last job with Nello L. Teer Company. I am very pleased to state that I knew all three of the early Teers, Mr. Teer, Sr., Nello, Jr. and Dillard, and I have the highest regard for all three of them.

I have been working on my memoirs for two and half years and if any are interested, please let me know via email below.

In reply to by Bill/Shad Hankins (not verified)

I am one of 7 grandchildren of Mildred and Dillard Teer. My uncle Robb Teer has an extensive archive collection of all things Teer. I know he would be thrilled to see some of your pictures, not to mention we would love to show them to my grandparents. Would you be open to this? Please contact me at your convenience. Thank you! 919-280-5959

My dad worked in guatemala in 1969 and he was happy then, the best company. Now he is very sick.

My family worked for Nello L. Teer Co. in the following Malawi projects: Chikwawa-Bangula Road construciton and Lilongwe Airport Runway. My father's name is Ernesto C. Lorenzo married to Ramona J. Lorenzo. My husband Victor and brother Laurie James also worked with the same company. Mom died in 2011. I was going through her things last week and found some insurance documents stating that I am a beneficiary in the event of mom's demise. Please advise me on what steps I should take. Is it still possible to claim this insurance? My name is Benilda L. Tuazon and I am a retiree of Pfizer Philippines. I am currently living with my son In Amadeo Cavite. My mobile phone number is 09153670430. I do not have a landline. Thank you very much.

There is a large estate near Hillsborough that I remember visiting once in the 1950s with my father. He did some work for Nello Teer around that time. It has recently been for sale but I believe it remains unsold. The house was impressive for the times. I'm guessing it was built 40s-early 50s and has not changed a lot. I believe there was a landing strip for a small airplane behind the house. It's around 17 acres I believe. I always thought one of the Teers lived there or maybe a member of his family or an employee. Someone may know who originally lived there. I would be interested to know anything about it. The Nello Teer Co. is definitely a NC legend and a great company. As is this site.

I'm looking for any evidence that Nello Teer worked on/in the Quarry at the Eno River State Park. Please e-mail with any info. Thanks, APH

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