New England Builder — as JLC was originally called — was inspired by a cluster of five or six tables at the Town and Country Restaurant in the northeastern Vermont town of Lyndonville, recalls Mike Reitz, the magazine's founder and first editor. Because it was just down the street from the lumberyard, the restaurant was a popular early-morning gathering place for local GCs and subs. Reitz was then working as a carpenter ("I specialized in construction defects," he says), and he'd found that in addition to being a good place to eat breakfast, the T&C was a valuable educational resource — just about the only one available to an aspiring builder in that area during the late 1970s.

As he noted in a recent e-mail conversation, it was "the only place where you stood half a chance of learning anything honest, practical, or useful about a problem or a solution with a product or a technique. Being a genuine rocket scientist and a deep and insightful analyst of the human condition, I was eventually inspired to observe, ‘...

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