William Prentiss Baker rode a mule from Harnett County to Raleigh, North Carolina, in January 1901. Born July 27,1886, he was a 14-year-old boy running from a hard father and a hardscrabble farm life and riding to a bustling capital city that offered opportunity and promise.
It was a new day, a new year, a new century, and for the young Baker, a new life. In 1902, Prentiss began learning the trade of a tinsmith for which he was paid 50 cents a week. The southwest quadrant of downtown Raleigh was home to roofing and sheet metal shops, small manufacturing companies, warehouse and rooming and boarding houses. It was in this part of the growing city that Baker opened his own business on September 20, 1915. Like its owner, the name was straightforward: "W.P. Baker Co., tinner."
Located on 419 Gale St., four blocks south of the Capitol, the company first appeared in the 1917 City Directory and at that time Prentiss posted a small sign on the front door that was in all capital letters, stating "We shall do good work, at a profit if we can at a loss if we must, but always good work."
Since that day, Baker Roofing Company has grown to become the 2nd largest contractor in the nation with 18 offices in six states across the southeast. A sincere promise that remains part of Baker's culture and drives all of Baker Roofing Company.