In 1934, James Thompson moves to Ames, IA along with his sons Kenneth and Russell to start a construction firm, aptly named James Thompson & Sons. They acquire their first project that year – the Calmar Creamery in Calmar, IA. The Thompsons build several post offices and their first project at Iowa State: Roberts Hall, which was then a residence hall for female students. In 1938, James Thompson establishes a partnership with his two sons, each serving as equal partners in the firm.
The Thompsons perform more work at Iowa State University, including Davidson Hall and the Metallurgy Building. Eventually, World War II changes the landscape of the construction industry, and the Thompsons construct a series of hemp mills in central Iowa for the federal governments War Hemp Industries Department, as well as several airfields in Missouri.
In 1961, Russell Thompson is tragically killed in a car/train accident while traveling to a jobsite. Later that year, the family decides to offer stock ownership to non-family employees. The company completes more prominent projects in Ames, including the Towers Residence Complex at Iowa State and several phases of the Northcrest Retirement community.
Kenneth Thompson, the one remaining member of the original partnership, retires, and JTS becomes totally owned by five employee stockholders: Woodrow Buck, Ted Heggen, Norman Riis, Dean Porath and Dick Johnson. The company then sold stock to several additional employees, some of whom worked in field operations – a unique concept at the time.
Throughout the 1980s, Story identified water and wastewater treatment plants as an Iowa market dominated by non-Iowa companies. Story received its first contract for a wastewater treatment plant in Pella, IA, and to this day serves both municipalities and private companies in treatment plant work.
In the 1990s, Story Construction continued to support a wider variety of markets throughout Iowa. In 1996, in-house design capabilities are added to Story’s list of services, providing integrated design-build delivery to clients. The company also moved its headquarters to a new building at 300 South Bell Ave in Ames.