Grandin was one of many small towns created as a result of timber. In the mid-1880s the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company established a large saw mill there which eventually enticed the railroad to locate in the vicinity. The town was named after the two largest shareholders, E. B. and George Grandin of Pennsylvania.
Grandin was originally a company town of the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company. Headquartered in Grandin, it grew to be the largest lumber mill in the country which helped the town grow to nearly 3,000 residents. By 1910, the timber was exhausted and the company moved on. The company laid the town out so that the company store, hotel, and other buildings were on main street. When the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis Railway built a spur line from Willow Springs to Grandin, there was 6 million board feet of lumber waiting to be shipped. By 1892 Grandin produced 32 million board feet of lumber and by 1895, over 60 million board feet of lumber.
The Missouri Lumber and Mining Company became so large by the late 1890s it was a full blown cartel that manipulated lumber prices single handedly. By 1900 there were over 1000 employees at the mille with that number growing to 1500 just five years later. One out of six Carter County residents worked for the mill. The company built 475 homes that it rented for $1 a month per room. Boarding houses were built for single women and single men that worked for the company which charged $18 a month including meals. Long time manager of the mill, John Barber White made sure the company took care of its residents while still maintaining a profit.
The mill could produce 285,000 board feet a day which equaled 90 railroad cars daily moving out of the mill. On average, the mill produced 70 acres of lumber a day. Workers made about $1.50 a day to cut 10,000 board each day. They worked six days a week.
Workers often spent several days in outlying camps cutting timber where they lived in tents. Periodically, a company train made its rounds to these camps with supplies, a traveling doctor, and the workers were paid once a month in cash.
By 1910, the majority of trees surrounding Grandin were exhausted and the company decided to move it's operation north to Eminence. Many of the buildings and houses were dismantled and moved, those that were left behind were sold from $50 to $100 to individuals.