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Feather River Pine Mills Records MSS.191
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Collection Details
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  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Arrangement note
  • Access Restrictions
  • Usage Restrictions
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Related Collections
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition note
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Processing Information note
  • Publication Rights

  • Title: Feather River Pine Mills Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.191
    Contributing Institution: California State University, Chico, Special Collections, Meriam Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 36.0 Linear feet 108 Boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1920-1972
    Language of Materials note: English
    Abstract: The collection contains records of the Feather River Pine Mills Company, formerly known as the Hutchinson Lumber Company. The records cover mill and logging operations and production, as well as forest management.
    Alternate Form of Material: No other forms of material.
    creator: Feather River Pine Mills.
    creator: Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Feather River Pine Mills, Inc. was a major Northern California lumber company for a number of years. In 1920 the Hutchinson Lumber Company (a West Virginia hardwood lumber company established in 1908 by Robert Lee Hutchinson), bought the Wheeler timber tract northeast of Oroville. The company purchased large tracts of timber in Butte and Plumas counties in California and began building railroad lines, sawmills, a planning mill and dry kilns. An office and plant were officially operational in Oroville in March 1922. Hutchinson Lumber Company was the town’s major employer with over 1,100 employees (Oroville at the time had a population of 3,500) on its payroll. Nearly everyone in Oroville, either directly or indirectly, depended upon the lumber company’s payroll. Hutchinson Lumber Company was one of the largest lumber companies in Northern California (in its 1925 season the company cut 100,000,000 board feet of lumber).
    A. H. Land moved from West Virginia in 1922 to help improve the financial situation of the company. The western operations were refinanced, reorganized and incorporated as the Hutchinson Company of California. Hutchinson went into receivership in 1926, excessively burdened by a huge debt load. Butte County Superior Court ordered the Oroville holdings of the company sold to satisfy its creditors. The only bidder was A. H. Land, holder of most of the bonds. Mr. Land and Dr. O. O. Cooper reorganized the Oroville properties of Hutchinson as Feather River Pine Mills, Inc. in April 1927.
    On October 6, 1927, the Oroville mill and 50, 000, 000 board feet of lumber were completely destroyed by fire. Two days after the fire, Feather River Pine Mills discharged over 1,100 employees. It was an economic disaster for the town. The fire brought an economic depression to Oroville two years before it hit the rest of the country. Feather River Pine Mills wasn’t able to resume operations immediately due to several factors. Following the fire there was litigation with the fire insurance companies and the loss of funds due to the failure of the Detroit Trust Company where the insurance funds were deposited and then the depression destroyed the lumber market. Subsequently they lost their insurance funds in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bank holiday.
    In 1938 they were able to secure a Federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan and built a new sawmill at Mooretown (now known as Feather Falls). The former logging railroad became the common carrier Feather River Railway on May 24, 1940. From July 1940 to July 22, 1955 the Feather River Railway operated as a common carrier. Resumption of lumbering operations again provided employment for Oroville, although not on the scale of the operations in the early 1920’s. Mr. Land organized National Wood Treating Company as a subsidiary in 1947. The plant was located in South Oroville. Feather River Pine Mills continued operations until 1955 when the Land and Cooper families sold the company to Georgia-Pacific Corporation.
    Georgia-Pacific immediately sold the National Wood Treating Company to Koppers Company, but retained ownership of Feather River Railway. The Georgia-Pacific Corporation continued the Feather Falls operation with some changes made in the logging department. The Georgia-Pacific Corporation made the woods and sawmill operations separate units, forming a new company to take over all timber lands, logging equipment, etc. known as the Inman-Poulsen Timber Corporation. Georgia-Pacific Corporation was the parent company to Inman-Poulsen Timber Corporation, Feather River Pine Mills Company, and Feather River Railway Company. These three companies operated as separate entities, although the Feather River Pine Mills Company owned all of the stock of the Feather River Railway Company. Feather River Railway was abandoned as a railroad in 1967, due to flooding of a portion of its line by Lake Oroville, but continued for a few years as a trucking company. In 1974 the Feather Falls sawmill was closed when the new forest products factory was opened in South Oroville. The Feather Falls Division of Georgia-Pacific became part of Louisiana-Pacific Corporation when Georgia-Pacific split.

    Arrangement note

    A majority of the records are arranged chronologically by date and company.
    Hutchinson Lumber Company (1920-1927): Boxes 1-12, 14-18, 25, 51, 60, 75, 82-85, 87-91, and Folder 1 in Oversize Drawer Feather River Pine Mills (1927-1955): Boxes 6-7, 9-65, 68-69, 73, 75, 78-79, 81-83, 85-86, 92-102, and Folder 2 in Oversize Drawer Georgia-Pacific Corporation (1955-1997): Boxes 33, 50-51, 54-58, 60, 63-77, 79-83, 86, 105-108, and Folder 3 in Oversize Drawer No Company or Date: Boxes 103-104, and Folder 4 in Oversize Drawer
    Company records and dates overlap and although boxes have been arranged by a particular company name they may also include various records from other companies. Correspondence may have various records intermingled within folders such as, reports, permits, agreements, contracts, policies, bonds, newspaper articles and clippings, petitions, accounts, and estimates.

    Access Restrictions

    Collection is open for research, exceptions as noted.
    Please Note: This institution is committed to protecting the confidentiality and privacy rights of donors and individuals represented within the records. Some of the records may contain sensitive materials that cover personal information. The boxes and folders that are closed are noted in the container list and refer to the following: Boxes 12, 26, 48, 52, 54, 63, and 70. They are closed for 75 years from the date of creation of the record. Please contact the Head of Special Collections for information regarding access to these records.

    Usage Restrictions

    No restrictions.

    Scope and Contents note

    The collection contains records of the Hutchinson Lumber Company, Hutchinson Company of California, Feather River Railroad, National Wood Treating Corporation, and Feather River Pine Mills Incorporated; including correspondence, field notes, journals, minutes, Bylaws, reports, contracts, proposals, agreements, ledgers, financial statements, sales, estimates, invoices, appraisals, taxes, affidavits, surveys, blueprints, plat maps, employee applications, job titles and pay scales, equipment, safety and procedure manuals, inventories, and property values. The records cover mill and logging operations and production, as well as forest management, including logging and lumber studies and reports. Some records include materials related to Inman-Poulsen Timber Company, The Western Pacific Railroad Company, Feather Falls Store, Feather River Supply Company, Feather Falls Electric Corporation, California Door Company, Clover Valley Lumber Company, Hogan Lumber Company, Koppers Company, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and Standardshares Inc. Ltd. The records also include the papers of Chief Engineer Frank Lisbon, and General Manager Carl S. Walker. There are a large number of maps, including topographic maps, that show logged areas, railroad right-of-ways, company ownerships, as well as blueprints showing building and machinery plans.

    Preferred Citation note

    Feather River Pine Mills Records, MSS 191, Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.

    Related Collections

    Feather River Pine Mills Photographs and Records, MSS 319, Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State

    Immediate Source of Acquisition note

    Gift from Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (Feather River Pine Mills)

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Feather River Pine Mills, Inc. map [cartographic material]: showing all company holdings with adjacent government and private lands. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    Feather River Pine Mills, Inc. map [cartographic material]: showing locations of sawmill and other buildings together with townsite at Feather Falls. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    Feather River Pine Mills, Inc., map [cartographic material]: showing properties of E.W. Bradley estate located in Sec. 31 & 32. Also Sec. & 9 in T.22 & 21N.R.9E. - M.D.B. & M. Plumas County, Calif. August 11, 1950. Feather Falls, California. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    Feather River Pine Mills Railroad line. [cartographic material] ca. 1922. Map shows Feather River Pine Mills Railroad line. Including Main-line Railroad, Middle Fork of Feather River, South Fork of Feather River. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. Chico has digital copy only. [PC_273].
    Shasta National Forest McCloud District / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service California Region. Map shows the McCloud District within Shasta National Forest - including forest boundaries, ranger stations, roads, rivers, lakes, geographic features, towns, ect. San Francisco: The Service, 1955. United States. Forest Service. California Region. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    Metsker's map of Yuba County, California. Blue line print shows townships, land grant lines, judicial townships, mines, roads, railroads, trails, game refuges, rivers, schools, ranchos, camps, national forests, lookouts, and ranger stations. Some manuscript additions - may indicate property ownership of the Feather River Pine Mills. San Francisco: Metsker Maps, [1939] Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    California. Division of Highways. Highway transportation survey of 1934, Butte County / State of California, Department of Public Works, Division of Highways. [S.l.: The Division, 1934] Map shows roads, cities, streets, township and range and traffic density within Butte County, Calif. Insets: "Index map showing relative size and position of Butte County" -- Table of "Road and street mileage - distribution by type and traffic." Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    Butte County Road Proposal [cartographic material]: T 20 N, R 6 E ca. 1950. Map shows Butte County Road Proposal, W Bills, Formerly Ella S Fields, ME Riley, ME Swartz, Alice Bean, Normandin, Central Pacific Railroad and Co, Jackson Mullings. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.
    Locomotive. [photograph] [ca. 1960] Photograph shows Feather River Railway Shay locomotive No. 2 at Feather Falls. Railroad built in 1922 to serve the Hutchinson Lumber Company in Oroville. It was 6 to 7 days, weekly two trains a day making the trip and carrying around 500,000 board feet of logs to the mill. The line owned and operated 250 logging cars. The mill in Oroville burned in 1927 and the line discontinued temporarily. In 1938 the construction of the Feather River Pine Mills brought the line into service again. Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.

    Processing Information note

    Processing of the Feather River Pine Mills Records was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The [ABC repository] was awarded a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from 2010-2012, "Uncovering California's Environmental Collections," in collaboration with eight additional special collections and archival repositories throughout the state and the California Digital Library (CDL). Grant objectives included processing of over 33 hidden collections related to the state's environment and environmental history. The collections document an array of important sub-topics such as irrigation, mining, forestry, agriculture, industry, land use, activism, and research. Together they form a multifaceted picture of the natural world and the way it was probed, altered, exploited and protected in California over the twentieth century. Finding aids are made available through the Online Archive of California (OAC).

    Publication Rights

    The library can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claimants of literary property.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Feather River Pine Mills.
    Feather River Railway.
    Hutchinson Lumber Company.
    Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.
    Butte County (Calif.) -- Maps.
    Feather Falls (Calif.)--Maps.
    Logging--California, Northern--History.
    Lumber and lumbering--California, Northern--History.
    Lumber camps--California--Butte County--Maps.
    Lumbering--California, Northern--History.
    Moore Town (Calif.)--Maps.
    Plumas County (Calif.)--Maps.
    Uncovering California's Environmental Collections Project