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Guide to the The Union Lumber Company Records, 1854-1960
BANC MSS 68/21 c  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection contains correspondence, office files, and financial records. The bulk of the collection is composed of stock and financial records, 1854-1952, including such items as lists of stockholders, financial statements, invoices, various ledgers, and payroll sheets. Another substantial portion of the collection is correspondence, found in series 1 through 5, with the greatest concentration of letters in the Union Lumber's daily files of outgoing correspondence, 1928-1936, including correspondence of company officers Charles Russell Johnson, Otis W. Johnson and Otis R. Johnson. Of note in the series Strike files, 1943-1947, are a set of strike posters and other publicity materials. Includes records of the Glen Blair Lumber Company, Mendocino Lumber Company, Pacific States Lumber Company, Acme Lumber Company, Fort Bragg Electric Company, Fort Bragg Redwood Company, Atlas Tank Manufacture, National Steamship Company, and statements of the Coos Bay Lumber Company. Also included are files of the California Redwood Association, 1933-1849, and correspondence of E.C. (Edwards C. Williams), founder of the Mendocino Lumber Company.
Background
UNION LUMBER COMPANY -In December, 1882, Charles Russell Johnson, youthful, energetic and determined, age 23, and recently from Michigan and Wisconsin, bought into the Mill Creek (Ten Mile River) operations of Calvin Stewart and James Hunter. From this partnership of Stewart, Hunter, and Johnson has grown Union Lumber Company. C.R., as Mr. Johnson would be known throughout his long and eventful career, brought perseverance, integrity, and a basic feeling of worth and dignity of the individual from his ancestral inheritance. On this concept he established an enterprise that would strongly influence the history of the redwood industry. From its inconspicuous beginnings at Mill Creek, Union Lumber Company has pioneered enlightened forest practice policies and developed plant and product innovations that have insured the stability of the community through continuous employment through all the business ups and downs since its founding. C.R.'s initial step was forming the Fort Bragg Redwood Company and moving to the site of the old abandoned army post at Fort Bragg. This move provided an abundance of land for plant site and harbor where boats could load alongside a wharf. The new Fort Bragg mill commenced operations November 16, 1885. The first shipment of lumber left the new wharf on board the steam schooner West Coast. The need for additional timber saw the incorporation on August 17, 1891, of Union Lumber Company. This brought the property and assets of White and Plummer along the Noyo River into the new venture with W.P. Plummer becoming the General Manager. In 1905, the Little Valley Lumber Company was purchased and part interest in the Glen Blair Lumber Company and the Mendocino Lumber Company was acquired. Through the years other Mendocino County properties have been added to allow for planned growth programs. The latest, being he properties of the Pacific Coast Company in 1960, including timber and mills at Willits and Leggett. To ship forest products to market and bring merchandise to Fort Bragg, the National Steamship Company was founded in June, 1901, as a subsidiary of Union Lumber Company. The company operated a fleet of ships along the Pacific Coast until the late 1930's. Some ships owned were the National City, Brunswick, Coquelle River, Arctic, and three named Noyo. Another subsidiary, California Western Railroad was incorporated June 30, 1905, taking over the logging railroad of Union Lumber Company. In December, 1911, the first through-train reached Willits thus giving Fort Bragg and Western Mendocino County direct rail connection with the rest of the continent. To assure perpetuity of its natural resources, Union Lumber Company pioneered a reforestation program and established its own nursery in the 1920's. The program showed that natural reforestation from sprouts and seedlings would do a better job and the nursery project was abandoned. Union Lumber Company now subscribes to the principles of Tree Farming and was an early Redwood Region leader in the movement, dedicating the C.R. Johnson Tree Farms on May 19, 1951. Today, all Company forest land has been placed under the Tree Farm program. This is an assurance that the forest products industry will always be a major influence on the economy of Mendocino County. A strong research facility exists to develop new products from redwood bark, tanoak, and certain common grades of lumber. Through research and development, new products and new techniques will continue to evolve. These, in turn, will bring new jobs and career opportunities to Union Lumber Company people. Although not a company town, Fort Bragg has always been considered in the Company's plans since C.R. Johnson laid out the town site and was elected its first mayor in 1889. In 1965, and excess of $8,000,000 was paid out in wages and local purchase of services and materials; 27% of County taxes were paid by Union Lumber Company.
Extent
Number of Containers: 1 box, 16 cartons, 1 oversize folder, 547 volumes Linear feet: 157.4
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Sevices .Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Availability
Collection is open for research