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Guide to the Rockport Redwood Company Records, ca. 1907-1969
BANC MSS 70/184 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Corporate History
  • Scope and Content
  • Summary of Container Contents

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Rockport Redwood Company Records,
    Date: ca. 1907-1969
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 70/184 c
    Collector: Rockport Redwood Company
    Extent: Number of containers: 19 cartons Linear feet: 23.75
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    The collection is open for use; folders 2-4, 34-1, and 34-2 restricted until 2038.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has 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 the Manuscripts Division. 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Rockport Redwood Company records, BANC MSS 70/184 c, The Bancroft Library.

    Materials Cataloged Separately

    • Maps have been transferred to the Map Collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The records of the Rockport Redwood Company were given to The Bancroft Library on January 13, 1971 by Harry A. Merlo, Vice President, on behalf of the Georgia-Pacific Corporation, known as the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation after 1972.

    Corporate History

    Rockport Redwood Company was one of many lumber interests owned by the business empire of Ralph M. Rounds of Wichita, Kansas. In 1937, he took a lease to operate, with option to buy, the Cottoneva Redwood Company, a California firm incorporated in 1933; it was renamed Rockport Redwood Company in 1941, when Rounds exercised the purchase option. The operations consisted of a sawmill and townsite at Rockport, California, 200 miles north of San Francisco, and about 40,000 acres of timber lands nearby.
    The first sawmill at the site was built by William R. Miller in 1877. Upon his retirement, in 1886, Miller sold the mill and his landholdings to the newly organized Cottoneva Lumber Company. They improved and operated the facilities at Rockport until the mill was destroyed by fire in 1900. It was not rebuilt and the manufacture of lumber was discontinued. Sometime after 1907, Cottoneva was acquired by the Dusenbury family, operators of nearby mill until 1912, when it burned. Cottoneva Lumber Company was incorporated in 1910 and became the successor to the Dusenbury's New York and Pennsylvania Redwood Company. Their plans for a new mill and operations at Rockport were never realized and Rockport remained quiet until 1925, when the assets of Cottoneva Lumber Company were acquired by the newly formed Finkbine-Guild Lumber Company of Jackson, Mississippi. Their operations at Rockport were a financial disaster and abandoned in 1927. Their assets were acquired in 1928 by the Great Southern Lumber Company of Bogolusa, Louisiana, which merged with it to form the Southern Redwood Company; their operations also failed and were shutdown in 1929. The Dusenbury family and other bondholders foreclosed on the defaulted bonds of the Finkbine-Guild Lumber Company and, in 1933, chartered the Cottoneva Redwood Company.
    In 1945 Rounds Lumber Company was incorporated in California, with offices in San Francisco, as the sole wholesale outlet of lumber milled by the Rockport Redwood Company. Rounds & Kilpatrick Lumber Company built and began operating a lumber drying and remanufacturing plant in Cloverdale, California in 1948. Until 1957, the role of Rockport Redwood Company was to supply rough green lumber from its timberlands to this plant, for processing into finished lumber for retail sales. Rounds & Porter, Inc., of California, was an extension of the parent company, Rounds & Porter, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, which owned retail lumber yards in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. These corporations operated together for a number of years, but the multiplicity of names confused even managers within the companies.
    Unable to compete with more modern facilities, the Rockport mill closed in 1957 and was dismantled and auctioned off in 1960, following Rounds death. In that same year, the American Tree Farm System certified the Rockport Redwood Company's 36,481-acre timberlands as the Ralph M. Rounds Tree Farm and managed the land for long-term timber growth, with annual sales to neighboring companies. Family heir, Ralph C. Bill Rounds sold Rockport Redwood Company to Georgia-Pacific on July 30, 1968. In 1973 the Rounds Tree Farm was spun off from Georgia-Pacific into the newly created Louisiana-Pacific Corporation. As of 1991, Louisiana-Pacific continued to operate the Rounds Tree Farm for long-term timber growth.
    [From Alley, Bowen & Co.'s History of Mendocino County (1880, reissued, 1967: Mendocino Historical Society), with additional information provided by Ron Arnold, Bellevue, Wash.]

    Scope and Content

    The records of the Rockport Redwood Company, a predecessor of the Georgia-Pacific Corporation and the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, are a rich resource on the redwood lumber business from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s. The files contain correspondence, reports, legal records of land transactions, surveys and property descriptions, financial records, articles, speeches, newsletters, and other miscellaneous papers concerning the operating and business aspects of the company and the industry, as well as such technical subjects such as reforestation, fertilization, growth studies, and thinning. The collection also contains documents illuminating the early career of Louisiana-Pacific's President and Chairman of the Board, Harry A. Merlo, who was employed by the owners of Rockport Redwood Company from 1950 to 1967.
    The Rockport Redwood Company records contain files of interest to researchers of life in company mill towns, records that document land sales and transactions as well as describe disputes between timber owners and loggers, ledgers and accounts that track the evolution of logging and mill equipment in great detail, annual reports and other Papers that record the efforts of a medium-sized redwood lumber company struggling with price swings and declining timber supply in the face of huge well-capitalized competitors and environmental groups pressuring for the creation of a redwood national park. In addition, a series of files on company and local history, assembled by Bernard Z. Agrons, the last Vice President and General Manager of Rockport Redwood Company, is appended at the end of the coded files of company records.
    The collection appears to have been removed from the file drawers of the company intact and transfered directly without extensive purging. The bulk of the collection, following an initial set of copies of outgoing correspondence and memoranda, has been numerically coded and titled with subject entries; these file numbers and titles have been retained in this arrangement. Bracketed series numbers have been added to the series of subject files found following the numerically coded files.
    Folders found empty have been noted, in addition to the following files listed in the inventory prepared by the company, but not received. These are:
    Series 27: Easements and Right-of-way

    Series 28: Surveys and Property Description

    Series 29: Reforestation

    Series 30: Fertilization

    Series 31: Land Clearance

    Series 38: Coastwise Tract

    Series 46: Animal Damage Committee

    Series 50: Georgia-Pacific Corporation.
    It is presumed that these files and the contents of the empty folders were retained for use by the Louisiana-Pacific Corportation or that the folders and file series were established but never used.

    Summary of Container Contents

    Ctn. 1
    [uncoded correspondence]
    Ctn. 2
    Series 1-1 to 2-17
    Ctn. 3
    Series 2-18 to 4-5
    Ctn. 4
    Series 4-6 to 8-5
    Ctn. 5
    Series 8-6 to 13-2
    Ctn. 6
    Series 13-3 to 19-5a
    Ctn. 7
    Series 19-6 to 20-22
    Ctn. 8
    Series 20-23 to 23-13
    Ctn. 9
    Series 24-1 to 26-8
    Ctn. 10
    Series 26-9 to 32-31
    Ctn. 11
    Series 33-1 to 41-2
    Ctn. 12
    Series 41-3 to 41-32
    Ctn. 13
    Series 41-32a to 43-14
    Ctn. 14
    Series 43-15 to 48-8
    Ctn. 15
    Series 49-1 to [51-15]
    Ctn. 16
    Series [52-1] to [53-12]
    Ctn. 17
    Series [54-1] to [57-16]
    Ctn. 18
    Series [57-17] to [58-22]
    Ctn. 19
    Series [58-23] to [59-37]