|Contextual Notes||Stimson Logging Company had its headquarters in Marysville.|
Stimson Lumber Company began in Michigan in 1850 when Thomas Douglas (T.D.) Stimson and his business partner felled their first tree. The young loggers achieved financial success but a shared appreciation for independence eventually dissolved the partnership. Off on his own, T.D. managed to acquire timberlands, establish lumber camps and sell logs to mills located in Muskegon, Michigan. From 1871-1888, T.D., with assistance from sons, Willard Horace, Charles Douglas, Ezra Thomas and Jay D., and daughter Olive Fay and son-in-law, J.J. Fay, Jr., managed the burgeoning operation. In time, T.D. stepped back from daily operation and moved to Chicago, leaving the day-to-day management of the businesses to his children. By the early 1880s, T.D. had sensed that the marketplace had changed. The paucity of land coupled with an increasingly poor quality of timber, forced him to think about making a change. After oldest son, Willard Horace, returned home disappointed from surveying other potential timber regions in the South and Midwest, T.D. decided to look westward. Leading the search himself, he sailed up the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon, and then pushed on to Puget Sound. Together with his sons, T.D. cruised the backwoods for weeks, leaving few areas unchecked. By November 1884, the party had arrived in Seattle. T.D. was impressed with what he saw. The timber alone was of unrivaled quality, and the areas feverish growth, coupled with a saltwater port, assured a continuous market for lumber. Despite owning the third largest mill operation in Muskegon, T.D. made a fateful decision: the operation would relocate to Seattle.
Stimson's sons, along with their respective families, led the movement to Seattle in 1889. They wasted little time reorganizing and establishing the business. Timberlands were acquired in Snohomish County, on Hood Canal and as far south as the Tillamook region in Oregon. T.D. even bought several thousand acres in California. While W.H. was cruising for timberlands, C.D. busied himself searching for a sawmill site. Good fortune enabled him to purchase an existing mill on Salmon Bay in Ballard, just north of Seattle. In January 1890, the Stimson Mill Company was incorporated, and within the month was busily processing lumber, laths and shingles.
In 1898, W.H., who had relocated to Los Angeles, sent his only son, Charles Willard, to work with his uncles in Seattle. He wanted C.W. to learn all aspects of the family business, from cruising timberlands to understanding the intricacies of mill operations and finance. Young C.W. was a natural woodsman and enjoyed the hard work. He assumed more responsibility gradually and looked forward to expanding the business. In 1912, C.W. sold the Ballard mill and moved operations to Hood Canal to log the timberlands his father had purchased years earlier. He became known personally as a tough competitor and crack negotiator. Operationally, the company was known for employing hard-working men who were fortunate to use modern logging equipment. Such business acumen led C.W. in 1923, to purchase one of the oldest mills in Seattle, the Brace-Hergert Mill on Lake Union. Known as the Stimson Lumber Company, the mill employed over 200 men and produced about 50 million feet of fir lumber annually. However, by 1929, C.W. faced a dilemma similar to the one his grandfather had encountered in Michigan. The area around Hood Canal had been cleared; quality timber was no longer available. Fortunately, C.W. had a place in mind. Forty years earlier his father had purchased 25,000 acres of old growth timber in the Tillamook region of western Oregon. Although C.W. remained involved, it was left to son-in-law, Harold Miller, to build not only a state-of-the-art sawmill in Forest Grove but to provide the leadership necessary for Stimson Lumber Company to remain viable in an increasingly competitive market.
The period from 1929-1981 can be known collectively as the "Harold Miller Era" for it was during this period that the company reinvested in timberland holdings and diversified its product line. The company weathered the Great Depression exceedingly well and never had to shut down temporarily or lay off workers. The series of destructive fires in the 1930s and 1940s, known collectively as the "Tillamook Burn" became only a temporary obstacle. After the 1945 fire, the company discovered that the burned and green wood that was cracked, stained or of lesser quality, could be converted into "hardboard." Founded in about 1946, Stimson's Forest Fiber Products Company was the third hardboard plant in the U.S. Known as "sandalwood" Stimson's product became the envy of the industry.
Today Stimson Lumber Company stretches into eastern Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho. The company's timberlands total over 400,000 acres in five states and fourteen manufacturing facilities in nine locations, and it employs over 2,100.
This particular locomotive may be s/n 2269, which was built in 1910 for the Bolcom-Vanderhoof Logging Co. of Acme.