The Oregon American Lumber Company

John T. Gaertner , North Bank Road The Spokane , Portland & Seattle Railway ( Pullman : Washington State University Press , 1990 ) , p . 195 . 75. Ralph W. Hidy , Frank Ernest Hill , and Allan Nevins , Timber and Men : The Weyerhaeuser ...

The Oregon American Lumber Company

This is a lavishly illustrated history of the Oregon-American Lumber Company, during its heyday one of the most important lumber firms in the Pacific Northwest. Operating from 1922 until its closure in 1957, the company provides an illuminating example of the history of lumbering in the region, showing in detail both the opportunities and problems encountered by firms seeking to exploit the area’s rich natural stands of Douglas fir. The story is enhanced by the inclusion of 285 illustrations, most of which are previously unpublished, that depict logging, railroading, and sawmilling activities, and 17 period-specific maps that give the reader a unique perspective on the growth of the company. The lumbering industry was pivotal to America’s settlement and development, reaching its zenith in the period covered by this book, which shows how Oregon-American’s survival depended on successfully adapting to great changes in market forces and in industry structures, to natural disasters, and to economic crises like the Great Depression. Essential to the company’s objective of supplying lumber to markets in the Midwest farm belt was its relationship with the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads; accordingly, the book provides much information on the railroad networks that made timber extraction possible. The study is based on fifteen years of archival and on-the-ground research and draws heavily on the extensive collection of Oregon-American records, notably the correspondence files of Judd Greenman, the company president who conceived and executed most of the company’s operating policies. It also includes, as sidebars, engaging oral histories related by employees, which enrich the text and provide a vivid contrast between management and employee viewpoints.

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