Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Union Lumber Company Records,
Date (inclusive): 1854-1960
Collection Number: BANC MSS 68/21 c
Union Lumber Company
Number of Containers: 1 box, 16 cartons, 1 oversize folder, 547 volumes
Linear feet: 157.4
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: 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
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research
Original finding aid indicated copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library.
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.
[Identification of item], Union Lumber Company Records, BANC MSS 68/21 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California,
Materials Cataloged Separately
Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library
The Union Lumber Company Records were given to The Bancroft Library by Union Lumber Company via Russell Johnson in 1967, with
additions made in April 1991
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.
History of Mendocino County, California,
Mendocino County Historical Society, 1967 (pp 798-799).
Scope and Content
The Union Lumber Company Records are incomplete and miscellaneous in nature, spanning the period from 1854 to 1960. The collection
contains correspondence, miscellaneous office files, history and strike files, and stock and financial records, providing
insight to the various aspects of the company's long history in Northern California. Included also is correspondence and records
from Glen Blair, Mendocino, and Pacific States Lumber Companies, which were acquired, in whole or in part, by Union Lumber
Company. Much of the collection is correspondence, found in Series 1 through 5, with the greatest concentration of letters
in Union Lumber's daily files of outgoing correspondence, 1928-1936. The correspondence of Charles Russell Johnson, 1883 to
1934, documents some of the activities of
C.R., who in 1882 bought into the Mill Creek operations which became Union Lumber Company. Johnson also founded Fort Bragg Redwood
Company, which started operations at a new mill in 1885; he was elected Fort Bragg's first mayor in 1889.
Series 6: Miscellaneous Office Files, 1898-1954, are a scattered assortment of memoranda, minutes, agreements, reports, statements,
contracts, and printed materials, that provide an additional glimpse of the timber industry. These include some records from
the California Redwood Association, in addition to a brief run of minutes from the meetings of the Redwood Operators Committee.
Series 7: Strike Files, 1943-1947, record primarily the company's side of the strike. These contain preliminary strike correspondence
and other materials documenting the start of the strike, through much of its duration. Of note is a set of strike posters
and other publicity materials. The history files (in Series 8), though more limited, provide additional insight to the history
of the area. They include the letterpress books of E.C. Williams, founder of Mendocino Lumber Company.
Series 9: Stock and Financial Records, 1854-1952 constitute the bulk of the collection and includes such items as lists of
stockholders, financial statements, invoices, various ledgers, and payroll account sheets. The largest part of this series
is the 547 volumes listed, by company, wherever possible. Minimal effort was made to further identify or arrange this group,
which retains the volume numbers given upon receipt.