Policies of the new managers during the early 1930's followed classical lines of retrenchment. Many of the retail yards were permanently closed. From 1931-1934 the Emmett mill did not operate, and the Barber mill was intermittently shut down, finally sawed its last timber, and was dismantled in 1934. A year later the Intermountain Railway was also liquidated. Much good but then inaccessible timber was traded to the Forest Service for accessible trees. Logging techniques were sharpened to the point that only merchantable trees were harvested. Black ink finally replaced red for net earnings in 1935.
Encouraged by increasingly profitable operations, Clapp and Moon made some new departures during the last few years of their administration. A new mill at Council, some one hundred miles north of Emmett in the Weiser River Valley, began operations in 1939. Early in the 1940's Boise Payette initiated logging through contractors, a policy which has proved eminently successful. Moon kept hoping that conditions would permit abandonment of the "cut out and get out" policy, but several surveys of available timber reiterated the desirability of making no change. In 1945, the author of a report said that "it would be neither feasible nor economical for the Boise Payette Lumber Company to operate its remaining stands of virgin timber on a systematic yield method."26
During the next three years events seemed to be pointing toward early termination of manufacturing operations by Boise Payette Lumber Company. Its forest holdings had been depleted at an accelerated rate in response to war demands for increased output. Under the aging officers, relations with labor and forest services worsened, timber cutting became wasteful, cutover lands with considerable stands of virgin timber "in the corners" were sold in quick, rough fashion. In 1947 the manager of manufacturing estimated that available timber would provide logs for little more than three years. In that same year Boise Payette acquired the capital stock of the Merrill Company of Salt Lake City, a purchase which added a wholesale lumber business, a millwork factory, and 39 retail yards in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming to Boise Payette activities. Since the retail yard division had shown profits for 28 of its 31 years, the Boise Company's managers were expecting to continue that phase of activity after the anticipated liquidation of logging and manufacturing.
Liquidation has never occurred, however. The policy was reversed in 1949 when a new, young board of directors, including John M. Musser and Norton Clapp, son of F.P. Clapp, took the reins. Clapp was elected president and Clement Gamble was named Executive Vice President and General Manager. John Aram, a stocky imaginative Idahoan who had studied business administration at the University of Idaho and had been working for Potlatch Forests since 1936, was soon thereafter put in charge of Boise Payette's timber and manufacturing activities. The officers and directors wanted to place Boise Payette on a permanent basis so as to be able to supply its large and profitable facilities with lumber. The task was how to do it.
The basis of their decision was a report entitled: "A Survey of Future Operating Possibilities," made in 1948. Its author suggested that supplementary timber might be purchased from the National Forest Service and that the company could retain its large acreage of cutover lands while waiting for new growth, for income from grazing fees promised to make such lands self-supporting.
Under Aram's management Boise Payette Lumber Company was set on a policy of continuous production at a reduced rate, with the hope of being able to operate in perpetuity. By August 1949, the Board and manager had initiated policies of cooperation with state and national forest services, of recognizing social and economic responsibilities to employees, customers, and communities as we'll as to stockholders, and of working toward high utilization of timberlands and other resources. Pending sales of lands were canceled and plans made to reduce overhead and to upgrade mill operations.
Within a year the company had demonstrated its intention of treating timber as a crop. A sincere effort to regain the good will and respect of various governmental agencies, particularly the forest service, proved successful. Aram and his fellow officers began a close integration of log production on their own lands with cutting of stumpage purchased from State and national forests. In 1950 Boise Payette lands were certified as a Western Pine Tree Farm. Advanced forestry principles characterized all felling of trees, whether on Boise Payette lands or on governmental stumpage. Trained personnel had taken charge of all phases of operations from forests to retailing. Following the death of Gamble, Aram was elected President and G.H. Osgood, who had acted as Secretary, was named Chairman of the Board of Directors.
During the 1950's the directors gave Aram and his successor, Robert V. Hansberger, great freedom in leading the company, with the result that nonfamily professional management has taken the helm of the firm. The original families are now minority stockholders. Managers have cooperated with the government agencies in fighting fires, disease, and pests, in building access roads, in advanced forestry practices, and in purchasing a substantial share of ripe public timber. Through special purchases and mergers Boise Payette (called Boise Cascade Corporation since 1957) has further developed integrated operations. lt has acquired more stumpage and timberlands, modernized plants, built a pulp and paper mill, began manufacturing paper products, added concrete products to the company line of building materials, expanded and improved marketing facilities, and established a distinctive trademark - Tru-Grade. Not surprising are the facts that the net worth of the company produced by both mergers and plant expansion, has risen from $7,838,000 in 1935 to $45,431,000 in 1959, and in the same years annual net earnings from $158,000 to $5,616,000, both trends accompanied by a rise in debt. The principles of continuous yields and full utilization have begun to pay off, not only for stockholders but for the State of Idaho and society generally.27
Over six decades of the twentieth century, through seven corporations, the Weyerhaeusers and their co-investors had adjusted to changing conditions and in so doing had contributed materially to the economic development of Idaho. Their experiences had covered a full range from excellent profits for Humbird Lumber to the lifelong unprofitability of the Bonners Ferry Company. Managers of the other five corporations and their two successors, Potlatch Forests, Inc. and Boise Payette Lumber Company, had wandered in the wilderness of irregular or nonexistent profits for almost forty years. New executives, employed by family-dominated boards, thereafter took cognizance of changes in their legal and economic environment and gradually shifted the goals of their firms from cutting out timber and liquidating the companies to rational planning for full utilization of timber and for operation in perpetuity. Fundamentally, the successes came from effective response to a substantial increase in lumber prices in the years immediately following World War II, particularly in relation to costs. The resulting highly satisfactory profits enabled the companies to adapt to altered public policies, to adopt the most advanced technology, and to diversify investment by going into the pulp and paper fields, with attendant better utilization of all species, lower unit costs, and increased financial realization.
But whether following the original goals successfully or operating at a loss, all the firms were attracting population to the State, providing employment for hundreds of workers, stimulating the growth of cities and towns, producing lumber for both urban folk and farmers, paying taxes into the coffers of Idaho, and setting the stage for long-term policies. Tree farms, sustained yield programs, full utilization of trees, integrated operations, and cooperation with State and Federal authorities in every phase of modern forest management all had merely constituted a continuation of established contributions to economic growth, manifested in recent years by a substantial accumulation of capital.Will the new policies prove successful in the long run? Given the uncertainties in business generally, and in the forest products industry particularly, the historian can only say quietly: "Only time will tell."
2 The data on the families and their joint enterprises are summarized from Hidy, Hill, and Nevins, Timber and Men, Chapters 1-10.
3 In 1899 the Bureau of the Census reported 87 sawmills in Idaho, producing a total of 65,363,000 board feet of lumber. See Henry B. Steer, compiler, Lumber Production in the United States, 1799-1946, USDA Miscellaneous Publication No.669. (Washington, 1948), 11.
4 I.V. Anderson and F.F. Rapraeger, "Highlights of the Lumber Industry," Forest Industries of the Inland Empire, Occasional Paper No. 2, Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. (Missoula, Montana, March 15, 1940).
5 Potlatch Forests, Inc. Papers, Clearwater Timber Co. Minute Book; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "A Record of the Life and Business Activities of Frederick Weyerhaeuser. 1834-1914," (Unpublished manuscript in possession of F. K. Weyerhaeuser. St. Paul), 548-561. Clearwater Timber was a Washington corporation, the first president being J.A. Humbird.
6 Interviews with T.J. Humbird and John A. Humbird (grandson of the first J.A. Humbird), 1953 and 1956, respectively; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 562-568; John A. Humbird, "History of Humbird Lumber Company," manuscript in possession of author, Vancouver, British Columbia. J.A. Humbird was the president of HLC, a Washington corporation.
7 Edward Rutledge Timber Company Papers (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) Minute Book and correspondence; R. D. Musser Papers (Little Falls, Minn.). 1901-1904; Laird, Norton Co. Papers (Winona, Minn.), 1902-1904; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 600-609. ERTC, a Washington corporation, had Edward Rutledge as its first chief executive.
8 Edward Rutledge Timber Company Papers (Coeur d'Alene); Bonners Ferry Lumber Co. Timberland Books; Bonners Ferry Lumber Company, Annual Reports, 1903-1926 (F. Weyerhaeuser Co. vaults, St. Paul): F. E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 609-613. BFLC was a Wisconsin corporation, with Frederick Weyerhaeuser as first president.
9 F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 574-581; Laird, Norton Co. Papers (Winona), 1902-1905. The Denkmanns also invested in Potlatch Lumber Co.
10 Boise Cascade Corporation Papers, "Records of the Barber Lumber Company." Barber Lumber Co. Minute Book; F. E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 617-622. Barber Lumber Co. was a Wisconsin corporation.
11 Boise Cascade Corporation Papers, copy of Articles of Incorporation of Payette Lumber & Manufacturing Co., Dec. 9, 1902; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 625-631. Payette Lumber & Manufacturing's State of domicile was Minnesota. The authorized capital was raised to $1,000,000 in 1903.
12 F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers, T.J. Humbird to F.E. Weyerhaeuser, Feb. 17. 1937, and enclosures; J.A. Humbird to F.E. Weyerhaeuser, Feb. 4, 1937; J.A. Humbird, "History of Humbird Lumber Company"; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 567-568. For purposes of comparison, it may be noted that 6% on $1,000,000, compounded annually for thirty-three years, would have netted $5,840,590, a figure considerably higher than the $54,300,000 actually paid out in dividend payments. Humbird Lumber began disbursing dividends annually and the two figures given are therefore not comparable.
13 F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers, 1905-1934, passim; "Statement, Production and Shipments" by various associated mills, 1900-1927; Bonners Ferry Lumber Co. Annual Reports. 1903-1926 (F. Weyerhaeuser Co. vaults. St. Paul), and Timberland Books (Potlatch Forests. Inc., Coeur d'Alene); F.E. Weyerhaeuser. "Records." 609-616.
14 Edward Rutledge Timber Company (URIC) Papers (Coeur d'Alene), including Minute Book and correspondence; R. D. Musser Papers (Little Falls, Minnesota), 1901-1904; Laird, Norton Co. Papers (Winona, Minnesota), 1902-1904; F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers (St. Paul), 1902-1934; F. E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record." 600-609. Accounts of ERTC showed the firm owning shares in the St. Joe Improvement Co., a log driving corporation, and the St. Joe Improvement Co., which processed logs before the Red Collar Line of steamboats towed them to the mill. The steamboat line was purchased outright by ERTC in the late 1920's.
15 Clearwater Timber Company (CTC) Papers (PFI vaults. Lewiston, Idaho), copy of Timber Report, questionnaire for income tax, September 15, 1927; correspondence files; CTC Balance Sheets, 1927-1930; J.P. Weyerhaeuser Papers (F. Weyerhaeuser & Co., St. Paul), 1923-1927; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 585-594.
16 Potlateh Forests, Inc., Papers, Accounts of Potlatch Lumber Co., 1908-1930; Palouse Republic, Sept. 14,1906; Laird, Norton Co. Papers (Winona), 1905-1927, passim.' F. F. Weyerhaeuser Papers, 1905-1930, passim; J.P. Weyerhaeuser Papers (St. Paul), 1905-1906, passim; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 576-585; Charles J. McGough, Reminiscences.
17 EIoise Hamilton, Forty Years of Western Forestry, A History of the Movement to Conserve Forestry Resources by Cooperative Effort, 1909-1949 (Portland: Western Forestry & Conservation Association, 1949); PFI Papers, correspondence, Coeur d'Alene and Lewiston.
18 Idaho Session Laws, 1929, 329; PFI Papers (Coeur d'Alene), Jewett correspondence, 1927-1931. See F.R. Fairchild et al; Forest Taxation in the United States USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 218. (Washington. 1935).
19 Sidney C. Jenkins, "Permanent Production in Potlatch Forests," American Forests (Aug. 1938); D. S. Masin, Timber Ownership and Lumber Production in the Inland Empire (Portland, 1920); D. S. Mason. Forests for the Future (St. Paul, 1952), 68; H.A. Simons, "Forests for the Future," 4-Square News (Mar. 15, 1930); Clearwater Timber Co. Papers (Lewiston). E.C. Rettig to J.P. Weyerhaeuser, Aug. 12, 1929, and memos on logging practices and plans for selective logging; E.C. Rettig, Reminiscences.
20 PF1. Annual Reports, 1931-1958.
21 Boise Cascade Corporation Papers, "Records of Barber Lumber Co."; Barber Lumber Co. Minute Book; U.S. vs Barber Lumber Co. et al, 194 Fed. 24-36; Evening Call (Boise), Dec. 10.1904; Idaho Daily Statesman, July 26,1908, Feb.20, 1912; F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers. F.E. Weyerhaeuser to C. A. Weyerhaeuser, Aug. 6, 11, 31, 1906; S.G. Moon to F.E. Weyerhaeuser, April 24, 1937; Laird, Norton Co. Papers (Winona), articles of incorporation of Intermountain Railway Co.
22 Boise Cascade Corporation Papers, Payette Lumber & Manufacturing Co. Minute Book; contracts and annual reports by F. M. Hoover; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 625-631; Laird Norton Co. Papers (Winona), correspondence of Deary, Hoover, Thatcher, and Borah, 1903-1905; F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers, Hoover to F.E. Weyerhaeuser, Feb. 8, 1910; J.P. Weyerhaeuser Papers, Hoover to J. P. Weyerhaeuser, Feb. 3, 1912; State of Idaho vs E.M. Hoover. 19 Idaho 299-304.
23 Boise Cascade Corporation Papers. "Records of Barber Lumber Co."; correspondence in J.P. Weyerhaeuser Papers, R.D. Musser Papers, F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers, and Laird, Norton Co. Papers, 1905-1915 on merger plans, final merger, and operations; Idaho Daily Statesman, Oct.26, 1913; FE. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 631-638; Boise Payette Lumber Co. Minute Book and Annual Reports, 1915-1920; F.W. Hewitt, Reminiscences.
24 Boise Payette Lumber Co. Minute Book; Annual Reports. 19211932; F.E. Weyerhaeuser, "Record," 636-638; F.E. Weyerhaeuser Papers. F.E. Weyerhaeuser to J. P. Weyerhaeuser. Aug.30, 1932.
25 Moon had entered the lumber business in 1903. Clapp resigned as president in 1946 and was succeeded by Moon for three years.
26 Boise Cascade Corporation Papers. H.J. McCoy to Boise Payette Lumber Co., April 25, 1945; Boise Payette Lumber Co., Minute Book and Annual Reports, 1933-1945.
27 Boise Payette Lumber Co. (Boise Cascade Corporation since 1957), Minute Book and Annual Reports, 1946-1959; Boise Cascade Corporation Papers J.E. Bishop to Executive Committee. "Survey of Future Operating Possibilities," Sept.20, 1948; "Proposed Land Timber Management Program for Boise Payette Lumber Co.," Dec. 3, 1952, approved by Board of Directors; Aram to Clement Gamble, Aug.19, 1949; John Aram, Reminiscences; Norton Clapp, Reminiscences.Page two | Forestry index