Medco circa 1940.
BIG TIMBER DEAL MADEMEDFORD, Or., March 16.--(Special.)--The first step in an extensive lumber deal was consummated today when the Hart tract of 6000 acres, near Butte Falls, was sold to Owen Brothers, of Eau Claire, Wis., and Portland, Or. The deal has been pending for some time, and it is probable that the Harkness tract of about the same area will be transferred in the near future. Although no price for the Hart tract was made public, it is estimated at $180,000.
TWO TRACTS OF 6000 ACRES EACH NEAR MEDFORD INVOLVED.
Owen Firm of Wisconsin and Portland Principals--Railway Extension and New Mill Expected.
The deal will involve the extension of the Pacific & Eastern Railroad seven miles and the probable construction of a mill and box factory in Medford at a cost of $100,000. P. W. Murphy probably will be manager of the Butte Falls plant and will move to that city soon with his family. Frank Owen, of Portland, has been in Medford for several months. The Hart tract has been carefully cruised and every phase of the matter investigated. If the entire deal goes through it will mean the development of the timber resources near Medford, the extension of the Pacific & Eastern, and the pouring of thousands of dollars into Medford for several years.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 17, 1914, page 5
RECEIVER'S SALE PACIFIC-EASTERN HELD TOMORROWMuch interest is being manifested in the sale of the Pacific & Eastern Railroad at auction at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon at the depot under orders from the federal court of this district, by Robert F. Maguire of Portland, who is expected to arrive in the city today.
According to rumors there will be several bidders for the property. The most prominent probable bidder is M. D. Olds of Sheboygan, Mich., who arrived in Medford on Sunday and is stopping at the Hotel Medford. Mr. Olds and his agents have spent much time here during the past year buying up timber along the route of the Pacific & Eastern. His main representative stated this noon that neither he nor Mr. Olds had anything to say about the big sale Tuesday, which means so much to the future welfare and development of Medford and the towns along the P.&E. railroad.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 23, 1920, page 6
SIX BILLION FEET OF PINE AND FIR TAPPED BY P.&E.
Now that the Pacific & Eastern Railroad has been sold, all the Medford and Jackson County public is wondering what the new owner's plans are in connection with the operation of the road, and when he will start it. But M. D. Olds won't talk.
However, the fact he has for the past year or more been busy buying up timber holdings and leases in the territory contiguous to the road and the fact that at least one new large mill is in contemplation for Medford leads to the general belief that he will operate the road partly in connection with this contemplated project.
Another patent fact to the well informed is that there are six billion feet of the best timber in Oregon, 60 percent fir and 40 percent pine, in the country east of Medford, mostly in the Butte Falls section, which would be tapped by the operation of the Pacific & Eastern.
While there have been and are many rumors in connection with Mr. Olds and his ownership of the road, some of which, if true, would have a stupendous bearing on the future welfare and development of Medford and the valley, nothing will be known until the Michigan lumber man's plans are perfected. The fact that Mr. Olds refuses to rush into print is taken by many as a good sign, showing that he is not the type of hot air promoter which has led the people of Medford to entertain false hopes so often in the past.
As it is now, the people of Medford, Eagle Point, Butte Falls and the general residents along the P.&E. line are happy that Mr. Olds has bought the road and the strong probability that he will put it in operation within the next year.
But about the sale yesterday: Notwithstanding the rumors that there would be several probable bidders and the fact that until a few hours before the auction the Miller Grier Construction Company of Portland contemplated bidding and had their first payment check of $15,000 deposited, the Pacific & Eastern went under the hammer to M. D. Olds, who was the only bidder, for $196,600, of which $15,000 was to be paid at once and the balance in 60 days.
The sale was conducted by attorney Robert F. Maguire of Portland, special master for the United States court in conducting this transaction before a crowd of about 100, and Mr. Olds' bid was just the exact amount set by the court as the minimum price which would be accepted at the sale.
The Pacific & Eastern had an estimated scrap value of $438,000, according to W. E. Turner, its receiver, who is vice president of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad Co. and System Lines, who after the sale before departing for Portland last night with C. H. Hart, attorney for the receiver, said that the Hill railroad interests favored the sale at auction at the minimum price set by the court, rather than to see the railroad torn up and scrapped.
The rolling stock of the P.&E. went with the sale, consisting principally of two engines, two passenger cars, one box car and six flat cars. The road also had been using for years six S.P.&S. railroad cars, which will probably be taken over by the new owner.
The Miller Grier Construction Company's failing to enter a bid at the sale yesterday is a mystery, as during the forenoon G. M. McDowell, its secretary and treasurer, while in the Mail Tribune office with receiver Turner stated that it would try and purchase the road, and that if it was successful at the sale the company would see that it was operated in the interests of development of the great timber territory east of Medford.
The Pacific & Eastern was built in 1909-1910 by John F. Stevens, the famous engineer, now in Siberia, and was then intended to complete the link of the Hill system between Bend and California.
Medford Mai Tribune, August 25, 1920, page 5
START WORK ON BROWNLEE MILL; RUSH BUILDING
Head Men on Ground for Erection of Plant--Machinery Shipped--Six Months Before Operation--To Employ 500--Will Build Roads into Timber--Develop Timber Holdings
The commencement of work by the Brownlee Lumber Co. on their big lumber mill on their 32-acre site just north of Medford will be received with great enthusiasm, not only by the people of Medford, but of all southern Oregon, as it means a big thing for the city and valley, bringing a payroll of more than 500 people when the mill is in operation and adds another unit to what promises to be one of the biggest industries of the valley.MAIN PLANT OWEN-OREGON LBR. CO.
The mill site is just north of the Pacific & Eastern track and on the Southern Pacific, and Mr. Brownlee, Sr. says that if the P.&E. is not in operation when their mill is erected when their mill is erected they have arrangements made to secure plenty of logs to be shipped on the Southern Pacific.
A temporary office has been built for the mill site. Measurements are being made for the different buildings, and work will be pushed along as rapidly as possible. It will take six or eight months to complete all the buildings and install the machinery. The plant will have a capacity of 125,000 to 150,000 every eight hours and the mill will be run on double shift when in full operation.
J. N. Brownlee and his sons, J. G. and R. O., are the sole owners of the Brownlee Lumber Company, all of whom are here and will be actively engaged in the mill. Their logging superintendent, cruiser and head mechanic are also here directing preparatory work.
This company has been conducting extensive operations near Shubuta, Miss. but have sawed out all their holdings and are tearing down their mill and logging road there to move to Medford. Part of the new machinery to be put in the mill here has already been shipped.
The Brownlee company has been purchasing timber lands around Medford for more than a year and now have between three and four million feet and are purchasing more. They will build eight or ten miles of road from the P.&E. tracks to connect with their timber holdings.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 9, 1920, page 6
BROWNLEE PLANT TO BE COMPLETED SOON
J. N. Brownlee, who returned recently from a trip to the East and Southern states, says conditions for the lumber mills look brighter and that the recent reduction on freight rates will also be a big help to the western mills. The Brownlee Lumber Company's mill in north Medford is progressing nicely and will be completed this summer. Several carloads of machinery have been put in place and two more carloads were received this week.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 5, 1921, page 5
"Lumber activities and irrigation are the two big things which are interesting Medford people just now," reports S. S. Smith, newspaper man of Medford and member of the Republican state executive committee for Jackson County. "The Pacific & Eastern Railroad, which runs from Medford to Butte Falls, is being reconstructed and is to be extended 12 miles into the Four-bit timber which Mr. Olds, owner of the road and the timber, bought some time ago. The Brownlee Lumber Company has about completed the mill which it has been erecting for nearly a year and the mill is waiting on the extension of the railroad, for the Brownlee plant will cut for Mr. Olds and Brownlee. The plant will give employment to several hundred men. The timber to be tapped is what is said to be the largest body of pine in the state--timber in which an ax has never been set."
"Medford People Prominent in Portland News," Medford Mail Tribune, January 19, 1922, page 3
NEW OIL-BURNING ENGINE BOUGHT BY P.&E. RAILROADMedford Mail Tribune, March 31, 1922, page 6
The Pacific and Eastern Railway has recently received from the Porter Bros. shops in Pittsburgh, Penn., a new, prairie type, 62-ton, oil-burning locomotive. The new engine was shipped from Pittsburgh via San Francisco and arrived here via the Southern Pacific several days ago.
A test run was made with the new locomotive about the first of the week and the functioning was above the highest expectations of the officials of the road, the engine having drawn 25 cars from this city to Eagle Point and passing over the grades in the steepest places without difficulty.
It is understood that a number of men have been employed all winter getting the road in condition for operation this spring and that the work is nearing completion. It is expected that the transportation of logs from the Butte Falls timber district will soon begin and that the mills will start operation in the near future.
The Medford sheet metal works has constructed a galvanized iron tank of 7000 gallons capacity for the storage of the fuel oil to be used in the locomotive.
BROWNLEE MILL READY TO OPERATE
Largest Lumber Manufacturing Plant in Southern Oregon Ready to Start
As Soon As P.&E. Brings Down the Logs--
Expect to Put Out 125,000 Board Feet a Day.
The Brownlee Lumber mill which has been under construction for the past year is now complete and ready for operation, and will begin cutting logs as soon as the Pacific & Eastern Railroad supplies them in sufficient quantities from the Butte Falls timber belt.
The mill has an estimated capacity of 125,000 board feet per day and it is expected that when the mill is put into operation this estimate will be exceeded in output. A planing mill to be used in connection with the sawmill and sufficient in size and capacity to surface all of the output of the sawmill is now nearing completion. A millpond, from 5 to 10 feet in depth and more than 5 acres in area, has been constructed and is now full of water ready to receive logs from the railroad.
The Brownlee mill, which has recently been completed and which is now ready to cut lumber at any time the P.&E. railroad can deliver it, is the largest, most modern and complete lumber manufacturing establishment in Southern Oregon.
The lumber will enter the mill from the 5-acre pond in the form of logs and will be transferred to the two carriages which are drawn past the large bandsaw and the circular saw at breathtaking speed by the long steam cylinder, termed "shotgun" in sawmill parlance.
Handle Giant LogsThere are two of these carriages, the largest of which will handle logs up to and including 7 feet in diameter and which passes a bandsaw with a blade 12 or 14 inches in width. The Cunningham band mill which cuts the boards from the log carried on the large carriage is driven by a two-hundred-horsepower steam engine. The carriage has been arranged so that logs of considerable length may be cut, but it is not anticipated by the management that any lumber will be cut in excess of 20 feet in length.
The circular saw on the other side of the mill is provided with a similar carriage and has been installed for the cutting of logs of small diameter, being capable of cutting logs two feet or less in diameter. Both carriages have steam-operated setwork. That is, a number of levers and ratchets operating the rack and pinion arrangement on the carriage for the purpose of advancing the log into a plane with the saw the distance of the desired thickness of the board to be cut do not have to be operated by hand but are operated by one man who holds a control lever in his hand and who sets the log the desired thickness of the next cut by a mere movement of the lever.
Nine Circular Saws OperateAfter the lumber has been cut from the log it will be ripped to the desired width and will be passed on to the trimmer where nine circular saws cut it into the desired lengths. Four circular saws are provided for the cutting of the bark into four-foot lengths for slab wood. The lumber is to be fed to these latter saws by a system of endless chains as is customary in sawmills. The slab wood will drop into a large bin from which it will be taken for fuel purposes and the lumber will be carried on a long trestle across the mill pond to the east side where it will reach the sorting table. This transportation is effected by means of endless chains and cables running on top of the trestle. All of the machinery in the mill with the exception of the band mill is operated by a second large steam engine of about 500 horsepower.
Big Battery BoilersA battery of four large sawdust-burning boilers supplies steam to the engines, "niggers" which are used for shifting and rolling the logs into their places in the mill, and "shotguns."
A complete shop which is now in a temporary building is also an adjunct to the mill and comprises a large lathe, a drill press and other metalworking machinery.
Cut 87,500,000 FeetIt is understood that the mill will cut 87,500,000 feet of timber to be logged by the Millard D. Olds interests. owners of the P.&E. railroad and of large timber interests in this vicinity. The referred to timber is situated in the Butte Falls district and requires the extension of the P.&E. railroad for a distance of 11½ miles above Butte Falls. It is understood that several miles of the extension have been completed up to the present time, although the management of the railroad will give no definite information as to the progress which has been made during the past year. The timber to be cut is in the Four-Bit tract of the Crater National Forest and was purchased a year ago by the Olds interests. The conditions stipulated by the government call for the beginning of cutting operations on or before June 1st, 1923. So, despite the silence of the management of the road the public may be assured that operations will begin within the next year.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 9, 1922, page 24
PUBLIC INSPECTION BROWNLEE MILL TOMLIN FACTORY
Tomorrow's program of "Prosperity Week" consists of a recognition of the industrial and irrigation development that has taken place in the Rogue River Valley within the last few years.
Between the hours of ten and twelve tomorrow morning, the general public is invited to inspect the Tomlin Box Co., the big new Brownlee Lumber Mill and the dumping of logs from the cars of the Pacific & Eastern railway into the mill pond of the Brownlee mill. The Rogue River Canning Co., and other industrial plants will be open for inspection. The Brownlee mill and the operation of the Pacific & Eastern are the two big factors that will bring greater prosperity to the valley than is now being enjoyed.
At two-thirty in the afternoon the D.O.K.K. band will start the ceremony at the city park at which the irrigation development, especially the construction of the Medford Irrigation District system, will be given recognition. The ceremony is in charge of a committee of the Medford Chamber of Commerce, of which Benj. C. Sheldon is chairman.
In the evening the Medford Post of the American Legion will stage a busy night in Jacksonville in 1848. [No white people lived in the Rogue Valley in 1848.] No human being, unless he lived in Jacksonville at that time, can visualize what such a night really included, and a correct reproduction in every detail is promised.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 14, 1922, page 6
BROWNLEE-OLDS MILL TO MAKE 1ST RUN MONDAY
The Brownlee-Olds Lumber Co. will make the first run of the big new mill in North Medford next Monday and hope after a few days of adjusting machinery and doing other things necessary to starting a plant, to be running steady.
This will be welcome news, as it means the employment of a large number of men, a splendid payroll and the opening of the lumber industry in this community on a large scale.
A logging camp was established near Butte Falls the first of the week and the number of men will be increased as the demand of the mill requires.
The railroad has been rebuilt to Butte Falls, the new road graded several miles from there into the lumber district, fifteen new modern logging cars of 80,000-pound capacity, built in Oregon, were received this week, and with the twenty other logging cars and three engines, makes a splendid equipment for the logging road.
The new whistle you hear of mornings, noons and nights is the mill whistle.
They are also digging a large well to supply water for the mill and mill pond.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 14, 1922, page 6
Circular Saw Bites into First Log at Brownlee's Lumber Mill
The teeth of the big circular saw at the Brownlee mill bit into the first fir log Tuesday morning and the mill will now continue operation, steadily increasing its output and crew daily for some time to come.
The management expects to saw between 60,000 and 70,000 feet of lumber a day, working one shift, within the next month and between 125,000 and 150,000 feet within another two or three months when the band mill will be started.
Only one side of the mill is now in operation, the big band mill resting until the P.&E. railroad, which brings the logs from Butte Falls, gets its full equipment and is operating to capacity.
The railroad has ordered 15 new logging cars from the Pacific Car Company in Portland, four of which have already arrived, and is having a number of flatcars rebuilt for logging purposes.
The five-acre mill pond, with a capacity of 3,000,000 feet of lumber in logs, is about one-fifth full and the management counts on these logs to keep one side of the mill busy until the railroad is operating steadily. The railroad also furnishes logs for the sawmill of the Tomlin box factory, which is cutting a large quantity of lumber and turning out hundreds of thousands of boxes per annum.
It has been more than two years since the beginning of construction of the Brownlee mill which has been practically complete for some time. A planing mill which is capable of handling and surfacing all of the lumber which the big saw can cut has also been constructed and both have been waiting for the operation of the railroad for several months.
All day Monday was spent making final adjustments on the mill machinery which was finally put in satisfactory operating order yesterday. Medford citizens are glad to see the mill in operation at last and merchants and business men welcome the addition which it will make to the local payroll.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 9, 1922, page B5
BROWNLEE LUMBER GETS EQUIPMENT FOR SPRING WORK
Two Clyde skidders were received this week by the Brownlee Lumber Company for use in their timber operations in the Butte Falls district, and are being shipped to that section. The skidders are the same type as used by the Weed Lumber Company in their logging, are a highly complicated piece of machinery, and some idea of their size can be gained from the fact that six flatcars were used in transporting them from the East. They are used in hauling logs with wire cables to the tracks, and take the place of the old donkey engines.
A leader and steam shovel to be used in the work are en route from the East, and are expected to arrive this month.
It is expected that the machinery will all be on hand and installed by February 1st and ready for operation at that time, though no definite date has been set.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 5, 1922, page 3
JAMES H. OWEN HERE TO INSPECT LUMBER SITUATIONMr. and Mrs. James H. Owen arrived in Medford the first of March after a several months' visit in the East and expect to remain here for the next two months.
J. H. Owen, who resigned from the presidency of the California and Oregon Lumber Company at Brookings, Ore., and disposed of his interests in that concern last fall, is looking for a location to begin lumber manufacture again.
He is looking over the situation here and states that he has made no definite decision as to the beginning of operations. A. R. Owen, representing the John S. Owen interests, of Owen, Wis., will arrive about May 1, to collaborate with J. H. Owen and give the situation a close inspection and fuller consideration.
The John S. Owen interests own approximately 15,000 acres of timber in the Butte Falls district which is penetrated by the Brownlee-Olds Lumber Company railroad. A little over half the timber is yellow and sugar pine while the remainder is Douglas fir.
The John S. Owen interests also own the John S. Owen Lumber Company at Owen, Wis., near Eau Claire, and the Rust-Owen Lumber Company at Drummond, Wis.
In regard to the local situation Mr. Owen makes it quite emphatic that nothing is being done at present and that there is no certainty of anything being done.
The Del Norte Triplicate of Oct. 13, 1922, expresses the following sentiment with regard to the resignation of James H. Owen as head of the C. and O. Lumber Company:
"J. H. Owen has resigned from the presidency of the California and Oregon Lumber Company, and has disposed of his interests in that concern, according to information reaching here this week, the resignation having already taken effect.
"Mr. Owen built the town of Brookings and to his executive ability and farsightedness the concern reached a high pinnacle in the Pacific Coast lumber world. Hampered by every obstacle conceivable he kept his organization intact through the trying times of the war and soon as it was over he battled through the depression period, coming up with a bigger and better equipment to take care of the growing business.
"Mr. Owen still has and represents large timber holdings in this county and contemplates entering business here, according to information reaching here. Mr. Owen's entry into the lumber business in Del Norte County would mean the construction and operation of another big redwood mill. The Triplicate feels perfectly safe in assuring him the full cooperation of the people in Del Norte for any payroll proposition he might inaugurate here."
Medford Mail Tribune, March 8, 1923, page 1
M. D. OLDS BUYS BROWNLEE MILL NORTH MEDFORDThe Brownlee Lumber Mill in Medford, with a capacity of 125,000 feet every eight hours, has been sold to M. D. Olds, owner of the Pacific & Eastern Railroad, and will be operated by Mr. Olds assisted by his son-in-law, G. L. Buhrman. Although the rumor of the sale has been current for some time, it was only confirmed today. Neither party to the sale would make public the consideration, but it is known to involve a large sum. The transaction places the Olds interests in control of a large supply of timber, transportation for the same, and a mill to finish the raw product and will undoubtedly mean a great deal to the commercial development of Medford and Jackson County.
Mr. Olds is one of the largest timber operators in Michigan, and while very conservative and averse to publicity is known to be one of the most efficient and far-sighted operators in the country today. Since purchasing the P.&E. Railroad the Olds interests have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in making improvements and extensions, and when completed this line will be one of the best logging railroads in the state. Mr. Brownlee has made no announcement concerning his future plans, but it is believed he will retain his interest in the timber development of Southern Oregon, and retain his residence in this city.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 4, 1923, page 1
NOTE THREATENS BLOW UP PLANT UNLESS MAN FIREDM. D. Olds of the Brownlee-Olds Lumber Company received the following unsigned threatening letter Friday morning:
"You better give a man with a family a job as night watchman. If you don't get rid of Grezier Shultz, the old pro-German, we will blow your planer to h--l."
The letter is poorly printed on grey writing paper. About a year ago a letter of similar text and import was received by John R. Tomlin of the Tomlin Box Factory, and Newcomb's woodyard.
Regarding the anonymous letter, M. D. Olds issued the following statement:
"I wish to say to the writer of the above article that we have been employing all people that were willing to do a day's work, and wanted to work, and if the writer of the article has any grievance against Mr. Schultz, I would advise him to take it up direct with Mr. Schultz and not ask me to do things against Mr. Schultz that he would like to see done, and threaten the blowing up of my plant if I wouldn't do these things.
"Brownlee-Olds Lumber Co.,County authorities are investigating the letter.
"By M.D. Olds."
Medford Mail Tribune, June 2, 1923, page 6
Night Watchman RepliesTo the Editor: I would like to inform the party or parties that were cowardly enough to send Mr. Olds that letter in regard to myself that I
will be on duty at 6 p.m. on the night of the 5th inst., all being well, and that if they are bent on blowing up, to start with me, as it will not take as much dynamite to blow me up as it would to blow up the planer; and to be sure to make a good shot the first time, for if I have to shoot in self-defense I will strive to mark my man and protect the property left in my charge, and I hereby brand the writer of said letter a coward and a cur, with all the other foul names known in the English language.
R. R. SCHULTZ.Medford, May 5.
"Communications," Medford Mail Tribune, June 5, 1923, page 4
BROWNLEE TO BUILD A MILL NEAR MEDFORDThe lumber industry in Medford and Jackson County promises to be one of the greatest resources in Southern Oregon, and the latest addition will be the erection of another mill on the Rogue River, near McLeod bridge, with a capacity of seven to eight million feet of lumber per hour.
Work on New Structure at McLeod Started Today--New Planing Mill and Yard to Be Built in Medford in the Near Future.
This will be erected by the Brownlee Lumber Co., that built the big mill in North Medford and recently sold the same to the Olds Lumber Co.
Work on the logging camp near McLeod commenced today and the cutting of timber will be rushed, as will also the erection of the mill, which will begin next week. The machinery has all been ordered and will commence to arrive soon.
The Brownlee Lumber Company will also put in a concentration yard and planing mill in Medford to handle the lumber from the McLeod mill. Work on the plant here will begin within 60 days. The company has established an office in the Medford building and the business and shipping will be transacted from here.
Another mill of greater capacity will be commenced this fall by the same company at McLeod and they expect to run both mills the year round. They have 8000 acres of excellent pine and fir timber in that territory and the mills will both be located on their property.
J. N. Brownlee has been in the lumber business for 43 years, came here a few years ago from Mississippi, purchased a big block of timber and erected the mill recently sold. R. O. Brownlee, his son, junior member of the firm, has also been in the lumber business several years.
The people of Medford and Southern Oregon are glad the Brownlees have decided to remain here and erect these mills, as they are the kind of people that build up a community, and the new mills mean a greatly increased payroll for the city and valley.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 28, 1923, page 1
MR. BROWNLEE MAKES STATEMENTReferring to your account of the council proceedings in last night's Mail Tribune, there has evidently been a mistake as I have not asked for permission to haul over the city streets. I have not decided where my plant will be located and do not know that I will wish to haul over them.
I made some inquiries from a city official as to the ordinances regarding hauling on the streets so that I could have the information in making my plans.
Our city officials are as anxious as I am to build up Medford, and I am sure that should it be necessary to use the streets to establish a new enterprise such permission would be granted provided there is no danger of serious injury to the pavements.
We all want Medford to have all the new enterprises we can get and we particularly need plants that can operate during the winter months.
J. N. BROWNLEE.Medford Mail Tribune, August 23, 1923, page 3
BROWNLEE MILL BOILER ROOM IS GUTTED BY FIREA fire which started in the boiler room of the Brownlee-Olds Lumber Company sawmill at the end of North Central at six o'clock last evening damaged the boiler room to such an extent that the mill will be out of operation for a month and completely destroyed the barn and burned one horse to death. The financial loss has not been computed.
Horse Burns to Death in Barn--Mill Out of Commission for Month--Foreman Gives Account of Start of Blaze--Traffic Congested at Scene.
Sam Campbell, foreman, was just giving the night watchman final instructions and was making his inspection before leaving the mill for the night when he noticed a small spot of fire in the sawdust in front of the boilers. "I have put out such a spot many times with the water bucket," said Mr. Campbell this morning. "I walked over to it and stepped on it to smother it. In a flash the fine dust floating around in the air was ignited and exploded with a burst of flame, setting the whole boiler house on fire."
By the time the hose was brought into action from the pumps outside the boiler house the fire had gained considerable headway, although the unkinking of hoses and the turning of the valves had taken but a minute or two.
The mill employees battled the blaze for some time before the fire department was called. The department was called about 6:30 and arrived in quick time after the alarm had been turned in. Upon their arrival, the barn, a short distance southwest of the boiler house and in the direct line of the breeze that was blowing at the time, was burning fiercely. Six horses had been housed in the structure and five had been removed. The sixth was burned to death. Hoses were attached to the small water main which ends near the mill pond, but pressure was inadequate for effective fighting of the flames. Four lines of hose played weak streams on the fire from the small main and the flames were brought under control.
The Forest Service fire patrol arrived with a gas engine pumping outfit, which was set to work pumping a fifth stream with an inch and a half line of hose from the mill pond, and rendered valuable assistance.
The wind was in favor of the firefighters as it was blowing from the northeast and the flames of the burning boiler house were swept away from the mill and toward the horse barn. Several drums of lubricating oil and a drum of kerosene in the burning barn were cooled off and rolled away before they caught fire.
The boilers were not damaged by the heat of the burning building to any serious extent. The stacks, however, were badly bent and twisted and several of them, that furnish the draft for the five large boilers, were damaged to an extent that will demand replacement before the mill can again be put into operation. According to G. L. Buhrman it is expected to be a month before the necessary repairs can be made. Mr. Buhrman would give no estimate on the damage done by the blaze but it is supposed that it will be found to reach several thousand dollars. The damage, however, is not as extensive as it was at first thought it would be, the boiler having remained practically undamaged.
Hundreds of cars drove to the scene of the fire and spectators crowded the streets and blocked the traffic on the roads near the mill until it was necessary for officers to take the congested traffic in hand. In fact one arrest resulted from the refusal of a driver to comply with the request to move, made by a traffic officer.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 1, 1923, page 1
OWEN COMPANY MAY CONSTRUCT ANOTHER MILLPapers were signed Friday afternoon whereby the timber holdings and accessories of M. D. Olds were transferred to the Oregon-Owen Timber Company, involving over a million dollars. It was the largest timber deal ever consummated in Southern Oregon, and after the first announcement of the sale several days were taken up in threshing out details.
The deal includes 11,000 across of timber in the Butte Falls district, where the Owen company has large holdings, the Pacific and Eastern Railway, 50 miles in length, the Brownlee-Olds sawmill of this city, and the camp and other equipment of Olds.
Incidental to the above transaction is the purchase by the Owen company of 8000 acres of timber in the Butte Falls district belonging to J. D. Brownlee.
"The completion of the Olds deal has somewhat altered our plans for the future," said James D. Owen, local manager and vice president of the Oregon-Owen company this morning. "A meeting of our directors will be held to consider plans for the construction of our plant in this city. There is nothing certain about what action they will take, but it is my guess that they will authorize its construction, as the Brownlee mill is too small to handle the volume of business that we want to handle.
"Now that we have acquired the Olds properties, our first move will be to improve the railroad so it will stand heavy traffic, and finish the erection of a sawdust burner at the mill to eliminate the smoke nuisance and danger.
"The magnitude of the deal we have just completed involves the picking up of a number of loose ends, and it will be some time before we get straightened out the way we want to be."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 3, 1924, page 1
LOCATION OWEN-OREGON MILLS OF VITAL INTERESTShall Medford possess a million-dollar lumber plant at the north end of town? This is the question now being weighed in the mental balances of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company of which James H. Owen is vice-president and general manager. It is his business sagacity and judgment which will largely determine this most important matter, and a decision will be reached in the near future, likely within ten days or two weeks. John S. Owen, president of the company whose residence is Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and other members of the firm have met here several times, the last visit being last week, and it is definitely decided that such a plant will be built in proximity to the company's large timber holdings northeast of this city in the Butte Falls timber district. This body of superb timber, consisting of billions of feet, is ripe and ready for the saw, and the market is ready for it. The big plant to transform the logs into lumber will be built, and the only question is, where will it be located?
TO MEDFORD BUSINESS
Largest Industrial Plant in Southern Oregon Will Decide on Building Site Immediately.
LOCATION OF MILLS IS TO BE DECIDED
Advantages and Disadvantages ConsideredMedford has advantages. It is at the junction of the Southern Pacific and the Pacific and Eastern railroads. The latter road is owned by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company and extends from here to Butte Falls and into the company's timber lands. As a manufacturing site considered from the point of shipping facilities, Medford has the edge on other locations. It is also a pleasant place to live, both for the management and the help. Sufficient water can be arranged for both for steam and the ponds and conditions generally are satisfactory. Barring three important points it has advantages over the other contemplated sites. The damp and foggy weather in the winter season requires dry kilns for curing pine lumber, which blues easily.
Places higher up--Butte Falls among them--will not require dry kilns. And the company has ample grounds at Butte Falls which it has not got here. It will require quite an addition to the present company holdings to supply room for this comprehensive plant. Another thing the management is considering: when a million dollars or more are placed in improvements alongside a city boundary, there is a great temptation to extend the limits and take in this source of revenue. City taxes added to state and county taxes as well as federal income taxes makes a heavy burden, especially for a new industry. But, as stated, a decision will soon be reached, for the head engineer is expected in a few days to pass on some technical points.
Plant To Be Strictly ModernAll buildings, machinery and appliances will be strictly modern, and the mill will cut seventy-five million feet of lumber per year, according to manager James H. Owen. When the location is definitely decided upon work will be immediately commenced and continue methodically until the whole panorama of mills, ponds, buildings, etc., is completed. In addition to the million or more dollars invested in the mill property, $200,000 will be spent in improving the railroad, says Mr. Owen.
The Brownlee-Olds mill taken over by the company has been remodeled and improved and is now running at full capacity, cutting 125,000 feet of lumber per shift. Many improvements have been added including a modern and expensive furnace for burning sawdust and waste from the mills.
The employees are apparently well satisfied with conditions and have agreed to work nine hours per day, for which a minimum wage of 40 cents per hour is paid.
Already three large concerns have secured concessions from Mr. Owen to build box factories near the new mills wherever located.
Medford Clarion, July 25, 1924, page 1
OWEN-OREGON CO. GETS LOCOMOTIVEThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. have just received a large Willamette Shay geared locomotive for their logging operation from the Willamette Iron & Steel Works.
They are also purchasing a heavy rod locomotive for their main line, so they will be in a position to haul thirty cars of logs per train as soon as they complete the retieing and ballasting of the main line.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 15, 1924, page 12
OWEN OREGON CO. TO CONSTRUCT 5 BIG DRY KILNSA force of 100 men are now ballasting and repairing the Pacific and Eastern Railway between this city and Butte Falls, and immediate construction of a battery of five dry kilns at their local plant are two chief undertakings of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company at present in their Southern Oregon operations.
The railroad will be put in first-class condition for winter operations, and the dry kilns will be rushed to completion. This addition will eliminate stains in lumber.
The company recently purchased a new locomotive for logging operations and will use a fleet of high-powered caterpillar tractors with big wheels for hauling logs in the woods, instead of the stationary donkey engines. The tractors will be able to haul and handle 150,000 feet of logs a day.
Manager James S. Owen of the local plant said Tuesday that the Owen-Oregon company would have a display at the county fair, in conjunction with the forestry service, showing the products of the forests. They will also show photographs of their equipment and the advances in transportation methods in lumbering, from the horse up to the giant mogul locomotive recently purchased.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 20, 1924, page 2
OWEN-OREGON CO. STARTS TO BUILD BIG WAREHOUSESWork will be started at once by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company at their plant in this city on the construction of two lumber storage warehouses, each 85 feet wide and 800 feet long. Each will hold 2,000,000 feet of finished lumber, and with a loading capacity of 20 box cars.
The warehouse will be equipped with a crane, whereby the lumber will be handled, and will be stacked, sorted, and unstacked by machinery. The lumber will also be handled in packages containing about 2000 feet of lumber, an innovation in the business.
Work will also be started at once on a battery of 15 dry kilns, each 105 feet long and 12 feet wide. The kilns will be connected with the storage sheds by automatic carriers and sorters.
Plans for both these additions to the local plant were received Wednesday from Peter Swan, supervising mill architect of Portland.
Manager Owen said Wednesday that as soon as the equipment could be secured, the local mill will be put on two shifts.
The company has completed the ballasting of the railroad from the terminal in the timber to Butte Falls, and the crew is now working towards this city. The ballast is distributed at night, and new ties installed, and the tamping done in the daytime. When completed the railroad will be able to handle the heaviest traffic. It is expected that it will take from 60 to 90 days to complete the work.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 4, 1924, page 3
BUILD OREGON-OREGON PLANT IN MEDFORDDefinite announcement was made Tuesday that the main plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company would be built in this city by James H. Owen, general manager of the company, on the present site near the north end of Central Avenue, augmented by recently acquired property. It is the most important and beneficial step in the industrial history of Southern Oregon.
MILL SITE DEFINITELY DECIDED ON
James H. Owen, General Manager, Makes Announcement That Definite Decision Has Been Made--Will Rush Work on Construction to Cover 100 Acres of Land.
The plant will cover 100 acres of land when completed, and will involve an expenditure of approximately $1,000,000.
The main features of the new industry are:
The enlargement of the millpond to cover ten acres for the storage of logs.
The building of a new planing mill, with new machinery.
The construction of the first unit of Crane dry storage sheds.
The erection of a battery of 20 dry kilns, five now being under way.
Work begun on lath mill at once with a capacity of 15,000 per day.
The building of a railroad roundhouse, machine shop, oil storage tanks, loading decks, storage and supply sheds.
The operation of two camps in the woods--one for fir, and one for pine.
The maintenance and operation of the Pacific and Eastern Railroad between this city and Butte Falls.
Plans have been drawn for all of the above work, and contracts have been, let, or soon will be, for all of the above construction at early date.
The building of the man mill will be deferred until the subsidiary plants are finished, the present mill being used in furnishing material for the new work. Manager Owen said that the date of the completion of the new big mill was indefinite, but would be rushed as fast as possible.
Cut 75 Million Feet a Year.The plant, when complete, will cut between 60 and 75 million feet of lumber a year. The payroll will average in the neighborhood of $70,000 per month, with between 500 and 600 men regularly employed. The present capacity is approximately 30,000,000 board feet per year. The present payroll is about $45,000 per month, with 325 men employed. One of the difficulties besetting the new industry is sufficient housing facilities for the employees. The management announces that wherever feasible and possible they will employ men of families.
It is the present plan to operate on a double shift basis, beginning January 1, 1925, increasing the capacity to 50,000,000 board feet.
The main mill, storage sheds, lumber yards, planing mill and other incidentals will be located north of the present railroad tracks, and the roundhouse, railroad yards and oil storage tanks will be located south of the tracks.
Complete Water System.A complete water and drainage system will be installed at once, including a 1000-gallon-per-minute fire pump, fed by eight- and ten-inch mains. A 100-foot steel trestle will be erected, with a 100,000-gallon storage tank. The entire plant will be equipped with automatic fire sprinklers which spray at a danger temperature and sound alarms of fire.
The plant will be driven by electric power, steam being used in the dry kilns.
The alleyways of the lumber yards will be paved with cement, to permit fast handing of the lumber by carriers and pilers.
The plant will be modern and complete in every respect, and fitted with the latest devices of the lumber industry, including lumber stackers and unstackers, carriers from mill to dry kilns, handling of lumber by crane and hydraulic carrier trucks. Every recognized safety device will be installed in the plant, which will rank with the leading mills of the Pacific Coast.
In the woods, the company will operate two separate and complete camps, one for the handling of fir, and the other for the handling of pine. In the pine camp, Holt and Best power caterpillars with big wheels will be used in the handling of the logs, and in the fir camp, steam yarders will be used.
The Company Holdings.The holdings of the Owen-Oregon company consist of 50,000 acres in the Butte Falls district, with a contract from the United States forestry service for the cutting of 100,000,000 feet of pine timber.
The railroad will entail the operation of four locomotives in hauling logging trains. 100 men are now engaged in re-ballasting, re-tieing and strengthening and building new trestles along the right of way.
Among the educational features established recently by the Owen Oregon company in its present plant is the installing of a school for lumber graders, with lectures weekly by a grading expert. This school is now regularly attended by from 30 to 40 employees.
Property Is Secured.Property needed by the lumber company in the operation of the plant was procured this week, after being in abeyance for several weeks, and was immediately followed by a definite statement from General Manager Owen that the plant would be established here.
The output of the mill will be evenly divided between fir and pine. Practically all the pine will be shipped to the eastern market. Fir will be shipped as far east as Oho, for manufacturing purposes largely, and a large percentage of the fir will be sold in California and the eastern markets.
The city of Medford will start work immediately on the construction of a road and sidewalk from the end of North Central to the mill.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 17, 1924, page 1
TO BE AT MEDFORD
Definite announcement was made Tuesday that the main plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company would be built in this city by James H. Owen, general manager of the company, on the present site near the north end of Central Avenue, augmented by recently acquired property. It is the most important and beneficial step in the industrial history of southern Oregon, according to The Medford Mail Tribune.
The plant will cover 100 acres of land when completed, and will involve an expenditure of approximately $1,000,000.
The main features of the new industry are:
The enlargement of the millpond to cover ten acres, for the storage of logs.
The building of a new planing mill, with new machinery.
The construction of the first unit of Crane dry storage sheds.
The erection of a battery of 20 dry kilns, five now being under way.
Work begun on lath mill at once with a capacity of 15,000 per day.
The building of a railroad roundhouse, machine shop, oil storage tanks, loading decks, storage and supply sheds.
The operation of two camps in the woods--one for fir, and one for pine.
The maintenance and operation of the Pacific and Eastern Railroad between this city and Butte Falls.
Plans have been drawn for all of the above work, and contracts have been let, or soon will be, for all of the above construction at early date.
The building of the main mill will be deferred until the subsidiary plants are finished, the present mill being used in furnishing material for the new work. Manager Owen said that the date of the completion of the new big mill was indefinite, but would be rushed as fast as possible.
Cut 75 Million Feet a Year
The plant, when complete, will cut between 60 and 75 million feet of lumber a year. The payroll will average in the neighborhood of $70,000 per month, with between 500 and 600 men regularly employed. The present capacity is approximately 30,000,000 board feet per year. The present payroll is about $15,000 per month, with 325 men employed. One of the difficulties besetting the new industry is sufficient housing facilities for the employees. The management announces that wherever feasible and possible they will employ men of families.
It is the present plan to operate on a double shift basis, beginning January 1, 1926, increasing the capacity to 50,000,000 board feet.
Ashland Daily Tidings, September 18, 1924, page 1
P. AND E. RAILROAD INCORPORATED AS MEDFORD LOGGINGThrough articles of incorporation filed at Salem last week, the Pacific & Eastern Railway is now the Medford Logging Company railroad, a subsidiary concern of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, and owned and operated by them. The incorporators are listed us A. E. Reames, president; Charles Reames, vice president, and V. V. Plymale, secretary. The amount of the capitalization is $2,000,000.
The railroad, built originally by the Hill lines, runs between the local plant of the concern and Butte Falls, and in its day has furnished many a boom story of railroad development in these parts. At various times it has been the link of a transcontinental line from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean, and has fallen into the hands several times of the Union Pacific, the Great Northern, and the Burlington lines, seeking new territory and a route into San Francisco. Nothing ever came of these rumors, however.
Last summer it was acquired from M. D. Olds by the Owen-Oregon company who immediately started reballasting and repairing the roadbed for heavy traffic. They will operate four locomotives and extensive railroad equipment.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 29, 1924, page 3
OWEN-OREGON CO. TO OPEN UP NEXT WEEK, DOUBLE SHIFTMedford Mail Tribune, January 12, 1925, page 3
The. Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will start operating its plant in this city, on a double shift, beginning next week, furnishing additional employment to between 100 and 150 men. Accumulation of orders, and a government contract for cutting timber in the Butte Falls district, is given as the reason for the additional shift. Later the plant will run three shifts, according to the announced plans.
New machinery is being installed in the local mill, and the work is being rushed. Another shipment of machinery is due this week.
The superstructure of the shed for the housing of the lumber crane is up and the first unit of a battery of dry kilns has been completed and [is] ready for operation. Enlargement of the logging pond and the erection of a water tower have been completed.
In anticipation of the double shift operations, the logging camps of the company have been operating all winter and have thousands of feet of logs decked in the Butte Falls district, ready for hauling by the Medford logging railroad (nee P.&E.), a subsidiary corporation of the lumber company.
The city has not yet fulfilled its promise to fix the road leading to mill property, and as a result the mud is hub deep, and rivaling the far-famed "fields of Flanders," causing great inconvenience alike to traffic and pedestrians.
OWEN-OREGON CO. FIXES UP ROAD TO LOCAL MILLH. S. Lovejoy, of Janesville, Wis., secretary of the Owen Lumber Company, and A. R. Owen, of Owen, Wis., vice president of the concern, will arrive tomorrow for a directors meeting of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company in this city. They are accompanied by John S. Owen, II, who has been spending the holidays in Wisconsin. James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Company, leaves tonight for Portland to meet the directors.
The Owen-Oregon Company has started fixing the road to its plant. It is well nigh impassable, and gravel is being hauled on the thoroughfare to make the heavy hauling possible, as the mud is hub deep on a vehicle. Local officials agreed to macadamize the road, and to this end hauled sand and spread it, but the rain set in before it was finished.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 14, 1925, page 8
OWEN-OREGON CO. WILL SOON SHIP 15 CARS PER DAYMedford Mail Tribune, January 29, 1925, page 3
The annual spring rumor of railroad building in Southern Oregon has made its appearance on the streets, and instead of heading for the Blue Ledge mine, the former standby, the mythical line is being built in the opposite direction. "Dame Rumor hath it" that the Medford Logging Railroad (nee P.&E.) operated by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will be extended to Bend, Oregon.
"We never dreamed of such a thing. Preposterous!" said James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen interests in this section, this morning. "That's the biggest pipe dream I've run across in a long time."
The local plant of the Owen-Oregon Company is now operating on a double shift, and cutting approximately 240,000 feet of lumber a day. This output with the byproducts will average about 15 cars a day, to be shipped out of the valley.
A. R. Owen, a director of the lumber concern, is making a general survey of the plant and timber holdings in this section, and considering future plans of the company, which have not been definitely decided upon.
The Tomlin box factory Wednesday received ten new flat cars, which will be used in hauling logs over the Medford logging railroad. The flat cars were switched to the Tomlin plant this morning, and will be put in operation as soon as weather conditions permit.
PAVEMENT WILL BE CONSTRUCTED TO OWEN-ORE. MILLMedford Mail Tribune, February 4, 1925, page 3
At a meeting of the county court this morning, it was decided to fulfill the promise made by the last county court, and pave the road to the plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company.
The county agreed to furnish $285, the city $200, and C. J. Semon agreed to build the road for $485, construction to start as soon as weather conditions permit.
Owing to the rains and the heavy traffic this winter, the road is now in a deplorable shape.
WORK IS STARTED ON NEW ROAD TO OWEN-OREGON CO.Medford Mail Tribune, February 5, 1925, page 2
Work began today on the extension of North Central Avenue from the city limits to the Owen-Oregon mill, by C. J. Semon, who was awarded the contract Wednesday for the road building.
The road will be 16 feet wide and built of crushed rock, to cost $485, $285 being furnished by the county and $200 by the city. Semon guarantees that the road will stand up under any kind of traffic, in any kind of weather.
A delegation of citizens called on the county court Wednesday morning in regard to the road, and got prompt action without argument. The city was represented by Mayor Alenderfer, the Chamber of Commerce by Robert H. Boyle, the business interests by Vernon H. Vawter of the Jackson County Bank, and Floyd Hart for the Tomlin box factory.
OWEN-OREGON CO. HAS TIMBER TO LAST 20 YEARSGain Robinson of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company was the principal speaker at the Kiwanis luncheon at the Hotel Medford yesterday, and in his talk he told of the vast importance of the lumber industry to Medford. Many facts regarding the operation of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company were brought out and inasmuch at facts were of interest to every citizen of our community, some of them are quoted herein.
Gain Robinson of Local Company Gives Interesting Facts Concerning Medford's New Industry--Fourth Largest Pine Mill on Coast.
The Owen-Oregon Lumber Company has 50,000 acres of timber under its control, practically all located in the Butte Falls district. There are approximately a billion and a half feet of lumber in this acreage, sufficient to last for 25 years at the present rate of their mill production. The company is extending its operations into the "Four Bit" timber reserve and expects to start cutting this timber the coming summer. In addition to the present road to Butte Falls, 18 miles of logging road has been added and all of the track from Medford to the timber has been put in fine shape. It was necessary to do considerable work on the old road bed in order to hold up under the heavy tonnage which is now being hauled over this railroad. In the timber the company has two modern geared-type locomotives and these haul the logs to Derby where the trains are brought into Medford with the very latest type 75-ton Baldwin locomotive. Eighty of the latest type logging cars are owned by the company. It is the plan of the company to have its sawmill completely motorized, building its present steam plant exclusively for dry kilns. At the present time the plant is operated with two shifts and cutting 240,000 feet of lumber daily or 60,000,000 feet a year.
A fact which perhaps is not realized by the people of Medford is that the Owen-Oregon lumber mill is the fourth largest mill on the Pacific Coast, cutting pine lumber. The only other mills which exceed its production are the ones at Weed, McCloud and Red River.
Ten big carloads of finished lumber are turned out at the mill every day and shipped out of Medford; this does not include byproducts.
In a short time the company will have in operation its new lath and picket mill which will turn out 24,000 laths each day. Five dry kilns have just been completed and construction has been started on even more which will give the plant a total of 22 dry kilns in operation by fall.
The new planing mill has just been completed and is considered one of the most modern and best on the coast.
The company uses an 80-foot electric crane which is used for loading purposes in the yards and directly into the cars. Four lumber carriers are used in the yards.
The company is building a new yard in order to handle its increased production and this yard is being tiled and built for permanency.
At the present time the company is employing slightly over 400 men and its annual payroll at the present time amounts to over $750,000, and as operations increase it is expected that the payroll will reach the million-dollar mark. Local expenditures in Medford during the past two months amount to over $40,000, and it is the policy of the company to favor local purchases wherever they can be purchased on an equal basis here. These purchases consist principally of food, supplies for camps, gasoline, oils, etc.
From the above figures one can gain a fairly good idea of the vast benefit this new industry is to Medford and the Rogue River Valley.
Dr. E. J. Miller of Nashville, Tennessee, also spoke at the luncheon and caused considerable mirth by telling a number of short stories.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 24, 1925, page 66
LOGGING CAMP OF OWEN-OREGON CO. IS PRAISEDMedford Mail Tribune, April 28, 1925, page 3
The logging camp of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., located on Four-Bit Creek, is one of the most modern and attractive camps in this region, according to Geo. H. West, lumberman for the Forest Service, who is in Medford on business today.
The cook house, store rooms and dining rooms have been mounted on five flat cars and located on a spur of the logging road. Sidewalks have been built connecting these buildings with the bunk houses, of which there are 20, each housing four men.
The camp is equipped with running water and shower baths. All garbage and rubbish is disposed of in sanitary pits; the buildings are painted battleship gray and the whole camp presents a neat appearance.
Logging operations on this unit are under the supervision of the Forest Service since the area is within the Crater National Forest. Only the mature trees are being cut on this tract, and the most modern methods of logging will be used, particular care being taken to do a minimum of damage to the young growth, thus assuring a future crop of timber. It is estimated that another crop of timber will be of marketable size on the tract in 80 years, and in the meantime the watershed will still be protected.
The Owen-Oregon Co. is doing everything possible to reduce the fire hazard during the operation. The brush is piled and will be burned late in the fall when little or no damage will result to the young trees and remaining seed trees.
The building of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company's new mill is progressing rapidly.
"Building Activities in Medford Greater Than for Many Years," Medford Sun, May 10, 1925, page C2
OWEN-OREGON CO. GETS EQUIPMENT FOR WINTER WORKMedford Mail Tribune, August 3, 1925, page 3
Plans for the all-winter operation of the logging camps and local plant of the Owen-Oregon Company have been completed, with the ordering of equipment for handling timber in snow. In the summer, the company uses Caterpillar tractors and wheeled carriers. In the winter they will use donkey engines and steam skids, and follow Wisconsin methods of handling logs in deep snow. The operations of the company have just completed five more dry kilns, making a total of 12, and have started construction of a shed 80 by 220 feet for the storage of new dry rough lumber.
Stanley R. Hodgeman of Spokane, Wash., an efficiency expert, arrived Sunday and will inspect the local plant and file a report on the manufacturing and operation thoroughness and any needed improvements to increase the same.
James H. Owen, general manager of the local plant, will leave next week for Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to attend the annual directors meeting of the company.
OWEN-OREGON TO ERECT A $50,000 OFFICE BUILDINGMedford Mail Tribune, October 28, 1925, page 5
Plans are being considered by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company for the construction at an early date of a $50,000 office building, at their plant in this city.
The building will be two-story, 100 by 75 in dimensions, and Gothic in design. It will provide quarters for every branch of the company's operations in Southern Oregon.
The offices themselves will be the last word in equipment, with plate glass partitions, wickets, mahogany desks, and scientific lighting and ventilation systems.
There will be a lawn around the building, with landscape decorations.
The site for the building has not been selected, but will be on the mill property.
The executive committee, of which John S. Owen of Oshkosh, Wis., is the head, is expected to meet early next month to approve and consider the plans made for a $500,000 improvement program of the local plant, operations on same to start in the spring.
OWEN-OREGON CO. GIVES DINNER TO 100 EMPLOYEESMedford Mail Tribune, December 21, 1925, page 3
James H. Owen, vice-president and general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., entertained about one hundred of the company employees at dinner in the Craters' special dining room at the Hotel Medford last evening. An exceptionally nice turkey dinner served under the direction of Emil Mohr was greatly enjoyed by all present.
Unfortunately, the dining room facilities were not large enough to accommodate more than a hundred at one time, so it was not possible to invite the entire force of the company's employees for this occasion. More meetings of a similar type are planned for a little later on, in the hope that the men in the various departments of the operation may become better acquainted with each other.
After dinner Mr. Owen outlined the company's contemplated improvements for the coming year, which included the drawing of plans for a new sawmill and office, with all the necessary smaller buildings and equipment to make the present operation new and complete from beginning to end. These plans will shortly be placed before the directors of the company for approval. All of those present were particularly interested in the company's plan to keep the mill in operation throughout the year, with shutdowns, as far as possible, confined to holidays.
After hearing the outline of the proposed work for next year a number of the men were called on for suggestions as to improvements that might be made in present equipment, considered from a standpoint of increased efficiency and safety. Many good ideas were brought out along these lines and a number of quite helpful suggestions were made. It is hoped that at future meetings of this sort, the different employees will come prepared to offer any ideas they may have that will tend to increase the efficiency of the various departments, increase the output of the plant, and do away with unnecessary loss of time.
It is probable that some sort of a social organization will be formed among the employees of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. that will be especially valuable to those families that are newcomers in Medford.
It was generally agreed that the get-together evenings are extremely beneficial to all who are fortunate enough to be present, and it is hoped by the company that more of them can be arranged for in the near future.
OWEN-OREGON COMPANY WILL EXPAND
PLANS CALL FOR A HUGE INVESTMENT
Nearly Million Dollars Involved in Building Program Approved by Executive Committee--$600,000 to Be Spent at Once--$300,000 for New Mill Held in Abeyance for Two Weeks.
A budget calling for the expenditure of approximately $900,000 for improvements on their local plant has been approved by the executive committee of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, according to an announcement made this morning by general manager James H. Owen of this city.
Of this amount, $300,000 is for the building of a modern, electrically equipped mill here, with a daily capacity, double shift, of 320,000 feet. This improvement is still in abeyance, and a final decision will be made within the next two weeks. Plans for the new mill have been drawn.
The new mill construction provides for two band saws, 9- and 10-foot sizes, a gang and horizontal resaw--that is four main machines in addition to three trimmers.
"There are several problems connected with the new mill," said Mr. Owen, "that require more time. In all events the capacity of the plant will be increased, if a decision is reached not to build the big mill. In case the new mill is not constructed, the present mill capacity will be increased, or a new small mill erected, in this city, or along the railroad line. If the new mill is built, it will be ready for operation by January 1, 1927."
The expending of the remaining $600,000 in the budget is certain, and work on the improvements has been started, and will be carried on to completion as fast as conditions permit.
The improvements, complete, are as follows:
The installation of additional logging equipment.
The purchase of a five-ton, 80-foot traveling crane, for handling lumber from the storage and shipping sheds.
The building of a complete narrow-gauge yard rail transportation system, embracing 60,000 feet of trackage, several electrically driven locomotives, and 300 cars to facilitate the handling of lumber from the mill and planing department to the yard.
Additional planing mill machinery to take care of the increased mill production.
A new dry finishing shed, 100 by 200 feet in dimensions, for the handling of ceiling, moldings, and planing mill products that cannot be handled by cranes.
Extension of the water and fire protection system.
Construction of dry kiln sorting table and shed, for handling lumber from a battery of 15 dry kilns with mechanical unstackers and transfer from dry kilns to unstackers.
Another dry lumber shed, 62 by 160 feet, for rough dry kiln lumber storage.
Modern office building, complete throughout, to replace present quarters, the structure to be of architectural beauty and efficient accommodations, and furnished with modern office equipment.
Erection of a 500,000-gallon steel oil tank, for the storage of fuel oil for locomotive and logging equipment.
A new machine shop with hydraulic hammer and press, steam hammer, steel planer and other equipment.
A fireproof roundhouse for the care and storage of locomotives and rail equipment.
Enlarging mill pond to double present capacity for storing surplus logs and sorting logs.
Fireproof fuel house for dry kiln batteries.
Modern boiler house, with new high-power boilers, pumps and air compression.
Supply warehouse for storage purposes of equipment.
This is the largest program announced this year, for the state, and the largest in the industrial history of Southern Oregon.
The executive committee, composed of John S. Owen, president and chairman, of Eau Claire, Wis.; H. S. Lovejoy, secretary, Janesville, Wis.; A. R. Owen, Owen, Wis.; Ben Alexander, Wausau, Wis.; George E. Foster, Wausau, Wis., and M. C. Woodard, Silverton, Ore. concluded their annual meeting in this city last week, and their approval of the improvement and building program was received before leaving, but announcement was with held.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 19, 1926, page 1
PUT $500,000 INTO SAWMILL
Oregon Lumber Firm to Extend Plant at Medford.
MEDFORD, Ore., Feb. 11. (AP)--The Owen-Oregon Lumber Company announced today that it would start work within the next 10 days upon construction of a new $500,000 sawmill in this city.
The new mill will be electrically operated, with a capacity of cutting 327,000 feet in a 16-hour shift. The new plant will be in operation by January 1, 1927. The increased capacity will mean the employment of 250 more men.
The $500,000 sawmill is in addition to a $600,000 improvement of the present mill, now under way.
Spokesman-Review, Spokane, February 12, 1926
FRED COLVIG, JR. WINNER IN O-O ESSAY CONTEST
The essay contest sponsored by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company during Forest Week has been completed, and a number of commendable papers were turned in by the pupils of the 7th and 8th grades, to whom the contest was limited. The subject covered by these essays was "The Value of the Lumber Industry to Jackson County," and the judges have decided that the papers submitted by the following pupils are entitled to the prizes:
First prize--Frederick Colvig, Lincoln School.
Second prize--Charles Green, Lincoln School.
Third prize--Earl Carkin, of Roosevelt School.
Fourth prize--Burton Lowry, Washington School.
In accordance with the judges' decision checks in the following amounts have been given by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. to Mr. Hedrick, superintendent of city schools: 1st prize, $10.00; 2nd prize, $7.50; 3rd prize, $5.00 and 4th prize, $3.00.
The judges of this contest, chosen by the directors of the Chamber of Commerce, were: E. H. Hedrick, A. J. Hanby and W. H. Crawford.
The winning paper, written by Frederick Colvig, aged 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred L. Colvig of 603 S. Riverside, is quoted in full below. Frederick won second prize in the Better Homes essay contest held in the schools last week.
The Value of the Lumber Industry to Jackson County.Medford Mail Tribune, May 6, 1926, page 10
It is a well-known fact that the value of anything depends upon the supply and demand. The smaller the supply the greater the demand, and vice versa. Each year the amount of timber used in the manufacture of lumber is being diminished and the value becoming greater.
Half a century ago the lumber manufacturers of the Middle West paid little heed to the value of conservation nor made any provisions for the future generation. With great waste the forests of Michigan and Wisconsin were stripped of their valuable timber, and the result is that today we see countless acres of cut-over lands which have been left valueless. This fact, and the growing scarcity of timber, has taught the lumbermen of today the value of conservation and reforestation. The fact that the forests have been exhausted in the Middle West led the large lumber operators to seek holdings in the Pacific Northwest, and now the manufacture of lumber represents one of the foremost industries of Oregon, where is to be found one-fifth of the standing timber in the United States.
In Jackson County alone there is estimated to be twenty billion feet of standing timber, or one-fifteenth of all the standing timber in the United States. If this was manufactured into lumber it would provide material enough to build one million and a half six-room houses, allowing thirteen thousand feet for each house.
The Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., the largest operator in Jackson County, employs 620 men and has an annual payroll of one million dollars. In 1924 they shipped 2745 carloads of lumber to all parts of the world. They have an investment in Jackson County of $6,000,000 in their plant, railroad and timber, and one can easily see what this means to our county, especially in the matter of taxation.
The money which is paid out by this company for labor alone is of great value to every man, woman and child in the county, as it keeps money in circulation and helps the merchant. The mill affords steady employment for a number of people, which was not the case a few years ago when the only industries of any importance were fruit growing and agriculture. These industries offered employment for a short time only.
Use Local Trademarked O.-O. LumberSince July 1st this year the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company has been trademarking all lumber shipped to the various lumber yards in Medford. This O-O trademark will enable local people to identify Owen-Oregon lumber if they wish to do so. The company decided to trademark their lumber with the thought that there are a good many people locally who believe in patronizing local industry, and who would insist on buying lumber made in Medford if there was any way of distinguishing it from stock shipped in from outside.
If local lumber is used in all building here in Medford the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will be able to keep up to capacity production, ensuring a continuance of a maximum payroll.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 25, 1926, page 3
NEW OWEN MILL IN OPERATION MARCH 1, 1927Medford Mail Tribune, October 18, 1926, page 1
Delay in Arrival of Machinery Causes Change--Office on Highway, Nov. 1
Million-Dollar Building Program Nears Completion.
The new, modern, electrically equipped mill of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will be in operation March 1, 1927, according to an announcement made this morning by James H. Owen, general manager of the company. It was originally intended to open the mill January 1, but failure of machinery to arrive from the East changed the plans. The mill is a part of the $1,500,000 building program of the company inaugurated last spring.
The mill proper has been completed, and bases laid for the machinery. The turbine and power plant, for the operation of the mill, is en route from the East.
The new office of the mill company, under course of construction and facing the Pacific Highway, will be occupied November 1. The structure when completed will cost $23,000 and be a model office, with modern equipment throughout.
The filling and grading of the large lawn surrounding the office is under way and the ground made ready for the planting of shrubbery and flowers and grass. A landscape gardener will lay out the grounds.
In the yard track is being laid for the operation of two electrically driven locomotives, now on the ground. They will be used for hauling of lumber throughout the plant.
The foundation is being laid for the burner, the largest in Southern Oregon, to take care of the refuse.
The work of dismantling the machinery in the old mill will be started as soon as the new one is completed. The mill itself will be remodeled into a storage shed. The new mill, in double shifts, will double the cut of the present plant. The old mill will be remodeled into a cutting factory.
The pine camp of the company will close down during the winter, but the steam camp will operate all winter.
At the Owen-Oregon plant, work is continuing on the new mill and improvements and getting ready for the installation of mill machinery and electric power plant to furnish the power. The track is being laid for the electric yard locomotives, which will not be put in operation until the new plant is started, about February 1st next.
The new office building of the company on the Pacific Highway will not be occupied until November 15, instead of November 1st as originally planned. The office grounds and roads leading thereto are now under construction.
James Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Company, left today for British Columbia to attend a meeting of Northwest lumbermen.
"Start Work at Tomlin Plant on New Mill," Medford Mail Tribune, October 26, 1926, page 8
Oregon Plant Nearing Completion
MEDFORD, ORE., NOV. 27.--The big, modern plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., which has been under construction for several months, is rapidly nearing completion. One of the accompanying illustrations would indicate such to be the case. No expense has been spared in making this the most modern and efficient plant possible.
The company operates in two belts of timber, one furnishing California white pine, and the other Douglas fir. The principal equipment consists of two 9-foot band mills, a 48-inch gang, a 6-foot horizontal resaw, two edgers, two trimmers and the usual complement of the modern sawmill. It is a completely electrically driven plant, with power furnished by two 1000-kilowatt turbine generators. The above mentioned equipment, including sawmill, power and electrical units, is Allis-Chalmers, with the exception of the gang, which is Wickes Bros. This brief description speaks volumes to the practical sawmill man.
American Lumberman, December 4, 1926, page 65 This article was reprinted in the Mail Tribune of December 10.
OWEN-OREGON PAYROLL NOW OVER MILLIONThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company started operating in May, 1924. The company is largely composed of Wisconsin lumbermen. In view of the fact that a practically unlimited supply of timber is available the company has planned a permanent operation and all new construction has been laid out with this in mind.
One of Largest and Most Modern Lumber Mills on Coast Recently Built in Medford--New Capacity to Be 100,000,000 Feet a Year.
During the past two years the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company has been building a complete new plant while at the same time operating the old plant that was taken over from the Brownlee-Olds Lumber Company. The present capacity of the old sawmill is approximately 55,000,000 feet of lumber per year, whereas the new mill, which should be in operation March 1st, will increase this capacity to more than 100,000,000 feet. These figures are based on all-year-round operation, it not being necessary to shut down the logging camps during the winter.
Maximum Production for 50 YearsThe main body of timer owned by the Oregon-Oregon Lumber Company is located north and east of Medford, an average distance of forty-five miles from the plant. The company owns 60,000 acres of pine and fir timber estimated to contain more than 1,500,000,000 feet. In addition to what the company actually owns, there is approximately 4,000,000,000 feet of additional timber adjacent to the present holdings and railroad. It is obvious that this enormous timber supply ensures a maximum production for more than fifty years.
The Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. owns the controlling interest of the Medford logging railroad, a standard gauge road running a distance of fifty-three miles from Medford through the company's timber holdings. This railroad is equipped with modern locomotives, log, supply and gravel cars, etc., the equipment consisting of more than 150 pieces of rolling stock.
In the woods the company is operating two camps, one equipped with Caterpillar tractors and high steel wheels and the other equipped with skidders and donkeys for steam logging. Both camps are models as far as up-to-date, clean bunk and cook houses are concerned, ensuring all possible comfort and good health to the company employees.
New Mill Opens March 1The new sawmill, which is at present under construction, will be completed and in operation March 1st. When finished this mill will be as modern and well-equipped as any sawmill on the Coast. The mill machinery will be housed in a building 350 feet long and 90 feet wide. Besides the main sawmill building there are two additions, one to hold the resaw and remanufacturing plant, and the other containing a complete lath and picket mill. The sawmill machinery will consist of two 9-foot band saws, gang, resaw, three edgers, two trimmers and slasher, as well as the lath and picket mill equipment. The mill will be electrically operated throughout, and power will be furnished by two turbines that are being installed to generate the necessary electricity.
Close to the mill a power plant and fuel house are being built to provide steam for the plant and dry kilns, as well as the necessary electricity to run the sawmill machinery. A new burner has just been finished to take care of unsaleable refuse.
Lumber from the sawmill will travel along a sorting table towards the dry kilns and yards, and a monorail system will be used to place units of lumber on cars, which in turn will be taken by electric locomotives to the planing mill or to the proper place in the drying yard.
Increasing Storage PondThe storage pond for logs is now being increased to cover ten acres, ensuring ample storage in case anything should happen to prevent the daily log supply reaching the mill from the woods, and to provide room for sorting out the logs.
The company now has twelve dry kilns of the latest type in operation. These dry kilns are used to quickly and properly season all grades of lumber. It is planned to increase the number of these in the near future.
Pile foundations have been built to accommodate 20,000,000 feet of lumber. Pile foundations have been built on concrete blocks for permanency and also to permit the use of high piling machinery. High pilers are now being used, and with these machines lumber can be piled up to 24 feet in height.
Narrow-gauge track is being installed through the plant, and when completed all lumber will be taken in and out of the yard to the planing mill on cars by electric locomotives.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1927, page F2
April 21, 1927 Medford Mail Tribune
April 21, 1927 Medford Mail Tribune
OWEN LOGGING CAMPS CLOSEThe logging camps of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, in the Butte Falls district, closed down yesterday for an indefinite period. For several weeks, the logs turned out have been decked along the right of way of the railroad. These will be hauled to the mill.
Owing to delay in the receipt and installing of machinery for the new mills, now in course of construction, it is predicted it will be the middle of May or the first of June before it is in operation. It was originally thought that the plant, one of the largest and most complete in the state, would be in operation by April 1.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 2, 1927, page 3
BENEFIT DANCE BY O-O ATTRACTSLocal interest in the dance which will be held at the Oriental Gardens Friday night is steadily increasing and indications point to it being one of the most brilliant affairs of the winter season. The employees of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company are sponsoring the event and the proceeds will swell their fund for the relief of needy people within their organization. There have been several instances recently in which employees were injured or sick and they and their families in need of help, which has depleted the relief fund maintained by the members of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company organization, and Friday's dance will reestablish a surplus for this relief work.
The Rogues, a clever dance aggregation, with Miss Ruby Timmonds, Dan Willoby, Ralph Gill, Keith Cole and Benny Johnson, will play for Friday's affair. The high-class dance melody turned out by this quintet of musicians will be another incentive for Southern Oregon dance lovers to go to the Oriental Gardens Friday evening.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 7, 1927, page 6
WORK IS RAPIDLY PROGRESSING NEW OWEN-ORE. MILLWork is progressing nicely on the new mill of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, but the mill will not be ready for operation for several weeks yet.
The new machinery has all been installed, the old mill is being dismantled and what machinery that can be used in the new mill is being placed.
Work on the pond, which is to cover about 10 acres, is being pushed, the grounds around the elegant new office building, fronting on the Pacific Highway, is being put in shape, grass and shrubbery planted and the mill and grounds when completed will be one of the most up to date and neatest on the coast.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 25, 1927, page 7
MILLWRIGHT WHILE AT WORK FAINTS, FALLS TO DEATHApparently fainting while at work at the Owen-Oregon sawmill in the powerhouse, Francis M. Wallace, 56 years of age, a millwright, sustained fatal injuries when he fell 30 feet to the ground shortly before 9 o'clock this morning. Eyewitnesses say Wallace suddenly loosened his grasp while supporting himself near the top of the building and fell head backward, breaking both legs and fracturing his skull upon hitting the ground. He died just as he reached the hospital.
He had been employed at the mill since June 1 and lived with his wife at the Phipps auto camp. He was born in Roseburg, came to Medford from Susanville, Cal., and leaves to mourn his loss a son, F. E. Wallace of Los Angeles, and a daughter, Mrs. L. W. Holland of Seattle. He belonged to all branches of Masonry.
An autopsy was scheduled for this afternoon and an inquest may be held this evening, according to Coroner H. W. Conger, who has the case in charge.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 5, 1927, page 1
WHISTLE WILL SIGNAL OWEN MILL OPENINGIf tomorrow afternoon at 1 o'clock Medford citizens hear shrill long blasts of a deep-throated whistle, they will know that the new Owen-Oregon Lumber Company sawmill, one of the most up to date on the coast, will commence operations an hour later, when John G. Owen, Jr., grandson of John S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., president of the company, will press a button that will put the large mill, with all of its equipment, into complete operation. However, if no whistle is heard tomorrow, it will be blown at the same time Friday. According to Gain Robinson it is practically certain the mill test will be made tomorrow.
Blasts Will Be Sounded Hour in Advance, Either Tomorrow or Friday--Guides to Show Visitors Through Plant--Arrange Final Details.
Preparations, with the exception of small details, are complete for the formal opening to which every Southern Oregon resident has been invited, extensive arrangements having been made to provide for the many visitors that are expected, including a number from all parts of the coast. While no program of ceremonies has been arranged, the first log to be pulled from the large mill pond into the mill for sawing will be christened with appropriate formality. A bottle filled with water from Medford's new water system will probably be used. Because of the uncertainty of the opening date, it was impossible to plan formal ceremonies for the $2,000,000 plant, upon which building and improvement efforts had been directed for three years, ever since the holdings of the Olds mill were purchased.
Guides will be on hand to show visitors through the mill on specially prepared runways built above the machinery, affording a full view of the mill operations. Lumbermen will probably be present from various parts of the Northwest. John S. Owen, president of the company, will be present in person as well as his son, John G. Both are of Eau Claire, Wis. John G. Jr., who will start the machinery of the big mill in operation, is ten years of age.
A 63-foot flag pole was erected yesterday in front of the attractive mill office building on the Pacific Highway a short distance north of the city. A flag will be raised on the pole as a part of the informal ceremonies that will mark the opening. The flag pole makes the landscaped grounds of the office structure complete in regard to beauty in connection with the building, which was constructed at a high cost.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 20, 1927, page 8
THRONG AT O-O PLANT DEDICATIONHundreds of Medford and valley residents attended the formal opening of the new Owen-Oregon sawmill which was held this afternoon at 2 o'clock, following flag raising exercises by local Boy Scouts one hour before. The mill machinery was set in motion shortly after 2 o'clock when John G. Owen, Jr., 10 years of age and grandson of John S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., president of the company, pulled a number of electrical switches which sent electricity into the mill motors.
Machinery of New Mill Set in Motion This Afternoon After Flag Raising by Boy Scouts--Mrs. J. H. Owen Christens First Log--Many Out-of-Town Visitors.
Steam was turned into the electric generating turbines by Mayor O. O. Alenderfer, setting the large turbine into motion at the rate of 3600 revolutions per minute. The first log to be pulled into the mill was christened by Mrs. J. H. Owen by breaking a bottle over it just before it was sawed. The crowd cheered long and loud immediately following this part of the ceremonies.
John S. Owen, president of the company, was not present. His son, John G. and wife were, however, in attendance. George Cornwall of Portland, editor of the Pacific Timberman; John Alber of Milwaukee, Wis., an official of the Allis-Chalmers Company; John Swanson of Portland, who is connected with the Hartford Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company were among the out-of-town visitors present.
Moving pictures were taken of the ceremonies as well as numerous photographs. The Medford High School band rendered a number of selections before the attention of the crowd was drawn to the mill proper. Several congratulatory bouquets of flowers, including two from the Jackson County banks, were on display in the office building, which was visited by many.
Most of the stores of the city closed for the most important industrial occasion in the history of the city and valley.
At one o'clock the Boy Scouts of this city took part in the dedication by raising the large American flag in front of the mill office facing the Pacific Highway.
The nicely uniformed scouts made a very fine appearance and were congratulated by many of the visitors witnessing this ceremony. While the flag was being raised by Scouts Burns Cadwalder and Gordon Williams, Bugler Robert Colvig played "To the Colors," and all the other scouts stood at salute until the last notes of the bugle died away.
Scoutmaster Robert Taylor was in charge of the troops, together with Scout Executive W. W. Belcher, and scouts participating were: From Troop 2--Fred Colvig, Robert Colvig, Allan Darr, Albert Gaddis, Earl Gaddis, Charles Green, Lloyd Nichelson; from Troop 3--John Weills, Fred Schmidt, Earl Mercer, Roger Headlee, Burns Cadwalder, Ben Stinson; from Troop 4--Walter Harris and Marvin Cave; from Troop 5--Eldon Johnson, Allan Carley, Russell Newcomb, Nelson Florey; from Troop 6--Robert Wilson; Troop 8--Gerald Latham.
The plant will employ between 350 and 400 men.
The completion of the new mill marks the end of the expansion program that the company had planned. However, additions may be made from time to time, but as to that no plans of any kind have been made. The holdings of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company in Jackson County, including the plant here, the logging railroad and equipment above Butte Falls, represent an investment of more than $6,000,000, of which the holdings in Medford represent a value of more than $2,000,000. Ever since the Owen-Oregon company commenced operations in Medford its efforts have been continually directed toward expansion in all departments. Numerous improvements and additions were made during the three years past in preparing for the construction of the new mill, which has new equipment of the most modern type.
It has a capacity of 250,000 feet in an eight-hour shift and will cut fir and pine. The mill machinery is housed in a structure 300 feet long and 90 feet wide. It has two additions, one for the resaw and remanufacturing plant and the other for a complete lath and picket mill. Two nine-foot band saws may be regarded as one of the features of the mill, inasmuch that the rough logs are cut there in the long process of being turned into lumber. A gang saw, a resaw, three edgers, two trimmers and slashers will provide untold interest to the visitors who are planning to witness the opening of the mill tomorrow.
The power plant is a unit complete in itself with two large boilers and two Allis-Chalmers electric steam generators, which will supply the mill with all the needed electricity. The power plant will also furnish steam for the dry kilns. Sawdust conveyors will furnish the fuel for the three furnaces while unsaleable refuse will be burned in a giant burner south of the mill buildings. The power plant is the most noticeable unit of the plant, having two chimneys nearly 200 feet high.
After traveling on numerous conveyors in the sawmill, lumber after leaving the mill will travel along a sorting table toward the dry kilns and yards. A monorail system will be used largely to handle the lumber in placing it on cars, which will then be taken by electric locomotives to the planing mill or to piles in the drying yard.
The mill pond area was increased last winter to ten acres, in order to provide ample storage for a large supply of logs to keep the mill running, even though the daily log supply does not reach the mill from Butte Falls woods. The pond is also large enough to provide ample space for sorting activities.
The company has 12 dry kilns of the latest type in operation, to season all grades of lumber in a comparatively short time, and the lumber later may be increased. Foundations have been made to accommodate 30,000,000 feet of lumber in the yards. Concrete blocks are the base for the foundations which permit the use of high piling machinery, which can build up piles to 24 feet in height. Narrow-gauge track, which has been laid throughout the yard, will enable the speedy handling of lumber by electric locomotives.
Built large enough to easily take care of the production of the new mill, a planing mill was the first unit of the new plant to be constructed and is equipped with modern planers, matchers, sizers, band, rip and resaws, electric moulder and cutoff and trim saws. A fleet of eight Gerlinger high lumber carriers transport stacks from the yards to the kilns and from the planners to the shed or to freight cars for loading.
A huge storage shed has been completed for some time in the rear of the planing mill and is used for dry and surfaced lumber. It is equipped with an 80-foot electric crane used for lumber meant only for temporary storage. The company has facilities to load 10 cars daily at present, and this capacity will probably be shortly increased.
Including men employed in the large lumber camps above Butte Falls and the men who will be employed in the local mill, the lumber company will employ approximately 600 men, meaning a payroll of approximately $1,000,000 annually. The products of the company are sent to all parts of the nation and are sold in retail lots locally.
The capacity of the old mill, which will not be used for a time, and perhaps later converted into a remanufacturing plant, was 55,000,000 feet in contrast to the new mill, which will have an annual capacity of more than 100,000,000 feet.
The company owns 60,000 acres of pine and fir timber above Butte Falls and it is estimated to include more than 1,500,000 feet. Four billion feet of timber, in addition, is also procurable, ensuring a long lumbering life.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 21, 1927, page 1
MEDFORD SPIRIT SHOWN IN OPENING OWEN-OREGON MILLGeo. F. Cornwall, who was in Medford Thursday to attend the dedication of the Owen-Oregon lumber mill, representing The Timberman, of Portland, was amazed at the size of the mill, the completeness of all details in its erection and the modern machinery therein. He says no mill on the coast is more up to date and only one or two have a larger capacity.
Mr. Cornwall told a representative of this paper that the spirit of the people of Medford and Southern Oregon, as shown by the attendance of 5000 people at the opening of the new mill, is another evidence of why this section of the state is known far and wide as one of the most progressive and prosperous in the Northwest.
The Timberman will give a complete story of the mill that will be nicely illustrated.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 22, 1927, page 7
Former Lumber Mill Owner Visits Medford
Mr. and Mrs. M. D. Olds of Sheboygan, Mich. are in Medford for a couple of days, en route home by auto from California, where they spent the winter.
Mr. Olds came to Medford years ago and purchased a big body of timber northeast of Medford, and later purchased the Pacific & Eastern Railroad, expecting to erect a lumber mill. Mr. Brownlee erected a mill on the site of the present Owen-Oregon mill--the plant they recently dismantled--and formed a partnership with Mr. Olds, who later purchased Mr. Brownlee's interest and enlarged the mill.
Three years ago Mr. Olds sold the mill and railroad to the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, and out of this purchase comes the big modern mill started yesterday.
Mr. Olds sees a market improvement in Medford in the past three years. He enjoyed an inspection of the new Owen-Oregon mill today.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 22, 1927, page 4
OWEN-OREGON DINNER HELD FRIDAY NIGHTJames H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon, tendered a banquet last evening at the Hotel Medford to 30 heads of departments in the local plant. After the banquet, each department head discussed plans for the improvement of mill operations and the employment of new systems. The "get-together" meeting concluded at 11 o'clock and will be a regular feature of the Owen-Oregon company in the future.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 21, 1927, page 3
OWEN-OREGON ON NIGHT SHIFTThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will start on a night shift basis in a week or ten days. This announcement was made by officials of the company today.
This will mean an increase of 175 to 200 men on the payroll, 125 in town and 50 or more in the woods.
Over 500 men are now on the payroll, and the mills are going full blast. The decision of the Owen-Oregon company to go on a full 24-hour basis will be welcome news to the business men of Medford, and shows the confidence the officials of the company have in the future of this part of the state from a timber and lumber production standpoint.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 7, 1927, page 2
OWEN-OREGON MAY INCREASE R.R. FACILITIESLast week at the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company plant a test run was made, and approximately 215,000 feet cut. The run was made with the lumber decks cleared in the morning, and after the eight-hour shift, and gave a fairly accurate line on the capacity cut. There was no special hurry, but every employee strove for the maximum.
Important Matters Being Considered at Directors' Meeting in Wisconsin--Double Shift Is Laid Off for the Season.
Based upon these figures, the plant, with a full year's operation, and a four months' double shift, would cut approximately 75,000,000 feet.
The Owen-Oregon plant is now running on a single eight-hour shift, and will probably continue to do so the balance of this year. A double shift was operated until ten days ago when the excess of logs cut, while the mill was being constructed, were cleared away. In order to operate a double shift with the present plant, it would be necessary to increase the logging and railroad facilities. This is one of the matters that will be considered at the annual meeting of the directors of the Owen-Oregon company, now in session in Oshkosh, Wis.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 2, 1927, page 1
OWEN RESIDENCE BEING REBUILTJames H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon company, has started the remodeling and rebuilding of the Frank G. Owen home on Siskiyou Heights overlooking the city. It will be enlarged to comprise 11 rooms, at a cost of $15,000, and will be completed about December 1st. The work is under the direction of J. A. DeArmond, for 25 years a carpenter with the Owen Lumber Company.
The home will be enlarged to a full two stories, built in the colonial style. It will be one of the finest homes in the city when finished, modern to the most minute detail.
Mr. Owen recently sold his other home on Siskiyou Heights to George W. Barker of Butte Falls.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 20, 1927, page 7
OWEN-OREGON CAMP OPEN ALL WINTERThe Owen-Oregon lumber camp that has been located on government timber east of Butte Falls has been moved to a short distance east of Butte Falls and will now operate on Owen-Oregon timberland. This will enable the camp to operate all winter, according to General Manager James Owen.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 12, 1927, page 3
OWEN-OREGON CO. PURCHASES TIMBER LANDROSEBURG, Ore., Dec. 5.--(AP)--Seven tracts of grant land timber in five counties in the Roseburg government land office district were sold today for a total sum of $92,626.17. The tracts were sold as follows:
Medford Company Buys 640 acres of Grant Land Timber in Jackson County for $27,865.64--7 Other Tracts Are Sold.
Forty acres Marion County, township 9 S., R. 2 W., sec. 13, 1,850,000 feet of timber, Crabtree Lumber Company, Lyons, Ore., $2,780.55.
317 acres, Marion County, township 8 S., R. 3 E., sec. 31, 24,394,000 feet of timber, Silver Falls Timber Company, Silverton, $30,671.69.
640 acres, Jackson County, township 36 S., R. 3 E., sec. 11, 12,060,000 feet of timber, Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, Medford, $27,865.64.
Two hundred acres, Lane County, township 20 S., R., 1 W., sec. 17, 10,600,000 feet of timber, Erminio Giustnia, Eugene, $12,314,58.
Twenty acres, Coos County, township 27 S., R. 11 W., sec. 5, $1,300,000 feet of timber, Vern M. Barker, Coquille, $3,256.50.
Eighty acres, Linn County, township 15 S., R. 2 W., sec. 33, $2,860,000 feet of timber, Fischer Lumber Company, Marcola, $4,922.33.
Forty acres, Lane County, township 20 S., R. 4 W., sec. 9, 1,935,000 feet of timber, George Schneider, Eugene, $1,844.88.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 5, 1927, page 1
Facts About Owen-Oregon Lumber Co.
Average annual daily payroll, $3450.00
Average other local daily expenses, $700.00
Total yearly local expense, approximately $1,000,000.00
Number of men employed, 400 to 500
Average yearly output, 60,000,000 feet
Largest industrial taxpayer in Jackson County
Pays $16 labor and other expense on every 1000 feet of lumber produced
One of the outstanding industrial plants in Medford and all southern Oregon is the Owen-Oregon lumber mill, just north of the city limits of Medford, completed last year at a cost of about $2,000,000. It is one of the largest and most modern lumber mills on the coast.
The mill proper is 300 feet long and 80 feet wide [and] has a capacity of 200,000 feet every eight hours, or 600,000 feet if operated 24 hours.
The average daily output has been 200,000 feet, part of the year the run 300,000 feet. The total output in 1927 was 50,000,000 feet of fir and pine.
The main timber holdings of the company are located near Butte Falls, north and east of this city. The company owns approximately 50,000 acres of timberland with an estimated stumpage of 1,500,000,000 feet. In the neighborhood of 4,000,000,000 feet of additional timber is adjacent to the company's present holdings.
The power plant is a complete unit itself, with two large boilers and two Allis-Chalmers electric steam generators, which supply the mill with all necessary electricity. The power plant also furnishes steam for the dry kilns, and sawdust conveyors furnish the fuel for the large furnaces. Unsalable refuse is burned in a great burner south of the mill buildings.
The entire plant is largely operated with electrical power, employing 96 motors of 3 to 150 horsepower type. The mills contain:
Two 9-foot bandsaws, one gang resaw, one 6-foot type C horizontal resaw, three edgers, two trimmers, one of which is a 26-foot compressed air lift trimmer with fifteen 30-inch saws, one slasher, and one hog mill.
One carriage has a 52-foot steam shotgun feed and another 44-foot shotgun feed. Both have electric-driven dogs and setting rigs. The deck equipment consists of a cutoff saw, 12-inch three-arm log turner and steam riggers. A modern lath mill forms an auxiliary to the saw mill. An electrical-driven monorail equipment connects the green chain with the yard-truck system and loads the lumber from this discharge directly onto cars.
The yard is equipped with track and two electrically driven locomotives. All the yard equipment is modern in every respect. An electrically driven crane is operated in the storage sheds, and planing mill and ten lumber carriers are part of the shed equipment
In the timber in the Butte Falls district the company operates two model camps, using steam skidders and Caterpillar tractors with big wheels for handling the logs. The logs are carried from the camp yards to the mills at Medford with new logging cars and locomotives on their own railroad.
The planing mills of the company at Medford are equipped with modern surfacers, matchers, sizers, band, rip and resaws, a moulder and the necessary cutoff and trim saws. Gerlinger lumber carriers are used to convey the lumber from behind the planers to freight cars for loading. Back of the planing mills is a crane shed, a large storage shed for surfaced dry lumber. The company has twelve drying kilns of the latest type for the rapid seasoning of lumber. Foundations have been laid to accommodate 30,000,000 feet of lumber in the yards.
On the Pacific Highway, east of the mill and lumber yards, an attractive building houses the offices of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company. This office has all the up-to-the-minute equipment, and its beauty has caused considerable favorable comment on the part of visitors in Medford.
The plant at Medford, the railroad and the company's timber holdings represent an investment of approximately $6,000,000.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page D4
O.-O. DANCE FRIDAY NIGHTThe committee in charge of the Owen-Oregon employees' relief fund dance, to be given by the Owen-Oregon mill workers at the Oriental Gardens Friday night, January 27, have everything in readiness for a big time for all who attend.
This dance is an annual affair given to add to the relief money in which all workers contribute and which is used to help victims of accidents, or other deserving cases among the mill workers and their families.
The committee in charge promise everyone who attends that there is a good time in store for them and that the public is invited. Good music has been secured for the dance and the committee in charge are: Herb Schritt, Clyde Hammock, Willard McCulloch, Bob Childers and Mr. Blaylock.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 25, 1928, page 8
AWARD CONTRACT FOR O-O WORKThe Modern Plumbing and Sheet Metal Works has been awarded a contract by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company for the construction of a blower pipe system for their local plant. The contract approximates $3500. Work will start at once. The local firm secured the contract in competition with Portland firms.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 26, 1928, page 2
O-O BENEFIT IS VERY SUCCESSFULConsidered as one of the most successful of its kind, the third annual Owen-Oregon Lumber Company employees' dance was held last night at the Oriental Gardens, with an exceptionally large attendance. The committee in charge, which was composed of Herb Schritt, chairman; Wesley Durkee, Clyde Hammock, Bob Childers, Willard McCulloch and M. E. Blaylock, extended appreciation today for the support given the dance by Medford business men and residents.
One of the features of the evening was a balloon elimination dance, in which 15 couples took part, with a prize for the winning couple, who were Miss G. Canine and Cyril Still. These two dancers managed to dance the longest without their balloons being broken by other dancers, each one of whom had a balloon tied to an ankle.
The thousand feet of lumber, which was donated by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, was given away at the dance to J. D. Wilson, an employee of the company. The proceeds of the party will be put in a fund for the immediate relief of needy employees and for the sick.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 28, 1928, page 2
History of the Medford and Crater Lake Railway
(By A. E. Kellogg.)It was during the days of dirt roads and the horse, in 1902, when Dr. J. R. Reddy was mayor of Medford, that the doctor conceived the idea of a railroad to Crater Lake and the big timber up Rogue River. The doctor's vision finally resulted in a railway to the timber in the Big Butte district, which now supplies the Medford sawmills with logs, and which has materially assisted in making the city today really what it is, one of the big timber centers of Oregon.
It was at one of the meetings of the Medford Commercial Club. In its eagerness to put the city on the map, one of its members to jolly the doctor in his efforts to get the "Gateway to Crater Lake" for Medford, suggested that the doctor build the road. Undaunted, Reddy arose in the meeting and told the fellows: "Let me select four men around the table and I will build the road." "That's fine," shouted the members of the club. The doctor immediately made a choice of Dave H. Miller and Ike L. (Shorty) Hamilton, both now deceased, John Olwell, and George L. Davis.
The next morning the doctor and his lieutenants went out in the forenoon and had $15,000 pledged in cash for the road to Crater Lake. The next day the subscription swelled to $27,000 and the Medford & Crater Lake railway was born with a capital stock of half a million dollars. It commenced business with A. A. Davis, president. and Dr. J. M. Keene, secretary, who signed the brand new stock certificates, which were exchanged for cash. The grading of the roadbed and securing of right of way then commenced.
After grading and laying the steel as far as Eagle Point, financial disaster was apparent. A reorganization plan was proposed, which did not meet Reddy's approval and he resigned from the board of directors. Financial troubles came quickly, and the doctor was appointed receiver of the new railroad project. The property was later sold by virtue of a court order to the Columbia Trust Company, of Portland. The proceeds of the sale was used to pay back to the stockholders their original investment and the bonded indebtedness.
The proceeds of the sale of the property was ordered by the court for safekeeping to be deposited in the Oregon Saving & Trust Company, of Portland, instead of the Medford banks. The next day after the deposit was made the trust company closed its doors and all seemed a loss.
With all the funds of the receivership in the defunct concern at Portland, Reddy in his despair used his own money in making trips up and down the coast, and two trips to New York City, proposing a reorganization to financiers to save the stockholders and bond holders who had put their money into the proposed road. Finally success crowned Reddy's efforts through John R. Allen and J. F. Stevens, and the day was saved to the investors which were paid in full.
Those were the days of the race of railroad building up the banks of the Deschutes River into Central Oregon by the Hill people and competing line. In the meantime the Medford & Crater Lake Railway Company had by Reddy and his associates been changed into the Pacific & Eastern Railway Company bonded unto the Columbia Trust Company of Portland, as trustee, and later purchased at the P.&E. foreclosure sale. The Hill people purchased the assets of the P.&E. company, and immediately spent $2,500,000 in extending the road to Butte Falls and equipped with rolling stock.
Their objective was the low gap in the Cascade Mountains at the foot of Mount McLoughlin over into Central Oregon and making the P.&E. road a connecting road with their main line through Rogue River Valley to the coast at Crescent City. In the meantime peace was declared between the competing roads over on the Deschutes and the building of the P.&E. over the Cascade Mountains was suspended.
The Hill people, however, operated the road to Butte Falls at a profit until the war came on as a connecting road with the Southern Pacific at Medford. The war restrictions so hampered branch roads that the Hill people found it unprofitable and abandoned the P.&E. road, forcing the Columbia Trust Company, trustee and bondholder in the sum of $150,000, to foreclose its lien.
On passing into the hands of a court receiver, he suspended the operation of the road, which stopped operation of the sawmill at Butte Falls and other mills tributary to the road, as well as the log supply to the Medford mills. After two years arrangements were made with the receiver whereby a large amount of logs were rushed into Medford over the road, for the mills here, but after the sale, and awaiting confirmation by the court, these shipments were again stopped.
The largest holder of standing timber in the Butte Falls district at that time was the Butte Falls Lumber & Mill Company, with a 40-thousand-capacity sawmill at Butte Falls and logging equipment in the timber. This company owned 21,000 acres of timber tributary to its plant. The Rogue River Timber Company, controlled by Wheeler, Dusenberry, and Marchean, New York, Pennsylvania and Portland people, owned 50,000 acres. The John S. Owen company of Wisconsin owned 12,000 acres. L. S. Harkness of New York owned 6,000 acres. W. L. Brownlee and associates of Medford owned 6,000 acres, while about 10,000 acres was still owned by individual locators of 160-acre tracts.
M. D. Olds of Sheboygan, Wisconsin owned 10,000 acres of choice saw timber in the Butte Falls district. When the sale of the Pacific & Eastern Railway, which cost $2,500,000, was made by the United States District Court in November 1920, Mr. Olds purchased it for $190,000. The new owner came unheralded from his home in the East a few days before the sale, and departed as quietly as he came. His departure left the people of Rogue River Valley still guessing what his real object was in acquiring the key to the largest body of standing timber in the whole state. Some said he will reopen the road and market his timber at once, while others said that he would hold the whip hand over the other timber owners by closing the road until they came to his terms.
In the meantime Mr. Olds had contracted with the government for a large acreage of saw timber. He did not linger long in consummating his plan in the East. On his return he relieved the situation by immediately resuming trains on the P.&E. road giving passage to the timber interests, and started a ten-mile extension of the road beyond Butte Falls into the government timber. He acquired concessions from the Southern Pacific in entering Medford and joined forces with W. L. Brownlee with his Butte Falls timber tract, and brought in mill equipment from the southern states and built a mill at Medford and commenced operations. In 1921 Mr. Olds acquired the Brownlee and other interests and was then sole owner of the Medford mill, the railroad and immense timber holdings.
The history of the great change wrought in the north part of the city by the coming of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company is well known. These people, who had long been holders of extensive timber interests out in the Butte Falls district, purchased the railroad, mills and timber, and today are one of the largest lumber firms in Oregon.
The surviving old-timers of Medford, who now look back to 1902, when the first turf was turned to start the grading of the old Medford & Crater Lake Railway, as the years went on, sorrowfully saw their visions of the road to the lake grow dimmer, as the days of the automobile and modern highway grew brighter, Yet, who of the population of the old town would today swap the highway for a railway and thus mar the scenic driveway on the Upper Rogue?
Medford Mail Tribune, February 5, 1928, page B5
OWEN-ORE. TO EXTEND RAILROADAs soon as weather conditions in the hills will permit, the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will dispatch an engineering contour force into the Butte Falls district to make surveys for future extension of their railroad from a junction point near Butte Falls, according to an announcement made yesterday by James H. Owen, vice president and general manager of the company, who returned a week ago from the annual meeting of the directors of the company, held in Wausau and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Eight Miles of Standard Gauge to Be Built This Year--New Surveys Ordered--Many Improvements Arranged--Will Operate 12 Months per Year.
The surveys will be in a northeastern and a southeastern direction from a junction near Butte Falls, and will eventually cover all the timber holdings of the company in that section, including a survey covering the old P.&E. line extension.
Until the surveys and contours are completed, the final destination and future plans, will not be announced, according to General Manager Owen.
Construction of eight miles of standard gauge track in the Butte Falls district this summer, in the main body of the company's timber in the foothills southeast of Butte Falls, for use in case winter operations are carried on, was also announced. This line, said Mr. Owen, later will be extended as required.
New Building ProgramThe building program of the Owen-Oregon company, as approved by the directors for the Medford plant, is as follows:
The rebuilding of the old sawmill for a finished lumber storage shed with a capacity of 2,000,000 feet, which is now underway. The company recently completed the installation of a shaving blower system for conveying shavings and fuel from the planing mill to the new fuel vault at the sawmill, representing an expenditure of $8000.
The extension of the lumber storage yards to a capacity of 10,000,000 feet, at a cost of $20,000.
The enlargement of the trackage system to cover the east portion, so the entire yard will be under rails, with electric locomotives and cars. Lumber carriers are now being used in the handling of the output.
Future improvements by the company include the building of additional dry kilns in order that the better grades of lumber will go through the dry kilns and be ready for marketing without being stored for air drying.
Operate on All-Year BasisIt was also announced by manager Owen that it is planned to operate the local plant upon a twelve-months basis, single shift, increasing to a double shift if conditions warrant.
It is planned to cut 70,000,000 feet during the year. In addition to the logs that the company will cut from its own and government land in the Butte Falls district, they will purchase the output of small operators.
The cut of the mill, which was completed in 1927, exceeded expectations, according to manager Owen, who said that operation during the installing of improvements had been more or less of a handicap. It is the intention of the company to make 1928 a test year for the local plant. The result will have a bearing on the future enlargements and improvements of the plant.
512 on PayrollPlant and logging operations of the company now provide regular employment fir 512 men and women. Of this total, 78 percent are married, and many own their own homes in this city and nearby towns. The monthly payroll averages $55,000, and if it is decided to put on a double shift, this will be increased $20,000 per month. These facts were gleaned from the statistics of the company.
The records of the assessor's office show that the Owen-Oregon company, next to the Southern Pacific railroad, is the heaviest taxpayer in Jackson County. In 1927, the company paid taxes at the rate of $1.43 per thousand feet of lumber manufactured.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 20, 1928, page 1
OWEN-OREGON CO. WILL CONTINUE ON SINGLE SHIFTThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will not operate this year upon a double shift basis, as originally planned in the program for the year, but instead will hold their production down to 70,000,000 feet, according to James H. Owen, general manager.
In a conference with the employees of the local plant yesterday afternoon, the employees voted to continue with the single shift, instead of a double shift, thus furnishing steady work, over a long period, with no curtailment of labor.
The decision to eliminate a double shift was reached 10 days ago, during the visit of H. S. Lovejoy and A. R. Owen, directors of the lumber company, and was due to a nationwide movement on the part of lumber mills to hold down the production until the market, which is now more or less demoralized, returns to normal. Lumber operators of Northern California and the Klamath district met Saturday at Klamath Falls, and all agreed to operate the coming season on a restricted basis.
The Owen-Oregon company with its maintenance of a million dollar railroad, with one of the heaviest tax rates of any county in the state, operates under a heavier burden than the other operators of this district.
Gain Robinson, local sales manager of the Owen-Oregon company, is now on the last leg of a get-acquainted-with-the-trade trip through Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Utah, and is expected to reach home the latter part of the week.
James Owen, general manager, left this morning for the logging camps in the Butte Falls district.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 8, 1928, page 3
REPORTED DEAL FOR OWEN RAIL R. DECLARED FALSEEmphatic denial was made this afternoon by James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon company holdings in this section, to the widely circulated report in the city and county that a contract had been signed with the Hill railroad system for the trackage rights on the Medford logging railroad.
"I am president of the Medford logging railroad, and if a contract had been signed I most certainly would have had a finger in it," said Mr. Owen. "There is absolutely nothing to it."
"I don't know how such reports start," continued Mr. Owen. "I have received calls from Portland and San Francisco gentlemen, who wanted to get an option of the logging road. If it is ever disposed of, it will be by an outright sale, and not by option. Whoever buys the railroad also buys the plant. I would be in a pretty fix with a sawmill and no railroad."
The Medford logging railroad is 32 miles long, standard gauge, extends to Butte Falls in the heart of the Owen-Oregon timber holdings, and represents an investment of over a million dollars. It is held a vital link in any future railroad development in this section from the Klamath country.
John S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., 79-year-old president of the Owen-Oregon company, who has been visiting relatives and looking over his interests in this city and county, left yesterday for Crescent City to spend a few days visiting old friends and looking over his holdings in the redwood belt. He is expected to return to this city tomorrow. Mr. Owen is an ardent admirer of Crescent City and its prospects.
Ralph Gilchrist of Detroit, Mich., multimillionaire, and a man of varied industrial interests and rated, next to Henry Ford, "the biggest man in Detroit," spent yesterday in Medford, visiting James Owen, and left this morning to join John S. Owen at Crescent City. The pair have been cronies for many years. Gilchrist owns extensive redwood holdings in Del Norte County.
John S. Owen, during his stay here, has inspected the local plant and logging operations in the Butte Falls district.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 7, 1928, page 6
OWEN-OREGON TO PUT ON NIGHT SHIFT MONDAY.Beginning Monday, June 18, the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will return to an eight-hour night shift and increase its present output, which had already established a new high record the last month, when over 6,000,000 feet of lumber was cut.
Largest Output and Largest Payroll in History of Local Lumber Mill to Be Established: Over 700 Men Employed.
At the present time at the local mill, and engaged in outside timber-cutting operations, the Owen-Oregon company has a payroll of approximately 640 men. Between 75 and 100 men will be added to the night shift, which will bring the total payroll up to considerably over 700.
The present nine-hour day shift will continue, the company deciding to speed up its production because the recent curtailment resulted in the accumulation of a large stock of uncut logs.
When the news of this action by the Owen-Oregon company became known in Medford today there was general rejoicing among the merchants, who predict this decision will improve all lines of business in the city.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 15, 1928, page 1
DEATH CLAIMS TWO O.-O. STOCKHOLDERSDeath has claimed two of the best known stockholders in the Owen-Oregon company the past few days. Howard Elliott, prominent Hill line executive and former president of the Northern Pacific, who passed away suddenly in the East Sunday, was one of the large stockholders in the local lumber company, while today James Owen, manager, received sad word of the death of Charles A. Dewing at Battle Creek, Mich. Mr. Dewing owned the Butte Falls timber which the Owens took over, and he was represented here for many years by Harry D. Mills. When the Owen-Oregon company was formed Mr. Dewing became a large stockholder in that concern. Mr. Dewing's death, like that of Mr. Elliott's, was sudden and unexpected.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1928, page 2
O.-O. WORKER DIES OF HURT; RUSHED TO AID
----Lee N. Unger, of Butte Falls, died this afternoon at 3:45 o'clock at Community Hospital.
----Little hope is held for the recovery of Lee N. Unger, 21, of Butte Falls, who sustained a serious fracture of the skull between 9 and 10 o'clock this forenoon at Camp No. 1 of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company of Butte Falls when a boom on a log loader struck him on the side of the head. Unger was unconscious this afternoon at the Community Hospital where he was rushed immediately after the accident, the details of which were not known by Owen-Oregon officials here.
Unger, according to a partial report of the accident, was working with two other men at the time the tragedy occurred. He was struck by a loading boom, which, according to Dr. J. C. Hayes, caused an extensive fracture of the skull, nearly caving in one side. Unger was thrown 35 or 40 feet by the impact, which in addition to the fracture also caused an ugly gash on his head.
The injured man was brought to Medford by the Perl ambulance from Butte Falls, where Unger had been brought down on the logging train from the lumber camp. He arrived at the hospital at 11:30.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 9, 1928, page 1
WORK STARTED ON EXTENSION O.&O. RAILROADPreliminary work started this week on the construction of an extension of the Medford Logging Railroad (P.&E.) from Butte Falls, in a southeasterly direction, into the Willows Creek district. The extension will tap a rich timber district.
Standard Gauge Rails to Be Laid Seven Miles Beyond Butte Falls--Not Transcontinental Road, Says James H. Owen.
According to James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, the length and cost of the road, which will be extended from time to time as new logging needs arise, are indefinite. He said that the road had been surveyed for a distance of seven miles, and that it followed the old P.&E. survey generally, though on a heavier grade. Mr. Owen said the extension grade would be built "a little better than customary for logging roads, and on standard gauge."
He further stated the extension was a private enterprise of the Owen-Oregon company, and expressed the hope "it will not get mixed up with a lot of rumors, and be a transcontinental line before I know it." It is expected that the extension will be completed and in operation before snow flies.
Mr. Owen returned this morning from a three days' business visit at Portland. He attended several sessions of the Interstate Commerce Commission hearing, as a spectator.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 16, 1928, page 1
OWEN-OREGON CO. BUILDS LOGGING LINE BUTTE FALLSBUTTE FALLS, Ore., Nov. 30.--(AP)--(Special)--The Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. is constructing seven miles of logging road, southeast from Butte Falls, following up Willow Creek. They are also moving logging camp No. 1 to within three miles of Butte Falls, and it is conservatively estimated that there is at least a five-year program of logging from this location.
The California Oregon Power Company, after years of delay, have anticipated the possibilities of Jackson County's wealthiest section and have built a power line from the Prospect sector to Butte Falls, and the town will be boasting a great white way by December 1.
After many years of patient waiting, the old-time citizens of Butte Falls feel they are on the verge of having their long-desired visions realized. With a big highway plan under construction and partly finished that contacts Butte Falls with Prospect and the Crater Lake Highway, a scenic loop unrivaled in Southern Oregon, and the logging possibilities this loop route affords would make the most pessimistic citizen feel that the little mountain town was well on its way to become the industrial center of Southern Oregon.
Another road is under construction that leads from Butte Falls via Fish Lake, Lake of the Woods and Klamath, touching the finest hunting and fishing ground on the Pacific Slope.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 30, 1928, page 5
OWEN-OREGON PLANT TO CLOSE FORTNIGHT BEGINNING SATURDAYIn accordance with previously announced plans, the Owen-Oregon lumber plant will cease operating its sawmill Saturday, December 22, and will resume operations in this unit Monday, January 7.
The planing mill and shipping departments will be operated steady, with shutdowns for Christmas and New Year's days.
During the fortnight suspension, the sawmill will be repaired, and will resume operations Monday, January 7, on a four-days-a-week basis, and be increased to a five-days basis as soon as market conditions warrant.
During the short week period, the log loading department in the Butte Falls section will work, and it is planned to send one trainload of logs to the mill daily.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 20, 1928, page 3
OWEN CO. WILL BUILD 6 NEW LUMBER KILNSThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, operating the largest industrial plant in So. Oregon, and one of the model modernly equipped sawmills of the land, views 1929 "with sane optimism and prospects encouraging," according to James H. Owen, general manager. Under present conditions, the future is bright, he says.
James H. Owen, Manager, Says Future Looks Bright--Battery of 18 Dry Kilns to Be Installed--Rogue Pears Sent to Trade in East.
The plans for 1929, as far as the local plant is concerned, have not been shaped, except that in the spring a battery of six dry kilns will be built and will be ready for operating by May 1. This will make the kiln total 18. The plant closed down December 22 for two weeks to make repairs to the sawmill, and will resume operation Monday, January 7. During the fall and summer the plant operated upon a nine-hour day. The Owen plant in 1928 operated steadier, and employed more men, than the average sawmill in the Northwest.
The Owen-Oregon plant in this city, steam and electrically operated with every labor-saving device known to sawmilling, was visited last summer by several delegations of lumbermen. The proposed new mill of the Edward Hines Lumber Company of Chicago, one of the largest lumber concerns in the world, will be modeled somewhat after the local plant. Pacific Coast architects have studied it as a model of mill construction.
Crater Quality BrandThe pine products of the concern are known nationally, and 1928 marked the opening of a new trade territory for the Owen-Oregon company in the Southwest. This includes Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of Kansas, states and sections, in which the bulk of the fir output is now sold. All the lumber products of the company are sold under the trade slogan of "Crater Quality Lumber." Among the sales of the company in 1928, classified as exceptional, was the shipment of timbers for use of bridge construction in Texas. Reports from good will business emissaries of the company received in December from the southwest trade belt show a degree of satisfaction with the Owen-Oregon lumber.
The Owen-Oregon company during the holidays sent out 150 boxes of Rogue River Bosc pears to their trade.
Greeting cards by the hundreds were also mailed which advertised the scenic charms and pears.
At the top of the cards was a colored photograph of Crater Lake. On one side of the main body of the card was a picture of a fine stand of timber in the Butte Falls district. On the other was a picture of a Rogue River Valley orchard.
The printed matter on the card read: "Greetings from the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., in the Rogue River Valley, whence come the famous Bosc Pears, and Crater Quality Lumber."
The card was designed by Manager J. H. Owen.
The Owen-Oregon company has been a substantial factor in the industrial life of the community. Besides the main plant, it operates the Medford logging road and two logging camps in the Butte Falls section, where the company has extensive timber holdings.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page C8
SAWMILL OPENING DELAYED A WEEKThe sawmill of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, scheduled to resume operations next Monday, has been delayed for one week, according to General Manager James H. Owen. The sawmill will resume operations Monday, January 14. Change in plans and unfavorable weather conditions caused the postponement.
Manager Owen said today that the sawmill would be operated at first on a four-day basis, but expected to go to a five day basis as soon as possible.
The sawmill closed down for the holidays December 22, and repairs have been completed at the plant during this period.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 5, 1929, page 2
OWEN-OREGON HAS RECORD BUSINESS FOR JANUARY DAYThe largest January business in the life of the Medford plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company was recorded yesterday when between 45 and 50 orders for carload lots of lumber were received, according to General Manager James H. Owen. The orders were from various parts of the land.
As a result the plant is operating on a five day basis instead of the four days originally planned.
General Manager Owen said that the lumber business was exceptionally strong now, and the best "I have ever seen it in the month of January." He attributed the hopeful condition to a general opening up of the building industry and the policy of curtailment adopted by lumbermen generally some time ago.
The logging camps of the Owen-Oregon company located in the Butte Falls district, and the life of that town, will not be opened before March 1st, if then. No definite date has been set for resumption of activity, as there are plenty of logs on hand.
The sawmill is now running on a five-day basis and will be placed on a six-day basis as soon as conditions warrant, General Manager Owen said.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 18, 1929, page 5
OWEN-OREGON TO RESUME LOGGING ABOUT MARCH 1The Owen-Oregon Lumber Company plant will be in full operation by March 15, according to General Manager James H. Owen. The logging camps in the Butte Falls district, employing 150 men, will start about March 1. The camps have been idle since last fall.
The sawmill is now on a five-day basis and may soon be placed on a four-day basis soon for a short period to curtail production. It is planned to cut all the logs now on roadways and in the mill pond before March 1.
The annual report of the Owen-Oregon company, now in course of preparation for presentation to the annual meeting of the board of directors of the company, to be held early in March, shows a substantial increase for 1928 over 1927.
The lumber production in 1928 totaled approximately 69,500,000 feet, the log production approximately 68,800,000 feet, and the car shipments totaled approximately 60,900,000 feet.
Manager Owen will leave the last of the month for the East to attend the annual meeting.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 4, 1929, page 3
OWEN TELL PLAN TO OPEN LOGGING FOR LOCAL MILLThat the Owen Oregon logging activities will open up on full schedule within the next 10 days was a statement made in an interesting talk given before the local Lions Club this noon by James Owen, general manager of the Owen Oregon Lumber Company.
In his summary of the production accomplishment of the mill last year, Mr. Owen said that 67 million feet of lumber had been cut during 1928, and that 2785 cars of lumber had been shipped. Medford and Jackson County alone consumed over eight million feet of the lumber manufactured here, the Tomlin box factory using 685 cars in their industry.
Mr. Owen quoted the Owen Oregon annual payroll as amounting to over one million dollars, $850,000 of which he classified as direct, and $150,000 as indirect, making a total monthly payroll of approximately $82,000.
Mrs. A. J. Hanby, representative of the Greater Medford Club, told the Lions of the new community club house, the drive for funds of which will begin soon.
The new airport was the next subject presented before the Lions Club by W. A. Gates and Seely Hall.
An interesting program, from an artistic standpoint, was furnished by Herb Alford, who contributed two solos on his original invention, the viomandozyther (also original), and was heartily applauded. Dolores and Mamie Durkee followed with a clever piano and violin duet, and little LaMurle Beck, student of Mrs. Eve Benson, gave a beautiful solo dance accompanied on the piano by Mrs. W. H. Anderson.
Guests for the luncheon included W. A. Gates, Herb Grey, Seely Hall, S. S. Smith, Fire Chief Graham from Corvallis, Deputy State Fire Marshall Stokes, Herb Alford, James Owen and C. T. Baker.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 6, 1929, page 2
OWEN-OREGON CO. OPEN OPERATIONS ON SIX-DAY BASISThe sawmill of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company started operations today on a six-day-a-week basis. Since the first of the year it has been operating on a four- and five-day-a-week basis.
The new order will provide a full week's work for between 100 and 125 men, with a corresponding increase in the payroll, which will be reflected in the business life of the city.
It was also announced by General Manager James Owen that Camp No. 1 at Butte Falls would start operations next Monday, February 18, and that the second camp would start two or three weeks later.
The camp employs about 75 men. Most of the timber workers live at or near Butte Falls.
The Medford logging railroad, a subsidiary of the Owen-Oregon company, which has been on a half-time basis, will resume operations within a short time.
General Manager Owen expects to leave in a few days for the East to attend the annual meeting of the Owen-Oregon directors, when the annual budget for the year will be considered, along with recommendations for improvements of company property.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 11, 1929, page 3
OWEN-OREGON PINE LOGGING OPEN APRIL 1The fir logging of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, which opened in the Butte Falls district last Monday, is now operating full blast with 75 men employed. The pine camp of the company, according to Logging Superintendent William Stewart, will open about April 1. The company has sufficient pine logs on hand to operate until that date.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 25, 1929, page 3
TWO DRY KILNS WILL BE ADDED AT O.-O. PLANTThere will be no major improvement inaugurated this season by the Owen-Oregon company of this city, according to General Manager James H. Owen, who recently returned from the annual director's meeting.
General Manager Owen Returns from Directors' Meeting--No Major Improvement This Year--Will Speed Up Facilities.
The budget for the year, as adopted, calls for the construction of two additional dry kilns, less that originally contemplated, replacement of worn-out machinery, increasing the summer capacity of the sawmill and improving of facilities for the speedy handling of the output.
Last Monday the pine camp of the company started operating on government reserve land, with buckers and fallers, but it will be three weeks before logging operations are started. The company is cutting ahead, and as the machinery is operated by steam, the exact date will depend upon favorable weather conditions.
The fir camp has been moved to Bowen Creek in the Butte Falls district for summer operations.
The Owen-Oregon company is now watching a new lumber freight rate proposed by the Hill lines, to points in the Southwest. The rate is effective from Washington and northern Oregon points. It does not affect the local situation, as it is in the California district, but gives the rate benefit to Klamath Falls, which is on the Hill lines. The rate will come up for a hearing before the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. Owen returned the first of the week from the East by way of the Southwest and called upon the Owen-Oregon trade in that section. It is a flourishing business.
During his trip he visited Col. Robert Stewart, head of the Standard Oil of Indiana, who was the center of a fight for control among the financial giants, including the Rockefellers--father and son. He is a lifelong friend of Col. Stewart's, and they had a reunion.
Mr. Owen also stopped off in El Paso, Texas, and from the roof of a hotel saw the rival Mexican armies fighting in Juarez, eight blocks away. He says it was not much of a war, but enough of one to cause him to conclude discretion was the better part of gawking and retired to the basement.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1929, page 1
PRODUCTION AT O.-C. MILL GOES ON FULL BASISSpring awakening has come to industries of the city, with preparations for busy days ahead.
Vote to Boost Output Local Lumber Plant--Double Shift Expected Later--Cannery Facing Big Year Is Report.
Commencing tomorrow morning the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will go on a full production basis. A vote of the mill employees was held this noon upon the matter. The plant has been operating on a six-day basis for some time.
Both the pine and fir logging camps of the company in the Butte Falls district are now operating and will soon be on a capacity schedule.
Work has started on the extension of the crane loading shed at the local plant. It will be lengthened 150 feet and will increase the capacity of the shed.
It is expected that the plant will be operated on a double shift during the summer and fall. The starting date will be decided upon later.
Gardeners have started remaking the front yard of the Owen-Oregon office building. The ground is being replowed and fertilized and will be planted to fancy shrubbery. The garden faces on the Pacific Highway.
According to General Manager James H. Owen, this work is beyond his jurisdiction, and in charge is John S. Owen, president of the company, and Mrs. James H. Owen. John S. Owen will arrive the latter part of the month on his usual visit to the plant and will then inspect the company's holdings in this vicinity and the landscape garden, according to manager Owen.
The Rogue River Canning Company, founded by the late S. S. Bullis, expects the best and busiest year in the history of the concern according to Seth Bullis, an officer thereof. The advance orders for canned cherries and pears are the heaviest yet enjoyed and manager R. U. Boutelle, manager of the cannery, is making arrangements for an early start in order to fill the demand.
The machinery of the plant is now being put in shape for the season's run.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 1, 1929, page 1
WISCONSIN RESIDENTS VISIT JAMES H. OWENMr. and Mrs. A. T. Woodson, Dr. and Mrs. M. L. Jones and Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Mylrea, all of Wausau, Wisconsin, spent Friday in the city visiting James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company here. The party are on a motor trip to California. Mr. Woodson and Mr. Mylrea are stockholders of the Owen-Oregon company and inspected the local plant.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 6, 1929, page 2
LOGGING CAMP OF OWEN-OREGON AT MT. PITT SETTLEDMOUNT PITT, Ore., April 15.--(Special)--Camp One is almost settled in its new home a few miles above Butte Falls, and in the future will be known as Camp Three.
Some of the old-timers report there has been more snow at camp this spring than we have had in many years.
Most of the family men are busy building additions to their houses, while some are erecting new homes. Ike Coffman's is one of the largest and most attractive. Ike is about ready to paint now and is open for suggestions as to the best color scheme to carry out in order to blend with the scenery.
O. K. Nelson is the proud owner of a new Chevrolet "6" and is busy these evenings building a garage that will be in keeping with such a fine car.
Mrs. Fred Raatz, who has been quite ill at the Sacred Heart Hospital for the past week, returned home on Friday and is feeling much better.
Fred Martin has traded his Essex for a Hudson and claims now he can make it to camp in record time.
Clay Conley and family have moved into their new home at Camp Happy. We all hope they are as happy as their new location would suggest.
Mrs. George Tranta for the past week has been visiting her sister, Mrs. Fred Butcher, at Jacksonville. Mrs. Tranta had their Studebaker overhauled and in the future will be more careful as to who will do the driving.
Ole Nelson's "Haywire Orchestra" has resumed its weekly practice, and the strains of "Sober All of Us" are frequently heard throughout camp.
George Tranta will soon have his new bungalow completed. He is figuring on a concrete cellar, as the gophers and beavers are rather troublesome in his new location.
O. E. Jones has been promoted to woods foreman at Camp Two. Ole has been quite popular with the men in the past, and we expect him to give a good account of himself for the ensuing year.
Camp Two has been down for the past week. The snow was some two feet deep in places but is thawing rapidly, and they expect to resume operations again about Monday, April 15th.
Jack Lorton of Medford is the new timekeeper at Camp Two. He succeeds Jack Crump, who will be scaler for the gyppos this year.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 15, 1929, page 5
JOHN S. OWEN TO INSPECT HOLDINGS OF OWEN OREGONJohn S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., president of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, accompanied by his brother, William C. Owen, of Pontiac, Mich., arrived this morning on his annual visit to the Rogue River Valley for an inspection of his timber and mill holdings in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
During his stay here of a week or 10 days he will celebrate a birthday--no one at the local Owen-Oregon company office this afternoon knew whether if was the 79th or the 89th--and view the progress made on one of his hobbies--the landscape gardening at the local office building. The first job did not suit, so two teams, two plowmen and two landscape gardeners, are getting the ground ready for the planting of fancy shrubbery.
Ben Alexander, who owns varied industrial interests throughout the land, and party of five arrived Monday evening from Eugene and this morning with James H. Owen, vice president and general manager of the local Owen-Oregon interests, went by auto to the lumber camps of the company in the Butte Falls district. They returned early this afternoon.
Alexander is a large stockholder and member of the executive committee of the Owen-Oregon company.
During his stay here Alexander will visit the mills of the Klamath Falls district.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 30, 1929, page 2
DOUBLE SHIFT AT O.-O. PLANT BEGINS MAY 13The Owen-Oregon Lumber Company announced today that beginning next Monday, May 13, they would operate their plant on a double shift during the summer months. They will employ about 150 extra men, bringing their total payroll up to approximately 600 men. General Manager Owen said the shifts would be on the eight-hour basis.
John S. Owen of Wausau, Wis., president of the Owen-Oregon company, and William C. Owen of Pontiac, Mich., who have been here for a week, left this afternoon by automobile for Crescent City, Calif., where they will inspect their holdings. They will also make a trip to the Klamath Falls district.
John S. Owen celebrated his eightieth birthday last Wednesday. Time has dealt kindly with him, and he is as spry as a man of 45 summers.
He said he could see a substantial growth in this city and surrounding territory since his trip here a year ago.
The present is the first visit of William C. Owen to this valley, though he has often been in this state, and he is highly impressed.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 6, 1929, page 1
TRACTOR DRIVER INJURED IN CAMPOWEN-OREGON LUMBER CAMP NO. 2, May 6.--(Special)--Mr. and Mrs. Pat Olds have returned to their home in this community after being away the past few days.
S. M. Picha was slightly injured while working on a tractor with bunching crews but will be able to resume his duties in a few days.
W. M. Fickeise, Jr., the Mt. Pitt leading harmonica player, went to Ashland to capture all medals available.
Several sports from Camp 2 attended the picture show at Butte Falls Saturday night, including Emil Nelson, Victor Holmes, L. E. Stanley and Jack Lorton.
B. F. Pankey of Central Point, C. E. Bird, Pete Lorentzen--all good musicians--are practicing hard for summer entertainment.
Horseshoe is the game at Camp 2. Medford experts will have to step it up, for R. A. Lawrence threw 13 ringers straight the other day.
Mr. Rodgers, government ranger, was a visitor at camp this week.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 6, 1929, page 2
HAUL LOGS FOR O-O MILL BY AUTO TRUCKThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, when it starts its double shift next Monday, will use logs trucked to the plant from the Trail, Evans Creek and Jacksonville districts. A half dozen logging contractors have contracts for the furnishing of logs. This will be an innovation for the Owen-Oregon company who have heretofore used the output of their own camps in the Butte Falls district.
John S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., president of the Owen-Oregon company and William C. Owen of Pontiac, Mich., vice-president, will return tomorrow from an auto trip to the Del Norte County holdings of the Owen-Oregon company.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 10, 1929, page 7
O.-O. PLANS KLAMATH RAIL EXTENSION
SURVEY OF LINE EAST IS ORDERED
John S. Owen, President of Big Timber Concern, Announces Move for Connecting Links--Forty-Mile Construction Would Tap Vast Timber Wealth--Take Fruit Tonnage.The Owen-Oregon Lumber Company of this city has under consideration the extension of its logging railroad from Butte Falls, the center of its logging operations, to Klamath Falls, according to a statement today by John S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, president of the timber concern.
"I think our railroad should be extended to Klamath Falls, and orders have been issued by the board of directors to James H. Owen, general manager, to proceed with the survey. We are going to find out if a line is practical, and it is certainly worth investigating," said John S. Owen.
James H. Owen, general manager, said that pursuant to instructions he would have a surveying crew in the field in a short time.
The present railroad line from Medford to Butte Falls is standard gauge, heavily railed and heavily ballasted, 32 miles long. It was formerly the Pacific & Eastern, purchased by the Owen-Oregon company when they started operations here. The P.&E. was formerly owned by Hill interests and was built with a view of extension to Klamath Falls and Bend, a decade ago.
The Owen-Oregon company has a logging railroad operating out of Butte Falls and is the one to be extended. The distance to Klamath Falls is about 40 miles. The district is rich in virgin timber, with easy water grades*. Three years ago James H. Owen made a personal trip over the district and reported "a route was feasible for the construction of a railroad." He later sent out a surveying crew. Last year a surveying crew was in the field making preliminary surveys.
It is known from sources outside the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company that they have long been interested in the extension of their present logging operation, so it will tap a large volume of timber on the divide between their present holdings in eastern Jackson County and the Weyerhaeuser holdings and give them a direct route east.
West Route Too BigAsked regarding the report that the Owen-Oregon company was concerned with the construction of a railroad to Crescent City, Calif., John S. Owen said: "That is too big a proposition for us."
The Weyerhaeuser company is now building a logging railroad to their holdings on Spencer Creek, in Klamath County, and the two extensions would be in touch with each other.
Besides developing the timber industry, the proposed extension would open a new summer recreation area and provide fruit shipments a shorter route east. It was unofficially announced last week that the Southern Pacific contemplated routing fruit shipments via Alturas, Calif., as soon as possible, going from here to Weed, Calif., then to Klamath Falls, and then over the Alturas cutoff, thus saving 12 hours in transit, a day on the fruit auction market, and avoiding the icing congregation at Roseville, Calif. The proposed new route would save the trip to Weed and halfway back.
There have been many reports regarding the extension of the Owen-Oregon lines, but the statement of John S. Owen today is the most definite.
John S. Owen, accompanied by his brother, William C. Owen of Pontiac, Mich., leaves tomorrow night for his home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, after spending two weeks here attending to business matters and visiting relatives. They returned Friday from an auto trip to Crescent City.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 13, 1929, page 1 *A "water grade" is apparently an old canal-builder's term--a gentle grade over which moving water will sheet, rather than tumble. One definition is three to twenty-five feet per mile.
SCHOOL CHILDREN VISIT O-O PLANTSchool children of the Sams Valley and Derby schools visited the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company today under the guidance of their teachers and department heads and were shown the making of lumber, from the time a log leaves the pond until it is a finished product in the dry kilns. Under orders from General Manager James H. Owen, the children [were] especially guarded from injury and that official himself admonished the children, "Don't touch anything."
The Owen-Oregon plant will go on a double shift this evening. The employees voted for a nine-hour day, with a half holiday Saturday.
The double shift will employ 75 or 80 additional men, and will cut logs provided by logging contractors in the Evans Creek, Trail and Jacksonville districts, thus furnishing employment for many men.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 13, 1929, page 3
OWEN BROTHERS LEAVING TONIGHTJohn S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., president of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, and his brother, William C. Owen of Pontiac, Mich., will leave tonight for their Middle West homes after a two weeks' visit here. They will be accompanied as far as Portland by James H. Owen, general manager of the local plant.
John S. Owen spent this morning inspecting the local plant and despite his 80 years--56 of them spent in the lumber business--he was as spry as a chipmunk, and his interest as keen as ever.
He plans on a return visit to this section next spring and has issued instructions that on his next visit he wants to see the office flower garden and shrubbery plot in a high state of beauty and efficiency; it is his leading hobby.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 14, 1929, page 3
WILL BUILD STANDARD LINE EASTJames H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, anent the announcement made yesterday by John S. Owen of Eau Claire, Wis., president of the timber concern, that they would build a railroad from Butte Falls to the Klamath Falls district, "if investigation showed it to be practical and feasible," said this morning that he would put a surveying crew in the field as soon as possible and had started mobilizing the crew.
Owen Asserts Extension to Klamath Will Be on Substantial Specifications--Strictly Owen-Oregon Project--Mobilizing Crew--May Use Portion of Old Survey.
In regard to the report from Klamath Falls that the Great Northern line might be fathering the construction, General Manager Owen said: "I don't know anything about the Great Northern."
He intimated that it was strictly an Owen-Oregon project, had been in mind for three years, and that the railroad "was necessary to develop our own and other timber in the Dead Indian country."
"If the road is built, it might as well be on the proper grade and curvature, first as last," said manager Owen.
For the past two summers the Owen-Oregon company has sent surveyors into the territory the proposed road would traverse and had lines set out for two routes out of Butter Falls.
Manage Owen said that the road would not be operated as a common carrier, but would be built to standard specifications as a matter of economy for the future.
He further stated that his first step would be to secure figures on the estimated cost and the most practical route, and that he hoped to use a portion of the old survey for an extension of the Pacific and Eastern railroad to Bend and Klamath Falls. The Pacific and Eastern was built in 1909 by the Hill interests and extends from Medford to Butte Falls, a distance of 32 miles. It was placed in operation and used by the Owen-Oregon company in its timber operations the past five years, after several years of inactivity, save for occasional mail trains.
With the invasion of the Hill lines into Eastern Oregon the road came into reports that it was to be used by the Hill lines as a wedge to enter the Rogue River Valley.
----KLAMATH FALLS, Ore., May 14.--(AP)--A rumor current in Klamath railroad circles for some time, to the effect that the Great Northern had renewed a project abandoned many years ago--construction of a Rogue River-Klamath Valley line, was received yesterday by announcement from Medford that the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company is contemplating extending its logging lines into the Klamath basin.
Several of those close to Klamath Falls railroad news, and usually well informed, believe extension of the Owen-Oregon line would mean that the Great Northern would enter the fertile Rogue Valley and attempt to take a part, at least, of the fruit and lumber tonnage of that section.
What route the proposed extension of the Owen-Oregon line would take was not disclosed by Mr. Owen. There are, however, two possible routes.
One would be a connection with the Weyerhaeuser timber line--a railroad constructed under standard branch line specifications built from the mill site into the western Klamath.
The second would be an extension of the line across the lower end of Wood River Valley and connection with the Southern Pacific near Chiloquin.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 14, 1929, page 1
OWEN TO NAME CHIEF ENGINEER FOR EXTENSIONThe selection of a chief engineer, to have complete charge of the work of surveying a rail route for the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company between Butte Falls and Klamath Falls, will be made shortly, according to James H. Owen, general manager, whereupon a surveying crew under his direction would be put in the field.
Will Have Complete Charge of Rail Survey to Klamath Falls--Crew to Take Field--Hill Party Coming for Visit.
Manager Owen said that the entire responsibility of deciding the feasibility of the route, as proposed, would rest upon the shoulders of the chief engineer, and that his figures on the estimated cost of the road would also be the final word.
Manager Owen said he was negotiating "with a couple of engineers who have built railroads in the Northwest, and know every angle of the game," and I think I have the man I want.
The local timber official said "that it will probably take all summer and fall to get an accurate line on the best route and the estimated costs," and "construction work, if finally decided upon, will not start before next spring."
Louis Hill, chairman of the board of the Great Northern railroad, and party will visit this city and valley the coming week. They left Portland yesterday by auto for Astoria. They will motor down the coast, stopping at Tillamook and Crescent City, Calif., coming to the Rogue River Valley via the Redwood Highway. They will spend a day in this section and go to Klamath Falls over the Ashland-Klamath Falls highway, thence to Bend, Oregon, and return to Portland over the Columbia River-California highway.
All points visited by the Great Northern officials are either concerned with actual Great Northern building operations or linked to rumors of Hill line operations.
The auto trip is characterized by the rail officials as an auto pleasure and "good will trip."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 20, 1929, page 1
CAMP TWO EMPLOYEES JOIN FOREST SERVICEOWEN-OREGON CAMP TWO, May 20.--(Special.)--Paul Sidell, Nick Rivers, Joe Hall, Amos Orvold, all employees of Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, have taken jobs with the government Forest Service for the summer.
A. E. Nelson and L. E. Stanley were enthusiastic over the circus. Mr. Nelson offered Mr. Barnes 15 cents for the big elephant for use as a hooker in the jammer.
Ninety-seven men are working at Camp 2 now, and much progress is reported on account of the excellent weather.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 20, 1929, page 8
FOREST RANGERS WORK NEAR O-O CAMP TWOOWEN-OREGON LUMBER CO., Camp Two, May 30.--(Special.)--Mr. Rodgers, district forest ranger, and several of his men are attending to duties in this vicinity.
Many residents from Camp Two attended the big dance at Butte Falls Saturday, May 25.
Keith Cole and a friend were fishermen of the upper Butte Creek Sunday.
Ben Edmondson has resumed his duties at Camp Two after over a week's work on his ranch at Butte Falls.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 30, 1929, page 2
OWEN-OREGON LUMBER MARKETS EXPANDINGThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company of this city has booked a valuable order for a carload of high-grade sugar pine for the Boston, Mass., market that will average $2000 per car at the mill. The order was highly gratifying to Jas. H. Owen, plant manager of the local plant.
An order was also booked this week for Medford, Wis.
The trade territory of the Owen-Oregon company is steadily gaining in all sections of the country.
Gain Robinson, sales manager, is now on a two months' good-will visit to Chicago, New York City and the south and southwest states before his return.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 6, 1929, page 3
SELECT ENGINEER ON OWEN-OREGON LINE THIS WEEKThe selection of a chief engineer to have charge of the survey for the proposed extension of the Medford logging railroad, a subsidiary of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, from Butte Falls to a point in Klamath County near Klamath Falls, will be made this weekend by James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon company, he said today.
He said the chief engineer to be selected would have complete charge of the work and that when the survey crew would take the field was a matter for his decision.
Mr. Owen said the object of the survey would be to determine if a route to Klamath County, in a southeasterly direction, was feasible and to secure figures on its estimated cost. He reiterated that the railroad was strictly an Owen-Oregon project made necessary to furnish a speedy outlet for their own timber.
A topography map of the section will be made and the plan to have pictures for this purpose taken by airplane has been abandoned as impractical.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 6, 1929, page 3
ENGINEER WILL START RAILROAD WORK MONDAYJames H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, announced today that work on the preliminary survey of a proposed railroad from Butte Falls to Klamath Falls would start next Monday. The chief engineer for the task has been selected by the Owen-Oregon company. General manager Owen said that his name would not be made public at this time, but that he was an experienced railroad engineer, "fairly well acquainted with the country."
The chief engineer, Owen said, would be instructed to gather data on the feasibility of the route and its probable cost.
"The work of the chief engineer will be conducted with the minimum of publicity," further said the general manager. "He is not going through the timber accompanied by a brass band. His work is a business proposition and will be conducted as such.
"It is not the policy of the Owen-Oregon company to excite the public and build their hopes to have them crumble. The company realizes the importance of the survey as a development factor in Southern Oregon, and our final plans will be shaped in accordance with the final report of the chief engineer as to costs and feasibility."
General manager Owen said that the first move would be to have the chief engineer make a personal trip over the proposed routes, which would take a "week or ten days."
He said the chief engineer would be in complete charge of the work and that it would probably take two or three months.
Mr. Owen returned yesterday from Portland, where he made negotiations for the services of the chief engineer.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 12, 1929, page 3
MAKE IMPROVEMENTS OWEN-OREGON PLANTConstruction work on the 200-foot addition to the shipping shed of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company is proceeding rapidly, and it will be ready for operation shortly. The six dry kilns are about half finished and some 2000 feet of trams and rails are being laid.
In connection with the improvements now underway, the 50-year-old column of the American Lumberman, in a recent issue, shows that history is repeating itself. The item is:
"J. G. Owen, East Saginaw, is building 1,000 feet of new dock and 1,000 feet of tramway. A two-story frame barn has been erected on his mill premises."
J. G. Owen is the father of James H. Owen, general manager of the local plant.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 20, 1929, page B5
CATTLE NOW RANGING NEAR O-O CAMP TWOOWEN-OREGON CAMP 2, June 24.--(Special.)--Several cattlemen have brought their herds into the range recently.
Miss Marie Thomas of Brookings, Ore., is spending the summer with her brother, W. J. Thomas.
Miss Anna Cross is also with her parents since the Medford school closed.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Russell are the owners of one of the new 1929 model Fords. Mr. Russell is convinced the new Ford is a real mountain car, for these steep hills don't worry it at all.
Bud Obenchain has been called away due to the sickness of his mother.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 24, 1929, page 6
OWEN-OREGON TAKES WEEK FOR HOLIDAYThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. closed down its mill and logging camps Saturday for one week, to permit its employees to take a Fourth of July vacation. Operations of the company will be resumed next Monday. The workers were paid off Saturday night and there was a general exodus of mill men and their families to the seashore and the hills.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 1, 1929, page 3
FIVE ROUTES TO BE CONSIDERED O.-O. EXTENSIONThree preliminary surveys for the proposed railroad of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, from Butte Falls in a southerly direction, have been completed. The preliminary lines run on the north side of the Rogue River and terminate near Spencer Creek--the objective of the railroad being built by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company in Klamath County.
This would make possible a tie-up of the two lines when, and if, built. James H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon company, who last week walked over a portion of the preliminary surveys, would neither confirm nor deny a "tie-up" with the Weyerhaeuser was contemplated, but admitted it was practical and possible.
The preliminary lines run exclusively through timber owned and controlled by the Owen-Oregon company and upon feasible grades rich in recreational, timber and through an undeveloped country, stock-raising possibilities.
One of the surveys calls for the erection of a high bridge near Butte Falls to secure an easy grade and the boring of a short tunnel through the snout of a ridge.
It is expected to run at least two more preliminary surveys, after which the work of selecting the most practical from an engineering and financial standpoint will be made.
Additional men were dispatched yesterday to join the surveying crew, and the present work is being rushed. Manager Owen said that it would take at least six months to complete the present task.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 9, 1929, page 1
OWEN-OREGON CAMP RESUMES ACTIVITIESOWEN-OREGON CAMP TWO, July 10.--(Special.)--The camp is running full force again since the Fourth. Many old and new employees have resumed their duties.
Wade Smith is visiting his mother and brother at Butte Falls.
Lester Heer is the owner of one of the new sport model Fords.
A. E. Nelson of Camp Two returned recently from a trip to Washington.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1929, page 10
GOOD ROUTE TO KLAMATH SEEN BY O.-O. SURVEYReconnaissance work in connection with the proposed Owen-Oregon Lumber Company railroad from Butte Falls to Klamath country, has been completed and, according to James H. Owen, general manager of the lumber company, "we have found a good route." Owen will leave in the morning to go over the preliminary lines, and the work of actual surveying will start in a week or 10 days. He said that supplies were being sent to Butte Falls for the surveying crew.
Crew Contemplates Preliminary Work on Extension Project--On South Side River from Butte Falls--Owen Finds Still.
The proposed route runs on the south side of Rogue River out of Butte Falls and extends in a southeasterly direction to the area tapped by the Weyerhaeuser railroad to Spencer Creek. It runs exclusively through timber owned by the Owen-Oregon company.
Last week manager Owen journeyed to the Butte Falls territory to inspect the preliminary survey. He became lost in the woods and followed an obscure trail. At its terminal he came upon a still that had been recently in operation. No one was in sight, but the sound of a man running through the brush was heard.
The still is located in the heart of the Cascades and, according to its accidental finder, "nobody will ever find it."
"It took me the entire afternoon to regain my bearings, and if I had to find that still again, I don't believe I could do it," manager Owen said. He said the still was not located on land owned by his company.
Directors and officials of the Owen-Oregon company will arrive here August 4. They will inspect the local plant and will receive information on the progress of the survey.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 29, 1929, page 1
OWEN AND JUDGE WILL CONFER ON STREET EXTENSIONCounty Judge Alex Sparrow and James H. Owen of the Owen-Oregon company will confer this week upon the extension of Court Street through Owen-Oregon property from North Central Avenue to the Pacific Highway near the junction with the Medford-Sams Valley highway. This is the north loop of the Central Avenue property owners' project to make that thoroughfare a through street, and relieving much of the traffic congestion on Riverside Avenue.
The county court is not averse to the north opening of Central Avenue, and have been working on the proposition for some time. Securing the right-of-way has been the main difficulty.
The extension of Court Street would give the north-central portion of the county a direct route to the heart of the city.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 29, 1929, page 3
OWEN-OREGON TO FILL NEW ORDER FOR BIG TIMBEROrders for seven more cars of timbers to be used by the city of San Francisco in the construction of the Hetch Hetchy water supply system were received today by the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company. This makes a total of 30 cars of timbers that have been supplied by the local concern for the huge enterprise, and more are in sight.
The timbers are all certified by an inspector of the West Coast Lumbermen's Association and are of high structural grade.
The inspector said the timbers are the highest grade and type he has seen in many months, and that out of the cars shipped to date, he discarded but one timber as not being up to AA specifications.
Manager Owen said today that he was "highly pleased with the compliment and glad to know that the trade recognized at last the superiority of Southern Oregon fir." He said that compliments, backed by substantial orders, "were air-tight and left no room for doubt."
The timbers will be used in tunnel work.
The Owen-Oregon company recently filled timber orders for the state highway commission of Texas and the city of Stockton, Calif., for repairs to their water system.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 8, 1929, page 2
NEW EMPLOYEES AT OWEN-OREGON CAMPOWEN-OREGON LUMBER CO. CAMP, Aug. 9.--(Special.)--E. L. Russell of Klamath Falls and Lee Winningham of Applegate, Ore., are new employees at camp.
Ben Edmondson, employee of Camp 2, who has been ill, is improving now.
Ray Lawrence, employee at Camp 2 cookhouse, has been succeeded by C. A. Jones of Medford.
Lew Farnham is taking an extended trip north for a few days.
Mrs. Clara Scholer of Siskiyou, Ore., is visiting her relatives here.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 9, 1929, page 6
HUNDRED WORKERS IN OWEN OREGON CAMPOWEN-OREGON LUMBER CO. CAMP 2.--(Special.)--The average force of men at Camp 2 is 100. A regular 20-car trainload of good pine and fir leaves here daily.
Mr. McRay of Medford is cruising a large body of timber in this section for the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company.
Don Smith and Jack Linton were visitors at Lake of the Woods Sunday. Black bass fishing is good there and boating and swimming is also excellent, they report.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 16, 1929, page 9
OWEN-OREGON CAMP ENTERTAINS VISITORSOWEN-OREGON LUMBER CO. CAMP 2.--(Special.)--Mr. and Mrs. Ole Jones and Juanita Nutting motored to Camp 2 Saturday afternoon with a party of their friends.
Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Bross, M. J. McLaren, Mr. and Mrs. Piatt of Camp 3 motored to the Lake o' the Woods recently.
Mrs. Russell and others report huckleberry picking good at Blue Canyon, a short distance from Camp 2.
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Scholer were visiting their relatives here Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank James motored to Medford last week on business.
L. P. Cross has gone to Brookings to visit his wife and daughter.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 28, 1929, page B1
OWEN-OREGON WILL CLOSE NIGHT SHIFTEffective Saturday, September 14, the night shift of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will be discontinued. Orders to this effect were issued yesterday. It affects 150 workers and means the closing down of an Owen-Oregon logging camp in the Butte Falls district and a dozen small logging camps operating in the Trail, Jacksonville, Gold Hill, Evans Creek and Jacksonville districts.
No reason was given for the action except the usual one, "unsettled condition of the lumber market."
Medford Mail Tribune, September 13, 1929, page 5
OWEN REPORTS FEASIBILITY OF RAILROAD LINEThe survey for the proposed construction of an Owen-Oregon Lumber Company railroad, from a point seven miles beyond Butte Falls to Klamath County, has been completed and James H. Owen, general manager of the timber company has reported to the board of directors that "the road is feasible and practical from an engineering and financial standpoint."
Lengthy Statement on the Proposed Extension of Logging Railroad Butte Falls to Klamath Sent to General Manager.
The lengthy report of Owen will be acted upon by the board of directors, it is expected, at their annual meeting next February.
The survey runs from Camp No. 2 in the Butte Falls district to the Weyerhaeuser Junction on Spencer Creek, with an easy grade from that point into Klamath Falls. The distance to Spencer Creek from Camp No. 2 is 37 miles and from Medford to Camp No. 2 is 44 miles. The Weyerhaeuser company is planning to extend its line from five to seven miles northeast from the present terminal, further shortening the distance.
The survey calls for a junction with the Weyerhaeuser line or transcontinental line at Klamath Falls.
No figures on the estimated cost per mile were made public by general manager Owen.
The report sets forth that "eventually a railroad will be built from Klamath County tapping the Dead Indian district, the Big Butte basin and the upper Rogue River Valley, shortening the distance east for fruit and lumber shipments."
Medford Mail Tribune, October 15, 1929, page 5
FAREWELL PARTY FOR O.-O. CAMP 2MT. PITT, Oct. 26.--(Special.)--The closing of Camp No. 2 of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company was occasioned here last night for a big farewell party to employees of the camp and was enlivened by a variety of games and amusements. Radio music supplied by William Fickeise and wienies were roasted over a large bonfire, lighting up the surrounding woodland.
The camp will be closed indefinitely, and as a result over 60 men will be out of employment. The majority of families have plans of staying in the vicinity in order that children who have started to the Mt. Pitt school may continue to give attention to their studies. The camp is located 12 miles above Butte Falls and is in the heart of the timber country at the base of Mt. Pitt.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 26, 1929, page 8
OWEN-OREGON GIVEN HETCH HETCHY ORDERThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. today received a wire that they were awarded a contract to furnish 10 additional cars of structural timbers for the Hetch Hetchy water power development by the department of public works, San Francisco. This makes 50 cars that the local company has furnished for the San Francisco water department in the past six months.
The structural grade specified is selected for strength and durability and can only contain the minimum annular rings per inch. The lumber was inspected by a representative of the West Coast Lumbermen's Association and a certificate furnished as to its quality and tally.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 16, 1929, page 2
OWEN OREGON TO KEEP STEP WITH HOOVERJames H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company returned yesterday from a nine day trip through the Middle West where he attended the annual meeting of the Owen-Oregon company directors at Eau Claire, Wis., and announced that his recommendation and reports on local mill improvements, and the proposed Owen-Oregon railroad from Butte Falls to a point near the Klamath County line, had been deferred to a later date for consideration.
He said the general policy of the company would be "to keep step with President Hoover's plan for the maintenance of prosperity," and "that nothing gives the West such a black eye, in the mind of easterners, as exaggerated reports of forest fires.
"I have received letters from friends hoping I would not get burned up in a forest fire," he said. "Their concern is due to the fact that a fire is burning on a small portion of our timber holdings, and it is doing more good than harm." He further stated that he had learned from railroad officials that reports of forest fires, in the East, yearly resulted in the cancellation of railroad reservations for tourist trips through the West." He favored press reports of forest fires of consequence "without the headlines being 'hotter' than the fires."
General manager Owen reported that on his trip he heard many favorable reports on the Bosc campaign of the Winter Pear Committee in Detroit and that his company had completed arrangements for the distribution of 300 boxes of Medford Bosc and Comice pears to customers and friends throughout the land at Christmas time. This is an annual custom of the lumber company.
"I found money 'easier' in the Middle West, and a lull in all lines of activities," said Mr. Owen, "and a disposition on the part of business and industry to do their share towards the maintenance of prosperity, as outlined by the President, and that the federal government should spend more of the surplus in the treasury for the carrying on of public work, without any dilly-dallying by Congress."
He said that the lumber business generally was at its lowest ebb in many years, but with a willingness on the part of the mill owners to do their share. He said extensive federal work was the key to the situation, and the awakening of industry.
During his trip Mr. Owen caught a cold, which kept him in his room in San Francisco, when he planned on attending the Oregon-St. Mary's football game Thanksgiving day. He still has the cold.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 4, 1929, page 5
OWEN-ORE. WORKERS AIDED BY TREE SALESThe welfare association of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, composed of employees of the company, will have Christmas trees for sale again this year. The trees were cut by the association members and will be on display at downtown points. The funds derived from the sale will be placed in the treasury of the association and used for the benefit of the employees of the company in cases not coming under the aid of the mill or state insurance provisions.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 5, 1929, page 3
OWEN-OREGON CUTS HOLIDAYS TO AID WORKERSThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, James H. Owen, manager, yesterday formulated its winter operating plans, following a conference with employees.
Logging Camps Will Close December 23 and Resume January 2--New Order Gives 250 Men Work in Dull Season When Needed.
The logging camps in the Butte Falls district will close December 23 for the Christmas holidays and resume operations January 2.
The local plant will close down for Christmas and New Year's and operate in between the holidays.
In past years the company has closed down its plants and camp in mid-December for extended periods ranging from six to ten weeks.
The new order will furnish approximately 250 men with employment during the dull season.
General manager Owen said that the change was in accordance with the announced policy of the Owen-Oregon company to keep step with President Hoover's plan to keep industry moving and because the company itself felt it was unfair to the employees not to give them as much employment as possible when they needed it most. He said the operating costs in the winter were heavier than in other seasons, and that conditions might later force a four- or five-day week with a minimum output.
H. S. Lovejoy of Janesville, Wis., a director and secretary of the Owen-Oregon company, spent yesterday and today in the city on his annual visit to the local plant. With James H. Owen, he leaves tonight for San Francisco.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 12, 1929, page 1
OWEN-OREGON CLOSES TUESDAY TO JAN. 6THThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will close down their plant in this city tomorrow night for the holidays and will resume operations Monday, January 6, on a four-day-a-week basis, according to the present plans. If the lumber market justifies, a longer working week will follow. The logging camps in the Butte Falls district will also close down for the holidays.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 23, 1929, page 2
TREE SALE SWELLS O-O RELIEF BUDGETThe employees' relief committee of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company is especially gratified with the generous patronage on the part of Southern Oregon people during the recent sale of Christmas trees conducted by this organization. As a result of the very satisfactory sale of trees, the relief fund for Owen-Oregon employees was materially swelled, and the committee is anxious to express its appreciation for the support given the tree sale. The Christmas tree sale is an annual event with the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company employees, and this year it was far more successful than ever before.
The employees' committee is also grateful to Mr. Owen, who donated the Christmas trees for the sale.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 26, 1929, page 2
O.-O. PLANT UPON 6-DAY BASIS AS STATE MILLS HITThe Owen-Oregon lumber plant in this city is operating on a half-capacity basis, six days a week, as a precautionary measure against freezing temperature. In the near-zero weather of the recent storm, the crews were kept busy keeping the pipes open. As long as the hills are covered with snow, and low temperatures liable, the plant will operate, Sales Manager Gain Robinson said yesterday. Repairs are being made to half of the plant.
Upstate mills are closed down on account of storm conditions, and the shutdown has reflected favorable to the local plant, with an increase in orders.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 19, 1930, page 8
----PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 18.--(AP)--Officials of the West Coast Lumbermen's Association here today estimated the lumber industry of the Pacific Northwest Douglas fir region, which was slowly reviving production following a month of greatly reduced cutting in January, has been held to 20 percent of normal capacity because of heavy snow and continued freezing weather.
Mills and logging camps in the fir districts, it was pointed out, are contracted to be operated through a winter of rainy weather and most of them cannot be run successfully during heavy snow or extreme cold weather.
All Portland mills have been shut down for three and four days because of ice. Mills along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington are similarly handicapped.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 19, 1930, page 8
MILLS ASSISTANT CHIEF O-O PLANTThomas H. Mills of Portland, a practical and experienced lumber and mill expert, has been named assistant manager of the local plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company. He has assumed his new duties, and during the absence of James H. Owen, general manager, temporarily in Portland, is acting manager. Mr. Owen will be in Portland for some time to be near the bedside of Mrs. Owen, who recently underwent an operation and whose condition was reported today as highly favorable.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 3, 1930, page 3
GIANT ARROWS WILL POINT TO MEDFORD AIRPORTThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will paint at once on the roof of its shipping shed a huge arrow pointing the way to the Medford municipal airport, James H. Owen, general manager of the company, said this morning. The lumber sign will be 75 feet long, in black and yellow colors, and in accordance with government aviation sign specifications. Owing to the size of the shipping shed, it has aerial prominence, and can be seen aloft at average height for a distance of from seven to ten miles.
Seventy-Five-Foot Guide on Owen-Oregon Roof to Aid Airmen--
Will Distribute Circular.
Through the efforts of Ben Alexander, a director of the Owen company and aviation enthusiast, the concern offered a year ago to paint the sign at their own expense and asked for details. The airport officials did not want the sign until the new field was in service, and there the matter rested.
City Engineer Fred Scheffel and manager Owen held a conference this morning with the understanding that the painters would paint the sign as soon as the federal specifications could be secured.
To Issue CircularThe airport committee will issue a circular at once, for distribution throughout the aviation fields of the land, giving full details and particulars for reaching the local airport, and also note local landmarks on the map to aid lone pilots.
During the past fortnight, aviators have experienced difficulty in locating the new field, and instead have landed at the fairgrounds field. Yesterday afternoon a fleet of five army planes circled the valley several times in an effort to find the airport and finally landed at the former field.
An effort will also be made to have arrows pointing in the general direction of the airport, painted on the roofs of downtown buildings as further aids to aerial navigation.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 27, 1930, page 1
OWEN OPERATING FULL SHIFT NOWThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company went on a full shift of nine hours a day this morning and expect to start operations on a double shift in a short time. The mill has been operating on a part-time basis.
It was planned to start the plant on a double shift today, but the change is held in abeyance pending further developments in the coast lumber situation.
James. H. Owen, general manager of the plant, is in Del Monte, California attending a conference of California mill interests. They hope to work out a plan for full-time operations and to bring the lumber business out of the doldrums.
Both the logging camps of the Owen-Oregon company in the Butte Falls district are operating.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 15, 1930, page 5
OWEN-OREGON IN AID TO BIRDMEN WITH HUGE SIGNPainters have about completed the installation of a huge orange colored sign on the roof of the shipping shed of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, and henceforth strange aviators will not fly aimlessly over the city looking for the airport. The sign is to be noted on all aviation maps of the air service and private air lines. It is the largest sign of its kind in the state.
The sign is visible for 15 miles aloft, and half that distance from elevated portions of the valley. It was painted so as to leave a flat impression, and no birdman will have difficulty in deciphering the writing on the roof. An arrow points to the airport with the legend "2 miles."
If government regulations will permit, arrows will be painted at each end, denoting the general direction of Portland and San Francisco. Some aviation experts locally hold too much matter in the sign is apt to be confusing. Government regulations provide that signs be brief and simple, with no advertising near.
The sign was painted through the courtesy of Ben Alexander of Los Angeles, an aviation enthusiast, and director of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company. Alexander expects to fly in his own plane to this city the coming summer and view the sign from on high.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 22, 1930, page 3
O.O. OFFICIALS MEETING HERE INSPECT PLANTHigh officials of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, including John S. Owen of Wausau, Wis., president, met here today in the annual meeting of the board of directors. This session is usually held in the East but is combined this year with an inspection of the local plant and a visit to the holdings of the concern in Southern Oregon and Del Norte County, California.
Members of the party are: M. C. Woodward of Silverton, A. R. Owen of Owen, Wis., H. S. Lovejoy of Janesville, Wis., secretary; George E. Foster, Wausau, Wis., and William Carson of Burlington, Iowa. All are directors.
They will remain here until Wednesday, when a visit will be paid to Crescent City, Calif.
John S. Owen is a yearly visitor to this city and valley and is as spry as ever despite his years. He arrived yesterday and spent the afternoon driving over the valley. He will remain a week or 10 days.
"The city has grown since I was here a year ago," he said. "I see many new buildings and homes, and that is a healthy sign."
He expressed delight that Medford had shown an increase in population, with prospect of passing the 11,000 mark.
Mr. Owen noted without comment that the flower plot in front of the Owen-Oregon office, on the Pacific Highway, was in about the same shape as last year, when he directed that it be put in a high state of cultivation.
James H. Owen, general manager of the company, said there was no significance attached to the gathering of officials, "and just a sort of a get-together to talk over business and renew acquaintances."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 12, 1930, page 1
OWEN-OREGON PLANT PLANS SUMMER WORKThe plant of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company in this city will operate one shift of nine hours all summer, James H. Owen, general manager, announced yesterday.
Will Operate One Shift of Nine Hours, in Accordance with Curtailment Policy of Lumber Industry--No Complete Shutdown, Says Manager Owen.
The concern will also operate one logging plant, as at present, in the Butte Falls district.
This means the employment of between 300 and 350 men. Reports were circulated throughout the county that the Owen-Oregon company contemplated a complete shutdown, and some uneasiness has been expressed among employees relative to a complete [shutdown].
No such step is contemplated, according to manager Owen, though, in common with the lumber industry of the Pacific Coast, curtailments are in force. In some of the mills of the Northwest a complete shutdown has been ordered pending a change for the better in the lumber industry.
"We will operate all summer with one shift on a nine-hour basis," manager Owen said, "barring the unexpected. Curtailments have been made."
It was the original intention to operate two shifts during the summer months in the local plants, but the unsatisfactory condition of the lumber market caused a change in plans.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 1, 1930, page 1
OWEN-OREGON TO OPEN CAMP TWOThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company will start operations next Monday at Camp No. 2 in the Butte Falls district. The camp has been shut down for a month. Resumption will furnish employment for 75 men, General Manager J. H. Owen said this morning.
It is the intention of the Owen-Oregon company to keep operating on the present one-shift basis all summer and fall.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 23, 1930, page 8
WORK FULL CREW AT O-O CAMP 2OWEN OREGON CAMP TWO, Butte Falls, Ore., Aug. 7.--(Spl.)--Camp Two has begun its second week, opening with a full crew of men, totaling 77.
The camp is furnishing twenty carloads of pine daily.
Mrs. George West and friends visited her husband here Sunday.
L. C. Richmond reports huckleberries are getting ripe but are not as plentiful as last year
Medford Mail Tribune, August 7, 1930, page 8
O-O ENGINEER IS SEVERELY BURNEDR. S. Chandler, engineer on the Owen-Oregon railroad, is in the Sacred Heart Hospital this afternoon undergoing examination in the surgery for serious burns received in an accident today. Chandler was brought to Medford from Butte Falls by Dr. J. C. Hayes and W. P. Stewart of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company. Chandler was burned around the hands and legs. The accident occurred when a can of paraffin with waste on top exploded.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 13, 1930, page 8
FIRES SPRING UP OWEN-OREGON TIMBERSeven additional fires were reported this morning burning in the Owen-Oregon timber in the Butte Falls district, six having been reported yesterday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The seven new fires started this morning southeast of Big Butte.
A fire was also reported burning in timber one mile northeast of Gold Hill, in the Wimer district. Five firefighters were to be sent to the Owen-Oregon territory today.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 3, 1930, page 5
O-O OFFERING $500 REWARD FOR ARSONISTThe Owen-Oregon Lumber Company has offered a reward of $500 for the arrest and conviction of the firebug who set the fire that swept last week through the Willow Creek district near Butte Falls, causing an estimated damage of $20,000. Reward notices have been posted in the Butte Falls section.
Willow Creek Fire Now Under Control and Work Resumed at Local Mill--$20,000 Damage.
The fire is now under control with a fire trail surrounding it and guards patrolling the area to prevent a resumption of the flames. A watch is also being maintained for new man-set fires. When the fire was at its height, evidence was found of attempts to start new blazes.
As a result of the incendiarism, $10,000 worth of logs ready for hauling to the mill were destroyed, fives trestles of the Medford logging railroad and a large number of ties burned. The flames also caused some damage in the merchantable timber.
The local plant of the Owen-Oregon company resumed regular operations today. The mill was closed down last week and the workmen taken to Butte Falls to fight fire.
The rains of yesterday, with promise of more, will reduce the fire hazard in the hills.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 8, 1930, page 1
OWEN-O. CO. TO OPERATE FULL SHIFTJames H. Owen, general manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, returned yesterday from a trip to the East, where he attended a meeting of the executive committee of the Owen Lumber Company at Wausau, Wis., and a trip to San Francisco, where he attended a meeting of the West Coast Lumbermen last week.
James H. Owen, Upon Return from East, Denies Rumor of Closing Down--Will Operate One Full Shift Throughout Winter--Pessimism Scored.
Mr. Owen said: "Conditions in the East are not as bad as they have been painted. There was not enough optimism in the country after 10 fat years to tide us over a short period of depression, so the money went into hiding. It has started to come out of hiding and so times are improving slow but sure. There has been too much pessimism."
Contrary to local rumors, Mr. Owen said that it was his intention to operate the local plant on one full shift basis in the mill and one in the woods all winter, as at present, in order to keep as many men at work as possible.
"The lumber business has hit the bottom, and it is the opinion of lumber men that it is now on the rise. It has improved. By operating this winter on a curtailed production basis, the lumber market will be on an even keel by spring," said Mr. Owen.
He said there were no new developments about the proposed Owen-Oregon railroad extension from Butte Falls to Klamath Falls. A crew of surveyors are engaged now in making minor surveys and laying out new lines. This work is in connection with making it a thorough job of the first survey a year ago and to and to clear up details pertaining to it.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 22, 1930, page 1
OWEN-OREGON TO OBSERVE HOLIDAYThe Owen-Oregon lumber plant in this city will close down December 23 for the Christmas holidays for two weeks and will resume operations on the present basis early in January.
Annual repairs to the mill and routine work such as cleaning of the boilers will be carried on. The management said it would keep as many of the employees as possible at work, but some would have to be laid off.
The timber operations will also be shut down for the holidays.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 19, 1930, page 5
Owen-Oregon circa 1930.
Owen-Oregon Mill Reopening Slated Monday
200 MEN ON JOB WITHIN 2 WEEKS DECLARES OWEN
Repairs to Plant and Railroad First Necessity--
Operation Will Be Through Medford Corporation.
Operation of the Owen-Oregon lumber mill starting Monday morning with a repair crew and increasing during the ensuing two weeks to employment of 200 men was announced today by James H. Owen, former manager of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. and present manager of the new Medford Corporation.
Owen stated that reopening of the mill, which has been closed since last August, after a slowing down of operations for the past four years, was authorized by H. F. Chaney of Portland, vice-president of the Medford Corporation, who was conferring with Owen in Medford this week. The Medford Corporation is a newly formed organization which has replaced the Owen-Oregon Lumber co.
"Mr. Chaney authorized me to start operating at once, so we are going to start Monday morning," Owen stated today.
Repairs FirstThe repair crew starting Monday will go to work putting the railroad in shape and doing other repairs on the entire mill. Only former employees of the company will be hired, Owen said, and owing to the fact that many are out of the city, it will require several days to get the full repair crew of 200 organized.
"The woods crew will start falling timber just as soon as they can be hired and put to work." Owen said. "We hope to start falling timber next week, and lumber saws should be operating within three weeks.
"I ordered ties for the railroad this morning. The mill is in fair shape, but general repairs are necessary on the plant, railroad and logging equipment before we can go ahead under full power."
Full Capacity in Year AimOwen stated work will continue this summer as long as weather permits, with the hope of increasing to full capacity within a year. Complete reorganization will necessitate going ahead slowly at first, but Owen said Medford Corporation plans definitely to "hit it up" to full capacity.
One of Jackson County's main industrial payrolls will be resumed by renewed operation of the mill. Owen stated that due to some extent to closure of large northern mills, there is a good prospective market for pine.
Owen-Oregon Lumber Co. established the present mill in 1926, following the purchase of the business in 1924 from M. D. Olds. The direct payroll in 1929 was $800,000, which when combined with the contract payroll totaled a regular payroll of $1,000,000, according to Owen.
Between 65,000,000 and 70,000,000 feet of lumber is considered a capacity cut for the mill.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1935, page 1Trestle Burning Halts Mill Start
LOGGING TRESTLE BURNING DELAYS OPENING OF MILL
Destruction by fire of undetermined origin Monday night of a Medford logging railroad trestle, five miles west of Butte Falls, 450 feet in length and 70 feet high at its loftiest point, will delay opening of the Medford Corporation (Owen-Oregon) sawmill in this city until about September 15, manager James H. Owen reported today. It was planned to start cutting lumber September 1 or thereabouts.
Insurance adjusters are today surveying the loss, and manager Owen hopes for a speedy adjustment to enable operation plans to continue.
The fire necessitated laying off for a week or ten days of part of the saw and bucking crew, which started Monday in the woods near Butte Falls.
Rebuilding of the destroyed trestle--the longest on the logging railroad--will start as soon as the insurance loss is adjusted. No estimate of the loss was announced.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but manager Owen this morning attributed it to a carelessly thrown cigarette.
The placing of the sawmill and other department machinery in order will not be delayed by the blaze, manager Owen said, nor the repairs on other sections of the railroad.
As soon as possible the logging crews in the Butte Falls area will be restored to a full quota to furnish logs for the sawmill and hauling of them over the road, Owen stated today.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 7, 1935, page 1
MEDFORD, Aug. 7 (AP)--Fire of undetermined origin Monday night destroyed a 450-foot trestle of the Medford logging railroad, in the Butte Falls district.SAWMILL AT MEDFORD DUE TO OPEN APRIL 6
The loss necessitates the postponement of the opening of the Medford Corporation (Owen-Oregon) sawmill in this city until September 15, it was announced by manager James H. Owen today. Owen said the work of rebuilding would be started soon.
Oregonian, Portland, August 8, 1935, page 4
Medford Corporation Operating
Medford Corporation, Medford, Oregon, successor to Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., J. S. Owen, general manager, is operating two bands [bandsaws], Wickes gang and horizontal resaw on the cutting floor. The mill reopened in September. R. W. Dean is sales manager. The company uses tractors in its logging operations. One Hilke and two Sky Pilot lumber pilers are used. Gerlinger and Willamette carriers transport the lumber in the yard.
"Sugar pine has a lighter texture than ponderosa pine and seasons more easily. Thick stock can be dried in six to eight days. Sinker sugar pine [heavy, wet logs that sink in the log pond] requires longer time to season. The moisture content in sinker sugar pine runs up to 200 pounds to the thousand feet," states E. W. Kessler, superintendent of seasoning for Medford Corporation. The company operates a battery of 14 Moore and General kilns.
Ponderosa pine drying schedule: 4-quarter stock 130 hours, 6-quarter stock 162 hours, 8-quarter stock 174 hours.
The men who make the sawdust include E. Gillespie, superintendent; Joseph Rosser and A. Brown, sawyers; E. W. Thomas, filer; Ed Johnson, assistant filer; C. English, planing mill foreman; William Bryant, electrician; E. W. Kessler, dry kiln foreman; Smith Trent and Frank Huffman, trimmermen.
R. A. Flemming is logging superintendent, putting in 200,000 feet a day with seven tractors, three equipped with Euclid arches, the other four skidding, loading with McGiffert loaders, using three hookers. Rail haul to the mill at Medford is 35 miles. Two direct-connected locomotives are operated on the main line and one geared locomotive on logging lines. W. I. Odin, Butte Falls, and Ralph Chandler, Medford, are the locomotive drivers. Another tractor with arches may be added to the camp equipment this year. The logs will average 1000 feet, consisting of sugar pine, ponderosa pine and fir.
Almost simultaneously with announcement by Medford Corporation of its reorganization and plans for resumption of operations, a trestle on the Pacific & Eastern, with terminus at Butte Falls, was burned, which delayed the operation of the mill until September 16. Haste in rebuilding the trestle was the essential factor, resulting in completion of a 17-bent, 65-foot-high trestle in 12 days, under supervision of W. P. Stewart, in charge of railroad operation.
The bents were constructed in two sections, framed on the ground at the end of the trestle. Top sections were 30 feet high. Soon as a two-section bent was placed in position the railroad track was laid over it, permitting a Clyde jammer to operate on the track and handle the bents into place for the next section.
About 140,000 feet of lumber and timbers were used in construction of the bridge. Men responsible for rebuilding the bridge in the record time were Everett Gillespie, in charge of framing; Herbert Schritt, in charge of construction, and Ed Albern, handling the jammer.
The Timberman, November 1935, page 75
MEDFORD, March 20 (AP)--The Medford Corporation (Owen-Oregon Company) has announced that it will start its sawmill here April 6.
General Manager James H. Owen said that logging operations would start next week in the Butte Falls district.
Oregonian, Portland, March 21, 1936, page 8
Everette Gillespie, formerly an employee of Louisiana Central Lumber Company, Clarks, and later an employee of Forest Lumber Company, Oakdale, Allen Parish, was recently made assistant general manager of Medford Corporation, Medford, Ore. Mr. Gillespie went from Oakdale to Pine Ridge, Ore., when Forest Lumber Company began operations there. For the last seven years he has been with Medford Corporation, which is one of the large lumber manufacturing plants on the West Coast.
"Clarks," Monroe News-Star, Monroe, Louisiana, December 26, 1940, page 11
MEDCO ACQUIRES TIMBER PROPERTY AT BUTTE FALLSAcquisition of 22,350 acres of timber land lying south of the South Fork of the Rogue River by the Medford Corporation, was announced today by R. R. Chaffee, formerly an officer and general manager of the Rogue River Timber Company through which the timber was acquired, and B. L. Nutting, Medford Corporation manager. The corporation's holdings now total 78,500 acres, the largest private ownership of timber in Jackson County, it was stated.
Medford Corporation Takes Over 22,350 Acres Land on South Fork of Rogue.
During 1947 the Medford Corporation purchased a controlling interest in the Rogue River Timber Company, a New York corporation owning and operating a large timber block in the county, it was explained, and in December the timber company was dissolved and the Medford Corporation took over the more than 20,000 acres lying south of the South Fork while the Prospect Timber Corporation took over the balance that lay north of the South Fork.
Office at ProspectChaffee is also an officer and general manager of the new corporation with headquarters in Berkeley, Cal., and having local offices at Prospect. Mr. Chaffee is also president of the Elk Lumber Company of Medford. Other officers of the new firm are R. W. Messerean and C. E. McCulloch, both of Portland.
Although Nutting did not disclose the amount of timber involved, it is understood that the corporation now owns sufficient timber to maintain its operation for many years to come. With the addition of government timber that could be made available to the company, the local operation would be extended indefinitely, he said. The company has been operating its lands under a forest management plan designed to provide a long life operation and a continuous payroll in the community.
More EmployeesAlready equipped with a modern electric mill of 250,000 feet daily capacity with 18 dry kilns and a large planing mill for manufacturing flooring, siding and numerous other finished products, the Medford Corporation officers and management are looking for further possibilities of refinement in remanufacturing and byproducts, Nutting stated. The company's present payroll of 475 employees will gradually increase as it adds units for the further conversion of timber products.
The newly acquired timber land lays in the Big Butte drainage near Butte Falls, headquarters of the corporation's logging operation.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 20, 1948, page 1
'Skunk' Run Adding New Engine
FORT BRAGG (Mendocino Co.)--F. H. Sturges, Vice President and General Manager, California Western Railroad, stated recently that during the summer tourist season a steam passenger train will be operated by California Western Railroad.
A daily round trip between Fort Bragg and Willits beginning July 1 is now being planned. Trips will start at Fort Bragg with lunch stop at Willits before return trip to Fort Bragg.
A 2-8-2 steam engine purchased from the Medford Corporation, Medford, Ore., and four passenger coaches purchased from the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad, Meadville, Pa. will make up the train.
The California Western Railroad will continue to operate its world-famous "Skunks" besides the steam train.
Summer schedules are being prepared for all runs and will soon be available for distribution.
Humboldt Times, Eureka, California, February 27, 1965, page 9
Medco Observes its 30th Anniversary in Forest Industry
Medford Corporation celebrated its 30th anniversary in timber harvesting and forest products manufacturing Thursday, Sept. 16.
It has grown from its 1935 start to a corporation with 81,000 acres of timber holdings and a direct annual payroll from woods operations and timber processing of $4 million.
The corporation now includes a plywood plant covering more than five acres which started in 1961. The plant has already undergone two expansions. It consumes 55 million board feet of logs annually.
The present firm started 30 years ago with a work force of 237 people with average earnings of $1,371 annually. This compares with the 1965 personnel load of 600 full-time persons whose average earnings exceed $6,000 each year.
Additional EmployeesAdditionally, independent contractors, primarily engaged in Medco work, employ some 80 people with an estimated annual payroll of a half million dollars.
Owen-Oregon Lumber Company and Brownlee-Olds were forerunner lumber firms out of which arose Medco. Brownlee-Olds purchased the Pacific and Eastern Railroad, which was used to haul logs. However, in 1910 the railroad hauled passengers from Butte Falls to Medford and came down the present location of Biddle Road. The railroad owned what is now Hawthorne Park and had its depot where the swimming pool is now. [The depot was closer to East Main than the pool was.] A group of Medford citizens purchased the property from Burnham Olds for the park.
The present Medford water source at Big Butte Springs is on land sold to the city in the mid-1920s by Medco. Additional rights of way were acquired from Medford Corporation in the early 1950s.
Pays Property TaxesThe company has paid almost $3 million in property taxes over the past 30 years. For the past five years, the average property tax has been an annual $240,593, of which $129,185 is on growing timber land that ensures continued income for the valley.
Medco officials started the first reforestation program in Medford. Continual utilization efforts and studies have resulted in modernization and constant updating of all phases of the industry. Substantial capital investments at all plant levels have resulted from these studies.
Participating in this industry development have been employees and officials with long experience with the company.
These include the present president-general manager R. J. Hogue, credited with many of the latest company innovations and with the company since 1944. Others are K. E. Pickens, treasurer, with the company since 1946, and B. L. Nutting, senior vice president, and with Medco since it was formed in 1935. For 11 years prior to 1935, he was with one of the founding companies of the corporation.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 19, 1965, page 6
Medco Purchases Southern Oregon Plywood in GP
Medford Corporation, Medford, a major lumber and plywood producer in this county, has acquired Southern Oregon Plywood, Inc., of Grants Pass, a major plywood producer in that area.
The several months' negotiations were completed 10 p.m. Friday. Amount of the purchase was not disclosed. The acquisition includes Sierra Wood Products, Inc., actually a branch operation of Southern Oregon Plywood. Sierra produces prefinished hardwood and specialty lumber products. It is located on the same property as the parent company.
Southern Oregon has 200 employees in its plant operations and Medco has 600 in its lumber and plywood plant operations. Neither company has curtailed employment or shut down due to the current depressed lumber and plywood market.
A Medco spokesman said the acquisition merely expands the total operation in Southern Oregon. Both companies will operate as separate entities. There will be no personnel changes.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 27, 1967, page 1
New Veep Named
Russell J. Hogue, president and general manager of Medford Corporation, Medford, Ore., is the newly elected vice president of the American Plywood Association. He was elected June 13 at the 31st annual meeting of the association.
Also president of Southern Oregon Plywood, Inc., Hogue has been with Medford since 1938.
High Point Enterprise, High Point, North Carolina, June 25, 1967, page 6
53-Year-Old Pledge by Medford
Not to Annex Medco Is Revealed
By DAVID FORCE
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
A promise secured by honor of "a majority of the prominent citizens" of Medford more than 53 years ago may become an issue in the current debate over the city's urban growth boundary.
Medford City Councilman Hugh Jennings distributed copies of a document dated Aug. 11, 1924 to his colleagues on the council Thursday. He said it documents his contention that Medford long ago agreed never to annex Medford Corp. to the city.
Members of the Westside Fair Share organization and the city's planning commission have urged the council to include Medco and other industrial properties on the edge of Medford within the urban boundary, because, they say, they are already urbanized.
If included, those properties could eventually be annexed to Medford involuntarily if they become surrounded by the city.
The document distributed by Jennings Thursday apparently represents the minutes of a meeting of a "citizens committee" formed to secure a series of public subsidies demanded by James Owen--founder of Medco predecessor Owen-Oregon Lumber Co.--before he would locate a new wood products plant near Medford.
The committee members agreed to apply the political pressure needed to gain city and county approval of those subsidies.
And they agreed to have "a majority of the prominent citizens of the city of Medford" sign a petition on Owen's behalf, promising that "they would exert their best efforts" to keep the lumber company's property and plant out of any extended city limits if the question is brought up in the future.
"It was unanimously agreed that this committee would see that petition in a form satisfactory to said Owen-Oregon Lumber Company was drawn, circulated and signed as requested."
The document distributed by Jennings Thursday does not disclose who signed the eventual petition. It does name members of the committee who promised its delivery.
All are long dead.
But half a century later, the majorities on the Medford City Council and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners are apparently keeping faith with their political ancestors by striving to keep Medco outside the growth boundary and thus immune to involuntary annexation before the year 2000.
The 1924 committee included the city's business leaders plus representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Water Commission, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Crater Club and the First National Bank of Medford.
In order to meet Owen's requests, the group committed itself to purchase several blocks of land and deliver them to Owen, to give the firm city water and city water mains with a price of 4 cents per 1,000 gallons of flow, and to build and maintain two paved streets at public expense to serve the plant site.
Members of the committee making those pledges included J. H. Cooley, C. E. Gates, John H. Carkin, J. H. Butler, T. E. Daniels, A. J. Vance, E. C. Gaddis (then mayor of Medford), J. C. Brown, H. L. Walther, W. H. Gore, A. L. Hill, Delroy Getchell, O. O. Alenderfer, J. C. Mara, V. H. Vawter, S. Sumpter Smith, Porter J. Neff, B. W. Paul and B. E. Harder.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 10, 1978, page 3
Last revised October 6, 2023