Scope and Content of the Collection
Arrangement of the Collection
The Library, Special Collections
Humboldt State University
One Harpst Street
Arcata, California 95521
Suzanne Guerra, Joan Berman
Vance Redwood Company, Hammond Lumber Company, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Louisiana Pacific Corporation
1880s-1980s (date span)
1920s-1960s (bulk dates)
6 map filing cabinets & 48 boxes
Map, blueprint, and architectural drawing collections documenting the history of a major lineage of lumber companies in Humboldt County, from Vance Redwood Company through Hammond Lumber Company and Georgia Pacific, then Louisiana Pacific. Samoa is one of only two intact lumber company towns in northwestern California and the level of documentation found within this collection is exceptional. It includes information on the mill sites, the company towns and field camps, logging operations, property holdings and the extensive network of railroads. Although this huge collection is unprocessed, we selected 125 architectural drawings and maps to digitize, primarily of the original buildings in the town of Samoa and the lumber camps.
The collection is only partially processed; consult Special Collections
Copyright has not been assigned to the Humboldt State University Library. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Special Collections Librarian.
The collection was acquired in 1997.
Series: Index Files - The Index files were the primary method of organizing the details of the operations at Samoa and in the field. This appears to have been created as a system for organizing the physical details of the major operations of the company, the blueprints, plans, sketches, drawings, maps, surveys, etc. Major categories include transportation and rail systems, mill operations and equipment, retail sites and yards, Samoa residences and physical plant. To some extent this system continued to be utilized through three different company owners. As a result, there are no clearly delineated divisions between entries from each company. Later records were merged into the original system, with the number of the plan or drawing the only way to determine the date or source of the entry.
Records are written in either pencil or typed on 4X6 cards. While the condition of these records appears stable, because of the poor quality of the paper used in the earliest records the individual cards may be fragile. Original tabbed index cards were typed while later index cards are cardstock with plastic tabs. For ease of reference, a few categories may be supplemented by tabbed index cards with additional information handwritten in pencil. These may indicate duplicate records, date ranges, or additional information on the contents. Records are also noted as having been removed so that some categories may not contain any index cards.
Sub series: Primary Index - Primary Index 1900-1990: This set comprises the principal set of index records originally created by the Vance Redwood Lumber Company under the ownership of A.B. Hammond, with additions throughout the history of the company under other ownership. The earliest group of records appear to be those in Box 3, which deal with the surveys, land use, maps and railroad lines in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, along with early Hammond mill and retail operations elsewhere.
For specific maps, plans, drawings and blueprints see the Index to the Thornburg Collection, the LP Map Project and the inventory to the Engineering Department records. Related images are available through the photographic collections in the Humboldt Room and online through a collaborative project with the Online Archive of California.
Plant 1 Numerical Index of Plans, Drawings, Sketches, Blueprints-Tracings (1901-1990): A typed or handwritten index of numbered drawings and plans, including sketches, tracings or blueprints, negatives or brownprints, and reverse prints. These may have originated as part of the original index and then were later removed when the entries became more extensive. The format and paper of the earliest records is consistent with that of the earliest records in the main index files in boxes 1-3, which references the original mill site at Samoa. Descriptions and dates are not provided for all plans and drawings. Numbers are incomplete, for those not found see also boxes 1-3 by location or category, i.e. Surveys, Cranes, etc. Earliest records referenced are around 1901, and the latest are through 1985.
Method of Organization: Operations Area-Non Alphabetical. Cards are filed in reverse chronological order, with the latest records at the beginning of each category.
Description: Sketches 79-300 (to 2/7/1939) Tracings, “Blue Prints” C 1704 to PD 2503 (numbers are consecutive, letters are not); Plywood/ Drawings on File/Drawings, D2504-A5299 (3-1-34 to date undetermined); Plans/Dwgs PD 5374-A6560; Power Plant #1-13 items, A 453- H 883; Proposed Plans PD5377 to PD7599 (18 items); Lake View Drawings, PD7800-PD7854 (12/75-1/77); Plans/Dwgs PD6561-PD8134 (2/14/67 to 1/-/80); 8114 Small Log Floor Plan; Stairway/Platforms/Walkways, PD 8136 to PD 8214 (8 items); Site Plans PD 848; Duplicate Drawings PD7328-PD7499, PD7500-PD8003 (7/-/73 to10/-/77), PD 8270-PD 8776 (12/-/81 to 1/14/80)
Numerical Index of Plans and Drawings: Handwritten in pencil, a few typed, on 4X6 cards. This set of records consists of two guides spanning a period from about 1910 through 1990; one is an index to duplicate drawings from PD 7328 through PD8776; the other is a list of plans and drawings from 79 through PD8214. Though some numbers are not listed, this is the most comprehensive listing of assigned numbers. The earliest listings include a description of the project. Many records appear to be duplicates of those in the boxes 1-3, under “New Redwood Sawmill.”
Method of Organization: Area of Operation, then listed by numeric order. This set of index cards was bundled together as a single unit, and the set of tabbed indexes was added during processing to facilitate ease of analysis.
Suppliers/Catalogues: A Directory of Suppliers/Vendors and their product line(s), with a cross reference list by product or materials. See also the related Vendor Catalogue Files in this collection.
Method of Organization: Alphabetical Index by Terms/Products, Alphabetical-by company name includes Check-Out card, Alphabetical-list of products, List of Suppliers-by term/product, Alphabetical Index.
Sub series: Motors - An inventory system for the motors used in each piece of equipment throughout the company operations. See also the Index to Equipment for details on the specific use and installation of individual motors, or their disposition. Printed index cards, with handwritten notes in pencil or pen.
Sub series: Patterns - These appear to originally have been records of patterns for cast iron parts in use for the mills, locomotives, and building operations. In later decades, these included designs or patterns for manufacture.
Series: Field Operations - Survey Records
Sub series: Handbooks - The term “Handbook” was used by the Hammond Lumber Company to identify the series of field notebooks that were created by company surveyors and engineers to document grades and plan potential rail lines, spurs and landings; bridges and crossings; inclines and declines; extensions; switchbacks, flumes, property lines, and timber lines for logging operations in the field. These handbooks also record the intersection of company lines with the North Western Pacific Railroad. The Handbooks follow a general chronological sequence and date from approximately 1919 through 1936. This was the period when the company was under the ownership of A.B. Hammond and partners, when the company operations were still expanding and railroads were the major transportation system.
The majority of the Handbooks are numbered from 104 through 216, with some sets listed under the same number as volume A and B. Others may have different numbers or appear elsewhere in the series although the title or description will reference them as part of a set. While most appear to have been generated by Hammond Lumber Company staff and crews, a few appear to have been acquired from the Little River Lumber Company which was purchased by Hammond during this period. Notes were copied and may be cross referenced in timber harvest inventories, survey maps and in smaller pamphlets called survey notes. These will reference a specific handbook and page number. The use of index, chapter or section headings or descriptions is inconsistent. When available, handbook titles are verbatim as written on the cover or spine and descriptive terms in italics are provided in an index, section or chapter heading.
Handbooks are typically small, leather or canvas covered, volumes. Notes are handwritten in pencil, and may include rough drawings or maps. Only a couple of handbooks contain more detailed or finished maps. Most handbooks in this series are in fair condition, though well worn and dirty from exposure to the elements. A few are in poor condition, with covers torn and loose pages. Loose or detached maps and survey profiles have been removed and are cross referenced to the handbook from which it was taken. Loose pages or notes that appear to have been created or used as part of the document, including rough sketch maps on the notebook paper, were retained. An original list of handbooks from 101 to 218, that appears to once have been posted on a wall, is stored separately. Handbooks that appear on that list but were not located at this time within this collection are marked as “Unaccounted.” Handbooks that are un-numbered appear at the beginning of the list in order of date created as found in the text. Titles are verbatim, while descriptions may include references found in the text, title page or table of contents if included.
Sub series: Survey Notes - The Survey Notes are selected sections of field notes which have been copied and converted into reference booklets. Many are hand copied from a Handbook, although they may include additional notes added by users. The source Handbook notes the date copied and the initials of the person that made the copy, while the Survey Notes reference the number and page of the field notebook or Handbook. The earliest booklets appear to have been copied by hand in pencil, while later ones were often penciled carbon copies. One set of survey notes was found to have the carbon paper still attached. Profiles were not generally attached to survey notes but may be referenced in the text. The original maps or profiles developed from these notes are generally numbered in the series “S” for survey maps, or “K” for property maps, according to the letter and numbering system developed by the company. The Survey Notes in this sub series span the period from 1905 through 1947, from the establishment of the first major logging operations and extensive rail system to the era of declining old growth redwood lumber.
The booklets may contain only a few pages of notes, although they may also be referenced as part of a series. Some booklets were grouped by the original users, as noted in the description field, and bound with string or placed on a spindle. Cover descriptions often refer to a specific camp number, such as C-21 for Camp 21, a rail line or other location information such as a creek, station, or landing. A few booklets are quite extensive and include a title page and index. The title provides a general reference to the subject and site at the time it was created, while the text may include information on the same site(s) that was added subsequently by others. User notes may also have been inserted between the pages by the users. Many booklets have a paper cover, cut from an old folder or heavy paper board, and may be fastened with paper brads, rivets, waxed twine, cotton cord or paper clips. A few have no covers and the pages may be loosely fastened with a string, a single brad, or paper clip.
For reference purposes some materials on the list have been grouped by subject although they may have been produced over a long period of time and reference many different sites. This includes the Abandoned Lines, the Log and Chop area notes, the sections logged in specific areas during a particular period, and the Property Notes or land surveys. Property notes include field survey notes as well as the informal handwritten notes and drawings found in association with them. In this list, the titles are verbatim as written on the cover or, if no cover, as written on the index, title page or section divider. A few have no title so a reference title was added in brackets. The description includes the initials or name of the lead surveyors if recorded. Camp Numbers are as included in the title or text.
Sub series: Survey Maps - Survey maps range from simple pencil sketches on scraps of paper to detailed pen and ink drawings on transparency paper with notes for rail lines, profiles or elevations on engineering paper, and licensed survey maps. Survey profiles may have been attached to survey notes or transposed into formal plans for reports. Timber surveys were also recorded. For additional information on the resulting maps see the Primary Index , Timberlands section and Licensed Surveys section. The maps inventoried in this collection were found in association with Engineering Department files or with the Survey Notes.
Series: Engineering Department Files - The Engineering Department files were originally housed in the Department Office in the Samoa Block. Photos and blueprints indicate that at some point around 1920 the drafting department was expanded and another office was created in the Mill site at Samoa. The Engineering Department at Samoa was the hub of planning operations for the Hammond Lumber Company, and also was responsible for major planning at other facilities off site such as the San Pedro terminal, the development of the Mill City and the Astoria plants. Notes in the primary index indicate that plans for other operations were stored in their own file drawers. The files inventoried in this collection were stored in metal filing cabinets, with few drawer labels intact.
Because of the age of the records, the individual contents of each drawer may have included items that were not originally in association with each other. For the purposes of this inventory, records are listed in the order in which they were found and generally referenced by the period and the company with which they were most likely to have been produced. Files containing photographs are flagged in the containers with colored tags. Files appear to have been organized by topic, and then arranged in roughly alphabetical order.
The best organized set of records within this series are those created or utilized by Robert Bruce McIntosh, who served as Superintendent Engineer at Samoa for the Hammond Lumber Company, and then as Pacific Western Regional Supervising Engineer for the Georgia Pacific Company. His records span a great period of growth and change within the company and in the redwood lumber industry. R.B McIntosh also provides the most extensive photographic record of those changes in his use of photos to document projects, record current operating conditions, for marketing, and in presentations for industry conferences and publications.
Thornburgh Timber Maps
Warren Photograph Collection
Forest management – California – Humboldt County
Humboldt County (Calif.) – History
Logging – California – Humboldt County
Lumber trade – California – Humboldt County
Lumbering – California – Humboldt County
Samoa (Calif.) – History