Stimson’s roots run deep, starting in Michigan in 1850 when 19-year-old Thomas Douglas “T.D.” Stimson and his business partner felled their first tree. Although the two men eventually parted ways, T.D.—and later his children—went on to build an integrated wood products company that continues to grow and thrive.
NEVER FAR FROM THE TREES
Stimson Lumber Company:
- 1850s HUMBLE BEGINNINGST.D. begins acquiring timberlands, setting up lumber camps and selling logs to mills in Muskegon, Michigan.
- 1860s CHANGE IN DIRECTIONT.D. takes a break from his growing lumber career for a riskier opportunity; oil is discovered across the border in Canada, and he decides to give it a try. By 1864, he loses everything.
- 1870s START AGAINT.D. strikes a deal to sell timber to a former employer in Chicago. He spends the next year cruising the backwoods of northern Michigan, buying timber, closing deals and sending a cache of logs down the Muskegon River. By 1871, he has enough acreage to establish his own mills and equip them with modern machinery. T.D. manages the growing business with his sons, Willard Horace (“W.H.”), Charles Douglas (“C.D.”), Ezra Thomas and Jay D.; his daughter, Olive Fay; and his son-in-law, J.J. Fay Jr.
- 1880s EXPANDING INTERESTSSensing a change in the marketplace due to a scarcity of land and increasingly poor-quality timber, T.D. looks westward. He and his sons sail up the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon, and eventually arrive in Seattle. T.D. is impressed by what he sees: Quality timber, areas of feverous growth and a saltwater port ensure a continuous market for lumber. Despite owning the third-largest lumber mill in Muskegon, Michigan, T.D. makes a fateful decision to relocate to Seattle.
- 1889 ACQUIRING TIMBERLANDT.D. and his sons W.H. and C.D. waste no time re-establishing their business in Seattle. They acquire timberlands throughout the area — in Snohomish County and Hood Canal in Washington, the Tillamook region in Oregon, and in California — and they purchase an existing mill north of Seattle in Ballard, Washington.
- 1890 INCORPORATIONStimson Mill Company is incorporated and begins processing lumber, laths and shingles.
- 1898 LEARNING THE BUSINESSW.H., who had relocated to Los Angeles, sends his only son, Charles Willard (“C.W.”), to work with his uncle in Seattle. He wants his son to learn all aspects of the family business, from cruising timberlands to understanding mill operations and finance. C.W. is a natural woodsman who enjoys the demanding work. He gradually assumes more responsibility and looks forward to future expansion.
- 1912 MOVING OPERATIONSC.W. sells the Ballard mill and moves operations to Hood Canal to log the timberlands his father purchased 40 years earlier.
- 1923 ANOTHER PURCHASE
C.W. purchases one of the oldest mills in Seattle, the Brace-Hergert Mill on Lake Union. Known as the Stimson Lumber Company, the mill employs more than 200 men and produces about 50 million board feet of lumber annually.
- 1929 COMING HOMEThe area around Hood Canal has been cleared after years of logging and, like his grandfather almost 50 years earlier, C.W. faces a shortage of quality timber. He turns to the 25,000 acres of old-growth timber his father purchased 40 years ago in Oregon’s Tillamook region.
- 1930s GREAT DEPRESSIONStimson weathers the Great Depression exceedingly well, never shutting down or laying off workers.
- 1933 STAYING COMPETITIVEC.W. remains involved in the business, but his son-in-law, Harold Miller, takes on the challenge of building a state-of-the-art sawmill in Forest Grove, Oregon. He provides the leadership necessary for the company to remain viable in an increasingly competitive market.
- 1945 HARDBOARD EMERGESAfter a series of destructive fires burns some 355,000 acres in the Tillamook region, the company discovers burned and green wood can be converted into “hardboard.” Stimson’s Forest Fiber Products Company becomes the third hardboard plant in the United States.
- LATE 1940s REDWOOD FOREST LANDStimson purchases 10,000 acres of redwood forest land in Del Norte County, California, to provide timber for Miller Redwood Company, a Stimson subsidiary in Crescent City, California.
- 1962 A NEW PURCHASEStimson purchases phenol manufacturer Northwest Petrochemical Company in Anacortes, Washington. Phenol is a chemical used in processing hardboard.
- 1976 PLYWOODStimson’s purchase of a plywood plant in Merlin, Oregon, melds well with the company’s other operations and makes good use of the phenol produced in Anacortes, Washington.
- 1980 LARGEST LAND PURCHASE TO DATEStimson purchases 27,598 acres of forest land in the Grand Ronde region of western Oregon. It’s the largest land purchase to date for the company, and pushes Stimson’s holdings to almost 70,000 acres.
- 1981 NEW LEADERSHIPAfter the death of Harold Miller, leadership of the company passes to Darrell Schroeder, a trusted employee who has worked at Stimson since 1946. He is the first non-family member to lead the company. During the next 10 years, he heads an expansion that includes building a dimension lumber mill in Forest Grove, Oregon; buying a heavy timber mill in Clatskanie, Oregon; and buying a cutting mill in Oregon City, Oregon.
- 1990s GROWTH AND SUSTAINABILITYWith a continuous focus on long-term growth and sustainability, Stimson becomes more aggressive in its acquisitions, purchasing assets from Champion International, Plum Creek Timber Company and Idaho Forest Industries.
- 1991 CHARTING A COURSEDan Dutton becomes the new CEO. Under Dan's leadership, Stimson addresses the supply of raw materials. The company purchases 12,800 acres of land in Clatsop and Columbia counties and 2,000 acres of the McGregor properties and Associated Timberlands. On August 1, Dan hires Andrew Miller, an experienced forest products industry veteran, as manager of strategic planning and acquisitions.
- 2004 BACK IN THE FAMILYAs a result of his dedication, extensive knowledge of the company, relationships with the management team and broad knowledge of the industry, Andrew becomes CEO in April 2004. He continues to develop long-term strategic plans for the company.