We’re 99 Today! CalCedar’s Centennial Year is Upon Us.

Just a quick post to note that today is California Cedar Products Company’s 99th birthday (per our original stock records book of 1st shares issued to company founders right).  So we’re now entering our Centennial year in business.  Despite the lack of activity here on Timberlines, for quite some time we have been hard at work here at CalCedar setting in motion plans for our year long Centennial Celebration.  A gala event with employees, customers and special guests, commemorative products, a published Company History, Timberlines historical content and a number of special contests are in the works for the coming year.   Look forward to fresh and more routine content as we move into the new year with the Timberlines blog integrated to it’s new home on CalCedar website which will also be getting a new look.

In the meantime, I’ll share this brief story about our company founder  William “W.B.” Thurman that I shared with our employees, board and shareholder members and families at our Annual Christmas Dinner last night. The party doubled as our 99th birthday celebration.

Company founder and 1st President W.B. Thurman, hailed from Madera, CA about 100 miles south of California Cedar Products Company home in Stockton.  Coming west in 1849, his father William H. “W.H.” Thurman, had a long career in and out of the lumber industry and in law enforcement throughout California and in Washington state up to his death in 1895.  In 1876 W.E. Thurman established the California Lumber Company flume and sawmill (later Madera Sugar Pine Co.) as well as founding the town of Madera to bring logs from the Sierra forests to the Southern Pacific Railway there.  W.B. worked in his father’s mills off and on and also followed him into politics and government serving as deputy Sheriff under his father who was Madera county’s first Sherriff.  This photo of W.B. shows him in 1899 in this law enforcement role, though he quickly returned to the lumber trade, feeling this a much safer career option, after being shot in the thumb during the attempted escape of one of the prisoners in his jail.

W.B. then founded a new partnership which later became Madera Sash and Door Company which he operated until selling the company to pursue his plan to enter the pencil slat business by founding California Cedar Products Company up on Stockton.  The other initial shareholders were his brother James Thurman, a San Francisco based lawyer serving as corporate secretary and San Francisco lumber trade F.F. Sayre who resigned as President of the California Sugar & White Pine Company to head up sales as Vice-President for the new venture.

An interesting postscript is that after sharing this story last night, our Executive VP an General Manager for our Tianjin China pencil slat factory told me that before completing his forestry degree and entering the timber business himself and joining our company in 1978 he had served as a deputy sheriff in Madera County of all places and had a book on the history of Madera Sugar Pine company, but never knew of this interesting historical connection to CalCedar.

If you’re wondering where the Berolzheimer family comes in to this CalCedar story, more to come in future editions as our projects progress in the new year.  Until then  then hope you all have a happy holiday season.

Charles Berolzheimer
Chairman and CEO
California Cedar Products Company