September 2, 1910 |
Merced County Sun
Newly Formed Company Buys 10,000 Acres of
Splendid Timber Near El Portal
Announcement is made of the launching of the most important enterprise affecting the city of Merced that has come to pass since the welcome news was first circulated here about six years ago that a railroad would be built from Merced to Yosemite Valley.
The Sun has reference to the sale of about 10,000 acres of timber land, known as the Minor tract, to a new corporation known as the Yosemite Lumber Company. The land mentioned lies between the main Merced river and the south fork, on a line between Wawona and El Portal. This Minor tract includes 8000 acres, and other smaller pieces have also been purchased by the company, which will give them altogether about 10,000 acres, containing about 500,000,000 feet of lumber.
The deal involves a consideration of a half million dollars and another half million will be immediately expended on development work, so it may be said that it is a million dollar deal. The Yosemite Lumber Company is composed of capitalists headed by F. M. Fenwick, formerly manager of the Hammond Lumber Company of San Francisco, and one of the most prominent lumber operations on the Pacific coast. The company will proceed to establish a mill on the property and get the lumber out to market. El Portal will be the shipping point, and the lumber will be dropped down into the Merced river canyon at that point by means of an incline cable road about a mile in length.
This project means a vast deal to the Yosemite Valley Railroad Company and also to Merced City. The existence of that rich body of timber in the mountains was one of the chief factors that led the builders of the Yosemite Valley railroad to invest their capital in that enterprise. It was known that the passenger traffic of the road would not amount to enough, for several years at least, to clear a profit on the investment, but they knew that if the timber possibilities could be developed the road would derive a considerable tonnage from that source.
For a number of years this timber was held by several small owners, and about five years ago “Stony” Harris of Mariposa county got the owners to give options, and in this way the property fell into the hands of Mr. Minor and Charles Nelson, both big lumber men. Since the building of the Yosemite Valley railroad, the railroad people and especially Superintendent O. W. Lehmer, have been working energetically to get capitalists to take hold of the timber tract and develop it, and their labors finally resulted in the big deal being consummated in San Francisco last week.
As stated above, this enterprise will mean much to the city of Merced. With the establishment of the lumber mill in the mountains above El Portal will come employment to probably 400 men. This will mean the daily purchase of big supplies, and that trade will naturally come to Merced. Not only that, but the people employed there will make Merced their trading point, and “coming to town” will mean coming to this city.
It is also not only possible, but probable, that as a result of the development of this immense timber tract a manufacturing enterprise of some sort will be established in this city, such as a box factory and a sash and door factory, and of course that will mean a more direct benefit to Merced’s commercial interests.
The timber tract which is about to be developed is high grade in quality, about 40 per cent of it being sugar pine. It is understood that work on the enterprise will be under way before winter.
Sunday’s San Francisco Call had the following on the subject
A million dollar lumber land deal has just been completed.
Isaac Minor, the aged lumber king of Humboldt county, has disposed of his holdings of sugar pine timber near Yosemite Valley for a price which, with the first cost of development, amounts to the figures named.
The purchasers are F. M. Fenwick, formerly secretary and manager of the Hammond Lumber Company, and associates in San Francisco. Plans are being formed for the erection of at least one large mill on the property in the near future.
The property lies between Yosemite Valley and Wawona, the nearest railway point being at El Portal, the terminus of the Yosemite Valley railway. The amount of timber that can be cut from the property is estimated at 500,000,000 feet.
The purchasing company has bought up smaller tracts in the region bearing considerable standing timber, although all the choicest timber, within a score of miles lies within the boundaries of the Minor tract. The additional purchases aggregate about 2000 acres, bringing the total amount controlled by Fenwick and his associates up to 15,000 acres.
More than the original cost of the properties will probably be expended in the course of the coming year in development, making one of the largest concerns in the lumber industry and calling for the employment of several hundred men.