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W.J. GAMBLE: Anything that holds you up, why you're pretty serious. Andon top of that, McGregor, the man in the livestock company who we used to deal with, they had their men along with the train, and they planned on getting '" to the Chicago market on acertain day because of price fluctuate And that's the reason for alot of that stuff on sheep. especially in the fall when they ship the lambs. So everything has to click, y'know.
SAM SCHRAGER: About how often did they have to get off to be watered?
WJG: Every eighteen hours. Of course we. what we had to do would beload them to Bovill and we had to make Missoula, Montana. It was the only feeding spot. And you were held up some place, why that's pretty bad. That's the reason we had to unload them them at Palouse. We unloaded and fed them down there so the Northern Pacific could get 'em in to Missoula in eighteen hours.
SAM: I guess that to be in the railroad business you've got to be exar.tand on time.
WJG: Yeah, well there's alot of thing, involved that's just part ofthe game, is all.
SAM: Well. I've got alot (Break! that I have found except yourself whoas so closely involved with the Potlatch management who is still around. And one question that I would like someone who is closer to the management to talk about is the background of VSrbaeuser interests coming to Idaho from the Midwest. What's your understanding of the process that was involved
WJG: Oh, I think tMs'll answer that question.
SAM: The betlkir article here.
SAM: I know they came out a few years before you did.
WJG: That kind of goes into the cutting out of the timber in Wisconsinand Minnesota. And all these stockholders had their money in that thing back there and when the timber was cut out, Mr. Weyerhaeuser used to call sugaring off. That's when they make their(Chuckles) Winding the thing up. And they quit oack there these stockholders *ad plenty of money and they were looking for investments. And they sent their cruisers out into Idaho here. And that was the way they got out here. The wferhaeusers didn't own all this timber by any means. It was owned by various groups Weyerhaeusers manufactured it for this group.
SAM: I see. I see. Well, was there an unmet demand at the time they cameout here? Was there becoming a shortage of timber in the Midwest to fill...
WJG: Well, it was just opening up out here at that time. And ofthis stuff, they had no idea of the value of this timber out in this country to start with until t*ey got their cruisers out here and got to lookin'around. Then t*ey threw their money into the picture. For instance. the Clearwater Timber Company, that timber was held down there for twenty years. I guess as started. They had bought it way long ahead. And the same. over on the coast, on the west coast. Tacoma. that was. oh I guess they're still by it. And this Idaho stuff was, well at first went into Bonner's Ferry and Sandpoint. And that was their first operation . Sn Couer d'Alene. They bought their first timber up there. That's what started them in Idaho because they got into this Idaho white pine which is a very valuable timber and very few stands of it anymore around the country.,Part of Idaho is the only place it grows.
SAM: Do you know, was there much competitiorj.t the time in North Idaho toget ahold of the holdings?
WJG: No, these they were pretty much all grouped togetherand they all threw their money into the pot. And they had oertain timber companies that they invested in. But in th. end Weyerhaeuser manufactured for. . .Oh, Weyerhaeuser owned seme timber themselves too, yeah but never most of it.
SAM: These other interests, are they for example the Lairds and the Nortonsand those people or are they just. . .?
WJG: Yeah, Lairds and Nortons and -hatchers. They all had retail lumberyards along the Lockmans and all. Directors meetings wer. quite a group. But there was never any descension among them. They trusted Weyerhaeuser and he was the man that cut the timber.
SAM: Do you know about when the first cruisers came into this part of Idaholooking at the timber?
WJG: No, I donft. I do not.
SAM: Was D^ary among the first?
WJG: no there were cruisers out here before Deary. Bill Helmer andthat fellah down on the Clearwater. Oh, what the heck was his name? I've forgotten now. But they were all early day pioneers out here. Bill Deary oome out here to build sawmills. - put the thing in operation. He of course, but he came out after alarge amount of the timber had been bought. And the St. Joe boom company and all that kind of stuff. Built Potlatch and Elk River and Couer d'Alene.
SAM: Was most of the timber bought from the state or bought from privateindividuals in this area? I donlt mean exactly, but. ..
WJG: Well, apart of it was and apart of it was individual holdings.There's individuals that own timber.still own timber that tey wouldn't sell. And that they lost their shirt of course because they couldn't get it lodged. No, th^was one other interest besides the Weyerhaeusers, which is agroup of Pennsylvania lumbermen that opened up Spirit Lake.
SAM: Oh yes, you mentioned thatto me when Iwas here before.
WJG: That was an entirely different group. They were lumbermen out ofPennsylvania that. ..Well, it was the same idea that they run out of timber back there and end they wanted to invest and so they brought their money west. And they were, shall we say, late comers. They come in late. And they didn. tget near as much, but they got all that timber on sPirit Lake.
SAM: Witt do you know about the decision to build the railroad, the WISHin the way that it was built as far as where it goes, the route that it takes?
WJG: Well, to start with,the lumber company set up their first millin Palouse. y'know. But they soon found out that they didnlt have enough room down there for the size of the plant they wanted to build so they came up to Potlatc* where land was c*eap and they bought that whole site forltownsite and mill and storage and everything else.Thafs what established Potlatch. Well, there was no railroad at that time, the Northern Facific had built into Palouse. And th. lumber company wanted the Northern Pacific to build from Falouse up into the timber, in other words where the WIM goes now. But they couldnit rake them see the value of arailroad Into th. timber. We couldn't induce the. to build. Tey wer. invited to build their railroad. So Bill Deary.-To hell with you, wttl build our own." That's th. kind of afella* he was. y'know. So we built our own MUM. We followed the drainage areas which is, Ithink Oaf. the way most of th. railroads are built. They followed the drainage areas, the valleys. That's where they got to put their railroad same as the highways. And we found out there was only one way to get to Potlatch of course was to follow the Palouse River up. And we followed that to Harvard. Then we had to get into this other ownership up toward Bovill, Elk River, so we had to go over the divide into the Potlatch drainage area. And we followed that area into Bovill. The intent was to build on into Montana. But about that time the Milwaukee-started building west and the Milwaukee built from St. Louis down to Bovill. And then they induced them to build from Bovill down to Elk River. So that stopped the building of the Mim any further than it was .But it was built and conceived as the kind that it is. And we wanted different connections and we had connection, at both ends-th. Milwaukee at one end and the Great Northern and Northern Pacific at the other. W. had to do that in order to get into the different territories and sell. lumber..We had our own sales company at that time, and of course during those days most(good bit of our lumber land and the building up of the west, that is the west as far as Dakotas and Kontana is concerned, agreat deal of our lumber went into that area. But as that got built up, why we started branching out and clear to th. east coast. So w. had to have good railroad connections in order to do that. And when we did, the railroad was avery good and|rosperous railroad.
SAM: The length of time that it took to construct the railroad, do youknow about how long?
WJG: How long it took from. ..1 think they started in 1905. nd in abouttwo years, 1907, I think. started in 1907, and we ha the railroad built as far as Harvard. And we was getting our timber out of the Harvard area. And we kept en building. We didnjt build it; a railroad construction outfit built it for us. We paid 'em for it.
SAM: Who was this outfit?
WJG: I forgot the name of the outfit.
SAM: Well, the people that did the building, the crews, there were alot offoreign workers among them, weren't there?
WJG: Well, these big construction crews, yes, sure. That's all we had outhere. We'd get mostly Japanese to start with and Chinese. They were the laboring people in the early days in the west, y'know. Even in the mines and stuff l^ke that, they were all Orientals.
SAM: I've heard of Italians also in the area, working out. . .
WJG: When I was in the sawmills, operation the Swedish people followed westfrom Minnesota. They were c sawmill people and woodspeople, they were all Swedes, they had to be able to talk Swedish,y'know. And the same way with our sawmill town of Potlatch was about half Swedes when Icame there. They were from back in Minnesota ,they followed the lumber industry out. they were very good, reliable people too. That's one thing that Potlatch to start with was blessed with, good, honest, reliable, people. They took an interest in their work, but the company took an interest in them too. That's the reason we had a company town for one reason. Mr. Weyerhaeuser ' me once, he says I want agood school around here. Our children are entitled to agood education That was in acompany town. Of course, the reason he told me that. Iwas chairman of the school board. The foremen, different heads of different Btfits had to take th. place of. like city council, school rule. all that kind of stuff in a company town because the company run it. y'know. And each one of us had our, my to the school. And we did have one of the best grade and high schools in the state of Idaho. that our sawmill..
SAM: How's that?
WJG: We run it, the teachers didn't run it.
SAM: What makes you say or know that it was of such good quality, the
WJG: Well, because we made it that way. And we paid higher money goodteachers than any of these other towns around or even Moscow. Bit we reserved the right to fire anfhire teachers if they didn't fit the bill too. The teachers didn't tell us what to do as they are now. Sm: Well, who made up your board, the school board besides yourself?
WJG: Well. I had two other men on. One was the cashier of the bank andthe other was the land agent for the company. And we had to comply with the laws of Idaho of course. And we had aYittle elation that nobody ted at. Voted, elected these three men every year. And. now 1H not aschool man but I run the school. %d the way Irun it was this". Ihired asuperintendent to do as he was told, what kind of aschool we wanted to run. And every year, well the Idaho Board of Education would senda group in from Boise to see if we qualified for Idaho schools. And besides that there was agroup of instructors in Portland. Ithink they were the Northwest Educational Association. We hired them to send agroup of three men in every two years to check our curriculum and our teachers and see if they were getting good education. And on top of that every five years we sent to Iowa State and got that group to come out here. They spent aweek with us, five men, looking over our schools. Now. that's how Irun the school. Ididnft know about this, but Ihired men that could tell me what to do. and the company paid the bill. That's the reason we had asuperior school. We built the schoolhouses ourselves, we furnished them ourselves. people paid no school ta.es of any kind. And of course some of these other towns around here were alittle bit jealous of us. but that didnlt make any difference to us. We did that because of our men. and we wanted to keep them happy. And we did. we had good family relationships. And the school was one of them. The store was another. They could buy things at the company store cheaper than you could over here at Moscow. But as Tlook back on that now. all of that stultf. people gradually take all those things for granted. And they never miss it until they have to go someplace else to find out.
SAM: That sounds like human nature: The grass is always greener.
WJG: Yes, that's right, that's right. But it did hold our men .They werehappy to live infotlatch. They lived the way they wanted to. They had cheaper rents tha^they had anyplace else in the United States. Electric, telephone, everything else. We ownefll that stuff .And we owned our rtn hospitals, even the churches.
SAM: So really the company pretty much priced for the social life and theeducational life and all jfeses of life for the people.
WJG: That', right. That was all apart of the different outfits'duties, partof their duties on their job. I. afterwards, of course as you know. Igot out of school business and got in to politics and taxes of the lumber company. But then again that was a part of my job of running the railroad.
SAM: Was Mr. Laird very deeply involved in the town of Potlatch?
WJG: Oh, a hundredfcercent, yes, yes. Very, very strict disciplinarian.But he wanted everything done for the benefit of the employee. But he was very strict. could sell liquor in Potlatch or anything like that. Idonft say it in but (Qiuckles) ,. ..No, and oh, he took an interest this way. This is just an illustration of how, asked the question, how he was interested. start with *e was the head of schools. Of course this thing grew so much that he had to get rid of some of those jobs, but to start with he was the head of the schools. And he interviewed every teacher was hired. The superintendent hired a teacher but they'd have to go up and see Mr. Laird. Pretty near ever teacher that was hired was the Sunday school teacher too, that was a part of their job, extra job to keep the church going. We had three churches and a Catholic church and a Swede church and a church for everybody else. The company built them and heated them, furnished light and water for'em but the people had to take care of the minister's salary and anything else they spent.
SAM: Well, what was Mr. Laird's title there in his. . .?
WJG: Mr. Laird was general manager.
SAM: He succeeded Bill Deary?
WJG: He succeeded Bill Deary. And when Bill Deary was here he was generalmanager and Laird was assistant general manager, yeah. And Laird was not alumberman, he was abanker. Bat he knew enough to hire agood lumberman. Bill Deary was alogger and alumberman. Laird was very successful in running the company. He had avery good reputation out among the other lumbermen and the other people he had to contact. I think if you go up around Spokane and find the that were instrumental in building Coulee Dam and the Inland Railroad ancjall that kind of stuff, you'd find that they'd say Mr. Laird was a very fine gentleman.
SAM: When Bill Deary and Mr. Laird were both there working together what wasthe division of responsibility? Was Mr. Laird's responsibility the town and. ..?
WJG: Well, Laird took up the financial end o/it. Bill Deary didn't know athing about figures, didn't want to. And Uird, as Irecall it, he had charge of the sales department too. But not the manufacturing enjoj it or the logging end of it. But we had our own bank and he had charge of that and he had charge of the townsite, and he had charge of the taxes and the politics and everything else. He took care of all that.
SAM: Itake it too that he was probably rather well educated, Mr. Laird.
WJG: was alittle better educated than Bill Deary was, yes. yes. Idon'tknow the extent of his education, I don't know that.
SAM: Bill Deary, I always hear talk about him they always say he wasa rough tough lumberjack.
SAM: And I'm man, verydirect? Was he short with people?
WJG: Oh yes. yes, yes. urn hum. He was one of these self-made men. He had tofight for aliving when he was akid. Iimagine, because he was brought up as alumberjack in the woods of Minnesota and Wisconsin and on the river and^th. sawmills. *nd he knew these things by firsthand knowledge. Planning ahead-I doubt if he was very capable of anything of that kind. He knew what kind of asawmill he wanted to build and all that kind of stuff. He knew co-Id make money and what couldn't. And he made one heck of amistake when he built ELk River.
SAM: Why was that a mistake?
WJG: Well, the logs could have been brought into Potlatch and cut intolumber a lot cheaper than they could do it at Elk River. In the first place Elk River * a snow belt and it was pretty tough operating up there, very expensive. Matter of fact,, the days before A and it was so wet and the snow lasted so long that they couldn't get their lumber drMn the yard, piled up in the yard to dry. All that was a complete flop,but.
SAM: Is that the reason that the mill lasted such a short time there?
WJG: Yes, yes, urn hum.
SAM: It wasn't turning a profit to justify the expense of operating.
WJG: Oh yes, it was an expensive operation. It should never have been.
SAM: Well, did Bill Deary take advice from^any people or did he make allthe decision himself.
WJG: Himself, urn hum, urn hum, He'd give a job to do. That's the lastyou'd ever hear of Bill Deary unless the job went somewhere. Then you'd hear from him right now. But he didn't Wt anybody to come in and bother him about it or anything of that kind. And they didn't make money on that St. Joe b oom company up there at Coeur d'Alene.
WJG: But it took that kind of a person to put the thing across tostart with. I think you'll find the same type of man in the early days of mining in this country. same kind of a man, these early day men that developed some of these mines.
SAM: You mean a pioneer or somebody who wouldn't let any obstacles stand in hisway.
WJG: That's right. That's right, urn hum.
SAM: What kind of confidence do you think that the Weyerhaeuser interestshad in Deary? Was it a complete confidence? Did he make all these decisions?
WJG: Oh, yes, yes, you bet.
SAM: He wasn't expected to explain or represent why he was doing what he wasdoing very much?
WJG: No, they placed all the confidence in the world in Bill, especiallyin tve timber area, logging. Dm hum. And he was one of these fellahs that could fight at the drop of a hat. He was realty pretty rough.
SAM: You wouldn't think of somebody in higher level management having to fightabout anything anyway. Imean he's not gonna have somebody co#n up and giving. ..
WJG: Well. . .
SAM: Or wasn't it like that? In the old days did that kind of thing happenit would more than today?
WJG: Well, — kinda was dealing with. You had to know thathe could take care of himself too.
SAM: Was he a big man physically?
WJG: Not tall but he was big, yes, yes. For instance Bill used to sayoh in the early days teight come get on horses and ride to Palouse or something and go down to a dance and do a little drinking or one thing or another. They used to well, they used to run a passenger train from here to Palouse on aSunday to bring ft crew from Saturday night. And well, Bill's idea was this: He says, -If you wanta drink get the hell out of town. do anything in town." (Chuckles that was his way of expressing himself in just so many words^nd he meant it .Same way with Princeton up here. It was apretty rough town at one time. And we had to keep our men out of there if we could. And of course the railroad construction used to be pretty rough stuff all the way. (Break)
SAM: . . .see that tve construction. . .
WJG: No, he hired a man built sawmills. He told ^im what kind of asawmill he wanted. And built it. And he built two or three mills for the company^ as Jpatter of fact. He built Coeur d'41ene and he built Everett don't think he was in on Longview, I don't believe so. Bat he was the sawmill construction man, and of course tey was dealing with men of that kind. But he was a good man.
SAM: Did that mill go up fast frozen they started it to when they finished it?
WJG: Oh yes, yes, urn hum. of course and allthey had to do was put it together. Of course they owned this sawmill down at Palouse and they sawed all our timbers and everything %f ithis mill down at Palouse. We used to ship logs down the river to Falouse.
SAM: Was ii the largest sawmill in the. . .?
WJG: In was the largest white pine sawmill in the world at one time, yes.There were larger sawmills on the coast because the requirements over there for handling larger timber. But as far as white pine is concerned, it g the largest white pine sawmill, yep.
SAM: Well, talking about the character of the country as being pretty toughthen. I heard that the conditions were pretty tough too in the camps when they first started.
WJG: Well, yes! because they didn't know any better. But as improvedall thinps,in all lines of work, why we improved our camp conditions too. But I think to start with I would say that the camps of the Potlatch woods were about the same as they were in^Wisconsin-Minnesots woods. Matter of fact they were patterned after them. And they were rretty crude. Yeah, that's right. But in the end they were pretty good. We had very good living conditions in the woods when I left. That was just a case of natural improvement, y^know. Working conditions of all kinds have imrroved, y'know, over a period of years. That's all it amounted to.
SAM: The men that wolfed constructing, that came into the country, it seemedlike so many of them just disappeared, no trace of em anymore. What's the story on them?
WJG: What kind of construction do you have reference to?
SAM: I'm thinking of the building of the railroad. . .
WJG: Well, naturally the trans-continental lines, they followed the linerails, one ?** "the other. And as amatter of fact there were temporary camps all along the whole building of the road. And at WIM here we had a camp at Potlatch to start with. The next one was at Harvard. The next wne was at Yale; the next one was at Deary. We set those camps up for maybe si^onths duration or something of that kind, ytknow.
SAM: Iwanted to try to talk to someone who was Italian who had been workin ina camp. Ifound one old Greek who had stayed in Elk River,Dementus. I don't know if you knew John Dementus, but these foreigners, the eastern Europeans, certainly the Chinese or Japanese laborers are just terribly hard to find.
WJG: Well. mill first started we had acontractual agreement withthe Japanese agency in Seattle to furnish us with labor. And we had a regular Jap town at Potlatch. It was kinda separate from the rest of the town. In other words we didn't want to get the people mixed up. And this fellah of course, he was aestleM Jap. Fe'd bring abunch of men in and he'd tell them what to do and that was that. If they didfclt do what was right, why we'd back and oh, he was tough with In. And all groceries had to be bought through him. And all that kind of stuff, He had amonopoly on Jap labor. Of course we got rid of that as soon as we possibly could. It was replied with Greek labor.
SAM: What did they do? -hat was the laboring work that they were supposedto do'in Potlatch. there was alot of common labor around the sawmill.
WJG: Common labor. Oh there just the narrow gage track work to keep up from yardfee^in the lumberyard miles of it in there. And any of this 'common labor stuff. There'co^on labor in the sawmills and in the fire hole and all that kind of stuff, just alot. And the railroad or section crews, they were all Japanese and we dealt with that Jap for a while.
SAM: Do vou about when that you. . .?
WJG: Once amonth, the foreman would go into Spokane and go ,Japtown, stay for three nights.
SAM: Were they Japanese, these women?
WJG: Um hum.
SAM: Would you know about when they went out and you got Greeks in to taketheir place?
WJG: Well, that was was of courseduring the war. We had to let'em all go. Bit they had been down to near nothing before that. There were afew left. Oh, Ihad a Jap janitor at the store and there was Ja?nese gardeners . And oh.there was probably adozen when the war broke out. But they all had to get out.
SAM: Did they mix very much with the townspeople when they were there?Uo, no. no. Although the kids went to school Bd were all right.
SAM: Did most Of them speak English, the adults?
WJG: The kids did. The parents didn* amount to. ..Oh we had one. theJap janitor at the store, there was some question about the fellah, and whether or not he might have been sent in here to. . .Of course everybody was under suspicion duriw^wr. But this fellah in particular, I think he was planted here.
SAM: You mean was some kind of an agent?
SAM: Oh, that feeling ran pretty strong during the early days" of World WarX .
WJG: We got quite a bit of feeling at one time, yeah, I suppose.
SAM: Was there a similar feeling about eastern Europeans at that time too,because it seemed like a lot of the, I've been told disarpeared at World War I. They thought they went back to. ..
WJG: Germany, the Germans, yeah. The Germans and the Italians, urn hum.
SAM: What was the management view of all the W* agitation going on?
WJG: That was the start of unionism. That was the start of the unions ^ ^ ^coming into the woods. It started with the war. And this was a, fringe organization that was mostly to see they could cause. I think it was of the war deal to start with. But they got into the woods and they were pretty strong at one time. And we had quite abit of trouble with 'em, yes. They developed into ajLabor organization and of course they didn't last very long as such because they were too .
SAM: When you say part of the war deal, are you thinking of, meaning thatthey were part of the opposition to World War Ior fighting in the war?
WJG: Um hum, urn hum.
SAM: What did they do mostly? I've heard alot of different things about whatthey may have done or didnjt do. Did they disrupt? Did they. ..?
WJG: They were mostly located in the woods, in the woods operation.And oh they'd drive nM logs and stuff like that, y'know. put And you couldn't find 'em, and^irst thing you know you rip the teeth band off A saw. And things of that kind. They were destructive, no question about it.
SAM: Did they ever strike the camps in the woods around here?
WJG: Well, not exactly a strike, but they were infiltrated in therhad to send some of oiir own men in to combat it. Mostly talk, and just little things that I say, drive nails in logs. Thejd induce somebody to think that he was being mistreated, y'know. And anything to get members.
SAM: Did they have much influence in Potlatch as compared to what they hadin the woods?
WJG: No, no they didn't. No, we had an organization in Potlatch, theywere armed, pretty near National Guard.
SAM: What did that group
WJG: We organized that in the face of it to train men who were goingto be drafted into thearmy* And we had an ex-West Pointer, ^ he got kicked out of the army but he was a good drill master. And we had quite a company there. Oh, I belonged to it. And we'd drill every so many nights a week. But to start with it was started out Is these young fellows that were susceptible to the draft. And by the way, most of those fellows that were drafted were taken into the regular army as corporals They'd had that much military training. And the^ were real proud of that.
SAM: Did -ou have standing as a)National Guard unit or. ..?
WJG: No, we'd our own guns,the company bought em and we belonged tothe National Rifle Association.
SAM: Do you think that that. . .?
WJG: That did have its influence on keepin the IWW'S out of Potlatch. Itdid, definitely.
SAM: And fair number of the members of the group were sawmill workers.
WJG: Oh, yes,yes yes, just the citizens of Potlatch.
SAM: When did the Four L begin?
WJG: That was the first real organization that developed. Thatwas to combat the 1WW to start with. There was a man that was with all the lumber companies, nonorganized that thing over at Seattle. And that was to combat the IVW. And of course it developed into alabor organization. And I don't think it's in existence now because it was conceived anc[organized by the lumber companies, yeah.
SAM: Did it get. . .?
WJG: It was avery popular organization too,give the men achanneto belong to something so that an organizer couldn't come in and call him a scab. Anokt served its purpose.
SAM: Did that become the labor union of the mill in Potlatch at the time?
WJG: Yep, yeah, uh huh. And of course, see Ithink we had astrike, fourLstrike. kind of fizzled but, then that was about the end of the Four L's. And then the national organizations came in after that.
SAM: That was the strike in Potlatch. Iknow Ha^oody told me about someearly strike when he was kpH
WJG: Hap was sheriff and he over and deputized, Iwas adeputy sheriff,we were all deputized.
SAM: Was that part of the Four L strike do you think?
SAM: When Mr. Laird became the general manager, is that about when T. P. Jonesbecame part of the company operation?
WJG: No, Jones came out here with Deary, yeah.
SAM: So he'd been around.
WJG: He came out with Deary from back around Falls or some placewhere he was. . .Yeah.
SAM: Since Laird didn't know so much about the woods operation did more of thatfall on Jones' shoulders?
WJG: Yeah, uh huh. Yeah, he was woods superintendent. Yeah, he was in chargeof the wo£s there wasjio question about that, yeah.
SAM: Well, as far as the way decisions were made on the operation of therailroadjhow did the chain of cummand work? Iassume that as general manager of the railroad you were at top anc^ad the final say on the basic decisions of the railroad.
WJG: Well, the railroad was an entirely separate corporation from thelumber company. There was no connection between 'em at all. Well, there was a connection in that the lumber company paid for the building of it anSHook stock and bonds for their expenditure becauseythey owned the stock ^nd bonds of the railroad company, the lumber company did. But we had to operate under the rules of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the same as any other railroad. Anfof course that was one of the things that they finally to find out. And the hard way was to get somebody to do somethin' about arailroad. To start with the first year of the operation of the railroad they. ..Oh, there was a bunch of lumbermen, some of the people left over from the construction crew and it was kind of ahaphazard thing. But they soon found that they had to.
SAM: You told me before that some guy^got thrown in jail for not knowingwhat ought to have been done. What were the kind of violations that you could get into if you didn't know the way to do things?
WJG: Well, one illustration.' In the first place we built our staticns andwe built grain warehouses at each station, and we run these grain warehouses. Well, we soon found that we should get o^t of the warehouse business. So we leased the warehouses to a man by the name of Mark P. Miller here in Moscow. He run a flour mill here. And he run the grain warehouses. Well, we didn't pay much attention to Mark until one day an Interstate Commerce man come in and says,"You're indicted and Mark Miller's indicted. Well, Mark was shippin'stuff out of Deary and be had stuff in the car that he shouldn't have and didn't declare^ and was gettin it shipped over to Moscow at a cheap rate. Well, of course we didn't know anything about it because carload shipment we never inspect. Am^feo we got over that one all right, but Mark P. Miller got. . .And then we had a superintendent to start with. He wanted to go farmin'ardVe brught a farm up around Harvard. And built ahouse and barns and everything else and the Interstate Commerce inspector came in there one day and says,"What you gonna do about this? The oldjnan's shippin' stuff up there free,H So he was earned.(Chuckles). And those were the things. . .
SAM: Conflict of interest.
WJG: Urn hum. Of course I think perhaps in the early days , the first couplethere was a lot of that stuff done. It's our railroad we can do what we wanta with it. But they soon found out they couldn't do that with the railroad.
SAM: Well, what was the personnel structure of the WIM when you were thethe general maflger? What was the chain of command within the railroad?
WJG: Well, I had a master mechanic who took care of the mechanical work.I had a dispatcher who took care of the operation of the trainf And I had a road master who looked after the maintenance of the and the telephone company. And we owned the telephone company in railroad Potlatch, the owned that and also owned a line from Bovill to palouse. So I had to have a combination man who knew somethin' about telephones.
SAM: What about the various depot agents? Were they directly under you orwas there someone else in charge of them?
WJG: Well, the auditor took care of the depot agents. They come under thesupervision of the auditor. And we had an auditor, I'd forgotten about him. Necessary evil. (Chuckles). No, I shouldn't have said that.
SAM: Well, you've gotta Have physical management.
WJG: So I had my work pretty well distributed and all I had to do afterI got it organized was supervise it. I'd had a lot of experience before I came here, of course.
SAM: We went into that last time. And you know the size of the trains i$ somethingI was wondering about. I saw one picture labeled "Longest Log Train in the World.n What was the story on that particular train?
WJG: Oh, they just made that up for somethin to talk about.
SAM: That wasn't a usual train.
WJG: No, no. And t^ere was a lot of that stuff shouldn't has been doneof course. When I was was operating, our trains would consist of about sixty cars. That was option a good operation. So you talk about cars—that was just a build-up.
WJG: Urn hum.
WJG: We had one of the better tyoes of short line railroads. Therewas somethin like over three hundred and fifty short line railroads in the country. Most of era were connection with some big industry, y'know, like this connection with the lumber comrany. And others were connections with the steel companies and oil companies and what have you. And just a lot of em, three hundred and fifty of em, they have quite an organization, American Short Line Railroad Association,Had a president in Washington, had a Washington office. I was vice president of the organization for some little time, and it's quite an institution. One short line railroad don't have very much to say when you're talkin to these big lines. But three hundred and fifty of em with papas and mamas like lumber companies snd steel companies have quite a bit to say from a political standpoint. And it was a very good organization, well founded and not radical. And well, we h;d to help our less fortunate short lines. Once in a while we had to send a man here and there straightened out about something, y'know and things of that kind, 'cause a lot of them didn't seem, to a fellah know what to do and how to operate. Matter of fact I had a letter from I back in Wisconsin the other day. The Libbey Glass Company, one of the biggest outfits in the United States owns a short line railroad oack there. This fellah sent me a little folder that they got out and about their railroad. It's very interesting.
SAM: You talked to me a little about being in the legislature representingthe, what was it? The North Idaho Lumber. . .?
WJG: North Idaho Forestry Association. I worked for them.
SAM: One thing that you $ked about that happened before then was the creationof the forestry law for the state of Idaho, the writing of that law.
WJG: Well, there was no connection between those things.
SAM: Yeah, that's right. I was wondering about. . .
WJG: This North Idaho Forestry Association was set up as kind of a factfinding organization for all the lumber complies of North Idaho. And tey would meet ever3/ so often and express their opinions about maybe legislation or taxation or things of that kind. It had nothing was do with operation of lumber companies. But the nice thing about it as far has politics and taxes were concerned, there was no dissent. When I would po to Bcise I was talkin for all of em and nobody would be tellin me, well, I don't believe in this, and some, I believe in somethin else. They were all in accord; it was easy to work for a that kind. So they ironed out their difficulties in their office before it was handed to me.
SAM: Well, while you were representint them what was the general nature of theinterests that, the kinds of legislation that they would favor or the kind that they would be opposed to?
WJG: well, the taxes. Lumber taxes and sawmill taxes are prettyterrific. And we'd meet three times a year. I had to go to Boise at least three times a year to meet with the Asessors Assoefeation, if you please., the Assessors Association, they had a lot to say about how some of this stuff should be taxed, and met with them. I went down every August to the Tax Board of Equalization meeting at which time you can express yourself as to what your taxes are be and to compare them with something else and all that kind of thing. So there was a lot dn the tax interest and as far as legislation was concerned, I was down there, I had two lawyers with me—well, one all the time, the other only part time. One was a labor lawyer, but he was only there part time. The other was a general consul, Coeur d'Alene. He kept me advised on the legality of things. And my job was to see that no adverse legislation was put through that would harm the lumber interest. And once in a while we had something we wanted to promote too. And no, it's a form of lobbying all right-t there's no question about that. I never asked a legilator to vote or not to vote for anything that I had thought of. You can't control legislation that way. I set up offices down there and more of the information bureau than athing else. And it takes a while to gain their confidence but once £ou do that they come to you and ask you how a bill will affect the lumber companies. And most of the legislators don't want to do anything affect industry in the state,y'know. *nd if they trust somebody they'll come to thera for their information because they don't have time to get it themselves. They don't have time to read all these bills that are put through.
SAM: So you had to keep abreast of the legislation.
WJG: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
SAM: You probably had to research it yourself in some cases.
WJG: Um hum. So on the whole we had a pretty good set-up. At least I wasnever criticized. (Chuckles). But the fellah thafollowed took my pkace when Iquit, he got half-way through the session and they called him before the state senate and told him to get the hell out of town. (Chuckles). Well, the poor kid, he was just overpowered with his authority, y'know. Went to his head.
SAM: Were there intWts in the state that ran in conflict with the lumbercompany interests as far as let's say promoting the legRation that you. .
WJG: Well, yes there were. There were the, oh you take the mines and therailroads and the telephone companies, power companies. We all have certain things in common like say, safety rules and woman's compensation and all these social security things. They all affect all of us the same way. So we had what was calledthe self-insurers, that's the, we owned our own ;and our doctors and stuff like that. And the state law says that we have to protect our men. So we self-insurers because worked through that organization for legislation along that line. No, we didn't work at anything that would be competitive with somebody else or anything like that, no we just.
SAM: Could you give me an example of the kino of legislation that you had tooppose because it would have hurt the lumbering industry in the state?
WJG: Yeah, mre. This comes to mind and this is a kind of a funny one too.I was op -jesing a bill that the drug people had introduced into the Idaho legislature, oh like the selling of aspirin in drugstores and stuff like that, y'know.And all those minor things, they wanted to be a little more strict, couldn't sell em in drugstores or grocery stores. And they had quite a bill and I started out fighting it. And I got a call one night, about after midnight some night at my door. "Gamble?" "Yes." "Well, I'm so-and-so from Seattle." And I said,you." Well, he says, "I represent the drug company. I'd like to talk to you." So I got up and let him in. He says,"What in the hell is the lumber companies apposing our drug bill for?" Well, I says,"I'11 tell you. You know, we run camps out in the woods, maybe two hundred and fifty men in a camp. And we have to keep a certain supply of different things in that camp: heavy clothing, and tobacco and among other things, aspirin and drugs of certain kinds that we dare handle. Cough drops and things of that kind, we have to have that in our supplies at these camps. Your bill would prohibit that. " And he says,"Who in the hell would have ever thought of that?" And. that's an illustration of one thing. Another is a different angle. A good many years ago we had an infestation of tussock moth. We've got another one now in the woods. And it was something new in this country and it got away from us, and we lost a lot of timber. It died overnight. So a man from the federal government here and he says,"We've got sprays. We have a spray that will kill that. And they got the airplanes and they sprayed the whole damn woods or everybody's going to lose their trees: national government, the state government, the lumber companies, individuals—everybody. It's got to be done and done fast." All right, we got the lumber companies to agree and we got the state to agree and the federal government to agree. That had to go through Washington, and all takes time. And we had to rush a bill through the legislature authorizing the state of Idaho to come in on some basis and spray those trees. And we har1 to put a bill up that way. That is the only bill that I actually came out flat footed and asked legislators to vote for. And I had a rc-eting of the legislators and I had the biologist from Coeur d'Alene come down there and give em a talk. I fed'em. a party out of it. And that had to be done that way and done fast. Now that was one of things that we were for and we handled in that way. It was ratver a r-rude way but you couldn't handle everything that way.
SAM: Do you remember about when that was?
WJG: Iforget what year that was, Really do TheY come out the other davin the paper, they supposed to have sprayed last fall and it said then when the other. . .1 don't remember, I don't know what year that was. That's been quite a while ago. such
SAM: Well, that was vital piece of. . .
WJG: That's been thirty years ago.
SAM: You had to have that piece of legislation.
WJG: Oh yes, yeah. That's something we were for a^ere fighting for andwe come out flat footed on it.
SAM: there ever any environmentalist, environmental group opposition in theearly days to, not like there is now to any kind of development?
SAM: I was wondering about the maintenance of the railroad and about the kindsof adversities that you had to put up with. One that strikes me that must have caused problems sometimes were the mudslides and the track washing out and the. . .
WJG: Well, that's just keeping up the railroad, that's all. (Chuckles).Bridge* have to be rebuilt and sure, I reballasted the whole railroad while I was there.
WJG: Yes. Yeah, I brought in a contractor from Spokane and crushed rock for ayear. And give the track a lift of so many inches and put new ballast under it. When it was built they tried to—which was all right, I guess— get their rock for ballast as close as possible. Well, the closest they got was darn poor rock. It was asilica rock and didn't hold up at all. The first thing you know we was having trouble; we didn't have enough ballast under our rails if we wanted to operate fast and heavy trains. So we had to reballast. So I reballasted the wvole thing and rebuilt all the bridges,twenty-one them. That has to be done every, everything is built of wood; it only lasts so long. And it was just part of the whole, that's all.
SAM: When reballasted where did the rock come from that time?
WJG: Right this side of Bovill. We got a basalt rock up there, Ahis stuff theygot here now up at Yale that's—oh, gets it wet and pounding it the ties that kind of a soupy,-like stuff. Same way with a big fill that we had I went down into Falouse one day and a section foreman called me up and said,"No trains today. "Fill bridge number so-and-so slid out." Well, what had happened before I was in charge we had a roadmaster, he was a civil engineer too. And he decided that some of the bridges could, be filled cheaper than renewed. Andhe talked tie boss into it, and he filled em. There again Jnis fill material as close as he could get it, y'know, and make it cheap. And he come into this silica again. Gee, it was slippery as can be when it's wet. Well, you in some of the conrete in Moscow here. (Chuckles). And this was a bridge that was eighty feet high and five hundred feet long. He filledkt, and what had happen left the piling in the trestle and he filled it with dirt, and he put ballast on top of it, and he had a filled bridge. Fine, it looked good. Had a concrete culvert under it. Over the years as the snow fell and the rains came down to the top of this thing in the ballast, y now, the ballast had let it through, let the . And this darn floor would hold that, water like a pail, if you please, got clay. And it got to the point where it became saturated clear down to the base and the top weight was too heavy for it, what happened? Just went out like that. The whole damn works.Well, what to do, ye gods. Wthe sawmill keep and the woods department keep going so we put in a steam shovel and some dump cars and started filling with rock. It took us two weeks to do it, but we did it and the mill kept going. We didn't have to shut it down because we had enough logs. Bat those were some of the things that happened.
SAM: That sounds like a real crisis situation to me.
WJG: Oh it was, it was. It was something that hadn't happened around thiscountry before, and we had a lot of railroad men from other railroads come in md take a look at the see what was happening. And it was quite a problem and they was taking it home to their own railroads because they had do ^ethe same thing. But it won't slip now, I know that.
SAM: (Chuckles). What was your attitude as the general manager toward the peoplethat worked for } ou? What you expected from them and. . .?
WJG: I never asked a man to anything I couldn't do myself, I wouldn't do myself.I resolved I'd never criticisejja man in front of other men. I had a crew of men that most of em never worked for anybody else in their life. Talked to a man out here at alfuneral the other day says," We look back to the time we worked for you we're glad of it." I know how to treat men and wvat to expect of em. And I treat em fair. I never had any trouble. I like to make my own .
SAM: What do you mean by that?
WJG: Well, I've taken kids that couldn't work for anybody else and made damn goadrailroad men out of em.
SAM: How does that work? Do you give em responsibility or. . .?
WJG: No, I treat em right. Yes, I give them responsibility as they're capable ofaccepting it, sure But I'm not a person to go out and go downtown and see signs in the window, I want an experienced clerk. Most of the time you have to re-train them the way you want things done, even with college students.
SAM: Doesn't surprise me.
SAM: What you learn in books isn't somethin you can take with you and apply a lotof the time.
WJG: Yeah, yeah.
SAM: But did you expect your men like BilliDeary.not to come to you and take careof themselves?
WJG: If they, wanted advice, yes,sure,sure,know the big thing in being a supervisor of men is the job yourself. Men recognize that in a supervisor. If you don't know your job, why some of the men on the job will be the first ones to find it out. Ind I never hesitated about taking advice from the men regardless of how lowly he was on the echelon, no.I learned somethin everyday from somebody, you bet. the, town
SAM: Do vou remember what Potlatch was like.when you first came there, what itlooked like to you,what the activity was like, what the feel of the place was? You told me before when we talked that you didn't expect to stay there very long, but I'm wondering what your impressions of the town were in 1910?
WJG: Well, it was petty new then. There wasn't very much entertainment.There were no automobiles and no good roads. We had to make our own entertainment, and we did. In the summertime we had four basecall teams in Potlatch. They were good ones too. People took an interest in it. We conducted dances. We had an amusement hall. Oh, we had people come in and speak once in awvile, like oh, political talks, in a lot of times. An- the hall would be crowded, come up to hear Bill talk, politics or otherwise. nd it was abig dance hall to accomodate alot of people. And we divided the town up into departments, oh say, like the railroad and the store and the sawmill and the lumberyard and the planing mill. (Chuckles). And each one of em was responsible for a dance once a week. Every Saturday night we had a dance, big dance. And each group would have to be responsible for decorating the Kail and furnishing and getting the music and all that kind of stuf Those were the things we had to do ourself in order to keep the people entertained, and it was very successful. That developed through baseball or anything an activity of thirties. Wc had an old We quit ridin horses and we turned that into a gymnasium. We hired an instructor, if you please. We had a little basketball team there and we had gymnastics and boxing and all that kind of stuff. Then finally the company built this great big gymnasium,, , one of the finest in the country, and we had an instructor there. Well, we held the Idaho State Tennis Championship there one year and had tennis courts. There were an awful lot of athletic activities. We had inside gymnastics, indoor baseball, all that kind of stuff. And we did that to keep the people happy and busy. And I think they were happy. I don't know if they would be now or not. Of course a big change in those things. Wasn't very many automobiles in 1910.(Chuckles).
SAM: Did Potlatch have a pretty stable feeling to it as a town when you fistcame there or did it seem like there was a lot of turnover of people coming and going?
WJG: When I first came there, I come down there to play baseball and thenafterwards got mixed up with the railroad.Jf anybody had told me I was But going to stay there as long as I did I'd a told em they was crazy, the longer I stayed there the better I liked it, the more I got involved with the people and the company the better I likedit, and it just developed into a good place to be.
SAM: How did it happen that you became general manager?
WJG: Well, that's easy. I come dovm there to do a certain job, they come upto Spokane to get me and one thing lead to another. I had had a lot of railroad experience, they knew that and a people as i . . .
WJG: . . .and the evaluation of was another thing. The InterstateCommerce Commission come out and revalued all the railroads in the United States. And they had a crew^ . they sent em out and the railroad was supposed to furnish a certain number of men toopnd it took about six months to evaluate our railroad with all the details they wanted. And I got in on that, and finally I took the sunerinte^ent's job. And from then on up I got to planning different things and so they gave me the whole works. If it hadn't a been me, it'd of been somebody else because they had to have somebody.
SAM: Well, you stayed a long enough time to make me convinced that you must havebeen the man for that job.
WJG: Well,you see when I was in the East I had had so many different kindsof jobs in railroading and for no particular reason I'd get tired of one place and go to aBther. And I'd had experience in the steel mills, and I had experience in iHrrimere. UocaMotnteA, in Philadelphia, and I had been on the Pennsylvania Railroad as a brakeman and a fireman and.on the New York Central in station work and telegraph operating and all that kJLnd stuff, so I had pretty wide experience. I was an operator and maintenance man both. That's the kind of a man you h«ve to have An a short line railroad for this reason: on a big railroad you'll find your heads have developed through certain channels. He might have been a traffic man or he might have been a mechanical man, but once they're in that line they usually stay in that groove. Whereas a short line railroad has to have one person had a lot of these experiences because they can't hire a head for everything. And I kind of lucky in a way that my work fit itno what they needed here.
SAM: There's one more thing I'd like to ask you about and that is along thelines of the changing market and going with the economy and some of the ups and downs that the economy has had. How did Potlatch react to what happened there in the repression? What happened in the town. . .?
WJG: In the Depression?
SAM: Yeah, the 19. . .
WJG: Well, we shut down for three years.(Chuckles). And there was no placefor the men to go; there was no work. They couldn't go anyplace else to go to work. $nd it was aoompany town and the company realized that they had to do something to take care of these men. And the idea was to keep em busy at something so that they didn't get off on the wrong foot on a lot of stuff. We jobs there that we*d do mechanically that we'd ask the men to do by ^and because it'd take em longer to do it and paid at a certain rate. And as far as their actual needs were concerned;througv our work.we plowed up acres of land so that they could raise their own vegetables and stuff for the winter and all that kind of stuff. And did. We gave every man a quarter of an acre of land and plowed it for him and harrowed it and give em the seed. And all they had to do was raise the stuff and they did. And for homes we forgot the rent and the electrifc light bill and stuff of that kind. After the Depression was over if they wanted to pick it up and pay it^all right. There was a few of em that did, a little self pride, y'know. Most of em didn't. That's all right, that was company. And that was part of my job to see that nobody got hurt. Oh, anybody's sick or anything|Like that, the doctor'd take care of em. We had our own hospital. And if they couldn't pay it, why the doctor wrote it off. The store—we extended credit to some people who were—we knew most of our people there. And they had pretty big bills at the end of three years, but most of em were all paid off. And to heat our homes, well that was eazy. We brought down a trainload of logs and dumped era off and gave bur men, not every man a certain number of saws and axes and they come down and maile their own wood. We all burnt wood in our stoves in those days, y'know. And they made their own wood. Any widow or somebody that was sick, why we mace them, cut wood for them too. It served two things: it kept them busy and we the wood A group of women came to me one day and says,"Gamble, you've got to quit robbin me of all our clothes (Chuckles).In other words we was pickin up old clothes and re-workin em. But we helped ourselves and it was a good thing for Potlatch. We come out of it in good shape and the men had kept their self-respect and their self-pride, no charity as such.
SAM: So the Potlatch. . .
WJG: Well, the company had to do that because it was a company town, y'know.And we had to do something of that kind. We couldn't throw these men out to the wolves. And they realized that, it made^ men. em.
SAM: You know a lot of these towns in the rural county that depended on theWPA for their managing get through. That didn't happen in Potlatch very much, the WPA.
WJG: No, no, no. I did get from the government,flour. We was puttin outflour, we didn't have any flour, but I A3 get flour from the government, yes. And they got material that women could makeK dresses and things like that. And of course that was the start of the milk program for the kids in school We made every kid drink a day. But I was glad to have been in on all that stuff. You make a few enemies. Mostly not, you always to tell somebody no.
SAM: Did the company try to be selective about who it would give credit to inthe store?
WJG: Yes, they did. They had to to a certain extent because some of themwould have gone haywire, you know. Anything like drugs, anything of that kind, that was never refused.
SAM: Did most of the men who were in Potlatch stay through the Depression?
WJG: Um hum
SAM: Do you think they appreciated what the company did?
WJG: Yes, yeah. At first, no, because they'd hear in the paper about allthis stuff on the outside, WPA, and all this kind of stuff, somethin for nothing and they had to work for their's. They didn't appreciate that until it was pretty near over with. And one fellah says to me, he says,"I and can look anybody in the eye and tell em to go to hell."
SAM: Could Potlatch ha^e gone after WPA if they wanted to?
WJG: I don't think so, I don't think so. Oh we might have on the highwaydistrict, yes, we might have on the highway district. As a matter of fact we did have a little highway district work. But there again it was difficult to get men out very far, y'know, they needed transportation. We had a little hgihn-ay work, that's right, yeah.
SAM: And for three solid years you really didn't operate in any manner.
WJG: Only about two and half, two and a half, yeah. Everything was down,absolutely down. Well, it was ro \ht I'll tellyou. No jobs anywhere, nobody was workin. *hat was the second one 1 was through. I was through one
SAM: in 1908 too, just as bad. that's when you were still in Pennsylvania.
WJG: Um hum. Oh I had work. I always had odd jobs wven I wanted one. But Iwas not particular either.
SAM: Was there anything the company could do for all the men in the woods?What happened to all. . .
WJG: No, well the lumberjack in those days we usually had three crews:one on the job, one comin, and one goin. That was the lumberjack, he was a traveler. That's right yeah. Had it not been for that I don't know what we would have done in the woods. We were doing nothing in the woods at all. Bovill "was having a hard time, a lot of lumberjacks around Bovill. No, the lumberjack in the early days was usually a single
SAM: I've never been able to understand although guys who work in the woodshave told me about the way the lumberjacks used to work and stay in go and camps, get their stake, blow in and not have anything left afterwards and have to. . .
WJG: Christmas and Fourth of July.
SAM: I just still can't figure why the men, everybody, almost all of them didthat and couldn't save any money.
WJG: Well, that's the way it was done. They kind of followed "- precedent,I guess, that was set before. look back on the time when my father who lived in Pennsyvania, he worked in a sawmill in the summertime, sawmill shut down in the winter. And in the winter he'd go into the woods and work in the woods all winter. In the spring he'd help dra^e Ahtn the logs down the river and.about that time the sawmill was started. was the regular rotation that they followed. was not, I suppose it was density of population to a certain extent that caused those things. There was not the amount of labor available that we have now at all in line of work that I know of. I know that this big outfit in Works, hired men. And I know we never had a surplus of men, always a shortage of men. Come over from Austria, yeah.
SAM: Maybe it was as the country was bein built up there just was so much more workto be done.
WJG: The whole thing was all different all right. The economy of the countryand everything was entirely different. About the only thing a young person would do in a case of that kind if he couldn't get a job he'd join the army and stay in for a year and then come out.
SAM: If you look back on it is there any one time in Potlatch as stands out asbeing really the best time in the town or the most active, the most going on, the best time?
WJG: Well, of course the best time was when the mill was working two shiftseveryday the week. Sure, when everybody was busy that was when times were good.
SAM: Was that before the Depression?
WJG: Yes, yeah,before and after both, um hum. But before the Depressionwe had years of pretty good times. Work that anybody wanted to do, yes. And everything had a fair price, not big prices, no big prices of anything, No big price where we are now, everything's up, don't mean a thing.
SAM: Don't mean a thing because everything is up, is that what you mean?
WJG: Yeah, we're no better off than we were then.
SAM: Do you think that the company town was worth it to Potlatch. . .
WJG: To start with, yes, yeah, um hum. They would not as near as gooda town if it had been an open town to start with, no question about that. Every house had water in it; every house had electricity; every house had a\telephone in it, and all that kind of stuff. We had good schools; we had good churches And that would have had a hard time growing up naturally. And the families were just a lot better off under it those conditions than they would have been if had been an open town, ufe hum. I can see where a company town is not a good thing. Men grow up children grow up in a town like that and have no responsibility to government of any kind. They had to accept everything as is. Now when this town over here was changed to an open town they were lost for a long time and maybe still are to a certain extent. They didn't know how to run their schools, they didn't know how to police their town, they didn't know how to keep up the town. And their sewers and their water and^their police protection, the whole damn thing, and they had a pretty rough period there for a while. Just because people didn't have to do those things, y'know, they didn't kn w how to do it* I think that the time comes when the town should be made akown but t think it should come gradually. I didn't believe in it the way it was done over there, but it had to be done some way. There was a couple other towns in the United States the same way. The town of Pullman, Illinois. Pullman 6ar Company was a company town, ^y the way, Potlatch was kind of patterned after that. We have a town down here at Shasta, right this side of Shasta, it was a company town, a sawmill town. It was a terrible comparison. Rundown houses andoh, the company didn't pay any attention at all. And I can see where a company town can be a big disadvantage if the company were inclined to take advantage of things. It might be the store thqt would be higher prices. Ours was lower prices. conditions under which people lived, if they didn't pay any attention to that it could serreate to big extent. We even papered the insides of people's houses over there for em when they wanted it done and painted the inside of their houses for them, on the outside too as far as that goes.
SAM: Well, where did this kind of benevolent policy come from? Was this theWferhaeuser's idea;
WJG: That was the principle of the Weyerhaeuser's, that's right, that wastheir principle, urn hum. When I went down to Boise as a representative, Mr. Weyerhaeuser came to me, he says,"Gamble, I can't tell you anything what to do or what not to do down at Boise. All I can say is this, "Whatever is good for the state of Idaho is good for the Potlatch Lumber Company." I think that spells the atitude of the Weyerhaeiers.
SAM: Whic Mr. Weyerhaeuser was this?
WJG: Rudolph, yep. Yeah, they were a great bunch of people. Well, when theoriginal Weyerhaeusers came over here they were just common German people, y'know, that had a fling for mechanics and operated sawmills. And all the boys -were brought up tbu same way. Believe me, they didn't spend money foolishly. Nor did they pile it up for the fun of piling it up.
SAM: Did the Weyerhaeusers mntain close contact with the Potlatch and thelumber company here? Were they out here much? Did they have much to do with the mill site?
WJG: Well, sure, they always had their directors' meeting at Potlatch.the directors always come into Potlatch. Well, see to start with, old man Weyerhaeuser gave a sawmill to each one of his boys. Well, Charles Weyerhaeuser was suprosed to run the Potlatch mill Rudolph Weyerhaeuser the Coeur d'Alene mill and John Weyerhaeuser, the Tacoma mill, andPhil Weyerhaeuser the Lewiston mill, and that was the way it was. But the one at Potlatch, he was on a trip to Europe and died. He didn't last very long at Potlatch so Rudolph took over. And they as a family, their whole family is built around this sawmill tving, every one of their family, e-en the girls. It's kind of a tradition with in a way. I don't know what would happen if one of em would go haywire like some families do. I don't know what position the family would take. It'd be a calamity, I know that.
SAM: When you say haywire, what do you mean? If they got out of the business?
WJG: Well, you've seen a lot of these people that their father had a lotof money and done a lot of business and so forth and didn't do em very much good.
SAM: But what you're saying is that they knew the business and they knew whatthey were getting.
WJG: Um hum, um hum, um hum. The whole family, the second and third generationsnever have been just the same all ' down the line.
3:00 - Weyerhaeuser interests come West. Agreement among the various owners on Weyerhaeuser management.
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23:00 - Concern for employee welfare by Mr. Laird; How Mr. Laird was involved in a lot of things; the town of Deary, and Bill Deary; Elk River mill mistake
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Segment Synopsis: Mr. Laird's concern for welfare of the employees. He was a strict disciplinarian. When Mr. Laird ran the schools, nearly all the teachers taught Sunday school. Laird took care of the finances and the town; Deary, of the logging. Bill^ Deary was a self-made man - his mistake building the Elk River mill. Men he hired didn't hear from him again unless their job went sour.
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87:00 - Early Potlatch social life and athletes to keep people happy; how he became railroad manager
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93:00 - Potlatch policies during the Depression; limited government help to town; people appreciating what Potlatch did
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106:00 - Why company towns were good at first; downsides to company town; Potlatch being modeled after Pullman Illinois
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