McCloud Customers
Mount Shasta Sawmill

The McCloud River Railroad served a pair of forest products plants in Mt. Shasta City, both of which occupied the same site in different eras.

Curtis Brothers & Company

Charles F. Curtis and W.G. Hemingway launched what would become this company in 1866 when they bought out two of the three partners in a sash and door factory in Clinton, Iowa. The following year Charles's brother George bought out the third original partner, then the year after that the two Curtis brothers jointly purchased Hemingway's interest. Also in 1868 Judson Carpenter, an uncle to both Curtis brothers, moved to Clinton and invested in the operation, which in a short time became a leading local manufacturer of sashes and doors, blinds, stairs, mouldings, and other woodwork. Judson, the Curtis brothers, and others jointly formally incorporated the company in 1881.

Judson Carpenter later went on to become one of the key principal partners in the Minnesota based group of lumber investors who bought the McCloud River companies in 1902. Curtis Brothers & Company by this time had a couple manufacturing plants in the midwest which they for a time supplied with their own sawmill in Wisconsin. The McCloud River Lumber Company in 1904 agreed to build a cut up plant in Mt. Shasta City and lease it to Curtis, with lumber being supplied by the McCloud mill. The company chose a site in Sisson about a half mile east of the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific main line, and the CP/SP built a spur they called Long Spur east to the plant, which shortly started receiving lumber from McCloud (routed via Upton) and shipping its finished product east to Iowa.

The McCloud River Railroad started serving the plant directly when they effected the line change into Sisson in early 1907, which incorporated SP's Long Spur. SP continued serving the Curtis plant until 5 October 1910 when the McCloud River Railroad banned the SP from operating over their tracks due to the hazards that practice posed to both companies. McCloud thereafter provided the only service to the plant, but implemented a $3 per carload switching charge that Curtis had not been previously required to pay. Curtis appealed the rate to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which ruled the rate to be fair in 1912. Curtis remained in operation until around the middle 1930s, and the McCloud River removed all of the factory spurs into the plant site in 1935.

Special thanks to Jerry Harmon and the Shasta Division Archives for help on sorting out a lot of this history.

The Curtis Brothers & Company cut up plant. Note the McCloud River Lumber Company logo painted on the roof. Jeff Moore collection.

Cooper's Mill/P&M Cedar

Around 1957 Marty Cooper built a hotel and a modest sized sawmill in Mt. Shasta Cityon the site of the old Curtis Brothers & Company plant. The mill shipped lumber and then in later years woodchips out over the railroad.

Cooper's Mill ran into the middle 1970s, when the P&M Cedar Products company purchased the property. The Berolzheimer family had been in the pencil business since the 1850s, first in Germany until the grandsons of the founder moved the business to the United States in 1882. The family organized the Eagle Pencil Company, and then in 1910 established a subsidiary of Eagle named the Hudson Lumber Company in San Leandro, California. The family split its business up amongst family members in the late 1920s, and Charles Berolzheimer used his shares of the family empire to acquire California Cedar Products, an independent pencil supplier dating back to 1919. Charles' sons Philip and Michael incorporated P&M Cedar Products in 1969, which purchased Cooper's Mill shortly thereafter. P&M retooled the mill to cut cedar, mostly for pencil stock.

P&M stopped shipping by rail from the Mt. Shasta sawmill shortly after purchasing the big mill in McCloud in 1979 save for a handful of intraline movements between the two mills. The mill remained in operation though until 1990, when P&M shut it down. Dannon, a label of the Coca-Cola company, built a water bottling facility on the plant that operated from the late 1990s until 2010, when it too closed. Crystal Geyser purchased the plant in 2013, but encountered stiff local opposition to its plans to reopen the plant, and in 2021 they abandoned those plans. A bay area based group operating under the name One Shasta LLC purchased the building in March 2022, but they have not announced any plans as to what they might do with the site other than the deed restrictions prohibit it from being involved in the water bottling business.

An overview of the old Coopers Mill site around 1983. Pat Driscoll photo, Jeff Moore collection.

Another view of the P&M operations at the old Coopers Mill. Pat Driscoll photo, Jeff Moore collection.