History Lesson: "The Legacy of Lumber"

WCLBMA's Ken Dunham's new book describes how the West was won.

“The Legacy of Lumber” history book of the lumber industry in the West, and specifically California, was introduced at the annual convention of the West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association (WCLBMA) in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The book was published in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the regional lumber and building materials trade organization.

Written by Ken Dunham, executive director of the WCLBMA, with assistance by contract writer Kathleen Beasley, the book tells the story of the lumber industry in America, from colonial times to the present, with a particular focus on the rich lumber history in California.

“This is an inspiring and entertaining history of this important American industry and was a joy to research and write,” said Dunham. “The lumberyard was generally among the first businesses when a town was formed. Today the independent lumberyard remains a critical part of any town or city’s economy.”

Dunham noted he had read and seen lots of books on particular segments of the industry, usually focusing on logging, transportation or even a particular company. This book ties it all together, featuring those businesses that were part of the final sales of the products.

The book has a section on the industry history and also features stories of many of the individual lumber and building materials companies, many of which have rich histories of more than 100 years themselves and several generations of ownership.

“A book like this ought to be read by anyone in this industry, just to get a feel for what it took to build these businesses.” He added. “There are great stories involved with so many of the companies – how they started and what hard work it took to establish them.”

The 98-page softbound book is available through the West Coast Lumber & Building Materials Association.

Dunham has been executive director of the organization since 2006. His prior experience, in addition to association management, includes ownership of a regional advertising agency/public relations firm, political consulting and management, and as a television new director and on air personality. He says that his passion for the lumber industry also comes from growing up in the small northwest logging town of Troy, Montana. 

 

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