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Catalog Number WF 2031
Caption Anacortes Veneer - interior
Description This is an interior view of the Anacortes Veneer plant showing sheets of peeled wood veneer plies and drying or steaming racks. Plywood is made by rotary cutting a log to produce plies. Steaming or boiling softens the log. It is then placed on a large lathe using very sharp blades and cut into long strips of veneer. The strip is trimmed and cut into specific lengths, then oven dried before being glued together to produce plywood.

Anacortes Veneer began in 1937 as Anacortes Plywood Inc., a workers cooperative built on the former site of Fidalgo Lumber and Box which had burned about two years before. (For history of FL&B, see WF 0490.) In 1936, Olympia employees of Washington Veneer decided to organize their own cooperative plywood mill. Their undertaking was representative of the many "cooperative" efforts in the mid-1930s, from farming to lumber mills, which flourished in the midst of the Great Depression. The Olympia group initially chose Port Angeles for their mill site and organized on 1-29-1937 as Port Angeles Plywood, Inc. The following April, however, Port Angeles' lack of support gave the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce an avenue to pursue. Paul Luvera, Chamber of Commerce president, led a delegation to Olympia (Gus Dalstead, Archie Allan, Ed Schwartz and Will Parks) and presented Anacortes as an alternative. The 4-20-1937 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported on "Meeting in Olympia." On May 17, the Olympia group chose Anacortes. The ANACORTES AMERICAN reported on 6-4-1937 that the Supplemental Articles of Incorporation were approved by the Secretary of State and the company was officially known as Anacortes Plywood, Inc.

The 8-24-1939 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Veneer Company rushing work on machinery ... Anacortes' newest major industry, the Anacortes Veneer Company which is rapidly nearing completion and readiness to join field of plywood producers locally." In December 1939 the business reorganized under the name of Anacortes Veneer Inc. It was a cooperative and employee owned; 250 men initially contributed $1000 per individual. Some of the Brady photos of Anacortes Veneer were taken in 1938 as part of a publicity campaign for the plywood company. An undated newspaper article in the Paul Luvera scrapbook collection states "Plywood Company to Receive Publicity", and goes on to say that Ferd Brady, photographer; Paul Luvera, Chamber of Commerce president; and Art Olson (newspaper reporter) spent time at the plant to prepare news releases. A letter from the SEATTLE TIMES to Luvera (Luvera Collection), dated 9-22-1938, stated the photos would run October 10, 1938. Photos also appeared in the 9-23-1938 BELLINGHAM HERALD.

WWII proved extremely beneficial to Anacortes Veneer's business and its shareholders/workers as well. This business also played a key role in the transition of the central Whidbey Island economy from farming/agricultural to a wage-based one as farming began dying out there in the 1950s. At that time, several long-time farmers banded together, purchased shares in Anacortes Veneer, and began working there, carpooling the distance from Coupeville to Anacortes each day. Anacortes Veneer was sold to Publishers Forest Products Company in 1969. In April 1990 the business closed, and the 11-29-1992 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported that old Anacortes Veneer mill had burned down. For additional photos of the mill during the 1950s and 60s, see the WF collection of images from that period. See also WF 0468.001-0472, 2014-2045.
Date 1938 c.
Photographer BRADY, Ferd
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place - Anacortes, WA
Structure - Business
Industry - Mill - Lumber
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms Anacortes Veneer, Inc.
Anacortes Plywood
E. K. Wood Mill
Green Chain
Fidalgo Lumber & Box
Port Angeles Plywood
plywood
cooperative
scrapbook
Publishers Forest Products
drying rack
plies
Object Name Negative