From rail transportation to aviation technology, construction and mining to heavy equipment sales, this aggressive entrepreneur has been a player in a wide variety of business sectors. It should come as little surprise that his real estate interests also include owning a reported 100,000 acres in the Northwest.
Published reports indicate that the Eddy family’s Port Blakely Companies control 160,000 acres in Washington and Oregon, with additional property in New Zealand. The companies have been in the family since 1903 and include ventures in timber, forest products, and real estate.
For more than 50 years, three generations of the Hampton family have owned and operated Hampton Affiliates. The company operates five sawmills and manages 167,000 acres of timberland in Oregon and Washington.
More than a century ago in 1890, Sol Simpson planted the seeds for what became the Simpson Investment Company in the emerald forests of the Pacific Northwest. Today the land and the company shares are held entirely by Simpson’s descendants, the Reed family. Through the 20th century, the company steadily grew into its current holdings of more than threequarters of a million acres, spread throughout Washington, California, and Oregon. In addition to the timberlands, the family owns a door company, a paper company, and a number of rendering and production facilities.
It all began with a man called Curly. Raleigh Humes “Curly” Emmerson was operating a sawmill in Newburg, Oregon, in the 1920s-and not very successfully-when he decided to pack it up and move to Northern California. But it wasn’t until the ’40s that things began to look up business-wise for Mr. Emmerson. With the help of a young man named Red (his son, Archie Aldis), Emmerson set the stage for what would become Sierra Pacific Industries, an enterprise that now owns and manages 1.722 million acres of forestland in California and Washington.
Thousands of acres of timberland belonging to Sierra PacificIndustries surround Lassen Peak. Under Red’s management, the company took off and today continues to flourish. Now the third generation of Emmersons has joined the family business, with Red’s two sons and daughter holding positions within the company. According to the SPI web site, the operation has grown from a two-man team to a business that employs 3,900 workers.
It’s no secret that timberland acquisition has been one of Red’s main goals. One of his most memorable land grabs was the purchase of 522,000 acres from Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corp. in 1987. Over the next eight years, he bought an additional 400,000 acres and continued to amass land throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including the recent purchase of the 147,000-acre Hamilton Tree Farm in Washington State. Besides its timber sector, SPI also sells various wood products and produces doors and windows through its Sierra Pacific Windows division. And its newest venture: real estate.