The Evening Tribune August, 1891
Once a Shingle King.
The Grand Haven of to day has little to do with the Grand Haven of the past, looking from a thoroughly practical standpoint. Still there are people and events from history of those times that, for many reasons, will always be of more than passing interest.
Under the caption of the lead of this article, a recent number of the Northwestern Lumberman contains an excellent cut and biographical sketch of Chas. Boyden, from which we gather the following information, lack of space not permitting the reproduction of the article entire: Mr. Boyden settled in Grand Haven in 1868 and at that time knew nothing about the lumber or shingle business. He caught the pine fever and bought the Ridell saw mill a small concern that had never been successfully operated and converted it into a shingle mill and ran it until the few thousand dollars he carried to the city disappeared. This unfavorable turn of affairs did not dishearten him. He started in to make the shingle business "go" and thought he had only paid a little dearly for his experience. Early in 1871 he had became connected with H. C. Akeley, now at the head of the H. C. Akeley Lumber Co., of Minneapolis, and under the firm name of Boyden & Akeley the mill was run until the latter part of the year, when it burned. Rebuilding immediately, followed and the mill which arose from the ashes of the old Ridell mill was frequently changed and enlarged until the time it was burned in June 1882, it was the largest shingle mill in the world, with the capacity of 1,000,000 shingles and 50,000 feet of lumber daily. In 1881 the output of shingles was 160,000,000 and the season the mill burned it was expected that 200,000,000 shingles would be manufactured.
Mr. Boyden gave his exclusive attention to the mill and manufacturing, and during the dull period which followed the crash of 1873, worked hard and constantly to make a shingle which could be produced cheap and sell well. The result was that the "Boyden & Akeley" became probably the best known and most popular shingle ever made.
In 1881 the Grand Haven Lumber Company was organized with Mr. Boyden president. In 1883 he purchased the interests of most of the stockholders, and from that date until the business was wound up in 1890, he had sole management of the extensive operations. The company owned three saw mills, one large shingle mill, extensive tracts of pine land, logging railroad, lumber yards, etc.
At present Mr. Boyden is president and treasurer of the Boyden & Wyman Lumber Company, at Neelyville, MO., on the Iron Mountain road. he is also interested extensively in the Keystone Land and Cattle Company, in Dakota. The lumber company at Neelyville has a capital stock of $250,000 and owns over 20,000 acres of hardwood timber land, estimated to cut 250,000,000. The plant consists of two Stearns, band mills, a factory for cutting wagon and agricultural implements, dimension stuff, plaining mills, machine shops, etc. Logging is done is done with a steam skidder and a 35 pound rail steam logging road.
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