Mess hall crew at Weyerhaeuser Timber Company railroad logging camp, Longview, ca. 1942
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At the end of the nineteenth century, Frederick Weyerhaeuser headed a Midwestern timber concern that was said to be the largest lumber business in the country. By this time, most of the old growth forests in the Great Lakes area were logged. Weyerhaeuser needed more trees to harvest and looked to the Southern and Western states. In 1891, while investigating the two regions, he moved to St. Paul and two years later moved to Summit Street next door to an old time St. Paul resident, James J. Hill. James J. Hill, President of the Great Northern Railway, was just completing the railroad from St. Paul to Seattle. Weyerhaeuser and Hill became good friends, and they occasionally discussed the Pacific Northwest. By 1900 James Hill had gained the controlling interest in the Northern Pacific Railroad, the major competitor of the Great Northern in Washington. With the purchase of the railroad company came the remnants of the 44,000,000 acres (68,750 square miles) of land the Northern Pacific...