April 2021

200 Years of Redwood

This article was written by Big Creek Lumber’s, Bob Berlage and was printed in Building Products Digest and the Merchant Magazine.

Archeology tells us that the human species made use of wood even prior to homo sapiens. The oldest recorded wood tool is a spear made of yew dating back 400,000 years. Our use of wood has dramatically expanded despite mankind’s transition to urban existence.redwood trees in the forest

Far more recent and closer to home, the use of coastal redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens) as a building material began in the early 1800s when European settlers arrived in California. Initially, the extent of redwood harvesting was limited by technology and demand. Hand saws and axes were used to fell the trees and lumber was occasionally produced by straddling logs over a sunken pit and slicing the logs into lumber using a two-man crosscut saw. Needless to say, the worker with less seniority was usually the one in the pit with sawdust falling on him all day.

Increases in population and technology predictably resulted in increased harvesting of redwoods and lumber production. Two events resulted in dramatic increases in redwood harvesting in California. Coincidentally, both these events centered in San Francisco. The first was the Gold Rush (1848-1855). While very little coastal redwood lumber found its way to the gold fields, it was the dramatic expansion of San Francisco that created the demand. Fortune seekers from all over the world arrived in San Francisco by ship and began their journey to the gold fields. San Francisco grew dramatically as the result of this immigration. The city required lumber for housing and commercial development to meet the need.

Link to Article


Michelle Webb, Marketing ManagerWoman, man and baby at the beach

How long have you worked at Big Creek? I’ve worked at Big Creek for nearly seven years.

What is your favorite part of working for Big Creek? I love the people, the products, and our customers. It is rewarding to work for a sustainable company with good values.

What’s your favorite product that we sell? Big Creek’s redwood fencing. We recently lost a fence in a windstorm and I love the beautiful new fence that my husband built.

What do you like to do for fun? Hanging out as a family with my 8 month old son, Andy. My husband and I are enjoying introducing our son to the world, the beach, redwoods and more. I look forward to things opening up and having him meet family, friends and taking him on adventures!


Save Time, Text Us!

All five of our lumber yards as well as our Credit/Customers Service Department can be texted!

Atwater: (209) 381-5500

Half Moon Bay: (650) 560-9749

Paso Robles: (805) 238-7922

Santa Cruz: (831) 477-1231

Watsonville: (831) 722-7137

Credit/Customer Service: (831) 761-7912


Market Report

All 3 markets, Green Douglas Fir – OSB – Plywood are all under produced causing prices to go up with longer lead time, and no slowing down in sight.

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