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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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The Hans Larson Family

Hans Larson FamilyForestry Pioneer

Hans Larson immigrated from Norway as a teenager in 1905 and settled in Little Fork Minnesota where he homesteaded for 15 years and learned to drive logs on the upper Mississippi River. In 1920 he came to the Flathead Valley where he became a pole expert and drove logs down the Middle Fork and the North Fork rivers to the Somers Lumber Company on Flathead Lake. in 1928 he formed American Timber Company and logged throughout the northwest Montana. During World War II the American Timber Company designed and built several portable "Tie Mills" under the supervision of Hans' son, Lawrence Larson.

They also helped to clear the land to be flooded by Hungry Horse Dam in the years just after the war. In 1946 at the urging of Maurice Cusick of the DNRC, Lawrence built a stationary mill near Olney on the Lower Stillwater Lake. The initial purpose of this mill was to help harvest and process beetle infested engelman spruce in the area; later the mill was revamped to utilize lodgepole pine, which also experienced a beetle infestation.

The family sawmill business was a major employer in the area for 73 years and four of Hans Larson's grandsons were still involved in managing American Timber Company when it closed its doors in 2001. Both Hans and Lawrence have passed on.

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