Pacific Lumber Company or PALCO, as locals have known it for generations, began during the heat of the US Civil War in 1863 when A. W. McPherson and Henry Wetherbee purchased 6,000 acres of timberland on California’s Eel River at the rate of $1.25 per acre. Over the ensuing 20 years they added more partners and began significant logging by 1882, at the present main site and town, which was originally known as Forestville. By 1888, the company became the largest in Humboldt County, with 300 employees and lumber shipments exceeding 20 million board feet annually.
By this time the town name was changed to Scotia and it boasted a Western Union telegraph station, church, post office, and school but the sawmill was the main lifeline that fueled growth around the area of Scotia. Mill A in Scotia was completed in 1887, employing 150 men. A second sawmill, Mill B, was later built and became the world’s largest redwood sawmill, beginning operation in 1910, and closed in May of 2001. However, Mill B is still currently in operation. In 2008 Pacific Lumber Company was reorganized, forming the new Humboldt Redwood Company. To see a video of the historic Scotia Sawmill operating in the past click here.