Berry's Mill and Lumberyard Our Story

The story of Berry's Mill and Lumberyard began in 1941. Twenty-year-old Loren Berry was working as a logger in the small town of Cazadero, California. His family had been living there since 1886 when Loren's grandfather bought the town of Ingrams and renamed it Cazadero.

In those days, logging was done in and near Cazadero to convert forests to grazing land. Sawmills were needed to process the logs. In 1941, with the financial backing of his father, Loren built and began operating Berry's Mill and Lumberyard. Most of the lumber was sold to farmers.

Soon the focus of Berry's Mill and Lumberyard changed. Quicksilver was required to detonate artillery shells on battleships during World War II, and Berry's Sawmill and Lumberyard supplied the big beams used at a nearby quicksilver mine. Elsewhere, sawmills were needed to supply war materials. Loren left Cazadero, joined the Army, and continued building and operating sawmills in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

At the end of the war, Loren returned to Cazadero with a new philosophy of forest preservation and management. Rather than clear-cutting and burning forests to convert to grazing land, Loren promoted sustained-yield cutting and replanting. As a result, Berry's Mill and Lumberyard has operated since 1941 on logs supplied from within a 20 mile radius of the mill. And, there are more trees growing in this area today than in 1941 when Berry's Mill and Lumberyard began producing lumber.

After the war, Loren married and had four children. By the age of six, sons Jim and Bruce were working at Berry's Mill and Lumberyard. They started out as "maintenance engineers," sweeping up sawdust. At age 8, the boys were working along side the men, pulling lumber off the green-chain.

Like their father, Bruce and Jim have spent their lives working at Berry's Mill and Lumberyard. Bruce focuses his efforts on lumber production and sales, while Jim works in forest management.

From 1941 to 1979, Berry's Mill and Lumberyard was located on 3 acres in downtown Cazadero, across the street from the General Store and the Post Office. When the mill outgrew this site, the machinery was dismantled and moved six miles down the road to its present location on 33 acres.

The business continued to prosper. Then one night in 1989, the town was awakened by news of a fire at the mill. It should be understood that small fires are a common occurrence at sawmills. But this was not a small fire. In the darkness, the sky shown orange for miles. Flames engulfed the entire mill, and 24 inch steel support beams sagged under the intense heat. The sawmill that had operated since 1941 was gone.

In small-town America, tragedy is an opportunity to demonstrate love and support for neighbors. Such was the case in Cazadero. Friends and neighbors, employees and customers, worked together to rebuild Berry's Mill and Lumberyard. Six months later, the familiar buzz of the saws was heard once again.

It could be said that Berry's Mill and Lumberyard is a family-run business. Actually, it is a business operated by the community, for the community. Berry's Mill and Lumberyard would not be in business today without the hard work of its employees and the loyalty of its customers. We strive to offer a quality product without compromising our mission to promote healthy forests. After all, we live here....and our families will be living here for generations to come.
Berry's Mill and Lumberyard