Saturday, September 11, 2010

Santa Clara Valley Mill and Lumber and Cheim Lumber

One of my industries on the Vasona Branch is the Santa Clara Valley Mill and Lumber yard on San Carlos St. near Sunol St. I'd done a bit of research on it - enough to know that the company was run by William Doughtery, who did significant logging in the Felton area. Although the old Sanborn Maps showed this name on the property, it became Cheim Lumber some time in the 1930's, a business that ran at that location until 1997. Leo Cheim's obituary also mentions the business.

I don't know much about what the business looked like in the 1930's, but Rick Sprain shows some photos of what their retail store on the Alameda looked like in the 1950's. Sadly, they were photos taken as the store burned down, supposedly because of children playing with matches in the yard behind the store. Searching the Internet also turns up the lawsuit by Pacific Hardware complaining that Cheim Lumber should have kept those kids out of the yard. Rick's photos are nice views of San Jose in the 1950's, with the landmark (and recently gone) Andy's Pet Shop in the background.

History San Jose also has a picture from the fire showing employees saving the business records as the fire rages behind them. There's also a water tank visible in the smoke; my guess is it's for Del Monte Plant 51.

Here's what the site looks like today.

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