Hollenbeck-Bush Planing Mill Company Collection
We are happy to announce a recent donation of photographs from the Hollenbeck-Bush Planing Mill, circa 1940-1960. The images were preserved by Lawrence Cannon, a former Vice President of the firm, and were donated by his daughter, Patty Breckow of Paso Robles. This extensive collection of photographs complement our existing Hollenbeck-Bush Planing Mill ledgers, most of which date from 1907-1909.
The mill was founded in the 1890s by William Hollenbeck and his brother-in-law Ed Bush as the Fresno Cabinet Shop. Destructive fires leveled the mill in 1904 and 1918
. After the 1918 fire, the mill was re-established at 2206 S. Van Ness Avenue with a five-
yard and railroad access. By the 1940s, the company had a fleet of trucks that allowed the staff to deliver custom walls for houses and detailed interior work, including sashes, doors, pews, and wooden cabinets.
During World War II, the mill employed nearly 400 men to fill many government contracts for prefabricated houses and prefabricated hangers.
The mill's best work -
wooden ceiling detail insets and wood paneling -
can be seen in the courtrooms of the California State Supreme Courthouse in Sacramento
. Locally, Clyde Hollenbeck, a nephew of the founder, crafted the doors for St. John's Cathedral and Warnors Theater.
By 1950, the mill was solely owned by F. Rex Sporleder who had begun working at the mill in 1922 as a draftsman. Upon his death in January 1960, he left 10,000 shares of stock
to three employees, including Lawrence Cannon. At the time, the company employed more than 100 men and women and grossed more than $2 million. Unfortunately, a fire in a Hollenbeck-Bush building shared with a box company in 1966 spelled the beginning of the end for the wood-working firm.