Significant People of Lumber & Shingle

Photo courtesy Everett Public Library

Olof Carlson

Few immigrants arrived in America more tumultuously than Olof Carlson, born in Gottenborg, Sweden, on November 30, 1860, to a sea captain and his wife. Carlson was reportedly a cook on a vessel that was pounded to pieces by a violent storm in 1880 off the Oregon coast. According to Carlson’s obituary in the July 7, 1952, Everett Herald, the crew was rescued and taken to Astoria, where they were paid $500 for a return trip to Europe. Young Olof’s money was stolen so he stayed in the Pacific Northwest.

Carlson lived in Portland for about five years before he and his brothers ventured into the lumber business in Tacoma. After a series of successes and failures, they came to Everett, and eventually established Carlson Brothers on 14th Street Dock’s old E.J. McNeeley site. Olof Carlson sold the mill to the Shull Lumber Company in 1912 and traveled to Europe, visiting his native Sweden and other countries. Upon his return, he partnered with W.R. Cunningham and George A. Bergstrom in the C-B Lumber and Shingle Company, which built a new plant at the foot of 9th Street on the Everett bayfront around 1914. Carlson was president of the firm until the end of the 1920s. During the late 1920s, he was also vice president of the Citizens Bank and Trust Company. He shows up in the 1930s city directories as president of Super Shingle Company and the Port Gardner Investment Company. By 1941, he seems to have retied from active business.

Over the years, Carlson was involved in organizations such as the Everett Commercial Club, Everett Elks, Modern Woodmen of America, and Peninsula Lodge, F & AM. In 1911, he was elected to the Everett City Council but served just a few months because the city changed to a new, commissioner-form of government. Carlson and his wife, Ellen, built a lovely home at 1722 Rucker Avenue around 1906. The Carlsons had one son, Edward, and four daughters — Nettie, Esther, Evelyn and Julie — all of whom were reported to be noted beauties of early Everett. Esther married Clifford Newton, uncle of Henry Newton, an Everett attorney still practicing as of 2008. Henry remembers that when he was a young boy, Carlson was the kindly white-haired gentleman who played Santa Claus at the family Christmas Eve party. Olof Carlson died in July 1952 at the age of 91. His death was reported on the front page of the Everett Herald.