The White Pines Story
The establishment of a new community, White Pines, in 1938 can, perhaps, best be told by those who lived that event and those times. We offer three histories, one by Howard Blagen, the son of Frank Blagen who brought the mill to Calaveras County; one by Frank Blagen, Junior, the youngest son of Frank Blagen; and one by the matriarch of the Dolley family, Louise Dolley, who arrived with the mill and began her new life in White Pines.
Howard’s story is in the form of an autobiographical narrative that covers not only the creation of White Pines, but also his upbringing in a lumbering family, the story of why the lumber company had to move from its previous home in Calpine, California to a new town, and his later role as a manager with the American Forest Products Corporation.
Frank Junior was a teenager at the time of the move from Calpine. His perspective is unique — he worked in an entry-level position yet was intimately aware of the planning and politics of the new mill. His love for his father, his fascination with all things mechanical, and his stark indignation at the scheming that led to the loss of the family’s mill all are clearly evident in the excerpts provided here.
Louise’s story is that of an astute observer and chronicler of community and social life. Where Howard’s story is told from the management level, Louise experienced the creation of White Pines as the wife of a heavy equipment operator, creating a new town and household from virtually nothing.
The long-time residents of White Pines are proud of their history. When they started their town, Arnold was a hamlet with a few cabins. Quickly, White Pines became the center of employment, had the much larger population, and enjoyed the benefits of an entire community. Although the town has dwindled as Arnold has grown, the residents of White Pines still think of their home as the area’s first real town. As you drive into town, you’ll pass the sign that identifies White Pines and that proudly declares that White Pines is not Arnold.
The White Pines Post Office
Our thanks to her daughter, Lois Henderson, for providing the White Pines Post Office Picture featured below. Lois tells us in her comment below that the post office was painted red.
The kids of White Pines gather on the porch of the new post office for a group photo.
In the back row second from the left is Dale Brooks, Museum Director and contributing historian. Front row furthest right is Bruce Linebaugh in the sagging overalls.
Other people that have been identified are Patti Dolley, second row center; to her right is Mary Lou Werry; and to Patti’s left is Buddy Buck; Patti believes that the girl in the front row with the hat is Patty Blagen; and to Patty’s left is June Griffen; at the left of the back row is Angelo Marzi.
Pat Blagen Bradley says that is not she with the hat.
Don Hewlett who grew up in White Pines has given us these photos. Don’s Dad was Hick Hewlett who was the paymaster (probably not his real title) and his mother was the nurse. They lived in back of the main office (now the Moose Lodge).
Editor’s note: I could Photoshop the power pole out of Don’s head, but it didn’t seem honest to do so.
The White Pines camp in Dunbar Meadows (where the museum, White Pines Park and part of the school parking lot is now) in 1949 after a 9 foot snow fall.
Back to Louise Dolley on another matter
As a bonus, Louise Dolley follows her story of the move to White Pines with a recounting of the drive over Ebbetts Pass from Murphys to Markleeville. Written in the mid- to late-1980’s, she combines her then-current observations with earlier history and things she saw after her family arrived in Calaveras County.