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Single Redwood Tree Yields Lumber for 36-room Motel


Tom Wyllie’s idea was to build an entire motel from a single tree. 

Wyllie fell a curly-grained redwood in 1952 near the Klamath River. Eighteen feet in diameter at the base, the tree yielded 57,000 board feet of lumber.  The huge tree was cut into five logs so big they had to be quartered to haul them to mills, yielding enough lumber, with plenty left over for future additions, to build the 36-room Curly Redwood Lodge in Crescent City, Calif.

One l ucky fisherman, Roy Magnusun, found refuge at the solidly built motel in 1964 when a tsunami destroyed a large portion of Crescent City. Magnusun drove full speed toward the south harbor to save his commercial fishing boat. When he saw a huge wave roaring toward him, he turned his car around and raced across the highway to the Curly Redwood Lodge, jumped out and ran up the outside stairway to the second floor. The water swirled around and slammed debris into the motel before receding as quickly as it had come, but no one was injured.

The motel, built from a single tree, is still in business in Crescent City.


Sources: Blackburn, Chuck. "Squawk then Silence." Del Norte Triplicate, 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. http://www.triplicate.com/News/Local-News/Squawk-then-silence; Hawk, Diane. Touring the Old Redwood Highway: Del Norte County. Piercy, Calif.: Hawk Mountaintop Publishing, 2006. 60. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.