Seeley Lake typified the early pioneer lumber town. Houses were nothing more than “tar paper shacks.” The friendly neighbors consisted of the skunks under the floor and the pack rats in the woodsheds. In 1949, the closest thing to a public utility was the hand water pump at the local garage/blacksmith shop.

Many of the mill workers did not bring their families with them. They stayed in the bunkhouses and ate at the cookhouse where cooks fed twenty people six times a day. They fed the men who worked the three shifts in the mill and the woods crews providing “plenty of home made bread and lots of food.” Mitzi Haagland (to the left) was the first cook at the mill.

One bunkhouse, named the Red Rooster, caught fire after the Nester brothers returned from a party. The walls were filled with sawdust for insulation. One brother tried to roust the other one. The brother, already in bed replied, “You can take care of it. There’s only one bucket.”

Between Christmas and New Years of 1952, a fire started when workers were trying to start the diesel generator that provided power for the mill. The mill burned but was rebuilt in 1953; the same year electricity arrived in Seeley Lake.

In 1958, the company reorganized from a partnership between Oscar and Fred to a corporation owned by the two families. Its name now became Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Inc.