Louie Larsen

Man on beach with paddle boat behind him. 4 water tanks on bluff in background.
Louie Larsen at Big River Flat, 1907 – 1913. Behind Louie is the first Big River Maru, a steam-powered river boat that guided rafts of logs to the mill. Four water tanks can be seen on the bluffs. They were the water supply for the mill’s fire suppression system and had a combined capacity of 62,000 gallons, filled by gravity from creek supply.

July 30, 1950 – Carl Ludvig “Louie” Larsen died at his son’s home in Berkeley. The Beacon fondly remembered Louie as, “the kind of a man that endeared himself to all. He was friendly, honest and loved nothing better than to help his neighbors. His friends were legion, and his good humor and ready wit will be long remembered.”

Born in Denmark in 1877, Louie “was reared on the farm and educated in the public schools. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to the blacksmith’s trade, and after completing it he learned the machinist trade. Going to Copenhagen he continued to work at the trade and also to attend night school.” He enlisted in the Danish Navy, where “he served in the experimental department as a machinist in the navy yards.”

Louie arrived in Caspar in 1902 and began working at the Caspar Lumber Company as a machinist. In 1905, he “accepted a position as Chief Engineer with the Mendocino Lumber Company, which position he kept until the mill was shut down [in 1938]. After the mill shut down, Mr. Larsen was maintained on the payroll in an advisory capacity until he retired.”

Auggie Heeser, publisher of the Mendocino Beacon, wrote, “It was Louie who kept the mill going, rehabilitating machinery and providing new processes to increase and improve the output. He was a very busy man through most of those years, frequently working nights and Sundays (there were woods machinery as well as mill) but he kept his good nature through it all, and his optimistic outlook on life; and he would find time to help out neighbors or others who had machinery troubles. He did not neglect his civic duties either. He served faithfully and well as school trustee, and for years the community depended on him and his crew to keep the fire mains in service. The whole community is going to miss him keenly, and particularly his old-time friends.”

Funeral services were held in the Little Chapel of the Flowers in Berkeley. Louie was survived by his three children, Leslie, Margaret, and Rudolph; his sister, Carrie Hansen of Mendocino; and one brother, Joe Larsen of the Bay Area.

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