Lovegren, August, Factory and Sawmill Owner — Cherry Grove — born in Nor parish, Värmland, on 1 June 1861. A few years later he accompanied his parents when they moved to Hannäs in Stora Kils parish. He still remembers with sadness the dire poverty in his parent’s home, especially during the great famine years of 1868-9. He had to start earning his own living already at the age of 9, first as a helper at a stave sawing machine and a year after that as a gofer for bricklayers and others. At 13 years of age he got work at a sawmill and two years later was sent to be apprenticed to a blacksmith, but had such a rough time of it, that after a while he ran off and was apprenticed to a carpenter. He went to Norrland in 1879 and made a living as a railroad worker, lumberjack and carpenter until 1882, when he emigrated to America.
The first year he worked partly in iron-mines in Crystal Falls, Michigan, partly in carpentry in Rush City, Minnesota. In 1883 he moved to St. Paul, where he became a master of his trade and for some time took on contracted jobs. In 1886-7 he had a general store in Walsh, Minnesota, and in the spring of 1888 he settled in Seattle, Washington, as a contractor. Here he was successful from the very beginning. Not even the great fire on 6 June 1889, which destroyed large parts of the city, caused him any loss worth mentioning. In 1892 he moved with his family and friends to Preston, Washington, and together with his brother-in-law E. Edwin and others started a roofing (shingle) company from which the now widely known Preston Mill-company’s big sawmill business has developed. Preston Mill Co., of which L. is the biggest shareholder, and whose president he has been ever since its origin.
He now owns two large roofing companies, one big, modern sawmill and planing mill and also 5,000 acres of woodland. In 1910 L., who for many years had been the owner of valuable forest areas in Oregon, decided to use these. For this purpose he and his sons Philip and Levi (on 15 November in Cherry Grove, Oregon) organized the two companies Lovegren Lumber Co. and Willamette Valley & Coast Railway Co., the former with a founding capital of one million dollars, the latter with $100,000. In Washington and Yamhill counties Lovegren Lumber Co. owns 7,482 acres woodland with over 371 million feet timber, for which the company has paid an average of $2 per 1,000 feet.
The area is located 35 miles or so from Portland in a fertile district of great natural beauty. The company has 30 acres of open land, upon which lumber yards and sawmills with all modern improvements of equipment and fittings will be built along with a 77-acre lake for the storing of logs. A 35 feet high dam is under construction on the Tualatin River. Willamette Valley & Coast Railway Co. has the task of building a five-mile long railroad from Cherry Grove to Gaston, through which the sawmill will have a direct railroad connection to Portland via the Southern Pacific track and the electrical track between Gaston and Portland. L., who is president of both of the above mentioned companies, has in addition to his businesses, always taken an active part in church matters. Since his sixteenth year he has been a Baptist and steadily held positions of trust in the various parishes he has belonged to. For 22 years he has been Sunday school superintendent, for 15 years cashier for the Swedish Baptist Conference in western Washington.
He took part in its organizing and even took the most active part in the founding of the Swedish Sunday School Association in western Washington, was its first chairman and for many years paid half of the missionary wages out of his own pocket. L. was one of the founders of the Baptists’ school Adelphia College in Seattle, and for this purpose donated 10 acres of valuable land in Seattle and $7,000. He is chairman of the school’s board and for many years a member of the American Baptist Convention Board. Married since December 31 1885 to Hilma Nelson, from Spring Garden, Minnesota, daughter of S. C. Nelson, famous in Baptist history as one of the first seven to be baptized in Hallen in Sweden. The husband and wife have 11 children. Of these, 9 are living and all present on New Year’s Eve 1910 in Preston, Washington, when the parents celebrated their silver anniversary in the presence of a large group of friends.