Georgia-Pacific Stands the Test of Time, Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary
Press release from the issuing company
ATLANTA, Oct. 24 -- The United States was still celebrating Charles Lindbergh's triumphant nonstop trans-Atlantic flight in 1927 when a 24-year-old visionary businessman named Owen R. Cheatham made his own daring move -- and created an enterprise that today is the world's largest tissue manufacturer and leading maker of building products and packaging.
Georgia-Pacific Corp., which this year is celebrating its 75th anniversary, began as a small, hardwood lumber wholesaler based at Augusta, Ga. But with products ranging from bath tissue, paper towels and Dixie cups and plates to office papers, corrugated boxes, plywood and gypsum wallboard, Georgia-Pacific products now touch nearly every facet of life at home and away from home.
Cheatham created the business using $6,000 of his own money and $6,000 from private investors, with the intent of capitalizing on the post-World War I economic boom in housing and commercial construction in the U.S. Despite the onset of the Great Depression less than two years later, the Georgia Hardwood Lumber Company survived and prospered, fueled by acquisitions that have created a $25 billion enterprise with 71,000 employees at 600 locations across North America and Europe.
"More than 300 million people worldwide use our branded consumer products each day, and our building products have been used to construct millions of homes and buildings in the United States and Canada over the past 75 years," said A.D. "Pete" Correll, Georgia-Pacific chairman and chief executive officer.
"We've grown dramatically from humble beginnings, but Georgia-Pacific employees have always held fast to the strong commitment to customers, communities and investors upon which Owen Cheatham founded this company," Correll added. "I believe Owen would be proud of what we stand for today -- employees throughout our organization actively engaged in being safe in our workplaces, demonstrating honesty and integrity in everything we do, being wise stewards of our natural resources, and creating and manufacturing products that provide our customers and consumers with solutions each and every day."
Georgia-Pacific's fascinating history spans the challenges presented to a fast-growing America during its greatest century. This month, celebrations of the company's heritage are taking place across North America. For more information on Georgia-Pacific and its colorful history, visit www.gp.com .
Key Points in Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s History 1927-2002
1927-1938 - Georgia Hardwood Lumber Co., despite the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, grows from its beginnings as a small lumber wholesale business in Augusta, Ga., to an operator of five sawmills in the South.
1941-1945 - Throughout World War II, Georgia Hardwood Lumber is the largest supplier of lumber to the U.S. armed forces and is awarded the Army- Navy "E" for outstanding service in the war effort.
1948 - After acquiring plywood mills in Washington and Oregon, Georgia Hardwood Lumber changes its name to Georgia-Pacific Plywood & Lumber Co.
1949 - Shares of Georgia-Pacific Plywood & Lumber Co., now a $37 million enterprise, are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
1953 - Company headquarters are moved from Augusta to Olympia, Wash. One year later, Georgia-Pacific establishes its headquarters at Portland, Ore., where it remained for nearly 30 years.
1956 - Georgia-Pacific Plywood Co. becomes Georgia-Pacific Corp.
1957 - Georgia-Pacific enters the pulp and paper business with the construction of its Toldeo, Ore., kraft pulp and linerboard mill.
1961 - Georgia-Pacific builds its first corrugated container plant at Olympia, Wash.
1963 - With the acquisition of Puget Sound Pulp and Timber Co. at Bellingham, Wash., and Vanity Fair Paper Mills at Plattsburgh, N.Y., Georgia- Pacific enters the tissue business. That same year, at Fordyce, Ark., Georgia-Pacific opens its first mill for manufacturing a new product it created -- Southern pine plywood.
1965 - Georgia-Pacific enters the gypsum wallboard business with the acquisition of Bestwall Gypsum Co.
1968 - The company's sales exceed $1 billion for the first time.
1972 - To address Federal Trade Commission concerns over its success in Southern pine plywood, Georgia-Pacific spins off $305 million in assets to create a new company -- Louisiana-Pacific Corp.
1975 - Georgia-Pacific operates more than 140 distribution centers and 200 plants and mills, and employs approximately 34,000 people.
1980 - Georgia-Pacific begins production of a new product - oriented strand board - at its Woodland, Maine, and Dudley, N.C., facilities.
1982 - With more of its asset base shifting back to the southern United States, Georgia-Pacific returns to its Georgia roots with the relocation of its corporate headquarters to fast-growing Atlanta.
1986 - Georgia-Pacific's tissue business launches its first premium, national brand - Angel Soft.
1990 - Georgia-Pacific completes its acquisition of Great Northern Nekoosa Corp. -- dramatically increasing its presence in pulp and paper.
1993 - Georgia-Pacific is recognized as an environmental leader with its landmark agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to protect the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker on its 4 million acres of Southern forestlands. A year later, an unprecedented agreement between Georgia-Pacific and The Nature Conservancy to co-manage 21,000 environmentally sensitive acres in North Carolina further strengthens the company's record of responsible stewardship of natural resources.
1996 - The company dramatically expands its gypsum wallboard business by purchasing the gypsum operations of Domtar Inc.
1997 - Georgia-Pacific does the unthinkable in forest products manufacturing by creating a separate operating company and tracking stock for its timberlands -- called The Timber Company -- to unlock the value of these assets for shareholders.
2000 - Georgia-Pacific acquires Fort James Corp. and its stable of leading national and international brands, including Quilted Northern bath tissue, Brawny paper towels, Vanity Fair napkins and Dixie cups, plates and cutlery.
2001 - Georgia-Pacific completes the merger of The Timber Company with Plum Creek Timber Co., returning approximately $2 billion in value for shareholders.
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