Carl Weyerhaeuser: Dreams Fulfilled

“Born to Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Weyerhaeuser, Wednesday morning, July 24, a son.” – Little Falls Daily Transcript, Wednesday, July 24, 1901

He was named Carl Augustus Weyerhaeuser. Carl Weyerhaeuser was born in the beautiful family home on Highland Avenue situated on a picturesque knoll overlooking the Mississippi River. The large picket-fenced yard was a wonderful playground for a small boy. Here, with his best friends Sidney Stillwell, Clarence Hinkle and Bert Patience, he would build his dreams. He attended Columbia school where his teacher was Bertha Rhodes. Carl and his sister, Sarah Maud, were also tutored in a room at the Pine Tree Lumber Company offices, a homey building near the east side mill on First Street Northeast.

What were Carl Weyerhaeuser’s dreams? To one day play a major role in the vast Weyerhaeuser timber industry? His grandfather, Frederick, had founded the company and his father was the president of both Potlatch Lumber Company and Pine Tree Lumber Company. Or would he be influenced by his mother’s interest in the arts? Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser was well known as a soprano soloist. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and the donor of the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Hall, home of the Little Falls Musical Arts Club (now the executive offices of KLTF-WYRQ radio stations).

At age fourteen, Carl was enrolled as a student at Hotchkiss, a private school in Lakeville, CT. At Hotchkiss his dreams would begin to take shape. His interest in literature and the arts continued to grow. After his graduation from Hotchkiss in l9l9, he entered Harvard University where he majored in English. He graduated from Harvard in 1923, with a BFA degree (cum laude). It is reported that he was offered, as a graduation gift, a Packard car. Instead, he asked for a Rembrandt print, “Descent from the Cross by Torchlight.” By this time he had become an avid collector of books and works of art. Although Carl worked in various aspects of the family timber business, he is best remembered for his lifelong interest in literature and arts, and what one writer termed his “Sharp Eye for Lasting Beauty.”

In 1938, Carl Weyerhaeuser married Edith Greenleaf. Carl and Edith were the parents of five children, Charles, Robert, Henry, Elizabeth, and Carrie. Their home for many years was in Milton, MA. They also had a summer home in Duxbury, MA. They filled their homes with books and works of art. In 1971 they founded the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury. It is a distinctive museum built on a portion of John Alden’s 1627 land grant. It houses a unique collection of more than 5,000 pieces of Shaker furniture, American paintings, American and European prints, and Asian paintings, bronzes and ceramics. At the founding of the Art Complex, Carl expressed his vision for the museum: “The purpose for the Art Complex Museum is to collect, house, protect and display beautiful things for the enjoyment of the public.

A similar vision was realized four years later when The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum was dedicated. Carl Weyerhaeuser and his brother-in-law and sister, Robert and Sarah Maud (Weyerhaeuser) Sivertsen, gifted the museum to the Morrison County Historical Society in memory of their father. Its purpose, too, was to collect, house, protect and display the history of the county for the enjoyment of the public. Both museums emphasize the beauty of wood in their architecture, an appropriate tribute to family heritage.

Carl was a man of words. He collected them, he read them and he wrote them. But when it came to conversation he was a man of few words. He chose them very carefully. Perhaps it was all a part of his philosophy that life should be carefully calculated and not wasted. His own words were, “Make it do, use it up, do without.” The careful choices he made have left a legacy that will enrich lives for years to come. Along the way, the fulfillment of his dreams was drawn from both sides of his family. His appreciation for wood, not always in board feet of lumber but in the beauty of its grain; his enjoyment of music, art and literature, and his philanthropy are the inheritance of his loving parents, Charles Augustus and Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser.

by Jan Warner
Copyright 1997, Morrison County Historical Society

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