Author pens story of Flodin Lumber Company


A local Sanders County resident has published a book highlighting the history of the Flodin Lumber Company. Mary Lou Hermes, found the inspiration to title the book, Swan’s Song, after her father.

“That was my father’s first name, and he was one of the original owners of the mill,” Hermes said. Swan’s Song goes into detail about the everyday life and operations of a lumber mill “in the midst of the depression of the 1930’s.” As Hermes recollects her father’s story in the book, she talks about his dedication to Flodin Lumber Company, the county, and the people he employed. “He was a man who didn’t give up in the midst of the depression,” Hermes said.

Swan Flodin was one of the four partners in the company. Alongside Walter Flodin, Eric Bryce and Millar Bryce. It was Millar Bryce, Mary Lou’s cousin, who helped put together and write the book. The book outlines the Flodin family history of acquiring the mill, Flodin moving his family from Washington to Plains, and how the operation eventually moved to Thompson Falls. Hermes stated, “the lumber company was a major employer for a lot of people in Thompson Falls back in the day.”

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It wasn’t until 1971, when Flodin retired, “but he never truly stopped working,” Hermes expressed. Up until 1986, when the mill sold to Thompson River Lumber (TRL), the current owners of the operation to this day.

Hermes, who grew up in Plains, now resides just outside of Paradise. Swan’s Song was published last Christmas in Plains. While Hermes has no intention of selling to any major outlets, there are a limited number of books at the Old Jail Museum in Thompson Falls to purchase. She also donated a copy to the Old Jail Museum, and will also be donating copies to the local libraries as well.

While it only took Hermes about a month to physically put the book together, she has spent the last three years thinking about the process. My cousin spent his whole life pushing me to publish the book. Of course, that was a long time ago, when we we’re both young,” Hermes chuckled.

“It’s the story of the Flodin Lumber Company,” Hermes said. “It paints a picture of a piece of history in Sanders County, that I hope folks will be interested in.”

Swan’s Song brings to life, a piece of local history. This book not only depicts the early days of the hardworking Flodin family; but the experiences of all who made the Flodin Lumber Company such a cherished antiquity to Sanders County.

If there are individuals who are interested in buying a copy of Swan’s Song, they are available for $20 from Hermes or the Old Jail Museum in Thompson Falls. Email Mary Lou Hermes at [email protected] for information.


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