This fantastic inventory of Douglas fir beams measuring 8" x 16" x 24' (each beam weighs more than 700 lbs!) was part of our country's response to World War II. Many of these beams, reclaimed from the Geneva Steel plant in Vineyard, Utah, have been pressure washed to reveal the tight grain pattern and golden hue of classic old-growth fir. Geneva Steel was built by the US Department of Defense from the finest free-of-heart-center structural fir and opened in December 1944. Through 1946 the plant produced plate steel and structural shapes for the West Coast wartime shipbuilding industry. It then went on to operate for another 60 years.
The decision to build the Geneva Steel plant in Utah was well considered. Steel production requires many raw materials and Utah could provide them all; coal deposits in Carbon County, iron ore from Iron County, limestone and dolomite near Payson and water from Deer Creek Reservoir and on-site artesian wells. The site was close to major railroad lines and provided access to an educated local work force in Orem. The plant's inland location also gave it protection from Pacific invasion, which was of growing concern after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
With the end of the war in August 1945, production of steel at the plant decreased sharply. It was sold to U.S. Steel in June of 1946, with the stipulation that the company invest heavily in converting the plant to peacetime operations. Except for a brief closure in 1987, the Geneva Steel plant operated continuously for 61 years. Unfortunately volatile steel prices and increasing labor costs cause Geneva Steel to declare bankruptcy in 2002 and close the plant in 2005. Demolition included three blast furnaces, nine stoves numerous factory buildings and two stacks, which towered roughly 265 feet above Vineyard. All of the structures had stood in place since 1944.
The materials from this inventory lend themselves perfectly to large exquisite resawn timbers and beams. However, because of the density and clarity of the wood the Geneva Steel inventory also makes beautiful interior trim and accents.