The subject of this sketch is O. A. Lovdal, president of Lovdal Brothers Company, probably the largest growers of hops in the world, owning and controlling its own hop farms and valuable drying plants and store houses, with offices in Sacramento and New York city. Most of the land of the company is situated just northwest of Sacramento city, in Yolo county, in Reclamation District No. 537, the district containing between three thousand and four thousand acres of which Lovdal Brothers Company own over two thousand acres. The company also owns over one thousand acres of land outside of this district, all of the property being rich alluvial soil and situated on or near the banks of the Sacramento river in what is known as the great Sacramento Valley.
Lovdal Brothers Company also own one of the largest Bartlett pear orchards in the world, containing in one tract about one hundred and fifty acres of sixteen-year-old pear trees, with a capacity of yielding 40,000 boxes of fruit per annum.
As river bottom land, that is reclaimed, in California is considered the richest and most productive in the state, it may be interesting to refer to some of the accomplishments of the land owners of Swamp Land Reclamation District No. 537. they own and control the largest clam-shell dredger in the state, it having a bucket with a capacity of four and one-half cubic yards, and capable of handling 400 cubic yards per hour, or 8,800 cubic yards per day of twenty-two running hours. This dredger complete including two electric dynamos for lighting purposes, cost the district $54,000. the boom is 145 feet long and is capable of building a levee forty feet high with a base of 150 feet. Nineteen feet is the height of the levee that is being built for the district, and it will then be seven feet above the high-water mark. The dredger has now completed four and one-half miles of levee, the entire distance for the back levee being five miles. When the back levee is completed it is the intention of the directors of the district, of which Mr. Lovdal is president, to repair their front or river levee, making when complete a circle around the district of fifteen miles, on which will be a boulevard twenty-five feet wide on the surface with one hundred and twenty foot base.
Mr. Lovdal is a pioneer in the reclamation of lands, and his methods are original; one in particular, that has attracted the attention of some of the most eminent engineers of the state, is the idea of excavating the ditch on the land side and buiding the levee on the outside. This leaves the surface of the land outside of the levee intact and prevents the pressure of the water above from seeping through the levee as praidly as it would with a ditch on the outside, thereby allowing the water to have a greater pressure.
The lands along the Sacramento river are not covered with water, but are subject to overflow and this manner of reclamation adds much to the productiveness of the soil, and icnreases the land value and protects the crops from being overflowed. When all the work is completed the land in this district will produce a net profit of ten percent on $1,000 per acre.
California is conceded to be the most profitable hop-growing country in the world, land well cared for producing an average yield of 2,000 pounds per acre and often producing over 3,000 pounds per acre.
Mr. Lovdal has devoted his time and energies in pursuit of his vocation as a hop grower since he was a young man, and by close and careful aattention to business has attained a place of influence throughout the state. He is a man of strict integrity and broad-gauge charcter, and is very public-spirited, although his business career has not allowed him to participate to any great extent in public affairs.
Mr. Lovdal was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1856. His father, O. O. Lovdal, was born in Norway and came to America at the age of twenty-five years, locating in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he commenced business as a merchant tailor. Having heard and read of the west and its wonderful resources and opportunities, he left St. Joseph with his family and came to California, locating in Sacramento county.
Mr. Lovdal's mother, whose given name was Tobena S. Olsen, was a great help to her husband in all his undertakings. She was a woman of broad mind and amiable character, and it was because of her many noble qualities that she was so successful in rearing and keeping together her family. Mrs. Lovdal died May 15, 1895. It is probably due to memory of Mr. Lovdal's mother that all members of the family have held so close together up to the present time, thus enabling them to form a company which with their combined interests makes it as already stated the largest hop-growing firm in the world.
The firm consists of the father, O. O. Lovdal, O. A. Lovdal, president; W. E. Lovdal, vice president; G. B. Lovdal, treasurer; W. E. M. Beardslee, secretary; Mrs. Ovedi A. White, Mrs. Katie B. Fisk, and Mrs. Emma T. Beardslee.
Mr. Lovdal was educated in the public schools of Missouri and California, having come to Sacramento when he was fifteen years of age. He attended the Sacramento high school and the State University, leaving the last-named school at the age of twenty-one to take up the hop business with his brother, T. B. Lovdal, who died in March, 1901. For the past twenty-nine years he has engaged in the various departments of the hop business and in general farming in Sacramento and Yolo counties.
Mr. Lovdal is a man of family, having three sons and one daughter.
In politics Mr. Lovdal is a Republican and in voting with his party tkes a good citizen's interest in all public affairs.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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