John O. Hansen came to New Mexico from Michigan about 1913, he had come down with Tuberculosis and the doctor gave him two years to live if he did not move to a dryer climate. After he read the Zane Grey novel, “Purple Sage”, he came out west with his brother, Fred. They started with farming then moved into taking care of the local ice house in Santa Fe. Back then before electrical refrigeration, ice was kept under ground or in small cool buildings packed in sawdust. The Brothers got to see the coming of the rail road and would have sawdust shipped in by a train car to use at the ice house. After awhile, they decided to start a saw mill and make their own sawdust. It didn’t take long for them to figure out there was a lot more money in wood than in ice, and Hansen Lumber was started.
In the past, saw mills were placed up in the woods, close to the trees being cut. Trees were cut down by hand with men and steel with brute force and hard work. The logging was all done with horses and mules; everything had to be hauled back to town to be sold. At that time, we had many small saw mills all over northern New Mexico, but as time went on things became more mechanized, the brothers set up a permanent saw mill in Santa Fe, off of Aqua Fria Street around 1927.
John stayed and Fred decided to go back to Michigan. John O. Hansen got married to Bessie Pearl Silliman and had six children: Norma, Gerald, Orville, Wayne, Viola, and Donald. At one time or another, all six kids worked at Hansen Lumber. They operated at the Aqua Fria location until 1972 when they were moved out by the city, to erect a school at that location. Then, at that time they set up the new saw mill and lumber yard on its current West Alameda location.
In 1982, two of John’s sons took over the business: Donald and his wife Barbara ran the saw mill and yard, while Wayne and his wife Billie ran the logging operation. John’s grandson Kenneth also joined the business after moving back from Washington State in 1980. Donald’s daughter Nicole joined the business in 1991 to help her mom Barbara run the office. John never retired; he stayed involved with the business until he passed away at the age of ninety-nine in 1994. Wayne retired from the logging business in 1996, after many years working in the woods. Hansen Lumber continued to get shipments of logs into the yard by contracting out the work to local logging companies and continues to operate the same way today. Donald remained owner of the business till his death in January of 2013 from leukemia. Donald stayed working at the saw mill till his last days. Since that time, his daughter Nicole and nephew Kenneth have taken over management of the business. Also joining the family business in 2013 is Kenneth’s son Matthew and in 2015 his daughter Alicia, who will be the fourth generation at Hansen Lumber.
Nicole and Kenneth are proud to continue the family tradition of having the privilege of supplying lumber to many homes and business’ of northern New Mexico. In our many years of business, we have supplied wood and lumber products all over the United States as well as overseas to Hawaii, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Belgium and many other places. Hansen Lumber even has had corbels in the wine cellar of the White House. We supplied the building materials for the construction of Los Alamos back in the 40’s. Through the 50’s and 60’s, we supplied all the housing for Bradberry, Stamm, Belhama, Gladen all who built the housing developments through the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s, building style changed from tract housing to custom building. “Santa Fe Style” grew out from Hansen Lumber, the mixing of rough cut timbers with adobe style building became very popular, very quickly and before long it was its own style and named “Santa Fe Style”. We take pride in the products we produce, we continue to use a circle saw to cut our lumber and timbers to keep with the traditional look we have always had. We hope to continue providing our customers with the same satisfaction as all the generations have in the past, with a friendly work ethic that you can only find in a family owned and operated business.