Blue Ox Millworks, Historic Park, and School of Traditional Arts

Photo: Portero Hill Home - San Francisco, CA
Blue Ox Provided: Balustrades, Moldings, Doors, Gingerbread


Veteran's School at Blue Ox Millworks

The Blue Ox Veterans Program

The Blue Ox Veterans Program is part of the newly formed not-for-profit Blue Ox Historic Village and School. Your tax exempt donations of any denomination are gratefully appreciated.

The Veterans Program

The Veterans Program is the newest evolutionary step for Blue Ox, which has always been a place of healing. A millwork manufacturer and a working museum, Blue Ox has also for the last sixteen years operated a high school program allowing at-risk teens an opportunity to learn and succeed in a project-based environment. The program is in collaboration with the Humboldt County Office of Education.

The Veterans Program was started in 2014 after Blue Ox founders Eric and Viviana Hollenbeck went through a challenging inner journey as Eric faced his personal PTSD demons from his combat experiences during the Viet Nam war. The program allows veterans an opportunity to develop a new self-identity through meaningful hands-on craftsmanship. The program is in collaboration with College of the Redwoods. 

The Hearse When It Left The Blue Ox in February 2015
Click The Photo For A Larger Version

The Lincoln Hearse

The first project of the Blue Ox Veterans Program was to create an historically accurate replica of the hearse that carried President Lincoln for the final leg of his national funeral procession. The hearse was the centerpiece during the 150th anniversary commemorative ceremonies honoring President Lincoln which were held in Springfield, Illinois May 1-3, 2015.

The Blue Ox Veterans, working from the only known photograph (as the original hearse was destroyed by fire) re-created the wooden frame and chamber of the hearse, as well as all the decorative metal castings which were then gold and silver leafed. Viet Nam Veteran Jay Jones of Custom Wagons fabricated the wheels and rolling chassis. Viet Nam Veteran Jack G. Feather of Tombstone Hearse and Trike Company assembled the chassis, finished the interior and painted the hearse. Now that the event has occurred, the elaborate hearse will be in the custodial care of Staab Family Livery and will be available for the public to see in the Lincoln Library and Museum for the months of June and July each summer. 

A Labor of Love

The entire build team of veterans and their families, as well as the Blue Ox staff who assisted in the building of the hearse, were hosted in Springfield to participate in the official presentation of the hearse and the commemorative events. We were regularly overwhelmed by the generosity of the Springfield community and touched by their investments in our stay and in the project.

The hearse was the centerpiece of the procession, with re-enactors and their remarkable period-accurate attire creating a solemn and prideful atmosphere. Seeing the hearse with horses for the first time, "driving" down the road in front of us, was a truly awesome experience for us all.

Lincoln Hearse Project
The Final Project After Other Build Team Contributions Were Brought Together
Click The Photo For A Larger Version
Lincoln Hearse In Springfield
May 3, 2015 Oakridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL. The hearse was the featured part of the 150th Commemoration of President Lincoln’s burial.
Photo Courtesy David Spencer of the State Journal-Register. See Their Funeral Gallery Here.

The Future

The restoration of a historic trolley for the city of San Francisco is being discussed as a possible new project for the Veterans Program. With grants and other financial assistance, it is the goal of the Veterans Program to work on projects that will restore items of social and cultural significance. Plans are also underway for the expansion of all of the Blue Ox programs; including the veterans program, the high school program, the radio station and the historic park. A detailed feasibility study is the first step, and the City of Eureka and the City of Eureka is facilitating this step.


Thank you for your interest! To keep up with the latest information, visit these links.

Blue Ox Village on Facebook
Keep up on the latest about the Veterans Program, the Community School, the Abraham Lincoln Hearse project and special events.

Craftsman's Revolution Newsletter

Written by Eric Hollenbeck and emailed approximately 4 times a year. Read about the process of building special projects such as the Abraham Lincoln Hearse.

Watch over 20 years of documentaries featuring Blue Ox Millworks and founders Eric and Viviana Hollenbeck.

Watch "The Ox" Online
A very powerful documentary short where Eric talks about craftsmanship and introduces the concept for a Veterans Program.



While the information on this website is believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication, neither the authors, webmaster, nor Blue Ox Millworks can accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made. Prices listed on website are subject to change. © 2017. Blue Ox Millworks. All Rights Reserved

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Victorian-inspired new construction on Portero Hill in San Francisco