1905 Alaska Central Railroad.
Vintage Logging

Vintage Logging – Skidding Logs

Each Saturday morning I review 10 vintage logging, forestry and saw milling photos. This week’s review of vintage logging is about the sailing ship usd in the lumber and logging industry.

1905 Log Chute
View of a log shute machine for transporting logs Shelton lumber camp in Lyonsville, California.

Rights Information: Feb 28 2019 Special permission granted by the owning institution, California State University, Chico, CA, US, to WoodchuckCanuck.com, for use of this image for historical logging special collection review. Source: https://cdlib.org

1905 Alaska Central Railroad.
Crew with logs for construction.

A young real estate man named John Ballaine envisioned a trans-Alaska route to the Yukon believing inland Alaska would “develop diversified resources including gold and other metals, timber, coal and agriculture to sustain the industrial population.” In 1902 Ballaine and other highly optimistic Seattle businessmen invested $30 million into a new railway claiming, “The extraordinary powers of the road will enable it to bear all fixed charges and pay large dividends…” They issued 550,000 shares of common stock at $50 per share and 50,000 shares of five percent preferred stock (First Mortgage 5% 30-Year Gold Bonds).

A survey and construction party of thirty men arrived at Cook Inlet in 1903. This party was made up of a skilled locating engineer, topographer, assistant engineers, transit men and levers, chainmen, rodmen, axemen, cook and cook’s assistant. Offices were setup in the Shackleford Mining Company house (in the future town of Seward). The crew organized a pack train for carrying equipment and supplies. The whole year was spent surveying the route. Seward was chosen as the terminal and the 412 mile railway would wind its way through the Susitna Valley and Broad Pass to the Tanana River and into the rich Matanuska coal fields. On August 27, 1903 the steam ship Santa Ana arrived with men and equipment. A 150 foot boat dock and general offices were then constructed in Seward to support the railroad construction effort. The building of the Alaska Center Railroad began. …Before the end of 1906, all tunnels (except number four) were completed. Several bridges were built, but some were delayed due to a lumber shortage. When lumber shipments resumed in June 1907, track was laid to mile 50. To combat a steep section between mileposts 50 and 51, a loop was constructed to lessen the grade. It proved to be an incredible engineering feat of its day and remained in use until 1951. Construction progressed enough that large work trains could finally be used to transport men and materials. Fifty miles of rail were built, but still the Alaska Central never paid any dividends on its stock.

The project was wrought with financial problems and the camp at milepost 54 proved to be the last. The Alaska Central Railway finally went bankrupt in 1908. During the next three years, receivers attempted to reorganize without success. They finally succeeded in 1910 when it was reorganized as the Alaska Northern Railway Company.

1904 Horse team hauling logs on skid road
At first, loggers used oxen to haul logs out of the woods.

Later, they used horses, which were more intelligent and easier to handle. The teams pulled the logs along skid roads to a river or railroad line. Skid roads were built of logs laid across or along the track. Greasing the skid road logs made it easier to pull the newly-cut logs through rough and muddy areas .
This photo was taken around 1904 in western Washington State. It shows a group of loggers with a large team of horses hauling logs along a skid road. The man in front holds a bucket of grease for “greasing the skids.”

1902 Hall and Bishop Logging Company.
Hall and Bishop Logging, Gettysburg, WA.

Cliff Johnson, donkey operator, Cliff Johnson was a half-brother to Edward ‘Bud’ Minnihan, ca 1902.

1900s Excelsior Redwood Co.
Shows log train being pulled by chain over log road (skid road). “20 logs, 75365 ft” — handwritten on foremost log.

Logger standing halfway down train. Excelsior Redwood Co. located in Freshwater, CA.
Rights Information: Feb 28 2019 Special permission granted by the owning institution, California State University, Chico, CA, US, to WoodchuckCanuck.com, for use of this image for historical logging special collection review. Source: http://www.cdlib.org/

1900 Logging
Photograph shows horse truck logging – lumbermen and a horse team.

Rights Information: Feb 28 2019 Special permission granted by the owning institution, California State University, Chico, CA, US, to WoodchuckCanuck.com, for use of this image for historical logging special collection review. Source: https://cdlib.org

1895 Beal's Camp, Sierra Lumber Co., July 10
Hauling logs in the shoot.

Jerk-line drive could haul logs up a very slight grade, used mostly on the level. Worker used grease to assist on up-grade and dirt was thrown on logs for brake on down-grade. (left to right) Leander (Lee) Myers, teamster/ Leon Beal, on top of log/ George Greer, leaning against log, swamper.

1893-1906 Large team of oxen with men standing on log behind them, Washington
1893-1906 Large team of oxen with men standing on log behind them, Washington
1891 Columbia Mill.
The Columbia Mill was built in 1890 at what is now the intersection of Rainier Avenue and Brandon Street.

Newly cut logs from the neighborhood were made into lumber to build the homes that would soon populate the area. Caption accompanying image: The hand of commercial man soon after wrought wonderful changes here. Business houses and comfortable homes now stand closely together in the place of this forest. Photos loaned by F.E. Scott.

A Newfoundland born Canadian with a life long interest in woodworking, baking and anything else that peaks my curiosity.

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