1903 Logging with a donkey engine.
Vintage Logging

Vintage logging – Steam donkeys

Each Saturday morning I review 10 vintage logging, forestry and saw milling photos. This week’s review of vintage photos looks at the steam donkeys of the early 20th century.

Be sure to click on each picture to see the larger images.

1902 Hall and Bishop Logging Company.
1902 Hall and Bishop Logging Company.

Operations showing loggers with a donkey engine, probably on the Olympic Peninsula.


1903 Cut log rolling downhill after being winched by donkey engine.
1903 Cut log rolling downhill after being winched by donkey engine.

1905 Hall and Bishop Logging Company.
1905 Hall and Bishop Logging Company.

Bert Mills leaning on horse. Cliff Johnson, donkey operator. The horse was the “line horse”, use for hauling lines back from the steam donkey, the donkey was a single drum and could only pull one-way, so the horse was used to drag the cables back to reset logs.

Note accompanying the Minnihan photograph collection (from an unknown source): The contributor of this collection of photographs, Edward J. Minnihan, was born in 1914. His father, Michael E. ‘Bud’ Minnihan was born in 1883 near Sequim, WA. His parents were Michael E. and Rachel Minnihan. They moved to the Lyre River area, establishing a homestead shortly after 1883. Michael (Jr.) began working for the Hall and Bishop Logging Company in 1900, when he was 17 years old. His brothers and a half-brother Cliff Johnson, and his brother-in-law, Burt Mills, also worked for the Hall and Bishop Logging Company.


1905 A young logger in a log chute.
1905 A young logger in a log chute.

1902 Sierra Lumber Company.
1902 Sierra Lumber Company.

Photograph shows logging in the woods of the West Branch area. First row, 2nd from left is Ollie Dorrett. Dowberry steam logging donkey on hillside.

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: cdlib.org


1902 (possibly 1907, but H and B had moved to Chimacum in 1906), Landing in the woods on side of track, Gettysburg, Wash.
1902 (possibly 1907, but H and B had moved to Chimacum in 1906), Landing in the woods on side of track, Gettysburg, Wash.

1904 Loading logs on railroad flatcars using steam donkey engine, Pierce County, CA.
1904 Loading logs on railroad flatcars using steam donkey engine, Pierce County, CA.

1902 Loggers at the top of a log chute.
1902 Loggers at the top of a log chute.

Loggers often used wooden chutes to move cut logs to a central loading place. The chutes were temporary structures, built out of long straight logs called “chute sticks.” In gravity chutes, logs slid downhill under their own weight. In trailing chutes, logs were pulled along by cables.


1908 Oct 7: View of a logging train hauling logs and equipment through Tehama County, CA.
1908 Oct 7: View of a logging train hauling logs and equipment through Tehama County, CA.

Moving camp from Last Chance to White Feather Camp, near Lyonsville. All one move– logging equipment, the camp equipment, then families.

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: cdlib.org


1903 Logging with a donkey engine.
1903 Logging with a donkey engine.

View of loggers in the forest with a Donkey Steam Engine hauling a log up the hill. West Branch, Butte County, 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: cdlib.org


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

One Comment

  • Larry Burtness

    The Ed Mennihan collection of photos of the Hall and Bishop Logging Company were contributed by Ed Mennihan to the Northwest Olympic Peninsula Community Museum Project. I was the project manager of that online museum project and interviewed at his home in Port Townsend, Washington where I scanned these pictures. The information provided with the pictures and the family background were transcribed by me from the interview with Ed Mennihan.

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