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Northern California logging

Discussion in 'Forestry Equipment' started by Sidney43, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    I have been reading posts here for several years and have an occasional post. It is about time that I posted some pictures of my dads logging equipment and perhaps others will join in. Our family moved to the Klamath River area in far Northern Calif in the spring of 1955. I graduated from the eighth grade in a little mill town in NW Oregon (Cherry Grove) and we moved the next day along with our uphill neighbors. We stopped in Myrtle Creek, Oregon and helped the neighbors unload as he had a job with Roseburg Lumber Company and we then proceeded to the old mining town of Hamburg, CA about fifty miles down river from hwy 99. The trip was all on two lane highways in those days and the move took about ten hours. Our families entire possessions were in a 1951 Chevrolet PU, a small trailer and the family car.

    My dad had started working in the woods when he was about eighteen and he never went past his freshman year in high school. My grandfather was a strong believer in hard work and not much for education, also the depression was still in effect and every extra dollar counted. His first logging jobs were with Flora Logging who ran a big operation out of Carlton, Oregon. This was RR logging and as I recall Flora was big enough to have either a Lidgerwood, or Willamette skidder. I just remember him telling me that soft RR grades caused lots of trouble with moving it and because of all the drums and cables of the dual purpose machine it was very dangerous to work around. Flora Logging lost a lot of equipment in one of the big Tillamook burns and they never recovered from the losses.

    My first memories of logging were from around 1949 or 50 and there were small mills all over NW Oregon because the economy was booming and the era of the small gypo loggers was at hand. My dad was like many other who would log a patch of timber they contracted for from a farmer, or small land owner and they would sell it at whichever mill was paying better. It was not steady work and none of the jobs were very large. In 1954 he contracted with Hi Ridge Lumber in Seiad Valley, CA to log US Forest Service sales and this was his first large logging operation. Seiad Logging was the company and there were three partners, so naturally in a short time there were partnership issues. In case you are wondering "Seiad" is an Indian name for the valley where the mill was located.

    Dad had looked at the logging contract for Ketchikan Pulp, but thought it was more than he was prepared to take on. He later said that the man who did take that job became a millionaire and I suppose that is true? In any case the first logging job was a forest burn up Seiad Creek on steep rocky ground. Because of the high cost of Caterpillar equipment, the partners purchased three Allis Chalmers tractors, two HD 15's and an HD 19. They would find out that these tractors were simply not up to the rigors of logging in this country.

    Here are some pictures of those early tractors such as they are. Some of the pictures are of family making a visit to the landing and since log trucks were in short supply the landing was not a busy place on that day.

    image031.jpg image032.jpg image033.jpg image031.jpg image032.jpg image033.jpg
     
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  2. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I see that I managed to duplicate the three photos I posted, so perhaps will get it right the second time around
     
  3. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . Sidney43. Interesting story, don't worry about the picture glitch, it is interesting stuff . . . keep posting.

    Cheers.
     
  4. camptramp

    camptramp Senior Member

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    Great insight to what it took to get a logging company started , keep the story and pictures coming , looking forward to watching this thread grow. Lots of history in your corner of the Pacific North West thanks for sharing Sidney43 .
     
  5. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Another pair of photos of the Allis Chalmers tractors that had detroit diesels for engines if I am not mistaken. The first photo shows one of the partners, Jerry Neuenschwander operating the tractor and the second photo shows the wife of the neighbors who moved to Myrtle Creek at the same time we did. Her name was Lavonne Halvorsen and the little critter standing on the tracks was a Pomeranian named Randy. Somewhere I have a photo of the loader, usually referred to as a "jammer" but can't find it right now. It was powered by a flathead Ford motor and the first and second loaders used end hooks to lift the logs onto the trucks. I apologize for the poor quality of some of the photos as they were on slides and suffered some deterioration over the years before they were scanned.

    I am also posting a photo of a view of Seiad Valley just to show the rock piles left behind when almost the entire valley was dredged for gold. Much of the upper Klamath River was dredged wherever there was flat ground because the Klamath Mountains were well known for gold deposits on both the California and Oregon sides. When we moved to the Klamath River in 1955 there were seven dredges parked in ponds as all gold mining had been shut down in 1942. They survived the large flood in 1955, but the massive flood of 1964 destroyed the four small ones. The three large dredges remaining were over time dismantled and shipped off to South America or elsewhere and put back to work image036.jpg image037.jpg image045.jpg .
     
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  6. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    One more photo to post unless I can locate some others of this period of logging. My Dad leaning on the tracks of a virtually new Caterpillar D8. The mistakes of buying AC tractors had been rectified, although I think they still had one of them at the time this photo was taken. A 1957 Chevy PU and one proud logger leaning on his new "Cat", which would place the photo as taken in 1958 up Seiad Creek, but no longer logging burned timber. The loggers name was Walter Anderson and as I recall the partnership was down to two, but can't recall if it was still Seiad Logging or the partners names as it eventually became.

    image030.jpg
     
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  7. bushman1

    bushman1 Active Member

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    Sidney43, have you read Louise Wagenknecht's book on growing up in that area? James Waddell also wrote one. Camptramp is right about the history of klamath river area. lots of it.
     
  8. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info on books. Found one by Louise Wagenknecht and ordered it. From the description she arrived in Happy Camp in 1962 and I attended high school there in 1955-56. I was back in Happy Camp in the summer of 1960 as dad was logging on Cade Mountain up at the head of Thompson Creek. On many of the landings we could look down on the small community of Thompson Creek and see the highway and the river.
     
  9. gologit

    gologit Active Member

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    Sidney 43...Thanks for posting the pictures and descriptions. Great stuff.
     
  10. Eccentric

    Eccentric New Member

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    Very interesting thread. Thank you Sidney.
     
  11. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    First of all, I did receive the book by Louise Wagenknecht and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Lots of memories brought back through her story about life on the Klamath during the heyday of logging in the Klamath National Forest.

    I did find some additional photos as I located the two albums we put together after my dad passed away, so all the logging photos could be kept in one place. Had to ask my wife where they were, but she knew, which is more than I could say.

    Found the photo of the loader (the jammer) and it is a far cry from some of the beautiful equipment I see posted on threads from Alaska and British Columbia. It was mounted on an old military chassis, but got the job done for around 8 years if our memories are correct. There are only two views of it, neither is really good, but old timers here have probably seen some others like it.

    005.jpg
     
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  12. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Here is another view of the D8 which is no longer so new looking, since these photos were taken in 1959. These photos were taken by a professional photographer sent out by Caterpillar at the selling dealers request. I don't know if the photos were made part of an article in a logging publication, or not, but will post a copy of the letter attached to the photos that were sent to dad. If you look at the first image you can make out the end hooks in a log being moved into a deck out of the way of the incoming logs. 001.jpg 010.jpg 006.jpg
     
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  13. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention that in the second photo of the D8 you can see the operator of the loader and the truck it is mounted on. This last post is the letter mentioned in prior post. All of these three photos were taken up Walker Creek in 1959 and they were in some pretty nice timber from what I can see. 011.jpg
     
  14. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    In the first post on this thread I mentioned that trucks were in short supply and there was no problem with family visiting the landing. The reason for this situation is that logging was booming on the Klamath National Forest in the mid fifties and while there were willing loggers and there were sawmills, trucking had not kept pace. The three partners started out with two trucks, a 1951 or 52 GMC three axle logging truck and a 1950 or 51 Mack. The GMC belonged to Jerry Neuenschwander, one of the partners and I am not sure where the Mack came from. It became quickly clear that the GMC was not going to be up to the demands of hauling logs, so outside truckers were sought. They finally did contract with a truck owner from Arcata, California, but they found out that he had collected some trucks from various sources including the bone yards and put engines in them. Breakdowns were common and logs piled up on the landing with no trucks to haul them. It was a stressful time for the new company operating with low capitol and needing to get logs to the mill so they could get paid.

    a bit of an aside, about the taller of the tow headed kids standing around the landing in some of the photos. That is me as a 13 year old kid almost sixty years ago.

    I have now uploaded pictures to photo bucket, so maybe they will post as something easier to look at. I would like to go back and repost the original photos, but probably can't do that. I am posting a photo taken by the same professional photographer in 1959 of the two partners, both looking very optimistic, but problems lay ahead. Logging is like that as most of us know. 009.jpg

    The next photo is of a Skagit SJ-4 I think. This was in 1962 up Walker Creek and was the partnerships first foray into a high lead show. Looking at the one photo I have of the machine, I think it was being used for yarding and loading and it did not work out well. In fact my brother Gary tells me that the partnership (now down to two) was going to go broke, so they sat down with Gearhart Bendix, one of the partners in the Hi-Ridge mill and asked to be let out of the contract. This was agreed to and Chick Lucas took over the logging for Hi-Ridge Lumber from that time on. I am assuming that the Skagit machine was sold to someone, possibly traded in on a Lima truck mounted shovel with a heel boom and grapple. (photos to follow) 007.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  15. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick comment on the Skagit SJ-4R as it apparently is properly named. According to some searching on the net, it is a bit of a rare machine and was marketed as a "mobile logger" and was a dual purpose short distance yarder and loader on one machine. By short distance, it appears it was intended to yard no more than about 500-600 feet out. I found a sales brochure posted on rusty grapple's site and no other pictures in a brief search. I do remember that the operator had problems with ruining mainline because of it not spooling properly, which may not have had anything to do with the machine itself. "Skadill" recently posted a video on youtube of one of these found rusting away in the brush somewhere.

    I am in the process of comparing notes with my two younger brothers to try and get dates and places properly in sequence. My last summer working at logging was in 1962, so years and locations kind of blend together.
     
  16. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . . Sidney43


    Mate ain't that the truth . . . we are similar vintage.

    Thinking back on stuff that happened and trying to put it into sequence with old photo's that show up from time to time . . . it sometimes makes me wonder if they were memories or dreams.

    Wonderful thread please keep posting.

    Cheers.
     
  17. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick note that this thread has not died. Talking to my brothers to get dates and logging sales reasonably correct and then will go back and fix a few earlier posts. Also talking to some people who have more photos to post.
     
  18. camptramp

    camptramp Senior Member

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    Keep up the good work , looking forward to the next pictures , its amazing what you come up with when you ask an old acquaintance if they have any old logging pictures stored away.
     
  19. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    In the post showing the Skagit SJ-4R I dated this as 1962, which was not correct. The actual year appears to have been 1959, as this is when the partnership started logging for the J.F. Sharp mill located on the south edge of Yreka, CA. No one seems to know what happened to the Skagit machine, although it may have been traded in on a Lima shovel and heel boom on a four axle truck. I worked around that Lima cable loader for several summers and cannot clearly recall what make the truck carrier was, although I think it was a Pierce. I do recall it had a gas engine instead of a diesel. The Lima shovel was underpowered with a 175 Cummins coupled to a torque converter and it would stall trying to lift a big sugar pine butt, as they could be pretty heavy. This necessitated loading one end at a time which was not all that uncommon in those days. It was equipped with a Young heel boom and an Enco grapple as I recall. Unfortunately none of the partners were much for taking pictures in those days, so what we have are small and often a bit out of focus.

    The other major issue with the Lima machine was a bad habit of breaking the front hook roller brackets. Since those are what held the shovel onto the chassis, broken brackets could make the operator pretty nervous. The machine had two single roller brackets in front and two double roller brackets at the rear. Eventually double roller brackets were installed in front also, but it still proved to be problematic. The dealer who took it as a trade in on a Northwest Timbermaster told Dad that the frame was bent putting unequal pressure on the hook rollers, but I wonder if it was the operator not being familiar with air controls. The operator for most of the time I was working summers was John Winningham and he was a very experienced construction crane operator before trying his hand at log loading.

    The Lima cable loader was used for the period 1959 to about 1965 when the partnership started logging for U.S. Plywood's McCloud operation.
     
  20. Sidney43

    Sidney43 Well-Known Member

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    Here are a couple of photos of the Lima as new and unloading a trailer. The log truck and trailer on a landing was probably taken above Callahan, CA on Bolivar peak. We at one point logged right up to the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area boundary, although at that point it was an open meadow with a wire barricade to keep vehicles from driving into the newly designated wilderness area. Limaloaderasnew.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
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