Remnants of Union Lumber Company’s (ULC) Branch found

The Union Lumber Company’s Ten Mile Branch ran from the Mill site in Fort Bragg north along the coast over five trestles till it came to Ten Mile River. At Ten Mile River the railroad made a huge sweeping turn to follow the river eastwards inland.

The ocean  front portion of the Ten Mile Railroad route is now a dedicated hiking and equestrian trail from Pudding Creek to Ten Mile. Between 1916 and 1949, the Ten Mile Railroad was a working logging line carrying few passengers except for woods workers and their families who lived in the camps along the Ten Mile River. After the change to truck hauling in 1949, Union Lumber and successors Boise-Cascade and Georgia-Pacific used the railroad route as a logging road until 1983 when winter storms damaged the oceanfront portion of the road. The old railroad bed east of the Ten Mile Bridge is still used by Georgia-Pacific [and its current owners] as a logging road.

The railroad was discontinued June 17, 1949 and replaced by a private trucking road, which in turn was abandoned in 1983. The road is now owned by the people of California through the State Parks system.

North of the access to MacKerricher State Park at Ward Avenue, the route of the Ten Mile Railroad enters the ocean side edge of the Ten Mile sand dunes. The transition point, where the bluffs end and the dunes begin, was the site of a major El Nino washout in February 1998 when the remains of an old railroad trestle could be seen after the pavement toppled to the beach. Subsequent storms washed away most of this trestle.

Remains of an Inlenook Fen Tresrle

Remains of an Inlenook Fen Tresrle

Last winter there was a lot of heavy surf and very high tides along the coast with a lot movement of the beach and much debris washed up. Club member Mike Aplet and his charming wife are great hikers. They recently (Spring 2017) walked along the beach along the Inglenook Fen section of the Ten Mile Branch found, and photographed – see below – pieces of the Inglenook Fen Trestle.

Bent Cap from the Inglenook Fen Trestle

Bent Cap from the Inglenook Fen Trestle

Bent Cap from the Inglenook Fen Trestle

Bent Cap from the Inglenook Fen Trestle

Rare photos of something long gone.

Thanks Mike.

 

Hand tinted postcards of Caspar, Mendocino

Hand tinted postcards began as a conventional black and white photograph and were painted by hand prior to production. In the early days the colouring took place in the photographers studio. As demand expanded factories were established employing large numbers of women to hand tint photographic images prior to postcard printing. The paints were oil based and transparent and their chemistry was such that many of the colourists were to suffer illness as a result of licking their brushes to form a point.

Our website contains a number of hand tinted postcards but none of Caspar until I found these two:

Very early photo of Caspar

Very early photo of Caspar

The log splash at Caspar

The log splash at Caspar

Interesting what?

 

Oxen and Horses at work in the woods

Before steam came into the woods men, horses and oxen were what got the logs to the mill. The loggers built “skid roads” over which the logs were dragged. The “skids” were made of logs laid across the path. This kept the path from becoming too muddy and made the logs slide more easily. Oxen were preferred to horses as they were easier to keep. The man in charge of the ox team was the “bull puncher” and he was typically the highest paid man on the logging crew. Pulling the huge logs downhill was extremely dangerous for man and beast.

There weren’t a whole lot of cameras “back then” so, understansably, photos are as rare as hen’s teeth. These pics are recent additions to our history of logging along the Mendocino Coast.

Huge log being "bucked" - cut into pieces

Huge log being “bucked” – cut into pieces – The bull team waists to pull it to the mill.

Horses pulling logs along a skid road

Horses pulling logs along a skid road

Horses pulling logs along a skid road

Look behind the horses to see the path the horses have pulled the logs along

Oxen pulling logs uphill

Oxen pulling logs uphill

An ox with the bull puncher

An ox with the bull puncher

The bull puncher was considered to be the master of profane language in a variety of languages

Who worked in the galley of the S.S. Norlina?

You figured it out, right? You figured out I know the answer? You’re right!!!!!

If you check the our website’s voluminous section on “The Ships” you’ll find a brief history on the S.S. Norlina.

She started off as the British S.S. Harfleur. She was transferred to American registry and renamed Georgiana in 1915. In the following year she changed American owners and became Norlina. On 4 June 1917 S.S. Norlina fought off an attack by a German U-boat, reportedly U-88.

She was commissioned in the U.S. Navy at Baltimore, Maryland, in early May 1918 as USS Norlina (ID # 1597). After loading a shipment of Army supplies at Baltimore, she bunkered at Norfolk and then joined a transatlantic convoy at New York in late May. The ship unloaded her cargo at Le Havre in June and returned to Baltimore in July. Between August and December she carried out two similar voyages, delivering Army supplies to Bordeaux and Nantes, France. In late December 1918 Norlina sailed from Norfolk for Chile with a cargo of coal. In Chile the ship exchanged the coal for a load of nitrates and copper ore, which she delivered at Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia in March and April 1919. USS Norlina (ID # 1597) was decommissioned in May 1919 and delivered to the U.S. Shipping Board for simultaneous return to her owners, the Garland Steamship Norlina was a 4,596 gross ton freighter. She was built in West Hartlepool, England in 1909 as Company of New York City.

So …………………………….. ???????????

In August 1926 S.S. Norlina was wrecked off Salt Point, near Gualala, California, where her remains are now an attraction for divers.

Now comes the goodest part. I received this e-mail, “Tony, FYI- this surfaced last week (4/7/2017) from a cousin in Oregon.  It is George Christian’s “certification and discharge book” from the Pacific Steamship Association/Shipowners’ Assn of the Pacific.  It shows his assignment to the Norlina’s galley where he served 5 months.   – Jon Christian”

George Christian’s “certification and discharge book”

George Christian’s “certification and discharge book”

What a neat piece of local history. Thank you Jon.

Norma:

 

California Western Railway and Navigation Company (CWR) – Place names from Fort Bragg to Willits

Our web page detailing the places along the CWR’s route from Fort Bragg to Willits gives thumbnails of the history of the places along the route. The two pics below give details of all the sidings and how many cars the sidings hold.

Places and sidings along CWR route from Fort Bragg to Willits

Places and sidings along CWR route from Fort Bragg to Willits

Places and sidings along CWR route from Fort Bragg to Willits

Places and sidings along CWR route from Fort Bragg to Willits

Interesting stuff – another sliver of local history.

Bourn’s Landing near Gualala on the Mendocino Coast – 1910 pics

I( get a lot of questions when “working the crowd” at our layout. Today I was explaining to a couple and their son that the 1906 earthquake not only devastated San Francisco but also devastated all the communities along the Mendocino Coast. At the conclusion of my “spiel ” the lad, in a very serious voice, asked if I was there!!!!!! We collectively did some sums and concluded that if I was born in 1906 I would be 109. The lad concluded that I was definitely old but he wasn’t sure I was more than 100. Hmm. Botox maybe?

One lady recently astutely observed that there was little “social” history on the layout. She explained there was nothing to tell you how often people had baths or showers. How did the “ordinary” people dress? What did a schoolroom look like? As with all the questions I get I note them down and admit that I haven’t a clue but will try and find out.

Well serendipity being what it is I recently received the following e-mail from John Ricca which said in part:

My father-in-law Joseph R. Mixer (age 94) had an aunt, Miss F.S. Mixer, who taught school at the Bourns Landing [near Gualala] schoolhouse around 1910.  I’ve attached photos of hers from that era that I scanned and was hoping that you might be able to use them, or at least know of some other organization that might want them.”

Here are the photos that give you an idea of what school was like and how the ordinary folk lived. Alas info on peoples bathing habits so far elude my research.

Thank you John.

Iverson (Landing) just south of Point Arena on the Mendocino Coast

Iverson (also spelled Iversen) was located 5 miles south of Point Arena. A post office operated at Iverson from 1890 to 1910. The name honored Charles Iverson.

The above was about the sum total of what I knew about Iverson until quite recently. I knew from various sources that there was a chute there. Chutes were used to get cut lumber from shore to a schooner moored as close to the shore as was safe. This, I think, was the chute at Iverson (Landing):

Chute at Iverson on the Mendocino Coast

Chute at Iverson

The other picture that I garnered was this one:

Railroad ties en route to the Iverson chute on the Mendocino Coast

Railroad ties en route to the Iverson chute

But, who was Charles Iverson? Well, for starters I am not sure his name was Charles. I think that this is he along with his wife and two children.

Capt. Niels Iverson

Capt. Niels Iverson

My info says Capt. Niels Iverson was known for being a very industrious businessman. He came to San Francisco in 1830 from Denmark. He settled in Point Arena in 1865 and opened a store. The store expanded into a meat market. He later opened the Point Arena Hotel. He also owned a paper mill and a saw mill.

The location of the mill I haven’t yet figured out. But I will …….

Another sliver of local history meets the light of day.

 

 

Northwestern, now known as the town of Brooktrails near Willits – Blog #4

Brooktrails is the modern name for a place known as Northwestern at the beginning of the 20th century. Northwestern in its heyday was an important place. It was a designated stop on the Northwestern Pacific (NWP) railroad, had a post office and the only hospital in northern Mendocino County. It also had a lumber mill – the Diamond D. Our web site page on the history of Northwestern was mostly supplied by club member Mike Aplet who lives there.

Mike recently forwarded a map of the NWP’s route from Willits to Sherwood and beyond:

Map of NWP Sherwood Extension and part of the Sherwood branch

Map of NWP Sherwood Extension and part of the Sherwood branch

In addition to the map Mike sent along a few new/old pics:

Choppers and Peelers of the Diamond D Mill

Choppers and Peelers of the Diamond D Mill

Diamond D Mill circa 1905

Diamond D Mill circa 1905

The Sherwood Branch close to the Mill Pond

The Sherwood Branch close to the Mill Pond

Willits Mercantile and Sherwwod Train Station circa 1900

Willits Mercantile and Sherw0od Train Station circa 1900

If you want to check out the previous blogs on Brootrails click on these links:

Northwestern, now known as the town of Brooktrails near Willits (blog 3)

Northwestern, now known as the town of Brooktrails near Willits (blog 2)

Diamond D Mill at Northwestern, now known as the town of Brooktrails near Willits in Northern California (blog 1)