Irmulco when it was the end of line from Fort Bragg

The name Irmulco comes from Ireland Murray Lumber Company. The company started out in 1902 with a small steam powered sawmill in Two Rock Valley, six miles west of Willits. Lonzo Irvine and Henry Muir ran this mill until 1909 when the supply of readily available timber was exhausted. The operation was moved along the Noyo River where it ran until 1923.

Prior to the line from Fort Bragg going  all the way “over the hill” to Willits it ended at Irmulco. To travel the last sixteen miles to Willits passengers had to alight and catch a stage.

The stage waiting for passengers to alight at Irmulco

The stage waiting for passengers to alight at Irmulco

Better them than me!

Steam “Dummy” Locomotives

After a lifetime career as an accountant I freely admit I am not really au fait with all aspects of old time logging. So, I was NOT surprised that I hadn’t a clue what a Steam “Dummy” loco was.

First here’s the pic that set this blog in motion:

Steam "Dummy" Loco

Steam “Dummy” Loco

The entirety of what I know is in the text that accompanied this pic on Martin Hansen’s Facebook page, “Steam in the Woods.”

“This great photo has so much history and tells such a story!

The location for this photo is Dee, Oregon, just off the Mt Hood Railroad. This old Steam Dummy is #10 for the Mt. Hood Railway. In the photo she is pulling a steam donkey nearly twice her size for the Oregon Lumber Co.

In the early days of Western railroad logging, many outfits picked up used steam “Dummy” locomotives like this one from street railways for use in the woods. Their small size made them easy on the temporary track of the loggers and they could operate easily in either direction without the need of being turned. Also, they were cheap to buy!

The history of this little locomotive is intertwined with the railroads she served.

This little locomotive was built by Baldwin inn 1889 for the Ogden City Railway of Ogden, Utah. This was one of the ventures of David Eccles, who was also the founder of the Mt. Hood RR and The Oregon Lumber Co. She went on to serve 2 other street railroads in Utah before being sold to the Central Railroad Of Oregon out of Union, Oregon. In 1913, she made her way back into Eccles hands in the form of Mt. Hood Railroad #10 as we see here.

This little, but powerful engine would not be retired until 1919. In the mean time, she was quite a sight to see in the woods!”

Thanks Martin.

If anyone has anything to add please let me know.

The Trout Farm in Fort Bragg

Serendipity strikes!!!!!!

Gordon McNutt was a founder member of our club, The Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society. His railroad modelling interest was in small gauges – Z and N scale. He had two exquisite layouts in attache cases. When I found the two photos below a bell went off in my brain that Gordon owned and operated the Trout Farm in Fort Bragg. But, who to ask to confirm this? Well, today, his great grandson’s wife came to the layout and generously gave us boxes of stuff that once belonged to Gordon. Whilst she was at the layout I asked her if, indeed, Gordon was the owner of the Trout Farm. “Oh, yes!!” was the answer.

Trout Farm in Fort Bragg

Trout Farm in Fort Bragg

The Trout Farm in Fort Bragg when it was owned by Gordon McNutt

The Trout Farm in Fort Bragg when it was owned by Gordon McNutt

How about them cookies!!!!!!


Loading lumber at Westport, CA in the 1890’s

Whether this pic is what it says, “Loading lumber at Westport, CA in the 1890’s” may not be correct. The sailing schooner seems to be too close to the shore to be Westport and the view of the town through the rigging doesn’t seem quite right either. Be that as it may this pic is another tiny sliver of  local Mendocino Coast History:

Loading lumber at Westport CA. in the 1890's

Loading lumber at Westport CA. in the 1890’s

Steamship Sequoia

One likes to think that the list of ships we have in the website is complete. Well, apparently not. I have unearthed two pics of a Steamship named Sequoia that are not in our list. Alas, I know nothing of her save for the fact that these two photos attest to her operating along the Mendocino Coast.

Loading the Sequoia at Fort Bragg

Loading the Sequoia at Fort Bragg

Steamer Sequoia in Mendocino Bay

Steamer Sequoia in Mendocino Bay

Please contact me if you have any more info on the Sequoia.

Moving a Loggers Camp in the Woods

One of the dioramas on our G Scale layout in Fort Bragg, The Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Navigation Co,, is that of a loggers ‘ camp. The diorama was created using a photo of a loggers’ camp that existed at Philo. Philo is located in the Anderson Valley in western Mendocino County. Our website has an informative page on loggers’ camps. So, whilst we have a number of pictures of loggers ‘ camps and loggers’ camps on trains on the move to the next location what we do not have, heretofore, is a picture or a description of a logging camp actually being moved.

A recent post on Martin Hansens Facebook page, “Steam in the Woods” has set our “lack” to rights. Here’s the pic in his post:

Moving a Loggers Camp

Moving a Loggers Camp

Of perhaps even more help is Martin’s text which is reproduced below:

While most steam locomotives toiled on a daily basis to move passengers or freight trains for their owner, some were called on occasionally for an even more personal and important task.

In the logging industry of the Pacific Northwest many of the larger operation used extensive systems of logging railroads to bring the timber harvest to the waiting mills. As the cutting areas moved farther and farther from the mill sites the logging company had to build logging camps for their workers near the cutting ares. This required the use of portable camp cars and camp houses for the loggers and their families.

In the 1930’s the Shevlin-Hixon Company of Bend, Oregon consolidated it’s several logging camps into one that became the traveling town of Shevlin. The town had over 700 occupants and boasted a post office, church car, tavern car and full commissary.

Every couple of years the Town of Shevlin had to be relocated. That is where the company railroad came in. Here we see Shevlin-Hixon Baldwin 2-8-2 #2 waiting for one of the towns camp houses to be loaded on a log car for movement to the next site. The date is June 1947 and the Town of Shevlin is moving from it’s location on Fremont Summit to it’s new home near Chemult, Oregon. The cabins porch awning has been folded down and the porch itself folded up to facilitate the periodic move this building would make over it’s lifetime.

In just 2 days the entire came was moved by rail to it’s new home in the woods. All the furnishings and possessions of the loggers and their family were entrusted to the railroad crews to make this most important move. Those crews took pride in making each move without breaking so much as a piece of china.”

Thanks Martin.

Neato frito right?

The Coolidge Tree in Underwood Park, Mendocino County

I’ve lived in Fort Bragg since 2000 and I’ve been “doing” local logging history pretty much since I arrived.  I thought I knew the whereabouts of all the big trees in Mendocino County but not this one – it has me flummoxed. The sign says it’s the Coolidge Tree.


I looked through my files and could find no mention of it. There’s nothing in Wiki about it. Huh! Well I kept nosing around and found this photo:

Coolidge Tree, Mendocino Co. CA

The writing at the bottom says, “The Coolidge Tree” – “On Redwood Highway.  The Coolidge Tree was named after President Coolidge’s father. It was 305′ high and had a circumference of 58′ . The Coolidge Tree was tunneled between 1910 and 1915. The Coolidge tree was cut down in 1938 when it appeared ready to topple and was growing in  Underwood Park.” Underwood Park? Never heard of it. Back to the books. According to Wiki, “Underwood Park is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County. It is located near U.S. Route 101 0.25 miles south-southwest of Leggett.” Well the Chandelier Tree is in Leggett. Is this another name for the Chandelier Tree?”

Chandelier Tree in Leggett, Mendocino County

Can anyone help please?


Logging Trucks

A quick peek at any of these photos and you’ll understand that these monsters were mostly off road vehicles.