Blowing an over sized log into lighter movable pieces using black powder

I “work” our layout (the Mendocino Coast Railroad & Navigation Co.) most Sundays. When on “duty” I tell visitors that I am happy to answer any questions that they might have. The questions, believe me, are many and extremely varied. A recent question was,”What happened to the very largest redwoods? – how did they get to the mill?” The questioner was VERY surprised to learn that they were blown into smaller, more manageable pieces using black powder (gunpowder). I had previously told the questioner that our layout was based on historical info and pictures which can be found in our website. I knew what was coming next- “Is there a picture of a log being blown up on the website?” The answer heretofore was “No”. Hoisted by my own petard.

This exchange engendered a big rummage through “stuff” that has yet to be blogged/added to the website. I was sure that somewhere, quite recently, I had indeed seen a photo of a log being blown up. I finally found it an Arcadia Press book by good friend Katy Tahja entitled “Logging Railroads of Humboldt and Mendocino Counties” on page 91. Hare Creek was part of the Caspar Lumber Company’s timberlands:

Blowing apart a log

New Old pics of the Caspar Mill

When we started to build our layout we had but one hundred pages of historical text and some two hundred and fifty photos of information on the logging operations along the Mendocino Coast to assist us in designing and building our layout. Things have changed dramatically. The website and blog now contain 450 pages of historical text and some 1,500 historical pictures. The additional data helps enormously when answering questions from visitors. It also provides a major assist when building dioramas on the layout. We are always on the hunt for more/better data and pics.

The pics below have come across my “desk” in the last year or so from a variety of sources. They provide a very  useful addition to our website page on the Caspar Lumber Company – the website page has but one picture of the Caspar Mill on it.

 

Dunlap. a speck on the map between Camp 19 and 20 on Route 20 from Fort Bragg and Willits

In this post, “Map of Fort Bragg and Vicinity circa 1925” I indicated that the place on the map, “Dunlap” was, after 15 years of going between Fort Bragg and Willits, unknown to me. After talking to a couple of knowledgeable visitors to our layout in Fort Bragg (the Mendocino Coast Railroad and Navigation Co.) and some of our club members I was put to rights.

This picture, taken by club member Mike Aplet, shows that Dunlap “is no more than 1/4 mile west of Camp 20. There are markers in both directions.”

Dunlap sign taken by Club member Mike Aplet

Dunlap sign taken by Club member Mike Aplet

Why had I missed it? Beats me but I did – I have seen it every time we have gone “over the hill” to Willits since Mike sent me the pic.

I haven’t yet explored the camp site to see if there are any informative signs therein. The consensus of the cognoscenti is that Dunlap was where the place where the workers at Caspar Lumber Company’s Camp 20 lived. As Mike pointed out it is easily within walking distance to Camp 20.

Anyone have more insights?

Map of Fort Bragg and Vicinity circa 1925

I love old maps. I had a great time poring over this one. Dating it needed a bit of sleuthing and it had other, new to me info, on the railroads along the Mendocino Coast.

The Ten Mile Branch of the California Western Railway/Union Lumber Company wasn’t opened until 1917 – see here. So, when you look at the old map below first look at the Ten Mile Branch running north out of Fort Bragg. (Click on it and you’ll see it full size).

Map of Fort Bragg and vicinity railways circa 1925

Map of Fort Bragg and vicinity railways circa 1925

Notice that when the railway gets to Ten Mile River it turns inland. One branch goes to Clark Fork Landing and the other goes to Camp 6. Ultimately there were 42 camps along the Ten Mile River and its tributaries. If the Ten Mile Branch didn’t get to Camp 1 till 1917 I am guessing that was not till around 1925 that it reached Camp 6.

The next thing that caught my eye was the route taken by the Glen Blair railroad. The switch to the Glen Blair Branch still exists just before Tunnel #1 three miles or so from the CWR’s Fort Bragg depot. I did not know that you could access Glen Blair from Highway 1 – I assume that the road shown on the map is Little Valley Road.

Next item of interest is along the Caspar Railroad. Follow the railroad all the way to the end and you’ll see the place name “Dunlap” – which was new to me. Given its proximity to Camp 19 – see notation just to the left of Dunlap – I am guessing it may be what I refer to as Camp 20.

Great fun this stuff. Now look below Willits. Can you see “Baechtel” which I am pretty sure was a logging outfit out of Ukiah, But, but, what was the “Cable Log Ry” at the end of the Baechtel road? I have neither heard of it or seen pictures. If anyone has any info please pass it on to me. I am intrigued.

Last, but not least. North out of Willits are two railroad lines – one extant – the NWP (Northwestern Pacific) and the other, abandoned, went to Sherwood. In our page about the owner of the NWP you can read that the town now known as Brooktrails was formerly Northwestern and the site of the Diamond D mill. The map shows the abandoned line turning west out of Sherwood heading close to where the CWR/Union Lumber Company’s last Camp was located. I had no idea how far the Sherwood line extended west.

Now, don’t forget I am an accountant and came to live here in Fort Bragg in 2000. I am not an “old-time logger” and am very happy to be corrected.

Where did I get the map from. I don’t know – it was loose inside an old book on logging railroads I bought from Amazon. I suspect that it was part of a Western Railroader. If anyone recognizes the map and knows of the source, again I’d be delighted to know.

 

Forneys – Locos with a 2-4-4 wheel arrangement – Daisy, a Forney that worked for the Caspar Lumber Company

Club President Chuck Whitlock and I had a conversation in which he stated that that it was sad that we did not have a Forney locomotive in the club’s roster because there were Forneys in use along the Mendocino Coast. Discretion being the better part of valour I never told him that I had no recollection of their being any Forneys along the coast. I convinced myself I was right by checking our website page on locomotives and found no 2-4-4 type or mention of Forneys.

Well, the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad and Navigation Co, did get a Forney and you can see pics of her below with her MCMR & N logo.

MCMR & N #3 awaiting the word to go

MCMR & N #3 awaiting the word to go

#3 in a siding

#3 in a siding

#3 Front view

#3 Front view

After I had taken these photos I went over to the Deli Restaurent for a coffee. The Deli is kitty corner across from the Skunk Train Depot and is a quasi museum housing railroad artifacts and two costmetically restored locos, Daisy and Dinky. Every Wednesday morning around 8ish a gang of club members gather for brekkers.The ladies who are patient enough to wait on us line the tables up alongside Daisy:

Daisy in the Deli Restaurent

Daisy in the Deli Restaurent

When I walked into the Deli it hit me like a ton of bricks …… Daisy is a Forney!!!!!!

Sign on the side of Daisy

Sign on the side of Daisy

I was pleased I kept my big mouth shut about there being NO Forneys working along the Mendocino Coast!!!

Mathias N. Forney patented the “Forney” type locomotive when he was working for the Illinois Central Railroad in 1861. The Forney is easily recognized by its integration of locomotive and fuel bunker on one frame and its trailing truck positioned under the coal bunker/water tank. This design allows for smooth operation where there are tight curves which makes them ideal for logging operations. Forneys were produced by many locomotive manufacturers to serve urban elevated railroads and narrow gauge short lines during the middle to late steam era.

I started poring through my collection of photos looking for Forneys that lived along the Mendocino Coast and turned up this one:

Albion Lumber Company Forney

Albion Lumber Company Forney

The Fort Bragg and Caspar Shipping News from 1911 (103 years ago)

These cuttings, from the Fort Bragg local paper, give you an idea of just how much lumber was shipped from the ports along the Mendocino Coast when logging was THE industry here.

Loading the Phoenix

Loading the Phoenix

The Advocate April 18th, 1911

“Friday afternoon, the “Brunswick” towed the four-masted schooner “Samur” out of port. She sailed for Molendo, South America, with a cargo of 55,000 feet of sawed ties.”

The Advocate July 3rd, 1911

“The “Titania,” a large Norwegian steamer 350 feet long, called at Caspar last week and took on a million feet of redwood, sailing for Everett, Washington, where she is to complete her cargo there taking aboard two million feet of pine. From Everett she goes to Australia.”

The Advocate July 18th, 1911

“The big Norwegian tramp, “Bjonestergine,” Captain Heinersten, arrived at Noyo Saturday. She is the largest boat ever loaded at Noyo and has the longest name. She is 420 feet long, carries 9,200 tons or five million feet of lumber. She will take a cargo of 300,000 feet of redwood. From here she sails north to complete her cargo, from there to Melbourne, Australia. Captain Hammer has charge of the loading and expects to have her ready to sail Friday or Saturday.”

The Advocate September 5th, 1911

“The large English tramp “Wakefield” arrived at Noyo Friday afternoon and took on 800,000 feet of redwood lumber. Tuesday afternoon she sailed for Portland where she will complete her cargo. From Portland, she will sail to Australia to discharge her cargo.”

It takes 2,500 feet of lumber (give or take) to build a modest 3 bedroom home. Just imagine how many houses worth there were in these four shipments.

Wapoma the last of the west coast schooners

Wapoma the last of the west coast schooners

 

Caspar, South Fork and Eastern Railroad Share Certificate

In my days as an auditor (long, long ago) I did occasionally handle a share certificate. There are collectors of share certificates of old established and defunct railroads. The picture you see of this one is one of a kind – an un-issued share certificate of the Caspar, South Fork and Eastern Railroad and now resides in Roots of Motive Power Library in Willits.

Share Certificate

Share Certificate

When first built the railroad that was run by the Caspar Lumber Company was loosely called the Caspar Railroad or the Jughandle Railroad by the locals. In 1884 the railroad was extended north to Hare Creek from Jughandle Creek in search of new stands of timber and was formally incorporated as the Caspar and Hare Creek Railroad and was owned by Caspar Lumber Company.

In 1903 the rail operations were separated from the Mill operations and separately incorporated as the Caspar, South Fork and Eastern Railroad with $500,000 of capital. Only 80 stock certificates were ever issued and the stock was always closely held and never available to the public.

This un-issued certificate – a really rare item – was donated to Roots of Motive Power by Mr Coombs who was given it by Emery Escola.

Small, Old Trestles in the Ten Mile River Basin

If you look at the very bottom of our website page on Trestles you can see some pictures we took of a small trestle used over a 100 years ago by the Caspar Lumber Company in its operations.

Club member, Mike Aplet, recently sent me some great pictures of other small trestles belonging to Caspar’s operations. In his e-mail accompanying the pictures Mike indicated how he came by them:

“(W)e did (a hike) with a group of Willits High School kids last memorial day weekend. Our group hiked the Old Trestle Trail which is on the South Fork of the Noyo in the Camp 1 area…… This section followed the creek all of the way up the canyon nearly to the ridge. ……. As you can see, Mother Nature is slowly taking back what is hers.”

Old Trestle

Old Trestle

Second Old Trestle

Second Old Trestle

Third Old Trestle

Third Old Trestle

After I expressed my thanks for the pics Mike was kind enough to send me another picture taken near Three Chop Ridge


View Larger Map

Mike explained in his e-mail, “Another relatively easy hike in Jackson State Forest is the hike down Three Chop Ridge in the Indian Springs area. It is marked as Road 330 on the JSDF maps. There are remnants of many trestles all along the ridge line. This was one of the ridge top rail spurs that were only connected to the main line by incline. Walking along this ridge it is easy to see that most trestles were not the grandiose 50- 75-100 foot structures but rather ones that usually were no taller than about 6 ft. tall. Wherever there was a dip in the natural grade, it was easier for the early railroaders / loggers to simply build a trestle to bring their tracks to constant grade rather than trying to move a lot of earth.”

Remains of Trestle on Three Chop Ridge

Remains of Trestle on Three Chop Ridge