Vintage Photos of the Logging Operations at Elk/Greenwood

A century ago the population of Elk/Greenwood was 10 times as large as today’s. Schooners from the L.E. White Lumber Co. sailed regularly from San Francisco and early tourists took the 14 hour ride for $5, dinner and bunk included. The town had ten hotels each with a saloon and there five other saloons. Each of the ethnic groups which worked in the mill: Finns, Swedes, Irish, Russians and Chinese congregated in “their” saloon.

This shot was taken at one of the loading areas. The text on the photo (click to enlarge) provides the details:

Elk/Greenwood landing

A train took the logs to the Mill:

Look at the logs about to be dumped into the Elk/Greenwood Log Pond

The Mill and the town:

Great picture of the Town of Elk/Greenwood, the Mill and the Log Dump

Shipping out the lumber also required a major feat of engineering. At the end of the wharf the lumber was put on a sling and winched to ships moored offshore. The train did not go down the incline. Gravity was used and then a horse (called “Maude”) pulled the empties back up to the mill. At low tide if you clamber along the foot of the cliffs you can see the concrete remains of the footings that supported the end of the wharf.

View of the wharf at Elk/Greenwood

If you enlarge the above photo (click on it) you can see the wires going out to the waiting schooner.


Logging at DeHaven on the Mendocino Coast

Unless you are a native to the Mendocino Coast you have probably never heard of Dehaven. DeHaven is located on California State Route 1 near the Pacific coast 1.5 miles north of Westport. The name honors John J. De Haven, congressman and Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

Here is a map of DeHaven’s location:

Map showing the location of DeHaven on the Mendocino Coast

Map showing the location of DeHaven on the Mendocino Coast

There was no shipping point at DeHaven. Why? All those “x” in the sea are known rocks. This map shows its proximity to Westport which was where the DeHaven’s mills lumber was shipped from :

Map showing DeHaven and Westport on the Mendocino Coast

Map showing DeHaven and Westport on the Mendocino Coast

The website is quite informative about Dehaven – see here. There is also a blog showing a picture of DeHaven’s one and only loco in a very sad state – see here. This pic is the first I have ubcovered of the town itself:

DeHaven store and a residence

DeHaven store and a residence

Fish Rock – a small place on the Mendocino Coast

Fish Rock (formerly, Fishrock and Conways Landing) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California. It is located 4 miles northwest of Gualala. The Conways Landing post office opened in 1870, changed its name to Fish Rock in 1871, closed in 1873, re-opened in 1885, moved in 1908, and closed for good in 1910.

All the above I got from Wiki. The bottom line is it was never very big. Google did give me a link to a really neat map:

Map showing location of Fish Rock on the Mendocino Coast

Map showing location of Fish Rock on the Mendocino Coast

So, the likelihood of finding a pic of Fish Rock is pretty small. Well, one has turned up:

Fish Rock

Fish Rock

Alas I have NO info of when it was taken.



The Chandelier Tree in Leggett, CA

The Chandelier Tree in Drive-Thru Tree Park is a 276-foot tall coast redwood tree in Leggett, California with a 6-foot  wide by 6-foot-9-inch  high hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. Its base measures 16 ft diameter at breast height (chest-high). The sign claims 315 ft. high and 21 ft. wide, but a Certified Arborist experienced with tallest redwoods, using a laser rangefinder, measured the tree as 276 ft. high and 16 ft. diameter. The name “Chandelier Tree” comes from its unique limbs that resemble a chandelier. The limbs, which measure from 4 to 7 ft  in diameter, begin 100 ft above the ground. The tree is believed to have been carved in the early 1930s.

These are old photos of the tree based on the vintage of the cars.

Old pictures of the Chandelier Tree in Leggett

Old pictures of the Chandelier Tree in Leggett

Bourn’s Landing – a note from the owner, Dr. John Bonham

We have a page in the website on Bourn’s Landing – click here to see. At the foot of the page I wrote: “If anyone has any information to throw some light on my/our confusion please contact me.” My plea has been answered – see the e-mail below:

I have owned Bourn’s Landing for over 60 years and may be of some help to your ? lack of knowledge there;

Yes, there WAS a railroad! It was a narrow gauge steam driven typical lumbering railroad. The redwood ties have mostly rotted away and the railroad spikes that we once found are no longer there.

The Engineer was a Chinese fellow but his name is lost to history. He loved to make cookies for local children so his name simply became “Cook”.

He often would have a “cookie party” for children on a nearby beach. Now days, that beach is simply known as “Cook’s Beach

After I received the e-mail I went looking for a map showing Bourn’s Landing. This is the topo map I found:

Map showing Bourn's Landing

Map showing Bourn’s Landing

I was hoping to find the route of the railroad that Dr. Bonham mentions. Alas, no cigar.

Gualala Hotel

The first hotel in Gualala was built in in the late 1800’s. Here’s what it looked like:

First Gualala Hotel

First Gualala Hotel

The first one burned down in 1900. In 1903 a new hotel was built. Here’s what it looks like:

Second Gualala Hotel

Second Gualala Hotel

Wife Sarah and I took a day trip down south recently and stopped in Gualala for a great lunch. The 1903 hotel was still standing and looked VERY much like it did when it was built:

The Gualala Hotel in 2019

The Gualala Hotel in 2019



Branscomb – once the site of a lumber mill located between Westport and Laytonville in Northern California

This is another crumb of local history gleaned as a result of my finding a photo.

First where is/was Branscomb? Here’s a map to orient you:

Map showing location of Branscombe in Northern California

Map showing location of Branscombe in Northern California

Wiki is my only source of info. Fortunately they have quite a bit of info:

Benjamin Franklin Branscomb joined an ox-team wagon train that was headed for California in 1857. He was born in Jackson, Ohio, in 1832, the son of Joseph Edmond Branscomb. The family moved to DeKalb County, Missouri, where Joseph became Sheriff. According to family tradition, Joseph, a staunch abolitionist, was shot and killed 3 days before President Lincoln was assassinated, but a contemporary newspaper account says Joseph was shot to death by a Mr. Jacob J. Stoffel in Maysville in July 1865, several months after Lincoln’s assassination.

Benjamin later settled in Sonoma County and farmed there for about twenty years. He married one of the daughters of the captain of the wagon train, Mary Jane Taylor, and they had 10 children: 6 boys and 4 girls. They moved to Jackson Valley, Mendocino, in 1880, where he homesteaded 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land and 40 acres more under the Timber Act. He was instrumental in starting the first school in that area. He built a large home which, after his family grew up, he turned into a hotel. A small grocery store, meat market and livery stable were added later. After more people came into the area, he established a post office, which first opened in 1894. Since the place had no official name, it was named after him, the postmaster. After his death in 1921, one of his sons, John, inherited the property and ran it until 1959, when he sold it to the Harwood family, who built the timber mill in Branscomb called Harwood Products. Unfortunately in the year 2007 the mill filed bankruptcy, eventually closing its doors for good in 2008. The Branscomb store along with the post office, officially closed few years after in 2016.

And my one and only photo? Here it is:



Last Kibesillah Building Saved by Steve Brigham

This story and the pic appeared in the December 2013 Westport Wave. We live in Cleone and Kibesillah is one “town” to the north of us making the story of particular interest to me.

As you likely know, the former town of Kibesillah predated Westport as the largest Caucasian settlement in our area, having been started in the late 1860’s in an area just south of our present-day Vista Point. By 1870, the town had around 20 buildings and 113 residents, many of whom would move to Westport as that town was established ten years later.

Today, nothing remains of the old town of Kibesillah, except for a small shed and a big house or barn. For well over a century, this old barn (which is clearly visible as you drive by on the Coast Highway) has stood as a proud relic of days gone by, and it is perhaps the oldest building in our area. But two years ago, a big storm finally collapsed one side of it, and since then it has been on the verge of collapsing altogether.

Owner Mike Cutino desperately wanted to preserve this historic structure, but he didn’t have the means to do so. There was no way the proud old barn would survive another winter. Would the last relic of Kibesillah collapse and the old town finally be gone forever?

Enter (ta-daa!) the expert Neighbor 2 Neighbor crew, led by Gary Quinton and Picasso Sosa. You’ve heard of a “barn-raising” – well this was a barn-saving! As if by magic, several telephone poles were donated and holes were dug, and on November 1st (All Saints Day), equipment was brought in to lift and place the poles, which now securely hold the old barn up. It took several volunteers to install the heavy poles on the outside of the structure and one right in the center.

All together there were 8 sets of helping hands. Next, volunteers installed beams to support the roof and walls so the winter winds do not tear it down. This is not a fix, but rather a saving of this very old structure, which allows Mike Cutino the time to fully restore the old structure. As you might expect, Mike is “ecstatic”, amazed, and so thankful to Gary and Picasso and all the volunteers
that made his (and Westport’s) dream of preserving the Old Kibesillah Barn come true. This is another tremendous story of how Neighbor 2 Neighbor can work, be the project big or small! “

Last building in Kibissilah

Last building in Kibesillah