Camp 24 in ULCs (Union Lumber Company) Ten Mile Drainage

Our website page on Ten Mile River has a lot of detail about Union Lumber Company’s (ULC’s) railroad track from downtown Fort Bragg to Logging Camp 1 which was located close to the estuary of Ten Mile River. Thanks to the map below we know approximately where the logging camps were in ULC’s Ten Mile River Drainage Area.

Map of ULC's Lumber Camps in the Ten Mile Drainage

Map of ULC’s Lumber Camps in the Ten Mile Drainage

We have pictures taken at the base camp (Camp 1) and pictures taken at Camps 2, 20 and 25. This week, thanks to Beck Moore (see blog below) we have photos taken at or near Camp 24 by Felix Barney (Becky’s grandfather) around 1923-1924. If you click on the map above to enlarge it you will see that Camp 24 was close to two inclines. Becky has sent us  a picture of one of the inclines:

Incline at Camp 24 in the Ten Mile Waterrshed

Incline at Camp 24 in the Ten Mile Waterrshed

The rail tracks were being extended at Camp 24 as these photos show:

Road Building

Road Building

Building a road - Rebecca Moore Collection

Building the railroad bed – Rebecca Moore Collection

A Frame Bridge near Camp 24 - Rebecca Moore Collection

A Frame Bridge near Camp 24 – Rebecca Moore Collection

Completed railroad track

Completed railroad track

These pictures show logging taking place:

Train crossing A - Frame - Rebecca Moore Collection

Train crossing A – Frame – Rebecca Moore Collection

Railroad at Camp 24 where Rebecca Moore's relative worked

Railroad at Camp 24 where Rebecca Moore’s relative worked

Loading Logs near Camp 24 - Rebecca Moore Collection

Loading Logs near Camp 24 – Rebecca Moore Collection

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


Noyo Chief June 1960 (House Journal of the Union Lumber Company Original Owner of the California Western Railroad – aka the Skunk)

You just never know what piece of local history you might find when you wander around Fort Bragg. I was in Lotten’s brake store getting new brakes for the car when I saw the two pics below in their wall case. I asked if I could take a copy and they cheerfully obliged.

I have cuttings from and a couple of copies of the Noyo Chief. It was the house organ of the Union Lumber Company which was by far the biggest lumber operation along the Mendocino Coast for well over a hundred years. I’d love to have a full set of the publication but so far no luck.

Noyo Chief June 1960 Front Page

Noyo Chief June 1960 Front Page

When I took the two pages back I asked if the Lotten crew knew any of the ladies in the photo. Blow me down if they didn’t. One is an aunt would you believe.

Noyo Chief June 1960

Noyo Chief June 1960

The picture of the Pudding Creek Trestle on the second page is interesting because, unusually, it is taken from the sea side of the bridge.

Just in case you can’t read it here’s the text below the photo:

“In use from 1905 until 1949 by the railroads and still in use today by off-highway logging trucks, the Pudding Creek Trestle is a well known and picturesque landmark in Northern California. The bridge spans two ocean bluffs just north of Fort Bragg, and has been used frequently in recent years for new car advertisements and other motion picture purposes. California Western R.R. engine No.21 steams across the span with another load of logs from the Ten Mile River Drainage.

The bridge was built of had hewn redwood timbers. It is still standing strong today, after many years of use, and occasional battering by by ocean waves during high tides and storms.”

Fort Bragg Railroad Locomotive No. 1, Sequoia

Based on our research there were relatively few 0-4-0’s which had a gypsy winch on the front used to load logs in the woods. Until I acquired Thad M. Van Beuren’s book, “Belonging to Places” I thought that the Mendocino Coast railroads never had any locos with a gypsy winch. It turns out that my research was somewhat lacking. In his book Mr. Van Beuren has a picture of an 0-4-0 which worked on the railroad at De Haven.

Dehaven 0-4-0 with a gypsy winch

Dehaven 0-4-0 with a gypsy winch

I have recently discovered another right under my nose – the first locomotive owned by the Fort Bragg Railroad No.1, The Sequoia” – see picture below.

Fort Bragg RR no 1 with Gypsy winch

Fort Bragg RR no 1 with Gypsy winch

All of the other locos with attached winches that we know of are 0-4-0s. This one is a 2-4-2.

This photo is hanging in the Stanford Hospital.

0-4-0 with gypsy winch

0-4-0 with gypsy winch

The locomotive in the foreground left is an 0-4-0 with a gypsy winch. Alas, we know not where the photo was taken. Anyone who does know PLEASE let me know.

Joe J. Rossi’s Fort Bragg Logging Truck Operations

If you go into our local tonsorial artist’s emporium on Oak Street or into the local Chrysler dealership you can see pictures like the one below.

Huge load on a logging truck

Huge load on a logging truck

Logging trucks became the modus operandi for bringing logs into the Union Lumber Company’s mill in Fort Bragg after the rail line into the Ten Mile Basin was pulled up in 1949. The trucks were so big they were not allowed on County Roads and a haul road was constructed along the bed of the old railway track for them. The trestles along the way had to be strengthened to carry the massive loads. The Pudding Creek trestle had an extra upright added to the sea side and its deck was significantly enhanced.

All of the above I had learned just from being here and creating this website. I had never connected these huge logs to one of the local hardware stores, Rossi’s, a local tyre store, Coast Tire or the hardware store in Boonville – also called Rossi’s. There is a connection.
26 of these huge trucks were owned and operated by the Joe J. Rossi Company, Inc. The fascinating story of his life is told in the August 2004 Roots of Motive Power Magazine in an article written by Theron Brown and Chris Baldo.

The hardware stores were opened by Joe (and ultimately sold to his family) so that he could fill his trucks with goods on the normally empty return leg. The tyre operations was started so that he could re-tread the truck tyres economically here in Fort Bragg. As an accountant I appreciated the part of the story which regales the high quality of his maintenance operation and the book-keeping that kept track of the operation.

A really interesting man and life.

Joe Rossi

Joe Rossi

Joe Rossi's fleet of Twenty Six Cummins Diesels

Joe Rossi’s fleet of Twenty Six Cummins Diesels


Noyo River Tavern

Not long after logging operations had ceased at Northspur (around 1915?) Union Lumber Company (ULC) began developing the land there. There was a an apple farm and there were lots for sale to those who wanted a cabin in the woods. The ULC also built an “up market” resort at Northspur called the Noyo River Tavern.

Below are a sample of the photos we have managed to collect of the Noyo River Tavern. As you can see this is camping at the Ritz!

Noyo River Tavern Lodge

Dining Room at Noyo River Tavern

Dining Room at Noyo River Tavern


Horse riding at Noyo River Tavern

Tent interior at Noyo River Tavern

Tent interior at Noyo River Tavern

Union Lumber Company’s Ten Mile Branch – You Tube Movie

Ahm BACK!!!!!! …… after a week of chemo in the hospital and a week getting some “go”  I am back in the saddle again!

Thanks to mastermind, guru and webmaster Roger Thornburn we have posted our third video on YouTube. No, it is not Ben Hur !! and I am not Burt Reynolds! The movie links what is left today of the branch line which went from Union Lumber Company’s Mill in Fort Bragg to the Ten Mile River Camp 1 staging area.some ten miles to the north.

The way Roger and I see our movies is as a surrogate for taking folks around and showing them the local railroad history which is included in the website. It bothers us that much local history seems to have been secreted away. We see the internet/You Tube as a means of getting those buddhas off the shelf and into the open.

We freely invite anyone who wants to do what we are doing have their videos housed here. If you think you don’t have the right equipment or need some help we are available at your convenience.

If you want to see the previous two movies go here.

Cash Railways

Ok, for those of you are wondering what a cash railway is …..

“The cash railway consisted of an overhead system of steel wires connecting a central cashier’s desk with all the counters around the store. The idea was that when a sales assistant made a sale, he or she tendered money into a small wooden pot which fitted onto a carriage hanging from the wire. A handle was pulled and a spring propelled the whole device along the wire with a swishing , singing sound to the cashier. The money was extracted; the correct change put into the pot along with the receipt stamped “paid” and the carriage retraced its flight back to the sales clerk. The customer was given their change along with the change and the receipt.”

In a Cash Railway the pot that carries the cash is from the carrier

In a Cash Railway the pot that carries the cash is hung  from the carrier

The piece I wrote for the website I wrote for the website on Cash Railways  I centred on a photo that I scanned in an English magazine. Website reader Andrew Buxton wrote and told me that twas he that took the photo I used and the one above. Andrew has a great website devoted to cash railways. Click here to check it out – see where you can still see a cash railway operating.

Andrew explains, “In wire systems, the car has pulley wheels which run along wires fixed between the sending and receiving stations. There may be a single wire (as in the Rapid Wire system) or a pair of wires (as in Gipe’s system). The car may be propelled by gravity, a catapult or multiple-pulley arrangement, or by the separation of the wires at the sending end.” Andrew surmises that the cash railway that was used in the Company Store in downtown Fort Bragg was an “Air-Line, which worked by a pulley system with no elastic or spring”.

If anyone knows of any cash railway systems NOT on this page in Andrew’s site PLEASE let him know.

Thank you Andrew, your help is most appreciated.