Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Whole History of Logging in Oregon

At Oregon's Collier Lake State Park there is a fine campground with full hookups for just $22 a night.

Across the highway is the Collier Museum of Forestry.

This museum was established to record the history of logging, since the early days and continuing today, a vital part of the State of Oregon. The museum claims to have the largest and most complete collection of logging equipment and memorabilia in the country, and after walking through it for a couple of hours, we have no reason to doubt their claim. All the tools are there, from the double-bitted falling axes to the one man bucksaw and the two man handsaws up through some of huge mechanical equipment that made logging much less labor intensive.

The first stop is the visitor center, where we learned about penny pinching on meals (from an article in The Timberman from November, 1921): "A 100 man camp will serve about 9000 meals a month; 90,000 meals in 10 months at 35 cents a meal amounts to $31,300. Is that amount of money worth watching? For only 100 men a saving of but one cent per meal in ten months would amount to nearly $1000."
And how much food would a logger eat? Since their work would use up to 8000 calories a day, they ate a lot! Here's a comparison of a logger's breakfast in 1921 and what we might have today:
Also in the visitor center:

But the real stuff is outdoors. We'll show you a few pictures here, but urge you to see the full show in our 2013 Collier Logging web album.

They have imported actual cabins from around the state, including, of course, a padlocked outhouse.

A second outhouse was a two-holer.
A logger's life was rugged!
But along came progress -- the 10 foot high wheel made it immensely easier and faster for horses and later big tractors to skid logs out. This principle was in use for nearly a century in the Oregon forests.

One sign noted that these big wheels had no brakes; on steep downslopes, the horses had to outrun the load!

The big mechanical improvements made a huge difference.

The blacksmith shop was well represented.

The machine on the left was a lard press, also sometimes used to press apple cider. Tasty combination?

This is only a taste of the history of logging in Oregon. More can be found in that web album we mentioned earlier.

A very educational day in ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Looks like an awesome museum. Wonderful photos.

    8000 calories a day!!! WOW...that would be cutting a ton of wood.

    My grandparents had an outhouse that looks exactly like that one...yuck!

  2. That thing is built like a log ____house.

  3. What a great museum. I know lumberjacks worked hard but I had no idea they needed 8000 calories a day.

  4. Friend Ken Krall sent this (Ken is a Jesuit Priest teaching at Gonzaga U in Spokane ---

    Suzy and Jerry:

    Thanks for the information and, better yet, the pictures. I shall save the link and visit the full site later. (Yeh, right!)

    Last weekend’s schedule of four Masses in less than twenty-four hours is much easier this weekend. This evening at 5:30 p.m. I will have a Reunion Mass with the Gonzaga Prep graduating class of 1963. Well, with some of them. Just how many there were originally I don’t know, but by 6 p.m. this evening I will know about how many came. The priest who originally was slated for this event and who would have taught at GPrep in 1963 suddenly took off for Alaska. Then another priest was asked, the pastor of Saint Aloysius Church, but he has the 5:10 p.m. Saturday Mass in – of all places ! – Saint Al’s. So he asked me and I said yes. I have never had any connection with GPrep, so this could be quite interesting. The Mass, of course, will not be on the GPrep campus, about three miles to the north and east of us, but in the Herak Room in the McCarthey Center, the big new athletic building that houses our basketball court. So I need to pack up a Mass kit, my alb and a stole and hoof it off to there about 4:45 p.m. There is a dinner to follow the Mass and I have been invited to be a part of it. Or should I say, that I have been invited to it?

    Tomorrow morning I have the 9:30 a.m. with the Providence Sisters and the Catholics who live in Emily Court, their retirement center.

    It remains hot here and apparently will until the middle of next week. Hope you are keeping cool. And thanks again for the pictures.


  5. That is some great history. Something to add to the list:)

  6. One of my Uncles had a saw mill way back before I was born (I am now 70) and did a little logging, too. A hard way to make a living, but at least you would be out-doors.

  7. Never been there. We are from Oregon, We volunteer at OSP, and we have been requested for a position at Collier, but didn't take it and still never been there!

  8. Collier State Park is a place I have always wanted to visit!

  9. Our kids (especially the boys) loved that museum. Russ's folks lived in K-Falls so we would camp at Collier and go visit the folks. We always wanted to take the grandsons there but never did. Thanks for all the great pictures - it was fun seeing the museum again. Hope you are home safe by now and that Suzy is feeling better.

  10. Nice blog about logging. It really was a hard way to make a living and if you were injured on the job, then no paycheck. It took some tough individuals to get the timber down to the sawmills.

    My first job back in 1956 was at a local sawmill in Illinois. I was and remains the worst job I ever had in my life. No fond memories of it or the "Simon Legree" owner who yelled at the workers if they drink too much water. All the for $!.00/hour. At least I started at the bottom and worked my way up.

    Sound like your trip is fantastic and we hope to make it out there next summer.

    Have fun.

  11. Friend Mary Russell emailed:

    Indeed! I just wonder how one figures out how to save 1 cent per meal?! "For only 100 men a saving of but one cent per meal in ten months would amount to nearly $1000."

    It's terrible to think of all those horses who couldn't outrun the heavy loads...


Here's your chance to tell us what you think!