Early on logging was done by rail. Locomotives came steaming in to pick up the lumber, like these WeyerhaeuserTimber Company locomotives. If you want to see some of these old trails up close, Mount Rainier Scenic Railroadhas live demonstrations — on the rail, not picking up logs. For a fee you an jump on and get a taste of what it must have been like.
The first is an extremely steep incline, with tracks running at least half the way up. If you zoom in you can see the cables hanging from the poles and the well-used transport cars at the bottom of the hill.
The second shot was also taken of the Pacific National Lumber Co., in National, in September of the same year, capturing the steam donkeyand crew. Take a look at the enormous timbers the men are sitting on.
Although the technology and steep-slope logging techniques have changed over last 86 years, it looks like logging suspenders have stayed in fashion.
Photos courtesy of the South Pierce County Historical Society.
The logging business was what got Eatonville up and running. Here are five fabulous shots of logging in the early days and the use of the steam donkey. It looks primitive today, but it was a huge step up from using horses and cattle to drag the logs.
These pictures are loaded with details. Click on any of them to take a closer look.
I’m not sure where in the wood these photos were shot, or the men in them. So, if you recognize anyone please let me know.
Eatonville was a logging town for decades. And you can still see guys in rubber suspenders and cork boots around town.
There are no end to amazing “old timey” Eatonville logging shots. Here’s one labeled “logging the canyon”. Maybe up near Canyon Road? And the gentleman 2nd to the left if Robert McGilivery.
Despite the lack of information about where it’s shot, there’s a wealth of information in the shot — a look at the old steam donkey, with its beat up tin roof and the stack of wood to fuel it, as well as the spools holding the cable.
Photo courtesy of the Eatonville Historical Society and Pat Van Eaton.
Steam donkeys (basically a steam-powered winch) may seem primitive today, but they were state-of-the-art in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
How it works A cable was wrapped around a log and the steam donkey drug it in. For a more elaborate explanation, Wikipedia explains is like this:
A logging engine comprised at least one powered winch around which was wound hemp rope or (later) steel cable. They were usually fitted with a boiler, and usually equipped with skids, or sleds made from logs, to aid them during transit from one “setting” to the next.
The larger steam donkeys often had a “donkey house” (a makeshift shelter for the crew) built either on the skids or as a separate structure. Usually a water tank, and sometimes a fuel oil tank was mounted on the back of the sled. In rare cases, steam donkeys were also mounted on wheels. Later steam donkeys were built with multiple horizontally-mounted drums/spools, on which were wound heavy steel cable instead of the original rope.
When the combustion engine hit the scene, the steam donkey faded away. However, if you look around, you can still sometimes find one out in the woods.
This shot, I believe, is a Weyerhaueser locomotive loaded with timber.
Until the Panama Canalopened on August 15, 1914, shipping Douglas fir to the East Coast had been too costly. Soon, Atlantic Coast retailers were clamoring for this new and exceptional Northwest lumber product.
Here’s an interesting Weyerhaeuser fact. In the 1930s, the company marketed this innovative new product called a Pres-to-Log. It was made from “scrap” shavings and wood fragments.