If this piece of logging equipment doesn’t look familiar, it’s because you’re more likely to see in a museum than the woods. This drag saw was probably used in the 20s or 30s when they hit their stride.
Basically, the engine drags the saw back and forth, as if you were manually sawing down a tree. You can see one in action on this YouTube video.
Drag saws were the labor saving, tool of choice before chain saws hit the scene around in 1940s.
Here we see a big tree coming down and then paraded by Murphy Logging in the 50s. The tree was so big, it was hauled out on more than one truck.
Eatonville’s, Murphy Logging is no longer in operation, but their photos live on. These six shots have a little for everyone, whether you’re into vintage chainsaws, enjoy seeing what Mashell Ave.looked like in the 1950s or appreciate old logging trucks.
The men posing by the log in the last picture are from left to right, Corbett Hale, Don Murphy and Neil Christensen. If you have more information on these photos, please add your comments.
Eatonville was built on logging. Here are a few snapshots of the loggers of the early days and a few logging terms that live on today.
Blow Down: A tree felled by the wind or some other natural causes.
Bucker: The logger who cuts the felled logs to size to get the most scale.
Calks: The logger’s classic, high-topped, steel-spiked boot, which gives him steady footing on a fallen log. Not usually worn socially.
Chaser: A person who unhooks the chokers from the logs at the landing.
Choker: A small piece of cable with a knob and fitting bell, used to attach logs to the butt rigging of cable systems or to skidders. Chokerman say a choker is an instrument of torture invented by people who hate loggers.
Faller: The person who cuts down the tree.
Grapple: A heavy set of metal tongs with teeth on the inside edge, which can be opened and shut at will by the operator.
Haulback: A cable used to carry the butt rigging back to the work site.
Hook Tender: Boss of the rigging crew. Inevitably, the name is shortened to “hooker” which gives rise to hundreds of jokes.
Loader: Also sometimes called a “shovel”. The machine at the landing that loads the log onto the truck.
Peavey: A steel-spiked pole with a hinged tong, which provided the leverage necessary to move large logs.
Rigging Crew: The group of loggers who handle, set up and maintain cable systems.
Sale: A definite amount of lumber put up fro sale by bid. Also the site on which the timber is standing.
Scaler: The person who determines the amount of footage in a log.
Skidder: A machine, either rubber-tired or tracked, used to drag logs to the landing.
Springboard: A lightly flexible, iron-shod, strong board, that’s inserted into a notch chopped into a tree and used as a precarious platform from which the tree is felled. A relic of hand-power days, it now has only a few practitioners
The caption that went with this photo was “First tree cut in Eatonville location near Depot”. Judging by the trees that have been felled around it, it wasn’t the first. But it was definitely a big one and one of the first.
The photo below shows the same spot and the Depot in 1918 — not too many years later.
The Depot is no longer standing, but Pat Van Eaton tells me it stood on the corner of Madison Ave. and Center Street (then Groe), across the street from where Arrow Lumber is now.
Photos courtesy of Gary Henricksen and Pat Van Eaton.
This story was told to me by Dr. Tom Van Eaton. I’ll try to do it justice.
Willie Boettcher was a woodsman. Like the rest of his family, he was used to big trees and bigger blades.
He lived in Alder and while he was out in his backyard one day, he slipped and fell on an ax. The blade was pointing upward and caught him in the stomach. It cut him wide open and — not to get too graphic — organs were spilling out.
There was no time to get to a hospital, but luckily his sister Minnie Boettcher knew what to do. She brought him inside the house, got boiling water going and spent the next hour and half cleaning the wound, and removing dirt and needles. Throughout it all, the wound kept bleeding, but Willie hung on. Once Minnie was finished, she stitched him up with a handful big stitches. Miraculously, Willie survived.
Doctor Tom says Willie couldn’t have gotten better treatment from a hospital at the time.
Minnie came from Germany, where medicine was fairly advanced — especially when it came to dealing with bacteria. German doctor, Robert Koch in 1882 had proved bacteria was the cause of many diseases. Germans quickly learned that cleaning wounds thoroughly could stave off infection. In Willie’s case, because the wound kept bleeding, it also helped clean the wound and reduced his risk of infection.
Even though Willie survived, he never went back in the woods. It was too dangerous. Instead, he opened a pool hall in Elbe.
I’m not sure what is more amazing about this Eatonville logging photo: the hard rubber tires, the fact that this vehicle only has three tires, or the size of the log, which looks like it could easily crush this early logging truck.
Logging trucks started showing up in the early 1900’s. I don’t know anything about this particular model, but it shows up on other history sites, like one about nearby logging in Sammamish.
Interesting fact: Many of the early logging trucks had no doors on the driver’s side. Why? Because early trucks had almost no brakes. If a truck suddenly lost control coming down a hill, the driver needed to be able to quickly bail out.
Another interesting fact: Loggers were cutting more spruce trees in the 1910s because that’s what airplanes were made out of then. Spruce logging for airplanes became particularly important once America entered WWI in 1917.
Recognize this building? It’s the home across from the high school on Mashell, only back in the day it was the Lumberman’s Hospital.
Insurance for Loggers Dr. A. W. Bridge has a contract with the Eatonville Lumber Company employees where each employee paid $1.00 per month for medical care. Dr. Bridge also had doctors in Kapowsin, Minaerl, Ashford and Morton. (There were no shortage of patients will all the logging taking place.)
In 1923 Dr. Bridge opened offices in Tacoma and in 1926 opened the Bridge Clinic in Tacoma specializing in surgery.
He continued the hospital in Eatonville until 1932 and had doctors in town until 1946 — the year he retired. All the Bridge Clinic contracts with industrial concerned expired the last week of May, 1946, and the local union signed up with the Pierce County medical Bureau. (History of Tacoma Eastern Area)
These loggers thought they were high tech back in the 40s. This photo shows the shift from steam to diesel power in in the woods. Pat Van Eaton says this eliminated the need for water and the fire hazard of burning wood to fire the steam boiler.
Photo was taken about 1942 near National, WA. Courtesy Donna Rahier