Last week we learned about the science behind felling trees with crosscut saws. Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn about the variety of ways that the Potlatch Lumber Company transported logs once they had been cut and cleared!
Horses were a popular early form of transporting logs from the forest floor to an accumulation site, usually a railroad car, flume, or body of water (we’ll talk about some of these in the coming weeks!). Between 1907-1915 in Bovill, Idaho (one of the Company’s camps), “horse logging was normally used where terrain and distance (about 300 feet) combined to economically get logs direct to the rail landings.”1
Potlatch horses were accounted for as equipment. According to records, “The Potlatch Lumber Company maintained a complete record of their equipment and horses were included. A copy of a letter from C.G. Nogle, logging superintendent, to W.L. Maxwell, Auditor, briefly states, ‘The following is a description of a horse that died at the Elk River mill. His mate kicked him, while in the barn, on one side and they changed sides and his mate kicked him on the other side and the result was that he had to be shot.’ 1 Black Gelding, age 12 years, weight 1800#.”2 This letter is dated February 2, 1929 and is held by the University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives.
Stay tuned for next week where we’ll discuss steam donkey engines!
Photos courtesy of the Potlatch Historical Society Collection
Tom Farbo, White Pine Wobblies and Wannigans: A History of Potlatch Logging Camps, North Central Idaho 1903-1986, p. 28 ↩
ibid., p. 2 ↩