By Neal Lemery; Photos & Video by Don Backman
The Whitney Company Along the Kilchis River: A First Hand Telling of Logging in the 1920s, a long awaited historical book, premiered August 6 at the Pioneer Museum in Tillamook. A standing room only crowd heard readings and stories from Vince Bogard, who has revived Daniel Dewees Strite’s memoir of the Whitney Company’s logging operations on the Kilchis River.
The event prompted a lively discussion and enthusiastic sales of the book, now republished by the Tillamook County Historical Society. Gary Brooks also responded to questions about his scale models of the mill and logging operations, which are on permanent display at the museum.
The logging utilized railroads and hand-operated crosscut saws, with old growth timber feeding the Whitney mills in Garibaldi and what is now the Kilchis Point Reserve. Logs were transported by spur railroad lines, and rafts on Tillamook Bay. Milled lumber was eventually moved by train to the Portland area and other markets. The operations employed hundreds of workers and was a major economic force in the county.
The book is partially a reprint of articles in the Oregon Historical Quarterly in the 1970s, and also includes Strite’s How to Become a Logger: A Complete Treatise in Six Lessons, a humorous look at a logger’s life. Numerous historical photographs have been added, along with an informative introduction by Bogard.
The reader will be intrigued with the complexity and extent of early logging along the Kilchis River, and the old mill site which is now part of the Pioneer Museum’s Kilchis Point Reserve.
The Whitney Company Along the Kilchis River: A First Hand Telling of Logging in the 1920s is available from the Tillamook County Historical Society, PO Box 123, Tlllamook OR 97141 for $25 plus $5 postage, and from the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, (503)842-4553.