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The Holt Log Hauler
came into full reign in the woodlands by the 1920s. It may
these lands' even before then, but I was not able to find the exact
When I was a lad. Bill Bartz was the engineer and Cliff Elkey was its
Before that time, Clyde Davis worked as the 'fireman1 on the log hauler
crew, stoking up the fire which fueled this steam driven tractor made
the Holt Company.
Log Hauler belonged to the
Holt Lumber Co. and was a steam driven locomotive with a set of sleigh
runners in front with heavy steel tracks for propulsion under the back.
The sleighs that this locomotive pulled were huge double bunk sleds
runners under each bunk being 8 feet or more long. The Log
pulled seven or eight of these sleighs which were piled eight to nine
high with logs.
were maintained for the
Log Hauler, these roads followed creeks and rivers for a definite
The roads were 'iced t after being packed down to ensure the passage of
the loads. At measured intervals along the waterways, holes were
in the creek bed to enable a barrel to be lowered into them and filled.
A boom was attached to the top of a large wooden tank so the filled
of water could be raised and dumped into this holding tank. When the
was completely filled in this manner, horses pulled this load forward
one man at the back pulled large wooden plugs out of holes near the
bottom so the water would gush out over the roadway. Known as the
this process was a necessary part of the logging operation and was done
on the coldest of nights so the water could quickly freeze solid. By
time the tank on the sprinkler was empty, the [nen were at the next
in the creek bed and so replenished their water supply.
next step in roadway maintenance
came in the contrivance known as the 'rutter1. This sleigh was a large
heavy conveyance with a steel cutting blade that rut ruts in the iced
The sleighs behind the Log Hauler found this rut and clung to it thus
that the train of loaded sleighs would follow in a true course behind
steam locomotive. Where steep hills had to be traversed, there were
of sand placed at points along the roadway. These grades were
sanded in order to slow the
downhill progress of the train, for no one could stop a runaway train
loaded sleighs if they began to push the Log Hauler forward.
well remember a pileup of logging
sleighs when just such an incident happened at a point about one mile
of County W east. I refer to this logging accident as the
Pileup, for it happened on the roadway along the Hines Creek.
logging road followed the
creek to its headwaters and had to traverse a fairly long uphill grade
in order to reach the logs waiting to be loaded, and the hill itself
a jumble of rocks, some as large as a Volkswagon car! Large logs had
used to make a roadbed to carry the sleighs over these rocks, the logs
covered over with soil in order to smooth this surface. The roadway was
thus elevated several feet above the surrounding landscape.
called this road 'Sand
Hill' since many buckets of sand were used in slowing the downward
of .the Log Hauler each time it brought out its trainload of logs from
the headwaters. Now whether the lead sleigh broke loose from the
I don't know, but the sight pf that pileup will long stay in my memory!
Seven or Eight of these sleighs, with their loads of logs had plunged
after the other into the creek and onto the hillside, tangling into a
of logs and sleighs that stood about 20 feet high. Logs were scattered
all about the scene of the breakaway, causing days of hardship and
for the men who would have to reload this harvest of logs.
were high to salvage the
sleighs from underneath this massive pileup, so the 'jammer1 was
in from the landing at the railway to facilitate this task. With the
of this crane, the work continued until the logs could be reloaded in
to reach their true destination at the landing in town.
was quite some time before 'Sand
Hill1 could be brought back into operation.