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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Bridal Veil Lumbering Company, Bridal Veil, Oregon"
Includes ... Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ... Bridal Veil ... Palmer ...
Image, 2005, Bridal Veil Post Office, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bridal Veil Post Office, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken June 29, 2005.


Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ...
The Bridal Veil Lumbering Company came into existence in 1886 and became one of Oregon's oldest lumber companies. It was located near the base of Bridal Veil Falls. After 75 years the company shut its doors in 1960 as profits dwindled.

Bridal Veil ...
The Oregon community of Bridal Veil evolved as a company mill town in the 1880s when one of Oregon's first paper mills was established on Bridal Veil Creek. A small community developed around the papermaking mill for the families of the workers. It was followed by the Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company that consisted of a logging operation and saw-mill on Larch Mountain, and a planing mill at Bridal Veil.
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Palmer ...
The small community of Palmer was located one and one-half miles south of the community of Bridal Veil, and was a saw-mill and logging town for the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company. Palmer was located up Bridal Veil Canyon, on Bridal Veil Creek and was connected to Bridal Veil by Palmer Mill Road and a two-mile, wooden, v-shaped flume. Timber was rough-cut and then flumed down the mountain to the planing mill at Bridal Veil.
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Today ...
In 1991 the Trust for Public Lands acquired the property intending to donate it to the State of Oregon for a park. The buildings were removed. As of 2003 (McArthur and McArthur, 2003) this ownership exchange had not yet been done. When this web author visited in September and October 2006 the area appeared to be a holding area for road construction equipment. One building remaining in existence is the Bridal Veil Post Office, once the toolshed for the Bridal Veil Lumbering Compnay.
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Bridal Veil Falls ...

Image, 2009, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Bridal Veil Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon. Image taken April 26, 2009.


Views of the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company ...

Penny Postcard, Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Logging Camp, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon." Published for the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Ore., by M.R., L.A. Card #3985. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Lumbering Company area, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Area which once was the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company. View from the Bridal Veil Post Office. Image taken October 21, 2006.
Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Lumbering Company area, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wall remnants, Bridal Veil Lumbering Company. Image taken September 23, 2006.
Image, 2006, Bridal Veil Lumbering Company area, Bridal Veil, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wall remnant, Bridal Veil Lumbering Company. Image taken September 23, 2006.


Early History ...

"AN OVERVIEW"
by Tom Cowling

"Bridal Veil evolved as a company mill town in the 1880s when one of Oregon's first paper mills was established on Bridal Veil Creek. A small community developed around the papermaking mill for the families of the workers. It was followed by the Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company that consisted of a logging operation and saw-mill on Larch Mountain, and a planing mill at Bridal Veil.

In 1886, the Company started construction of the mill buildings and residential dwellings east of the paper mill. A saw-mill and logging town, later known as Palmer, was built one and one-half miles south of Bridal Veil on Larch Mountain. It was located up Bridal Veil Canyon, on Bridal Veil Creek and was connected to Bridal Veil by Palmer Mill Road and a two-mile, wooden, v-shaped flume. Timber was rough-cut and then flumed down the mountain to the planing mill at Bridal Veil.

The Bridal Veil and Palmer communities and mills worked in tandem, dependent upon each other, for nearly fifty years until fire destroyed some of the planing mill buildings at Bridal Veil in 1936. As the timber supply on the mountain was nearly depleted, and the country was in The Depression, a decision not to rebuild those buildings was made.

In 1937, the mill buildings and town were sold to "Wood Specialties Company", later named "Bridal Veil Lumber and Box Company". This company produced wooden cheese boxes for the Kraft Food Company. Ammunition boxes for the Army and Navy were manufactured during the war years. In 1950, the Company decided to diversify and began producing molding, doorjambs and window frames.

By 1960 the Company had ceased operations. Bridal Veil's nearly 75-year history as a company mill town came to an end."

Source:    In 2001 Tom Cowling published a nice collecion of history, information, and remembrances about early Bridal Veil and nearby communities such as Palmer. (Cowling, Tom, 2001, "Stories of Bridal Veil, A Company Mill Town, 1886-1960", produced for Crown Point Country Historical Society, and published by Stuart F. Cooper Company, L.A., Calfornia).



One of the Most Unique Lumbering
Plants in the Northwest.

"The Bridal Veil Lumbering Company, located on the main line of the O.R. & N. Co., 30 miles east of Portland, conducts one of the most unique, and at the same time one of the most complete lumbering plants on the Coast.

The company owns and operates its logging camps, it cuts its timber from its own timber lands, and except for a little minor work, it does not use a horse or other power aside from that of steam about the entire property. The forest belt from which the timber for the mills is cut is situated on Larch Mountain, several miles back from the railroad. The general elevation of this timber land is several hundred feet above that of the river and railroad line which furnish the most available means of tansportation for the large product of this company.

A mill with a daily capacity of 100,000 feet of finished lumber is located upon Larch Mountain. The point of location is convenient to the timber belt. From this mill a flume three miles in length leads to the main yard and planing mill at Bridal Veil, the seat of the company's headquarters, and located on the Columbia River and main line of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company's tracks. As fast as lumber is cut from the logs at the mill on the mountain it goes floating away to the yards through the miles of flume. When this lumber reaches the yard it is picked up and yarded, or put through a dry kiln, or loaded on cars for shipment.

Timber grown in this altitude is much superior to timber of the forest belts of lowlands. The timber of Larch Mountain is free from pitch, and also from the coarse grain found in trees of a rapid growth. Lumber cut by the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company is especially valuable for finishing work, and it is consequently in much greater demand than coarser grained lumber on the market.

At Bridal Veil station, the O.R.& N. Co., is building his main track closer to the river, thus affording the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company considerable additional needed room. Taking advantage of the increased space afforded, the company next Spring will rebuild their planing mill, increasing its capacity about one-third. They will also build at this site a new dry kiln. A new 200-horse-power engine was recently installed at their saw mill on the mountain. This replaced the old engine which was not of sufficient capacity to meet the increased requirements of this plant.

This company was the first of the saw mill companies to use the log trolley. This was described fully in The Oregonian, issue of November 24 last. By means of this trolley, logs are picked up out of the canyons and other places formerly practically inaccessible, and placed upon cars or skid roads which furnish easy transport to the mill. The use of this trolly greatly facilitates logging in a rough country."

Bridal Veil Lumbering Company.

"While the company's plant at the foot of Larch Mountain is not unlike other saw mill plants in successful opertation in a heavy timber belt, its methods of logging are totally unlike those of any other milling company in the world. It is in the unique methods of logging by the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company that the interest of this article centers.

Trees, many of them of tremendous diameter and height, thickly stud the mountain side. These trees are felled and cut into logs in the ordinary manner of these Wewstern lumbering forests, after which donkey engines, mounted upon heavy sleighs made purposely for them, gather the product in from all directions. Long cables are employed for this purpose, and they can strip an acre or two of saw logs at a single setting. This process is called "yarding", and when a section has been cleared the donkey and sleigh are moved, by using the cables, to another place. "Bull" donkeys of greater strength than "yarding" donkeys, with their endless cables, haul the logs from the "yard" to a logging railroad, and this latter delivers them at the mill. The "bull" donkeys use a skid road, but the railroad, upon which is run a powerful Baldwin locomotive, is constructed much the same as any other railroad, only it has no cars in its equipment. The logs, rounded (or "sniped") at one end, are drawn over the ties, one trailing after the other -- a string of them half a mile long, sometimes -- and their passing over them does not seem to injure the ties in the least degree.

Not a team, save those that haul supplies to the camps, is to be seen in all the woods of this big lumbering concern, the steam donkeys having proven themselves so great economizers that they are bound to supplant almost entirely old methods everywhere. A "bull" donkey's strength and power is so applied that 30,000 feet of logs may be moved at one time, requireing a tension of 120,000 pounds. Three "yarding" and three "bull" donkeys are employed.

The arrangements for logging and cutting timber are so perfect that some rapid work has been done by this company.

So rapidly is all this work done, in fact, that a tree standing in the forest in the morning has been felled, sent to the mill, cut into lumber, "flumed" to the railroad, passed through the planing mill and dryer and in condition for the builder before the sun had set."

Source:    "The Morning Oregonian", Wednesday, January 1, 1902, Historic Oregon Newspaper Project.



"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards". The "Penny Postcard" became a popular way to send greetings to friends and family. The Penny Postcard today has become a snapshot of history.

Penny Postcard, Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Logging Camp, Bridal Veil, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Logging Camp, Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon." Published for the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Ore., by M.R., L.A. Card #3985. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources: Cowling, Tom, 2001, Stories of Bridal Veil, A Company Mill Town (1886-1960), produced for Crown Point Country Historical Society, published by Stuart F. Cooper Company, L.A., Calfornia; "The Morning Oregonian", January 1, 1902, Historic Oregon Newspaper Project.

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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July 2012