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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Broughton Log Flume and Lumber Mill, Washington"
Includes ... Broughton Lumber Mill ... Broughton Log Flume ... Hood, Washington ...
Image, 2004, Broughton Log Flume on Chemawa Hill, click to enlarge
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Broughton Log Flume on Chemawa Hill, Washington. View from Washington State Highway 14 at Drano Lake. Image taken November 4, 2004.


Broughton Log Flume ...
A section of the Broughton Log Flume can be seen on the side of Chemawa Hill, from the boat ramp at Drano Lake. The 9-mile-long, 1,000-foot drop flume was the last operating log flume in the United States, floating lumber from Willard, Washington, to a mill at Hood, Washington, a rail station 2 miles west of Bingen. At the mill the logs were processed into finished lumber and shipped east or west on the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway. According to Railroads of the Columbia River Gorge (Burkhardt, 2004, p.97), the flume was constructed out of Douglas fir and cedar, with water coming from the Little White Salmon River. The water flowed approximately nine miles per hour and transported as much as 150,000 board feet of lumber per day. The flume operated from 1923 to December 19, 1986, when the mills closed and the Broughton logging operations closed down. Other sections of the old flume can be seen along Washington State Highway 14, between Drano Lake and Hood. On the Oregon side, Mitchell Point and Ruthton Park are good spots to look across the Columbia at the flume.

Hood, Washington ...
Hood, Washington, is a rail station and the lower end of the Broughton Log Flume. The small community was named by the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Company for Mount Hood, which can be seen across the river in Oregon.
[More]

Image, 2006, Hood, Washington, as seen from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, click to enlarge
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Hood, Washington, as seen from the Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon. View of the Broughton Lumber Mill. Image taken May 10, 2006.


Broughton Lumber Mill ...
The old Broughton Lumber Mill was the eastern end of the Broughton Log Flume. Although the mill closed at the end of 1986, the buildings remain on the north side of Washington State Highway 14, across from the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery.

Image, 2006, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington. Image taken May 10, 2006.
Image, 2006, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington. Image taken May 10, 2006.
Image, 2012, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington. Image taken June 12, 2012.
Image, 2012, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Truck, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington. Image taken June 12, 2012.
Image, 2012, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington, click to enlarge
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Office, Broughton Lumber Mill, Hood, Washington. Image taken June 12, 2012.


Flume Section Replica ...
A restored section of the Broughton Log Flume can be seen at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, a museum devoted to the history of the Columbia River Gorge. The Center is located in Stevenson, Washington.

Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
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Section of the Broughton Log Flume, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Section of the Broughton Log Flume, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, click to enlarge
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Information sign, Broughton Log Flume section, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2011.


Log Flume History ...

Excerpt from: Mount Adams Country: Forgotten Corner of the Columbia River Gorge" by Keith McCoy, 1987:

"... After logging off Underwood Mountain, the Wind River Lumber Company moved over Into the Little White Salmon where Mill A became their headquarters. That rich drainage attracted other lumber firms. The Oregon Lumber Company had a primary mill at Chenowith and flumed their rough-cut lumber to Cook's Landing for water transport to a finishing mill across the Columbia at Viento. This gave them rail facilities for their finished product.

Broughton Lumber Company had their beginnings in this basin, too. To capitalize on the transportation needs of the operators entering the area, William Drano, known as French Billy, organized the Drano Flume Company to build a flume which traversed much of his homestead land. Underfinanced, the firm got into trouble and was bought out by Broughton Lumber Company. They not only completed the flume but it has served for 70 years - the last of the great flume mills.

The original Broughton Lumber Company team took in a new partner in 1923 when Donald M. Stevenson entered the firm. He managed the logging and primary milling at Willard while the finish milling, sales and shipping were under the management of Harold J. Broughton at the Hood plant at river and rail level. The rough-sawn cants float down the nine mile flume, arriving at the Hood mill fifty-five minutes after they are put in the water at Willard. It is a unique and picturesque system. This well managed lumber operation has been a profitable and lasting one, providing steady payrolls over a long span of years. Unfortunately, market conditions and the high cost of modernization signalled its closing late in 1986.

Other flume mills in the area didn't fare as well, for once their areas were cut out there was no backlog of government timber tributary to their sites. The Swan-Haman Lumber Company, with offices in White Salmon, had an early-day sawmill at Bristol atop Burdoin Mountain - almost within view of their downtown headquarters. Their lumber was flumed down the Catherine Creek drainage to a barge landing on the Columbia, later to an S. P. & S. Railway siding when the North Bank Line opened in 1908.

A similar flume operation was started at the head of Major Creek by the Dorr Lumber Company. Their mill town, like Bristol, had their own post office during their heyday in the teens and '20's. ..."


Views of the Flume ...

Image, 2005, Washington Highway 14 Tunnel No.3, Washington, click to enlarge
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Broughton Log Flume on slope above Washington State Highway 14 Tunnel No.3. View from Mitchell Point, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2005, Broughton Log Flume as seen from Ruthton Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Broughton Log Flume, Washington, as seen from Ruthton Park, Oregon. The Flumes destination, Hood, Washington, is just upriver (to the right). Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2008, Broughton Flume from Mitchell Point, click to enlarge
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Broughton Log Flume on slope above Washington State Highway 14, as seen from Mitchell Point, Oregon. Image taken August 23, 2008.
Image, 2008, Broughton Flume from Mitchell Point, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Broughton Log Flume on slope above Washington State Highway 14, as seen from Mitchell Point, Oregon. Image taken August 23, 2008.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...
A cloudy morning wind from the West but not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point], and proceeded on about five miles Came too on the Stard. Side at a village of 7 houses built in the Same form and materials of those above, here we found the Chief we had Seen at the long narrows [The Dalles] ...     they are hospitable and good humered Speak the Same language of the inhabitants of the last village, we call this the friendly village [vicinity of Dougs Beach]. ...     after brackfast we proceeded on, the mountains are high on each Side [high basalt cliffs of the Rowena Gap, with Rowena Crest on the south and the Chamberlain Lake area on the north], containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; at 4 miles lower we observed a Small river falling in with great rapidity on the Stard. Side [Klickitat River] below which is a village of 11 houses [today the town of Lyle is on the upstream side of the Klickitat], here we landed to Smoke a pipe with the nativs and examine the mouth of the river, which I found to be 60 yards wide rapid and deep, The inhabitants of the village are friendly and Chearfull; those people inform us also those at the last village that this little river is long and full of falls, no Salmon pass up it, it runs from N. N. E. that ten nations live on this river and its waters, on buries, and what game that Can kill with their Bow & arrows

we purchased 4 dogs and Set out- (this village is the of the Same nation of the one we last passed) and proceeded on The Countrey on each side begin to be thicker timbered with Pine and low white Oake; verry rockey and broken [passing Mayer State Park on the Oregon side]. passed three large rocks in The river the middle rock is large long and has Several Squar vaults on it. we call this rockey Island the Sepulchar [Memaloose Island] - The last river we passed we Shall Call the Cataract River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians say is on it- passed 2 Lodges of Indians a Short distance below the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island] on the Stard. Side river wide, at 4 mile passed 2 houses on the Stard. Side, Six miles lower passed 4 houses above the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side [Hood River]    a thick timbered bottom above & back of those houses; those are the first houses which we have Seen on the South Side of the Columbia River, (and the axess to those dificuelt) for fear of the approach of their common enemies the Snake Indians, passed 14 houses on the Std. Side Scattered on the bank- from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River [Hood River], the falls mountain [Mount Hood] is South and the top is covered with Snow.    one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River], opposit to a large Sand bar [from Hood River], in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek [White Salmon River] it is 28 yards wide, about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar [Hood River sandbar] is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, location of the Columbia Gorge Hotel],

[On the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#78) a "C___ Spring" is shown on the north side of the river, today the location of Spring Creek and Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, with no mention of it in any text. On the south side, at the location of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, only "Cascade" is labeled and "4 Houses of Indians".]

a Short distance lower passed 4 Indian houses on the Lard. Side in a timbered bottom, a fiew miles further we came too at 3 houses on Stard. Side, back of which is a pond [today the location of Drano Lake. The Little White Salmon River empties into Drano Lake.] in which I Saw Great numbers of Small Swan, Capt. Lewis and went into the houses of those people ...     Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety.





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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: Burkhardt, D.C.Jesse, 2004, Railroads of the Columbia River Gorge, Images of the Rail, Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco; Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, 2011, Broughton Log Flume exhibit; Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society; McCoy, K., 1987, Mount Adams Country: Forgotten Corner of the Columbia River Gorge;

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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June 2012