Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Storey Timber Company

Once upon a time…  Do you like stories that begin with those words? Or do you feel they only belong in children’s storybooks? I couldn’t make up my mind, so on that basis I believe I’ll use them in this brief history of the Storey Timber Company.

Once upon a time there was a logging railroad which ran from the South Rosedale Slough southerly through the Dan Brown homestead and probably through the John George Schindler homestead. The time period was in the early 1900s; most likely 1905 or a bit later, with 1910 as the time of the most activity. The actual history has been lost. Most people in Rosedale generally agreed that it originated about where the Chalet in the Woods is now located, and that the superintendent of the old style, “ground-lead” logging operation was a man named Frank Fuhrman. Mr. Fuhrman lived on the Arletta site.

Site of South Rosedale Slough, Brown homestead on the right

The two men who had an interest in this venture were Frank Fuhrman and Chester Thorne of Lakewood. It is unsure which of the men worked for the Old National Bank which loaned the money to finance the logging operations. There is no record of whom the other members of the company were or who were the fallers, buckers, men, and equipment to yard the logs.

The steam locomotive made several runs in a day hauling the logs from the hilly forest between Arletta and South Rosedale dumping them in the water at the slough along today's Ray Nash Drive. This log dump was on the Dan Brown homestead on the east side of the slough on the flat area south of the present bridge. The Storey Timber Company operated this log dump through 1912.
Rosedale Logging Camp

After the dump was abandoned by the railroad, and other loggers ceased to use it and all the old growth had been cut, the rails were taken up for salvage. 

A spur of the tracks ran from the vicinity of the Kopperman land and Bill Sehmel’s place to the main line. The Arletta to Rosedale road (Ray Nash Drive) was blocked whenever the locomotive was approaching or leaving the log dump. Henry Kopperman (born 1908) remember that some of the bigger and older boys from nearby farms would paint the tracks with axle-grease and hid in the wooded area to watch the heavy iron wheels spin out of control. 
Logging railroad track near Rosedale

According to Bob Crandall, a Rosedale historian, young John Schindler was a witness to an accident in 1908 when he was 14 years old. Bob Crandall wrote “This day, John was watching the engine with logs moving towards the dump. The grade to the water was quite steep. The train was traveling too fast!  John was likely the first person to arrive where the train left the tracks.  Logs were everywhere.  He remembers lifting a steam line off one man’s neck and burning his hands severely.” The fireman and engine were taken to the hospital in Tacoma. The engine was righted, but the logging operations didn’t last long after this accident.

Chrissy Yates walks her dog along the railroad trestle over Whitmore Creek in south Rosedale, circa 1918.
Chrissy was the daughter of Albert and Sarah Yates, early Rosedale pioneers.

 Mollie Yates Bothwell, daughter of George Yates, remembered playing on the trestle after the tracks were gone, using it as a shortcut home from school. With child’s eyes Mollie saw the trestle support as a “tall tower” and looked upon it as a local wonder.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to the very, very sharp eyes, and research skills there are needed corrections to be made to the history of the Storey Timber Company: You and I and probably everybody else who have read Bob Crandall's book on the history of Rosedale assumed he was right when, while telling the story of the Rosedale logging railroad, he flatly states on page 15, “The name on the engine was the Storey Timber Company.” Well, it turns out that it was not the Storey Timber Company that logged in Rosedale. I've looked into the the Storey Timber Company, and it wasn't formed until 1912, which was too late to have been involved with the Rosedale railroad. They also never logged on the west side of Puget Sound. Also, Chester Thorne and Frank Fuhrman had nothing to do with Storey Timber, but they were definitely involved with the Rosedale logging. The photograph of the Storey Timber locomotive on page 38 E of Crandall's book was not taken in Rosedale, as that particular steam engine was never in Rosedale.

    Here's the part we all overlooked. Bob Crandall found out that Storey Timber never logged in Rosedale, but only after he'd already sent his manuscript to the printer. The only way he could made a correction was by including it in the introduction to his book. So in the introduction, he wrote, "The logging railroad was a sticker. The name on the engine is not that of the company."

    He then added, "The name of the company was Rawleigh Logging Co. or something like that." That wasn't the name of the company either, but that's beside the point, which is that he alerted readers to the mistake he’d made in the main text. But we all missed it. I have now made a note on pages 15 and 38 E of my copy of Crandall's book that the name of the Rosedale logging railroad company was not the Storey Timber Co.

    The rest of your blog entry on the Rosedale logging railroad looks good, but the photo of the logging camp is of the Rainier Logging Co. camp on the Key Peninsula, not the one in Rosedale. I think Crandall got that wrong in his book too, but I don't have my copy near, so can't check to be sure.