|Contextual Notes||Immediately to the northeast of Sedro Woolley lies a significant hill of some 4,100 feet of elevation. This landmark remains known today as Skagit Mill Hill, named for the last logger to lay steel rails high in its timber. Skagit Mill Company began corporate life February 10, 1906. Following its inception, Skagit Mill immediately began construction of a sawmill on the northeast edge of the town of Lyman. The mill produced turned wood columns, car builting materials, and shingles.|
During the next three years, the bustling company built a logging railroad north from the mill into nearby timber. A two-truck Shay locomotive was purchased in 1908 (nicknamed The Goat); another larger Shay was purchased the following year. The railroad entered the timber by way of a rocky gorge and a precipitous climb up to the top of the mountain, using a series of switchbacks. In 1917, Skagit Mill purchased a McFarlane Sky Line donkey to work the high timber. This aerial cable yarding system became the only one of its kind in the state at the time.
The company operated north of Lyman until about 1923. After the company holdings were logged out at Lyman, the firm moved to fresh timber north of Cokedale. They began building railroad near Wiseman Creek, extending their rails toward the area around the old Cokedale coal mines. Over the next few years Skagit Mill logged steadily, and their railroad grew at a complimentary pace, eventually reaching high up on Skagit Mill Hill, and a camp was built for the loggers.
In the spring of 1936, a wage dispute arose between Skagit Mill's sawmill crew and management. A five cent per hour raise was asked by the union and refused by the company. A union meeting was held, and although negotiations continued most of the night, the confrontation ended in deadlock. The company then closed its sawmill, never to run again. A labor agreement was reached, however, for Skagit Mill railroad operation and for some 45 men at the Lyman shingle mill. The shingle mill continued to run for several months, then shut down itself as the company's cedar production dwindled. The railroad remained for an additional two years, with the two-truck Shay leaving each morning to take the crew to work in the woods. Skagit Mill ran its last train in 1938, closing the railroad. The big sawmill at Lyman was dismantled in mid-1939, erasing a major landmark for the town. [Thompson, Dennis Blake. Logging Railroads in Skagit County. Seattle: Northwest Short Line, 1989.]
Lyman is on the north bank of the Skagit River five miles east of Sedro Woolley in northwest Skagit County. At one time, it had a large sawmill. In 1880, it was named for B. L. Lyman, first postmaster. In the period of Skagit River steam boating, it was called Williamson's Landing, for A. R. Williamson, a local settler.