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High-lead Logging on the Olympic Peninsula in the 1920s-30s

Once the tree was topped it was time to rig the trees: placing the guy wires—there were typically two sets: one attached to the top of the tree, the second about halfway up (Figure 17); “hanging” the blocks; and running the working lines through the blocks (Figure 18). It was heavy work: the mainline block on a spar-tree usually weighed hundreds of pounds. (Figure 19). It was hoisted up using a small block lashed to the almost the highest point of the tree. Once rigged, the spar-tree was ready to start moving logs (Figure 20).


Figure 17: Rigging tree, Olympic Peninsula (more info)


Figure 18: Merrill and Ring Logging Company logging operations where men are rigging a spar tree, probably in Clallam County (more info)


Figure 19: Logger sitting on a heavy rigging block, Clemons Logging Company, ca. 1930 (more info)


Figure 20: Riggers hanging from lines attached to spar tree at loading site, Workman Creek Logging Company, probably near Elma, ca. 1926 (more info)

The configurations of high-lead rigging were many and depended on the purpose of the system. One system might yard the logs from the worksite to the cold deck while another was set up to take the logs from the cold deck and load them on to train cars or trucks. Loggers working in extremely steep terrain might even rig a system that worked like an aerial tramway, swinging cut logs from one ridge to another. Several of these systems are illustrated in Young’s catalog, pages 18-28 and 32-35 and in Figures 21-25


Figure 21: Loading site with donkey engine, spar tree, locomotive and flatcar, camp 1, Simpson Logging Company, Mason County, ca. 1924 (more info)


Figure 22: Merrill and Ring Logging Company logging operations showing a spar tree at loading site, probably in Clallam County (more info)


Figure 23: Crew at loading site, with two donkey engines, spartree, and logs suspended above skeleton cars, camp 8, Puget Sound Mill and Timber Company, near Twin, ca. 1922 (more info)


Figure 24: Loading site with donkey engines, spartree, and crew raised in air, Polson Logging Company, near Hoquiam, n.d. (more info)


Figure 25: Logging loading site in Clallam County

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