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Log Booms - Loading the Cut Logs

Not a job for the faint hearted
Click photo to see the gallery

In the very early days of logging the ox teams hauled the logs from the woods on a skid road to the landing – a place by the river where they waited for nature in the form of a swollen river to take the cut logs downstream to the mill. When steam initially came to the woods the logs were loaded by hand onto railroad flat cars with the aid of jackscrews. With the advent of steam donkeys the logs were yarded (loaded) using cranes or booms. Click here to see sketches of how this was done using available materials (trees, pulleys, rope and simple tongs).

Along the Mendocino Coast all the railroads had booms of one form or another to load the cars which the locos hauled to the mill. Here are a selection of the photos we have located showing the booms in action.

Hayrack boom in operation The steam donkey providing the motive power can be seen in the background Shay loco positioning cars so that they can be loaded Loading logs onto disconnects – the log itself connects the tow bogies (sets of wheels) Hayrack boom loading flat car Feeding the mill at Fort Bragg