The apron of the chute projected slightly over the deck of the schooner. The lumber was sent down a distance of eighty feet or more, one piece at a time.
At the lower end of the chute was a man called the “clapperman” who operated a brake-like device which slowed up and finally stopped each piece of lumber just as it reached the apron. The crew would take the lumber from the apron and stow it on the schooner. This all sounds quite prosaic until you realize that this is being done on a windy day with eight foot swells!!
When you consider that the chutes were built before the days of steam they are engineering marvels and truly a testament to the ingenuity and skill of their builders. Nearly every doghole port had a chute and the pictures below are only representative of all the chutes that existed along the Redwood Coast.
Baker Chute at Point Arena
View from the beach of the Baker Chute at Point Arena
Point Arena Chute from the top
Fourth view of the Baker Chute at Point Arena
Another view of the Point Arena Chute
Steen’s Landing near Point Arena
View from the top of Steen’s Landing
The chute at Mendocino
The chute at Cuffey’s Cove
Chute at Newport
The first chute at Westport built in 1877
The second chute at Westport built in 1882. Look at the lumber (at the edge) the ties nearer the viewer and the tan bark stacked vertically (in the bottom left corner) waiting to be loaded.
If you look closely in this picture you can see the lumber being taken to the steam schooner by wire.
Chutes at Mendocino