From Oxen to Locomotives
In the last 150 years, the West Olympic Peninsula has seen many changes in timber transport.
:This picture shows a team of oxen hauling logs off a hillside in the 1890s. In the early days of logging on the Peninsula, oxen were used more than horses because they were easier to purchase and transport. However, they were difficult to work with and harder to care for.
:Here, horses are transporting logs over a skid road. Skid roads reduced friction and allowed the animals to pull the logs easier. While horse teams were more expensive to acquire, they were usually easier to work with than oxen.
:This picture shows one of the first pieces of machinery used to haul logs: the Dolbeer Donkey. Its designer, a ship's captain, made it to resemble a ship's capstan. Several design flaws made the cables wear out rapidly which required men to frequently replace worn cables.
:In the 1920s, the double drum donkey was used to stack logs before they were hauled out by railroad and trucks. The main problem was that the donkey ran on steam power and required huge amounts of water and fuel.
:This wagon was built in Port Angeles and the picture was taken east of the Elwha River on what is now SR 112. With no brakes,
the only way to slow these heavily loaded wagons was to chain the rear wheels together and drag them behind. They could only be used on roads, which were often built upon old railroad beds.
:This is a 1915 Nash Quad Four Wheel Drive Truck. This was a tricky vehicle to maneuver in the woods. If the driver stopped too quickly, the logs could go right over him because there was no cab, limited braking power, and the logs were not bound securely. The truck's top speed was about 16 miles per hour.
:This locomotive is pulling a logging camp to the next logging site. Locomotives played an important part in timber history for over a hundred years. True "work horses" of the Peninsula, they hauled huge quantities of timber. But, they took a lot of expertise to build, operate, and maintain. Notice the trestle, which in and of itself, is a remarkable piece of engineering.
:This is either a GM or International truck reload from the 1940s. At first, these trucks carried loads only where there were no rail lines. After roads were built, trucks were preferred because they were cheaper, safer, and easier to operate. Today, you can see logging trucks on SR 101 transporting timber, finished lumber or cedar products.
Pictures and historical informationcourtesy of Jack Zaccardo