Preserving the Memories of a Proud Tradition
Logging was hard, sweaty work.
The U.S. Army’s arrival into Southern Oregon in the 1860s brought the loggers, also known as ‘timber beasts’. The land was raw and so were the men who packed rustic logging camps. Two hundred men, crowded into small quarters heated by wood stoves, had little to do once their 10-12 hour shifts in the woods were over but sleep and play cards. Socks and woolen underwear were washed in kerosene cans filled with water and then draped over every available surface to dry. Sunday was their one day off and it was often spent hunting. The logger’s reward for hours of back-breaking labor? $30-40 a month net after paying for hearty bunkhouse meals and clothing at the company store.
Fallers, working with axes as sharp as jackknives, prided themselves on the skill used to make undercuts which determined the direction the tree would fall. Fallers, having finished the undercut, would next saw halfway through from the back of the tree and drive in steel wedges to keep the blade free. Minutes before the tree was to fall, the man with the stoutest lungs would below “T-I-M-B-E-R-R-R.” That cry and the subsequent crash could be heard for miles. Expert fallers could fall a tree on a dime!