For some reason, I really like wigwam burners. Maybe because they are a reminder of my childhood growing up in rural Oregon. Maybe because I see them as a symbol of our history which is quickly disappearing from our landscapes. Maybe because I just like the “hunt” of finding them. I won’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent looking at photos of them on Flickr and then scouring Google Maps looking for hints that the wigwams are still there. Frankly, I don’t want to know myself.
I’ve read numerous times on the Internet that there are 50 remaining wigwam burners in Oregon. I’m skeptical of that number. No one has yet cited their source or the date that it was estimated. I know when the Smith River Wigwam Burner in Drain was placed in the Oregon Historic Sites Database in 1982, it was said to be one of seven remaining wigwam burners in Douglas County (besides the one in Drain, also wigwam burners in the towns of Tiller, Oakland, Yoncalla, Riddle, and two in the Dillard area). So far, I have only be able to verify that three of them still exist (Drain, Oakland, and Yoncalla).
I’ve created a Google Map for my own use which I thought I would share with you. It shows with blue pins the wigwam burners that I’ve seen with my own eyes. In red pins you’ll find those that I haven’t seen myself, but which clearly show on Google Maps. In yellow pins are those which might be there, but aren’t showing clearly on Google Maps — they might be lost in trees or perhaps the shapes that are showing just aren’t definite enough. This map will be updated as I slowly find new wigwam burners throughout the state.
View Wigwam Burners in a larger map
If you know of existing Oregon wigwam burners please let me know in the comments below. The more detailed you can be the better. I’ve heard about many wigwam burners in various towns (Harlan, for example) but even with the smaller towns I have trouble locating them on Google Maps without more information, especially if they are no longer part of an established lumber mill.
These are the wigwam burners I’ve written posts about so far (updated March 2015):