Prune Hill Historical

Prune Hill is about seven miles east of Saginaw and is the site of the first Booth Kelly Sawmill.

I’ll be up-front at the start of this post, I’m not a mill historian or knowledgeable about Booth Kelly. However I do like great pictures that tell a story. Earlier this summer, when searching for historical information about Marten Flume (which I couldn’t find), I found some great photos of Prune Hill and was captivated. I started seeking out more. Here’s what I found.

 

The beginnings: 1890s Sawmill

In 1898 this is the Booth Kelly sawmill at Prune Hill. It sent lumber by flume to the town of Saginaw. This photo shows a log pond in foreground, an open-sided mill building and workers’ cabins on opposite shore.

Booth Kelly sawmill at Prune Hill, 1898.

Booth Kelly sawmill at Prune Hill, 1898. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

 

Booth Kelly Sawmill, with a worker riding the logs at the left.

Booth Kelly Sawmill with a worker riding the logs at the left. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

 

People Who Lived and Worked There

My favorite photos are those with people in them, like this one with workers out on the logs.

Pond at Prune Hill

More workers. The date is unknown in this photo from Flikr user Curtis Irish.

 

And this one with the crew in front of a cabin. (This photo of a Booth Kelly logging camp is from the Lane County History Museum, and is guessed to be Prune Hill.)

And the cookhouse.

Saginaw Oregon

Photo from Flickr user Curtis Irish

 

These millworkers are posing with a log to be cut inside a Booth Kelly sawmill building. Look at those saw blades on the left! (This photo is either taken at Prune Hill or Wendling.)

Millworkers pose with log inside Booth Kelly sawmill building, 1900

Millworkers pose with log to be cut inside Booth Kelly sawmill building, circa 1900. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

 

Prune Hill Home

A close-up of one of the cabins. Date unknown from this Flikr photo from Curtis Irish.

 

Logging in the 1890s

This 1897 photo shows a “horse team pulling log for Jones Lumber Company at Prune Hill, while loggers supervise. Jones Lumber Company was bought by Booth Kelly Company shortly afterwards.”

Horse team pulling log, 1897

Horse team pulling log for Jones Lumber Company at Prune Hill, circa 1897. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

In 1890 a “steam donkey” and crew is “yarding” logs in snow-covered woods near Prune Hill. The photo shows the steam donkey in foreground and logs are lined up in background as they are getting prepped to be hauled out of the woods.

Steam Donkey, circa 1900

Steam Donkey, circa 1900. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

Here’s another photo of a steam donkey possibly taken at Prune Hill. Donkey engines yarded logs out of the forest via cable, which is visible in the foreground.

Saginaw Oregon

Steam Donkey photo via Flikr user Curtis Irish.

 

The Flume!

Here’s a logging crew posing on stacked lumber in front of a flume, presumed to be from Prune Hill to Saginaw. Flumes were used to transport lumber via water and gravity.

Flume, probably from Prune Hill to Saginaw

Flume, probably from Prune Hill to Saginaw. Circa 1910. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

I love this photo, it is the one that captured my attention and started my quest for more Prune Hill photos. It shows a worker in 1912 riding a log down the flume from Prune Hill to Saginaw. I wonder if this is one of the guys posing in the photo above.

In 1912, a worker rides a log down a flume

In 1912, a worker rides a log down a flume from Prune Hill to Saginaw. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

Here’s another photo of that flume, showing the trough of water which carried the logs out of the forest. The trough is supported by an impressive wooden trestle framework.

Prune Hill-Saginaw log flume, 1900.

Prune Hill-Saginaw log flume. Cicra 1900. Photo from Lane County History Museum.

 

If you want to know more about the history of Booth Kelly, this issue of the Lane County Historian might be of interest:  https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/10826/Vol_35_No_3_Fal_1990.pdf

Thanks to Lane County History Museum as well as Flickr User Curtis Irish for sharing their photos online.

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Comments

  1. Stephan Andresen says:

    Great post Colette! I drive that area from time to time with my son and looking through your story and collection of pictures brings more perspective to our beautiful part of the world as well as a good source of conversation, thank you 🙂

    • Thanks Stephan, I want to get out there myself some time to look area. Now that I know about the history, it’ll make it all the more interesting. 🙂

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