Wigwam Memories: Swisshome

"Daddy, Ed, and I spent an hour or two pulling slab wood off the Erskine sawmill conveyor belt leading  to their wigwam burner," writes Joe Moreland in A Place to Rest My Head, his memoir about growing up in the coast range after WWII. Needing to build a chicken coop, they drove to Swisshome one evening to get scrap wood from the sawmill. Joe writes: "... in those days, every mill had a burner. The whole region was covered with an acrid, blue haze from the burning scrap. Slab wood that Daddy … [Read more...]

Merlin and Murphy Wigwam Burners

My blog posts about wigwam burners have taken on a life of their own. Every now and then the post about the "hunt for wigwam burners" will get a flurry of activity and a new set of comments, and I'll know that some where out in the world of social media it got mentioned again. Several weeks ago, Mike Machado posted photos of a wigwam burner in Merlin on the Facebook group "Lost in Oregon." Those photos led to a conversation between Mike and myself, and he graciously allowed me to post some of … [Read more...]

Remnants of the Past: Oregon’s Lumber Icons

Wigwam burners -- those towering structures which used to incinerated waste at our local mills -- once speckled the landscapes of timber towns throughout the Pacific Northwest. Cottage Grove had numerous wigwam burners, including one standing where the Safeway store is now and another alongside River Road, not far from the Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge. We still have one wigwam burner left. however it often escapes notice because it is small and built of concrete instead of the usual … [Read more...]

Wigwam Burner Questions

People who have been following this blog for a while know that I have a fascination with wigwam burners as I have written about them quite a bit over the years. And, from the comments that I get, I can tell that many of you like them too! On occasion, I write freelance articles for a local magazine called Oregon Community Connection. This past year, I've written about the wineries in Elkton, vacationing on the coast in the winter, and Specialty Aero (a small business in Creswell), among … [Read more...]

The hunt for wigwam burners

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 … [Read more...]