|The two things this article is missing are any historical photos of the Bradley-Woodard Railroad and additional information. If you know of any
additional photos or information that you can share or give me a lead to follow, I would sincerely appreciate it. To best of my knowledge, this
article is the only major source of history on the Bradley-Woolard Logging Co. and I would like it to be as complete as possible.
|Please note that logging and railroad items found in the woods are rare historical artifacts. We believe that they should not be scavenged for personal use. It is our
policy to discover, record and photograph artifacts, but leave behind what we find, unless the artifact will be put in a museum or on public display. We ask that you
respect this as well in an effort to preserve our history.
|Last Update: November 17, 2006
|Out in the woods, near Nicolai Mountain, in the northern coast range of Oregon, lies some small parts of a Shay
Locomotive. Unfortunately, what happened to the locomotive and where the rest of it is, is still a mystery. But we were
able to find a relatively intact Shay water tank, a heavily damaged air tank and other smaller parts. Credit goes to Lloyd
Biddlecome, who was kind enough to share the location of the remains when he found it in early 2005. Without him, I
never would have known it existed. The discovery of the remains inspired me to explore and research the history of the
little known logging railroad called the Bradley-Woodard Logging Company and it's predecessor, the
Oregon Timber & Lumber Co.
|The History of the Bradley-Woodard Company and the Oregon Timber & Logging Co.
|My introduction to the elusive Bradley-Woodard Logging Company came about in the Spring of 2005. It was then that Lloyd Biddlecome sent
a fascinating email with photos of an abandoned locomotive water tank. Lloyd said that he found the tank on what appeared to be an
abandoned logging railroad near Nicolai Mountion and guessed that it was a Shay tank. Seeing my website, he wondered if I had any further
information on the railroad grade or the Shay.
After researching maps, I figured out that the grade in question was part of the Bradley-Logging Railroad and thus began my research and
subsequent exploration of this little known, but significant Oregon Logging Railroad. One of about several dozen railroads that ran lines from
the Columbia River into the Oregon Coast Range.
The Bradley-Woodard Logging operation consisted of two experienced logging families, lead by Fred Bradley and Walter A. Woodard.
Bradley originally came from Michigan to the Northwest sometime prior to 1908. In 1908 he took over the Armstrong-Pelton Logging Co out of
Cathlamet, Washington that was originally built in 1901. Operating as the Bradley Logging Co, until at least 1923, it would later be taken over
the Crown Willamette and then Crown Zellerbach Corporation and extend some 60 miles and last until 1958. Sometime prior to 1930,
Bradley had purchased a number of timber stands almost directly across the Columbia River in Oregon in the Nicolai Mountain area and by
1930 was ready to harvest that timber for a new customer in Japan.
As the operator of a major mill in Cottage Grove that had to shut down due to the Depression, W.A. Woodard would bring the experience
needed to get the logging operation and railroad going. The year was approximately 1931, and the Bradley-Woodard Company was born.
The headquarters of the new logging operation would be along the Columbia River, a few miles east of Clifton, Oregon, where Hunt Creek
dumped into the Columbia. This would be the base of the Bradley-Woodard operations and would appropriately be called Bradwood. At
Bradwood, the railroad headed south into the woods.
The logging railroad that the Bradley-Woodard Co. used was not new, however. Construction of the original line, dates as far back as 1903,
when the Man and Montgomery Logging Co. began constructing a logging railroad out of Clifton from the Spokane, Portland & Seattle
Railroad. In approximately 1905, the Oregon Timber & Logging Company was created and took over the Man & Montgomery operation,
building a line south towards Nicolai Mountain. The Oregon Timber & Logging Company built the line far into the Coast Range, building as
many as 15 miles of railroad track. They operated and logged the area east of Nicolai Mountain until approximately 1928. At that point, the
line shut down. However, because the history of the of the Oregon Timber & Lumber Company is elusive, it’s not clear exactly why they shut
down. Possibly their timber stands had run out.
In approximately 1931, it would be this abandoned logging railroad that the Bradley-Woodard Company would take over. The railroad would
follow Hunt creek along a substantial portion of its route. For the first year or two, people who worked the railroad and logging operation,
including W.A. Woodard and his family, lived in boxcars as temporary housing. But soon they would build their own homes at Bradwood. As
many as 24 homes, a cook house, bunk house, company store and other buildings existed on the site. Rent for one of the company houses
was $16/month by the mid to late 1930s. Electricity was free from the mill generator and water was piped down from a small reservoir.
Initially, the logs cut by the Bradley-Woodard Company were rafted and then shipped to Japan. But later, logs would go the new mill at
Bradwood when it was constructed sometime in the early 1930s.
The railroad headed south from Bradwood, where it connected to the Spokane Portland & Seattle Railroad and had a log dump along the
Columbia River. After crossing Hunt creek to its west bank, it followed the creek south, skirting in between the creek and a dirt road (now
paved) that lead from Hwy 30 to the town of Bradwood. South of where the line crossed Highway 30, (approximately railroad milepost 2.4) it
continued south along the west bank of Hunt Creek. Hunt Creek canyon was a 200 foot deep canyon and the railroad lay mostly at the bottom
At railroad milepost ~4.0, the line reached a point where two creeks converged into Hunt Creek. The line had two small trestles here as it
back tracked north for a short distance, then climbed out of the canyon. The line then traveled southwest for a distance of about 1/2 mile,
then curved southerly. Within approximately ½ mile, the line split. To the east, was the original Oregon Timber & Logging Company railroad
that skirted along the east side of Nicolai Ridge and eventually into an area southwest of Nicolai Mountain. It’s not clear if the Bradley-
Woodard Co. used this line initially before constructing a new spur, or if they immediately added their own extension in 1931. But, at the
before mentioned spot, the new Bradley-Woodard logging mainline headed directly south, away from the ex-Oregon Timber & Logging
At approximately railroad milepost 6, the line crossed Hunt Creek again. For about 3/4 mile the railroad headed southwest. At approximately
railroad milepost 6.8 a spur was constructed straight west for approximately 1/2 mile. From milepost 6.8, the mainline continued up Nicolai
At railroad milepost ~7.5 was a major interchange point for the logging operation. A significant spur was constructed west and a switchback
constructed southeast. This spur was approximately 2.5 miles long and required several trestles. It cut directly west and connected with
what is today, Shingle Mill Road. It's possible that this spur actually continued further, but I've seen no maps to prove this. At the
interchange, a log boom and water tower are known to have existed due to remains that were found recently. Other facilities probably existed
as well, including perhaps a logging camp. From the switchback, the railroad traveled southeast for about another 0.8 miles before reaching
yet another switchback. Then traveled approximately 2 miles until reaching the top of the ridge.
This was a fairly steep logging railroad. Climbing from near sea level at Bradwood to a maximum height of about 2,650 feet in about 10
miles. Even though two switchbacks were used, the railroad still climbed 1850 feet in about 7.5 miles without the use of any switchbacks up
to that point. A grade averaging 4.4 to 5.3 percent. The grade between the two switchbacks was an astounding average of 7.3 percent. The
final climb to the top of Nicolai Ridge was about 5.5 percent grade. The operation only employed geared locomotives, which are known to
have included at least one Hiesler, one Willamette, one or two Climaxes and based on remains found on the property, at least two Shays.
As a private logging railroad and never serving as a common carrier, the line didn’t have to register with the ICC and therefore information on
it is harder to find.
It appears that sometime in the mid to late 1930s, W.A. Woodard left the Bradley-Woodard Co. and returned to his mill in Cottage Grove,
where he continued to operate a very successful lumber mill business. His family still resides in Cottage Grove and is still in the Lumber
and related industries to this day.
It’s been said that during the final years of operation, Mr. Bradley was incapacitated and the company was largely run by his well respected
wife, Blanche Bradley.
Just like any logging operation or railroad, the Bradley-Woodard company was not without its share of accidents. One that is said to have
occurred is that a Shay Locomotive fell through a trestle. Which trestle and which Shay and what exactly occurred, is still a mystery.
However, it’s very possible that some parts of that Shay Locomotive still remain in the woods today abandoned after most of the Shay was
scrapped on site. More information on Page 3.
By 1940, the logging had panned out and the railroad was abandoned. For a number of years afterwards, many of the trestles still survived
as they were never torn down and the area was not ravaged by fires like other parts of the Oregon Coast range, further south. But today, most
have sinced collasped, rotted by the weather in an area of Oregon known for its heavy rains and snow.
The mill at Bradwood was still in operation after the line was abandoned, and would later be operated by the Columbia-Hudson Lumber
Company. The mill operated for another 23 years, presumably off of lumber shipped via the SP&S from other logging operations in the area.
But by 1963, the mill shut down and the town was abandoned. By 1983, the few remaining buildings in Bradwood were demolished. Today,
little exists on the site which is privately owned and marked with no trespassing signs, but new proposed LNG loading facilities will likely
wipe out any hint of remains of the original site.
However, most of the grades of the Bradley-Woodard Logging Company and Oregon Timber and Logging Co. still survive today as a
testimont to the men who built them so many years ago. The line from Bradwood, up Hunt Creek to the twin trestles is an abandoned RR
grade, largely overgrown. Beyond, much of the grade has since been converted to a logging and forest access road, in which few travelers
probably know they are driving on a roadbed originally built Shays, Climaxs and Willamettes. The most interesting section is the original
Oregon Timber & Logging Company grade which hangs precariously and well hidden on the eastern cliffs of Nicolai Mtn. The grade
remains largely undisturbed for decades and in the few short miles that we've explored deep in the back country, broken pieces rails have
been discovered dating back to 1881.
|Maps of the Bradley-Woodard Railroad
|These are maps of the Bradley-Woodard Logging Railroad traced out on modern day USGS maps. Information contained here is from a 1947 USGS map,
showing the then abandoned Bradley-Woodard line, in combination with other data. There could be other spurs that existed that are not shown here.
Orange lines are abandoned grades that were not converted into roads. Red lines are abandoned grades that were converted into gravel logging roads.
Blue lines are known trestle sites. Purple lines is the suspected Oregon Timber & Lumber grade that I don't think was utilized by the Bradley-Woodard Co.
Pink lines are known inclines according to the 1947 map. More inclines probably existed.
|Copyright © 2005, 2006 Brian McCamish, All Rights Reserved
Note about the photos on this site:
Most photos were taken by me, except for those that are otherwise indicated. I usually allow people to use my photos for personal use or
websites. Simply Email me. I may not have authority to grant permission regarding some photos that were only loaned to me by others
specifically for this website. Every effort has been made not to include other's photos without the proper permission and credits, however, if
you see any photos which belong to you and that I don't have permission to use, I apologize. If you send me an Email, I will remove the
photos immediately or give proper credit, which ever you wish.
|This is currently a 3 part Article
Part 1....History of the Bradley-Woodard Logging Company & historical photos
Part 2....The abandoned railroad grades
Part 3....The abandoned shay remains & loco roster
|No. 1349 is a 1916 75 ton Hiesler. Shown here in
storage with the JH Chambers Company in Cottage
Grove, OR. Originally built for the Smith-Powers
Company in 1916 it found it's way to the
Bradley-Woodard Company in the 1930s before
being sold to JH Chambers.
Courtesy, Steam in the Woods
|This Hiesler is shown here in Oregon
Timber and Logging Co. markings,
presumably sometime in the 1920s.
It's not known what shop number Hielser
this is or what happened to it. Note that
it's a wood burner.
JG Kilner photo.
|The Man & Montgomery Logging Co. shown here in these photos operated from 1903 to 1905
before the Oregon Timber and Logging Co. took over. These photos were probably taken
along Hunt Creek. The locomotive appears to be a Climax. Cecil Bryant photos.