Copyright ©  2007 Brian McCamish,  All Rights Reserved

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Last Update: May 4, 2007
The Douty Lumber Company

Deep in the Oregon Coast Range are the remains of the Douty Mill, the Douty Camp and the spur line that connected the mill to the Southern Pacific
Tillamook Branch.  What makes this operation unique is that it's one of the least known about logging operations in Oregon and its remains are well

Much of the history of Douty Lumber Company has been a mystery to us and researching its history has been a challenge.  Very little has been written
about it and its small operation.    So far, even historical photos haven't been found, although I hope some do exist that we can eventually share.

The history of the Douty Lumber Company ultimately began when the
Southern Pacific built it's Tillamook branch line between the Willamette Valley and the
Oregon Coast, via the rugged Oregon Coast Range.  The railroad passes through some of the most rugged and remote country in the Oregon and was a
huge challenge build, with it's numerous high trestles and tunnels.    Once completed, the Tillamook Branch did more than just connect the Oregon Coast
to the Willamette Valley.  It also opened up millions of board feet of Old growth timber, that was previously unaccessible.    Logging off of the Tillamook
branch began almost immediately after the Southern Pacific completed the railroad in 1911.     Logging companies purchased stands of timber and began
to run railroad lines into those stands.    Although it would be a few years before logging would really pick up.

The railroad station of Cochran was located at the summit of the Tillamook Branch, at the highest point on the railroad.   Out of Cochran, numerous logging
railroads would operate over the years.    The Douty Lumber Company would exist only a few miles east of Cochran.

In about 1919, the Multnomah Lumber & Box company appears to have established the Rainer Lumber Company in 1919 at a place called Relience, about
1.5 miles east of Cochran on the Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch.   By 1920, operations were moved west, about 1/2 mile closer to Cochran.   A new
company was established called the Douty Lumber Company after a very suitable site was located northeast of Cochran to establish a sawmill.  It's not
clear if the Douty Lumber Company remained under the Multnomah Lumber & Box Company ownership, but it is likely.

The reach the mill, a special spur line had to be constructed from the Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch.  The  line that the Douty Logging Company built
left the Southern Pacific line approximately 1 mile east of Cochran.   It continued east about 1/3rd of a mile, losing about 60 feet of elevation and hanging off
the side of a very loose dirt cliff, passing over several trestles built into the side of the hill.    The spur line then appears to have split, with one spur
continuing west, then passing over a very large trestle that crossed the Salmonberry River and continued on for an unknown distance towards Cochran.   
The other spur is the one of most interest.

This second spur appears to have crossed the Salmonberry via a switchback, heading northward, over what would have been an enormous trestle.  The
line then continued north up was is now known as Douty Creek (previously known as the Nehalem River) for approximately 1 mile.    The purpose of the line
would become apparent at its terminus.   There, the Douty Lumber Company constructed a crib log dam on the creek, which created a hug log pond.  
Nearby, a saw mill was constructed.   The mill was powered by a twin boiler power house.   A railroad and lumber camp was also built nearby.

Not much is known about the operation.   They likely logged what they could off of the spur, but in our explorations, we found very few spur lines and it
appears that the entire operation only used about 3 miles of track, most of which was the connection between the Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch and
the mill.    At the time it was built, the mill would have been a significant mill in the area and its very possible that logs were brought down on the Southern
Pacific from other areas and shipped to the mill over its spur.

The spur connection at the Southern Pacific line would become a railroad station aptly named Douty.    At least one, and possibly 2 or 3 sidings existed
here.  The sidings were most likely used to store finished lumber from the mill for the SP to pick up and transport.  In addition, loaded log cars could have
been stored here, waiting to be transported to the Douty Mill pond.

Its very likely that the mill burned down, ending operations and making the spur useless, as the surrounding trees were already logged.

The Remains Today

Its likely that the rails and any significant remains at the mill were salvaged as numerous other logging operations began to spring up in and around
Cochran at about the same time.     The CH Wheeler company would have a huge camp and a significant mill located at Cochran at about this time and it's
very likely that the mill at Douty was no longer needed or just simply not economical to rebuild and maintain, considering the expense of the huge trestles
between it and the Southern Pacific.   

The rails were probably salvaged sometime after 1926 and the trestles left in place.    However, the Tillamook burn of the early 1930s wiped out most of the
remains of the Douty Logging Company, as well as most of the other surrounding operations.    After the burn, other operations in the area would be rebuilt
or begun, but the Douty operation was long abandoned and forgotten by then.

Today, there are remains that still exist.   In fact, considering the age of the operation, the number of fires that likely passed over it and that it ended years
before other operations in the area, it's very surprising that anything is left.   But the much of the mill was made of concrete, including the saw stand bases
and boiler house and those concrete structures still exist.   A large steel tank, possibly for holding water or fuel oil for the boilers remains at the mill site,
thrown over the side of a hill.    

The huge crib dam no longer holds back water, but much of its structure still remains.    Numerous huge logs liter what was the floor of the log pond.  
These could have washed down the creek over the years, but it's also possible they were floating in the log pond, when the mill burned down and were left
behind to sink to the bottom of the pond or settled to the bottom when the pond was drained.   Remains of a heavy duty steel and wood beam log chute
also remain and appears to be the section of the log chute that was underwater.   Possibly surviving fire and salvage because it was under water.

Most of the trestles on the spur to the mill were burned during the Tillmook burn, but their remains, including pilings and bents, still exist.   The two largest
trestles have the fewest remains and only a piling or two hint at their existence.

But there's one other thing that survived the Douty Operation.    Its locomotive....

The Douty Lumber Company Roster

The Douty Logging Company roster is short.   They used only one geared locomotive as far as we know.   A wood fired Hiesler 42 tonner, built in February,
1909, serial number 1155.   The Hielser was originally built for the E. G. Shevlin Timber Company, before being sold to the Multnomah Lumber & Box
Company and was used out of Carrolls, Washington.   It was then transfered to the Rainier Logging Company, which was owned by the Multnomah
Lumber & Box company, and finally to the Douty Lumber Company.   The locomotive was possibly used for some logging operations along the spur, but
would have mostly been used as a mill switcher, putting logs into the pond and transporting finished lumber to Douty on the Southern Pacific.

When the mill closed in 1926, the Hiesler went on to serve with CH Wheeler, which was located very close by, then moved on to the Blue Lake Logging
Company, which operated just south of Cochran.  Then sold to the  Willard Lumber Company and then finally the Boughton Lumber Company, both along
the Columbia River in Washington.

It eventually came under the ownership of Jack Rogers in Washington.  It remained unrestored and was sold to Scott Wickert of the
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.   Today, the Hiesler is still unrestored, but on display near the Tillamook Air Musuem, in Tillamook, Oregon.
Hopefully, it will eventually be restored to operating condition.   Who may one day actually pass over old Southern Pacific Tillamook branch line
that was once it's home for a number years, considering its now again located near this line's Tillamook terminus.

The Southern Pacific in Oregon - Ed Austin - 1987

Logging Railroads of the West - Kramer Adams - 1961
Scott Wickart's (Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad) Hiesler Locomotive.   This was the only locomotive to serve with the Douty Lumber Company that we know of.   Amazingly, the
locomotive survives today.   
B. McCamish photo, June, 2005
Map of the Douty Lumber Company spur, mill and millpond.  
Locations are approximate.  
Map of the Douty spur line.   The line marked in blue is the section in the below photos, between the
Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch and the Salmonberry trestle.
This is the where the Douty Lumber Company left the Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch.   Milepost 799.3.   The SP Tillamook branch still exists today as the Port of Tillamook
Railroad.   Cochran is about 1 mile straight ahead to the west.   The wide spot to the right of the POTB line was Douty Station.  Here, we believe at least one siding existed, but
possibly as many as 2 or 3 tracks to store logs and lumber from the mill.    The white lines depict the approximate alignment of the Douty spur and where it left the Southern Pacific
line.   In the wide photo, the flat area was the multiple track yard.  The old ties in the photo are actually from the POTB and not related to the Douty Operation.    In the far right
photo, Matt Wolford is standing where the line left the SP and headed down hill to a large trestle crossing the same creek as the POTB trestle up ahead in this photo.  Then the
Douty spur continued on, before crossing the Salmonberry River.    
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
Douty Station and the first section of the Mill Spur
At the site of Douty was this abandoned telephone pole.   It's in amazingly good shape, but it very likely dates to the Douty area as it was located down the hill side from the yard.   
If it was installed after the Douty yard tracks were removed, it would have been located closer to the Southern Pacific line.   The next photo shows a very old tie peaking out from
under the ballast rock in the same spot where the Douty spur would have existed.    Very likely the remains of an original Douty tie from the 1920s.    
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
Photos of the spur line as it made it's way west below the Southern Pacific Tillamook line.   The far right photo is not quite related to the Douty line.  We found what appears to be
a chair from a locomotive on the Douty grade.   The Tillamook line was directly up the hill, and with no roads or easy access to this area, the chair is likely from the railroad and
appears to be an old locomotive chair that was discarded, possibly from a passing train.  
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
The spur hung to the side of the hillside precariously.   It's not surprising that at least 5 trestles were used in about 1/3 of a mile, but what is surprising is that they were able to
remain standing in such loose dirt on the hillside.   The trestles have all burned, probably during the Tillamook burn of the early 1930s, long after the line was abandoned.  But
amazingly, remains still survive some 87 years after they were built.  
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
More photos of the spur.  In a few short sections, trestles were not needed, but landslides over the years have made it hard to find the grade.  They may also have partly buried the
trestles shown in the far left photo, or these trestles were built as part of a fill.  We aren't sure.  

At approximately this location, the spur split.   One spur continued west for an unknown distance crossed a short trestle and then a much larger one over the Salmonberry.  

But also at or near this location, the line switched back east and north, across the Salmonberry River over a huge trestle and then continued on towards the mill.   We couldn't find
any remains of this trestle on this side of the river, but one piling does still exist on the other side to let us know it did exist.

B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
After the main spur continued across the Salmonberry, the second spur continued west on the southside of the Salmonberry River and passed over this trestle.
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
At this location, the second spur passed over the Salmonberry as well on it's own huge trestle headed west.  Here we found a short and long railroad spike and two pilings on the
south side of the Salmonberry.
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
At this location, on the north side of the Salmonberry, the second spur has just crossed the Salmonberry and is now connecting or coming very close to what is today called
Cochran Road.  We lost the spur here, so we aren't sure where it went or for how far.   Matt is standing next to one of the only remaining pilings of what used to be a huge trestle.  
We also found some trestle bolts in the area as further evidence of the trestle's existence.

It's possible that this second spur continued on for a short distance and was only used as a tail-track for the switchback to the mill, or it could have been a short logging spur, or it
may have continued on towards Cochran or CH Wheeler's camp, which was located near by.
B. McCamish photo, April, 2007
The rest of the Douty Lumber Spur from the north end of the Salmonberry River
to the mill site.
This is Cochran Road, about 3/4 miles east of Cochran.  It's this location that we first suspected a railroad grade left Cochran Road and headed north, but we had no idea to where
or how it connected to the SP at the time.  More importantly, we couldn't find where it left Cochran Road.   After several attempts, we theorized that the grade was above Cochran
road and set about to climb the steep cliff to find it.  And that's exactly what the case was.     After discovering the grade that left the SP, we now suspect this is how the trestle
connected.  It would have passed over the Salmonberry and Cochran Road, except Cochran Road didn't exist at the time.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
The rest of the railroad mill spur
This first part of the grade after it crossed the trestle appears to have been later converted to a narrow logging road spur, which has since been abandoned itself.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Evidence of both the old logging railroad spur and the later logging road construction can be found with this rail buried in the ground.    Rail is likely a broken piece that Douty
discarded and probably left behind.   Road constructors then later came along and pushed it aside and partly buried.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
The abandoned railroad grade soon left the abandoned logging road where it crossed a trestle here.  On a few burnt pilings hint at the trestle that once stood.
Nearby, another discarded rail is buried in the ground.   Rail is actually at grade level, but a landslide has buried part of the grade and the rail.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Another lone piling hints at another trestle.   The tall slender piling would look like just another burnt tree to many, but a closer look reveals the nails used for the cross beams,
which are now long gone.      This was a fairly high trestle at one point.   Also found nearby was the remains of this metal pan that once was used by Douty crews.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Continuing along, this part of the grade has been mostly undisturbed for some 80 years, allowing huge tress to grow where railroad tracks once passed through.
In the far right photo, the grade appeared to connect with another logging road, but down trees from logging earlier in the year and winter storms made passing through and
locating the grade difficult.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Along side the grade, we found this mysterious sight.  A piece of metal lodged into the bottom of a stump that was tossed aside.  We can only guess that the metal was abandoned
by Douty and a tree grew up around it over the decades, only to be uprooted and tossed aside, possibly by modern day loggers, revealing this artifact.    

However, what this piece of metal is, we aren't sure.  We've see pieces that look just like it abandoned on other grades in the general area.  Can anyone identify this?
email me.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Once we discovered the camp of the then mystery logging spur, the purpose of the spur became clear.   Part of the camp had a logging road that passed through it and numerous
little spurs.   One day, we'll return and map out the camp and it's spurs, that were likely used for oil and water cars and possible camp cars.     We found rail joiners, abandoned pipe
and other metal, but one thing that baffled us was evidence of concrete remains including a concrete floor in an area that probably housed a large building.  Concrete was not
that commonly used in logging camps.

Figuring that we found the terminus of the spur, and having suffered one injury during the hike, we set about to head home.   But I noticed a lone spur heading off.   For reasons I
can't explain, I was drawn to follow the spur, vowing only to go down a few hundred feet and then return later if anything interesting was found.   Normally, I wouldn't have bothered
to follow it, but the urge to explore the spur was overwhelming and I couldn't resist.   I had absolutely no idea what lay ahead....
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
As I hiked down the spur, this would be the sight I was greeted with.   To many an old abandoned concrete building is little more than junk.  To us, it's like discovering gold.
Abandoned sites like these are very rare.  Especially in the remote mountains.    Now the purpose of the spur became abundantly clear.

We would later learn that this was the remains of the Douty Lumber Company Mill.   Further examination revealed that the Douty Lumber Company had picked this site due to the
flat open ground with a creek running through it that then entered a very narrow and steep gorge.   A perfect site to build a log dam and log pond and mill.   And only a few miles
from the Southern Pacific railroad, albeit, the spur would have to pass over numerous expensive trestles during that distance.  It was probably fire that doomed this mill and the
expensive trestles that made it less than economical to rebuild when it closed in about 1926.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
The log dam down in the gorge was in surprisingly good shape for being at least 87 years old.     Clearly, the dam is some kind of crib dam type construction using logs and possibly
fill dirt.   A very common construction method for loggers building dams in the remote woods.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
This photo was taken from the cliff above the dam.   The dam would be to the right and the mill to the left.   Out ahead was the log pond before it drained.  The photo shows
numerous logs piled up.  At first glance, one might think these logs simply washed down stream over the years, but the logs appeared to be cut.   My theory is that they are logs that
were left in the log pond and when the pond drained, the logs settled to the bottom where they lie today.

This is evidence that the mill closed suddenly, such as after being destroyed by fire, as these logs probably would not have been abandoned, had the mill
undergone a planned shut down.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
I theorize that these huge concrete blocks were the stands for the sawing equipment.  We would later discover the remains of a log chute from the log pond that would have
brought logs directly on top of these concrete blocks.

From pictures of other mills, I would guess an open side deck building probably existed here.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
The purpose of the remaining concrete building seemed clear at first.  A duel boiler power house to power the mill and the camp.  But now we're not sure.   Design definately hints
at two furnaces, but whether they powered steam boilers or how it worked it sort of a mystery to me.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
These photos show the brickwork inside what appears to the furnaces.   Also note the river rock used in the concrete to make the building and furnaces.  The lack of charing, leads
me to believe that metal boilers side inside these caverns, but that's just a guess.   The open area where I'm standing had evidence of steel doors that could be opened and closed
allowing access to the caverns.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
The area was littered with metal remains.   The most interesting being this very large steel tank that was thrown or fell over the side of the hill.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
The bottom of the former log pond revealed its own story.   At first we couldn't figure out what this wood beam and metal structure was, but then we had an "oh duh!" moment and it
came to us.   This was remains of the log chute that left the pond and headed straight to the mill.     Interestingly, the metal bands that lined the log chute were left in place, with
the rest of the bands being unbolted.   Judging from the size of the remains, we believe this section of the chute was underwater when the mill burned and was salvaged and that's
how it still survives today.   That's also why the remaining metal bands were not salvaged.   
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Walking around the log pond revealed a few artifacts.   A glass jar from the creek and a piece of rail.  Lots of cable, and other metal lay about.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
A few of the log pond from the area of the log chute.  A look at the terrain shows why this spot was chosen for the mill site.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Other remains found at the log dump, include spikes in a log that was probably related to the rigging tree, a pipe and piece of rail.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006
Douty Lumber Company Camp
Douty Lumber Company Mill and Mill Pond
This appears to be the log dump where trains dumped off their logs into the mill pond.   This stump with the cable wrapped around it was likely some kind of spar tree or other
related rigging tree for the log dump.
B. McCamish photo, Dec, 2006