Logging & Industry

Logging & Industry

Huge stands of old-growth fir and cedar trees, some nearly a thousand years old, covered almost the entire Plateau. Loggers often had to climb a tree up to 15 or 20 feet above the ground to where it were small enough to use hand saws. A single big tree often took a couple of hours for two loggers to fell.

Loggers sometimes used a black powder splitter to divide the felled tree into smaller logs that were easier to transport. In the early 1890s, the logs were "skidded," using oxen and horses to pull them down paths cut into the hills towards Lake Sammamish where they were floated to one of several mills on the eastern shore of the lake.

The biggest local players in the lumber business in the early decades of the twentieth century were the Allen and Nelson Mill Company in Monohon, and Campbell's Mill in Adelaide, close to the Redmond border.

Toward the end of the 1890s "steam donkeys," steam engines with a winch and cable attached, replaced the animal power. These could move logs more easily and rapidly. As the logging operations continued to move inland and away from the lake, it became more practical for logs to be moved via railroad car. Logging trucks appeared on the scene the mid-1910s.

In the early years, loggers predominantly cut Douglas fir. By 1900, though, they switched to Western red cedar for manufacture of shingles. The Lake Sammamish Shingle Company at Weber's Point was a cedar mill.

The 1920s saw a decline in the local forest products industry as national markets grew smaller in post-war years and timber reserves were depleted.

By 1930, most of the area along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish and in the hills just above the lake had been logged out and logging operations had moved several miles east onto the Plateau. By the 1940s, much of this inland area on the Plateau was logged out as well.

More information on logging can be downloaded here. (PDF)