This Underwood and Underwood 1902 stereo card bears the caption: "Stupendous log-raft, containing millions of feet-- a camp's year's work, profit $20,000-- Columbia River, Oregon." $20,000 in 1902 was roughly equivalent to $500,000 today.
Tags: 1900s Columbia_River Logging
That is one big "raft" of logs. I remember as a child there were still alot of log rafting being done. Lots were stored down there at Cascade Locks.
How ironic this picture should show up now, as a week or so ago I was a tug straining very hard with a raft of logs behind it headed for SDS and thought at the time how interesting as it had been a very long time since I had seen that procedure in operation.
Charlott on 3rd May 2012 @ 7:06am
Look at the size and number of those chains!
Wasn't Simon Benson the first one to design these cigar shaped log rafts that could withstand ocean travel?
This would have to go through the Cascades? Maybe the Locks were in by then.
The lumber company owner would have to have enough capital to pay his workers through the year, before he received any profit from this.
l.e. on 3rd May 2012 @ 7:13am
This same photo is available under the wikipedia article "Benson raft".
l.e. on 3rd May 2012 @ 7:30am
Look how uniform all those logs are. And they look really clear. They must have "bundled" them on some sort of skid then pushed the whole raft into the water somehow, or not.
Dan on 3rd May 2012 @ 7:35am
My jumping to the wrong conclusion.
Underwood doesn't mean it is connected to the Underwood we know in Skamania County.
Underwood and Underwood was a stereographic card company.
This log raft didn't have to go through the Cascade Locks.
l.e. on 3rd May 2012 @ 7:48am
Just a response to Charlott's comment,
"The lumber company owner would have to have enough capital to pay his workers through the year, before he received any profit from this."
We still have to do this today, it's called farming!
McCurdy Farms on 3rd May 2012 @ 8:14am
Wow, what an impressive photo. In case anyone didn't know, The History Museum is hosting a community input meeting tonight on the timber industry. We need your help to tell the story of the role of timber and forestry in this community as we prepare for new exhibits. 7-8pm at the fire station at 1785 Meyer parkway. Pass on the info to the lumberjacks in your life! http://www.facebook.com/events/256059604491023/
Casey on 3rd May 2012 @ 9:28am
I think this would have been a Benson log raft, bound for Benson's mill in San Diego. These rafts were constructed by crafting a crib in the Columbia's autumn low waters. The crib was filled with the logs, the logs were chained...then they waited for the waters to rise in May/June to float the raft out of the crib to steam it to San Diego. Most of Benson's logging was done near Clatskanie on the lower Columbia, so I assume this photo was taken somewhere near there. Simon's daughter Alice wrote a biography of her father, of which you can read in the HR library. It contains lots of fabulous photos!
FYI, Portland's famed Benson Bubblers turn 100 next month!
Scott Cook on 13th May 2012 @ 10:52pm
The 1902 date you list appears to be wrong. The giant log rafts like this didn't go into production until 1906. They were put together near Clatskanie. About 120 were towed down to San Diego over the next 35 years.
Chester Benson on 11th April 2018 @ 11:17am
Thanks for that info Chester. The card has a 1902 copyright after the caption, but it is possible the copyright was on the card series in general, and they added the additional content at a later date.
Arthur on 11th April 2018 @ 2:19pm
This photo is from Stella, Washington, 1902 -- 4 years before the Benson rafting operations got underway, further down the river. The Benson company rafts were oriented to sawlogs, while the raft in this photo consists of pilings.
The pioneer of ocean log rafts was not Simon Benson, but Hugh Roderic ("H.R.") Robertson, originally from New Brunswick, who took out the first patent on log rafts of this design in 1886, and with financier James D. Leary successfully shipped a large raft from Bay of Fundy to New York City in 1888. Robertson relocated to the west coast in 1889, and shipped numerous rafts to San Francisco before Benson entered the scene -- hiring the Robertson Raft Company's raft construction foreman and setting up at Wallace Slough, downstream of Stella. Robertson died in 1906, but his business partner A.B. Hammond continued to ship log rafts from the Columbia to San Francisco until 1922.
Eric Andersen on 5th April 2020 @ 1:08pm
Thanks for clearing up that mystery, Eric. Interesting history lesson.
ArthurB on 5th April 2020 @ 4:23pm
That one big log
Lucy Lou on 15th March 2022 @ 10:27am