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California \ Pacific Lumber & Wood Co.

Pacific Lumber & Wood Company.

Clinton Railroad.

By Andrew Brandon

IIn 1868, Thomas Jones built a sawmill along the Central Pacific Railroad at Camp 18. The mill was sold to Charles Bragg and Filman Folsom, who operated it as the Pacific Lumber & Wood Company. Logs were harvested north and driven down to the Little Truckee River and Prosser Creek to the mill.

Fred Burckhalter joined the partnership in the early 1870s. He served as general manager. Logging operations were shifted into Juniper Plateau to the south of Clinton. The company joined forces with James Clelland to build the Juniper Creek Flume Company. V-flume was constructed from upper Juniper Creek down to the Truckee River, allowing for the movement of cordwood and railroad ties.

Logging was initially done with oxen and wagons, which hauled logs to the top of a bluff overlooking Clinton (formerly Camp 18). They were then sent down a 1600 ft long chute to the mill pond below. This arrangement was suitable early on, but as the distance from the woods to the chute began to increase.

On March 28, 1878 the Pacific Lumber & Wood Co. incorporated. The company began construction on a railroad from the log chute to the woods. In August they purchased a second hand Porter 0-4-0T locomotive from the Sutro Tunnel Company of Dayton Nevada. The locomotive received a new wooden cab and a diamond stack.

The railroad reached six miles long. As the railroad built south from the bluff it reached a meadow where a switchback was constructed to allow the railroad to reach Murphy’s Meadow, near the Nevada state line. In 1891 a second locomotive arrived from Baldwin, a 0-6-0T named “Dewey”.

The timber supply began to dwindle in 1893. At the same time, the Truckee Lumber Co. found itself with plenty of timberland, but no railroad connection to it. In June 1893 the construction of a new railroad began, the Donner & Tahoe Railroad. The first ten miles of the railroad from the chute southward were removed and a new line was temporarily constructed from Murphy’s Meadow down to Klondike Meadows was constructed.

From Klondike Meadows the new Donner & Tahoe Railroad was constructed along the Martis Valley down to Truckee where the logs were dumped into the Truckee Lumber Co. mill pond. The new line was completed on July 13, 1893 and the Clinton mill was dismantled.

Revised:Aug 8, 2017
Beckstrom, Paul and Braun, David (1991). Swayne Lumber Company. Seattle: Pacific Fast Mail Company.
Myrick, David F. (1962). Railroads Of Nevada and Eastern California: Volume 1. Berkeley: Howell-North Books. ISBN 978-0-87417-193-8.Recently reprinted by University of Nevada
Farrell, Mallory Hope (2012). Rails Around Lake Tahoe. Berkeley: Signature Press.

Reference Material Available Online:

California \ Pacific Lumber & Wood Co.
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