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California \ Sloat Lumber Company

Sloat Lumber Co.

By Lennart Elg

T he Sloat Lumber Co. was a small logging line out of Sloat, Ca., eleven miles south-east of Quincy along the Western Pacific route following the Middle Fork of the Feather River. It was built to 30" gauge in order to suit the second-hand equipment which came from the Empire City / Standard Lbr operation. The Sloat Lumber Co. began operations in 1917. The route crossed the Middle Fork at Sloat on a three span wooden bridge and turned west for six miles into the Poplar Valley and Peoria Creek area. In 1918 the name changed to the F S Murphy lumber Co., and from 1926 to 1936 the little road was part of the Quincy Lumber Co. operation.

Logging historian David W Braun (author of "the Swayne Lumber Company") has more to tell about the Sloat operation:

  • The first sawmill was built at Sloat in the spring of 1912, next to the Western Pacific siding. This facility was operated by the Sloat Lumber Company until being taken over by Quincy Lumber Company in 1918. In 1925, a completely new mill and box factory was built on the original site.
  • Sloat was actually only a small part of a logging and lumbering empire owned by F.S. Murphy of Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • As far as the 30-inch gauge logging railroad, by 1923, the company reported having six miles of track, the one Shay and the Porter plus 9 log cars. Last verified use of the railroad was 1929.
  • The Sloat operation was typical in that there was a logging railroad, a sawmill and a standard gauge siding to ship out cut lumber and box shook----not much different than hundreds of similar operations in the West.

If history had taken another turning, this area might have been even more interesting to narrow gauge fans. The Western Pacific was preceded along part of this route, from Plumas Jct to Clio, by the Sierra Valleys branch of the three foot gauge Nevada - California - Oregon. This route had originally been promoted as a two foot gauge road, with ambitions to reach all the way to Quincy!

California \ Sloat Lumber Company
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