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California \ Spanish Peak Lumber Company

The Spanish Peak Lumber Company.

By John Barnhill

W ith a mill under construction near Spanish Creek a few miles west of Quincy, CA. the Spanish Creek Lumber Company was incorporated July 15, 1915 by O.C. Haslett and Duane L Bliss Jr. Land was purchased near the Western Pacific at Gray's Flat (Twain) for a planing mill and a 5 mile aerial tram was built to carry the rough cut lumber downhill to the planers. Until the tram was completed, lumber was hauled by horse team to the Quincy Western RR and there loaded on cars bound for Gray's Flat. Things really started to get underway in September 1916.

For the next few years trucks were used to haul logs to the mill. In the 1920's it was decided to build a narrow gauge railroad for this job. During construction the trucks would haul the logs durning the day and rail during the night. The line was built 4.5 miles north and west in Pineleaf Canyon to Camp 4 and the first train pulled by a new Whitcomb 16ton gas-mechanical loco on April 30, 1926. Another Whitcomb was also on order.

Once lumber was depleted near Camp 4, a new five mile line towards Snake Lake and Camp 5 was constructed around late 1928. This line followed along Wapaunsie Creek and first tapped the forests on the north side of the lake. Later the line moved along Whitlock Ridge to reach the timber on the south side. 1931 saw some extension being built to this line but bad ecomical conditions had the line shut down in 1932.

As things continued to get worse, the operation went bankrupt and the line was torn up in 1935. The first loco was sold to Swayne Lumber Co. of Oroville, while the second one ended up being standard gauged and serving the military for a stint before being donated to the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction near Suisun City,CA. She now has been restored at the fairgrounds in Quincy, California.

Revised: April 27, 2015

Reference Material Available Online:

Fritz-Metcalf Collection - Spanish Peak Lumber Co., views from the 1920s.
Marian Koshland Bioscience & Natural Resources Library, University of California Berkeley.

California \ Spanish Peak Lumber Company
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