Calaveras County



Old Bill, the logging horse

The Never Before Told Story of “Old Bill” the Logging Horse   Note: This story was told to your editor one day in June 2009,  by Dale Brooks, one of the few left who came down from Calpine with the Blagens and Linebaughs in 1938. The story: In Calpine, and later in White Pines in the very beginning, Doc Linebaugh used horses as part of...

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Ruggles Tract to Sierra Pacific, a history of Cal. Co. timber holdings

A concise, although occasionally inaccurate, history of the large tract of forest land that was first cut by Blagen Mill, then American Forest Products, and ended up being owned by Sierra Pacific Industries can be found in the following history: Calaveras Gold: The Impact of Mining on a Mother Lode County By Ronald H. Limbaugh, and Willard P. Fuller, Jr. Published by University of Nevada...

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Toyon Mill

During the time of operation of the Blagen Mill in White Pines and the mill in Wilseyville, American Forest Products also had a large operation at Toyon. The site served as the main drying area for lumber from the Blagen Mill and Wilseyville. In addition to the drying function, Toyon was the hub where lumber from the other mills was put on railroad cars and...

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Lumber boom in post-war years

Courtesy of the Calaveras County Historical Society The lumber industry during the 1930’s was at a low ebb in Calaveras County.  Other than demand for mine timbers, there was little activity in the lumber market during the depression years.  But as the nation’s economy slowly improved and with the outbreak of World War II in Europe, lumber sales began to expand. The end of World...

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Thornburg Mill at Wallace

The Thornburgs, Tony, the father, and Pete and Patey, his sons, operated a portable lumber mill in Oklahoma. In 1946, they brought their mill out to California and  landed at Granny Payton’s place, approximately 3 miles outside of  Pine Grove. In 1955, Pete, who was a minister, bought out his father and brother (who then had a long career as a school teacher in Railroad...

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An Overview of Calaveras County Logging History

This article is presented here courtesy of Las Calaveras, the quarterly bulletin of the Calaveras County Historical Society. Be aware that the author’s dating of some events is debatable, particularly Nathan McKay’s arrival in the county, and John Manuel’s mill purchase. Among the primary needs of American settlers who arrived in Northern California before the discovery of gold was lumber for building and development of...

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McKays’ Clipper Mill

McKays’ Clipper Mill Museum Note: The story of McKays’ Clipper Mill is presented here with the kind permission of the Calaveras County Historical Society, CCHS. CCHS Editor’s Note: Sawmills have always been one of the vital segments of the Sierran economy. As we all remember, it was at Sutter’s sawmill that gold was first discovered in the Sierras. Ever since, lumber has been in great...

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The Manuel Mill

History of the Manuel Mill The earliest (1878) Manuel Mill stood near the site of today’s Hunter Dam, off Highway 4. It was an old mill when Manuel became its owner, having been built in 1855 by William Hanford (Linebaugh and Fuller, no date, unpub. Ms: 95).This mill became the property of Kimball and Cutting by 1859, and these two businessmen ran it until they...

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