50‘s photos from the Blagen Mill

Blagen Mill and Pond

These photos are from a box of slides taken in late 1958 and early 1959

This is the Blagen Mill in White Pines which was located at about the far end of today’s White Pines Lake.

Clicking on  these thumbnails will give you a larger image

Chief Walker with huge Yellow Pine

Although I originally thought that this might be the largest log ever brought into the mill, it wasn’t. According to Bruce Linebaugh, his brother Glenn brought in the largest log ever to come into the Blagen Mill. It was over 10 feet in diameter and weighed in the neighborhood of 60,000 lbs.  In this picture of a very large log, the driver standing in front of the small end of the log is Chief Walker. The “Chief” was a very well liked driver for Doc Linebaugh. He was part American Indian, but the nickname was said with respect and regard. While unloading a load at the Wallace Mil, a log fell on him, injuring him severely. He recovered sufficiently to work at maintenance for Doc Linebaugh. He and his family lived in White Pines.


The butt end of that Yellow Pine. A log this big couldn’t be handled by the saw mill without splitting it into smaller pieces. This could be done with black powder, dynamite, or cut with a chain saw with a long bar.


Crane at the mill’s log deck loading logs to be taken to the mill pond. Dan Liechty, the loader is loading with bell hooks. Notice that he is holding a rope attached to one of the bell hooks.

Some technical discussion of what you are seeing in this photo.   It is winter at the mill, and the crew is taking logs from the log deck to the mill pond. The crane shown is probably the one shown out in the woods in the section of this web site about Linebaugh Logging. The mill has not yet acquired its own crane, so uses one of the two Linebaugh cranes after they have been brought in from the woods. The Cat shown in this picture is “skinned” by Bill Wakefield and is used to build the deck during the logging season. The log is being lifted by a sling attached to the log with two bell hooks. (You can see these bell hooks at the museum)  The hooks, as you can see if you look closely, are offset from the center with one being left of center and the other being right of center. If they were both aligned with the center there would be danger of the log being slabbed, in other words having a piece torn off of it. Dan will use the rope that is attached to the bell hook to remove the  hook after the log is in place. Bill Wakefield says that Dan is the toughest man he ever knew. One day, a bell hook point stabbed Dan in the mouth removing a number of teeth, among other damage. Dan sopped up the blood and continued to work until the job was done. Tough indeed.


Loggers preparing to split a log with an electric chain saw. The big yellow piece of machinery is a portable generator.


This type of a boom was known as a gin pole and this one was used to unload trucks at the mill.


Logger Bill Wakefield of Murphys contemplating work


Logger retrieving a sinker log from the pond. Hard to see the logger.


  1. Bill Perkins Says: July 23, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I moved away from White Pines in 1977. I had gotton an e-mail from a grade school freind so I got to looking up Hazel Fisher school and found the Logging Musuem, clicked on pictures and to my suprise there is my grandpa “Chief”Walker,looking just like I always remember him, when I would ride with him his old Logging truck.he drove # 153 and then # 192 how I’v always known that is beyound me. But is has always stuck in my mind. If there was a quiz on all the old loggers from about 1961″ the year I was born” until 1977 that worked for S.C.Linebaugh Logging I just might have a good score.
    I hope to make down and visit someday soon.

  2. Bill,
    How delightful to hear from you. Your grandfather was a very popular man with the Blagen and Linebaugh people. Everyone with whom I’ve spoken about the Chief speaks very highly of him. Funny story about writing his history. The photograph that you have looked at is from a 1958 box of Kodachrome slides loaned to us by my cousin. My cousin told me that the Chief had died a tragic death when a log rolled off and killed him. I wrote the history that way. Then, talking to Dale Brooks, I found out that the log fall had damaged the Chief badly, but that he survived and worked many more years for Doc. Since then, I always check my cousin’s stories with Dale. What was the Chief’s real first name?

    Thanks for the post.

  3. Bill Perkins Says: July 23, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Rollon Clifford Walker. Outside of work most people called him R.C. Or Chief .

  4. CARL DOLLEY Says: February 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    My mom wrote the story of White Pines ,You have done a great job on this site .I love looking at the pictures and seeing the changes that have taken place in White Pines .My mom just turned 91 feb.16. she has lost most of her eye sight ,but her mined is still sharp.Chief Walker was one of the nicest guys around .I went to school with his daughter Patty from 1st grade thur high school.thanks for the ride down memory lane . carl

  5. Patti Dolley Geyser Says: August 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I, too loved the pictures of the mill pond; it is just exactly as I remember it, in all seasons. I painted a 18″X24″ of the mill taken from where the trucks unload with my youngest brother Carl (see previous reply) standing in front of the largest log ever brought in. I have the picture with Carl in it; he was 10 at the time, but stuck to “landscape” in the painting. A field of bark always floated on part of the water; it would drift with the current and wind, but a part of it would be clear and reflect the beautiful copen blue sky that was natural every clear day in that pure air.

    I have enlarged the picture recently in your Newsletter of the kids in front of the Post Office. One is me, 2nd row center, to my right is Mary Lou Werry and to my left is Buddy Buck? First row with hat, is that Patty Blagen, next is June Griffen, and not sure who the next girl is. Angelo Marzi in back L. real cute pic of Dale Brooks, ? on the next one & 2. That must be the post Mistress, though it isn’t Naomi or Ruth Hewlett, who made us all wash the post office down, as well as the street, when we dug some “chalk-like clay” out of the ground–fascinated,we cleverly decorated the entire building with pictures, as well as the main road.

    Attending Bruce’s Memorial I was pleasantly suprised to see all your additions to the museum since my visit with Mom 3 years ago.

    Thanks to all of your for your wonderful dedication and hard work in preserving this deserving peice of history. We truly were modern pioneers; some day I hope to write my story of the settling of the town from a child’s perspective.

  6. Patti,

    I can’t get your e-mail address to work in order to send this directly to you. So……..

    Probably better than enlarging the photo from the newsletter, you can find a large photo on the web site at


    Thanks so much for your comments.


  7. interesting to be able to see all of the things wee take for granted we use wood in everyday life and i have never even thought about where it comes from

  8. Patricia Anne Dolley Geyser "Patty, Pat & Paddy" to the natives. Says: August 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    From Patty Dolley, Antioch, CA…My youngest brother, Carl has this on his Facebook; just delightful to discover these photos of the mill and logging operation, which are so unusual–how many people have lived this life? I feel so blessed to have grown up surrounded with it. The pics are exactly like being there, they are so real, capturing the dirt, mire, ruts, piles of debris, mud all against the blue sky…how tough those men had to be to even WALK in that stuff. little lone do the heavy, that required such strength. I always marvel at the strength of all of them, going out before dawn, in the cold of morning in back of trucks riding miles to where they BEGAN their day….and again in the heat coming home, covered everywhere but their eyeballs with dirt so thick it would run off them. I hope more people get the treat of seeing these, and thank all of you so much for making it possible.

    Wonderful to relive and some day I still hope to write my story as a 5 year old kid, watching that “world” be built from total isolated forest. to community.

  9. Norman Phillips Says: July 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Always enjoy looking at this web site and remembering my brief season between college and the Korean thing when I was able to work in the woods for Doc. I had an opportunity to observe just how tough my uncle Dan Liechty really was one day while working at the landing. Dan was on top of the load setting the top log when the hook pulled loose and cables began to fly.. Dan started to jump but a hook caught his pants leg sending him spinning down against the brow log and under the truck. When it was safe to come out he got up, dusted himself off and with a smile went back to work. I know he must have been sore and bruised for days after but he never mentioned it. As a small boy visiting the family not long after the mill was established I spent hours watching the small steam engine that ran the conveyer belt feeding the burner. Keep up the good work! Norm Phillips

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