By David Davis
Most people who have lived in White Pines or Arnold for a number of years know who “Doc” Linebaugh was, and many of them know Bruce and Glenn Linebaugh, his two sons. Those who don’t know members of the Linebaugh family probably know that one of the two parks at White Pines is named after Doc, who was a much loved and respected member of the community. He was the Blagen Mill’s logger even before the mill moved to White Pines, in 1938 and 1939.
Doc Linebaugh was born in 1900 in Pendleton, Oregon, but his father. who was a doctor, moved the family to Sierraville before Doc was two. His father’s profession is probably the reason he was called “Little Doc” as a child, and simply “Doc,” according to Bruce Linebaugh. Doc was an impressive young man. By the time he was 15 he already had a team of horses and was doing the work of a grown man. Like many of his generation, he learned early how to pay his own way. Besides his work with the horse teams, he delivered mail on skis during the winter, and by the time he was 19 he was entrusted with the local stagecoach run. Soon he was also earning his living by delivering freight.
Before he had reached his mid-20’s, Doc began working with the loggers, and was hired once again for his superior abilities in handling horses. He began by yarding logs for an outfit near Dorris, CA. But in spite of his abilities with horses, Doc soon saw that trucks would play a major part in the future of the logging industry. Careful with money, he was finally able to save enough to buy a logging truck. By the end of the 1930’s Doc Linebaugh was the logger that Frank Blagen chose (out of many choices) to make the big move from the mill at Calpine to the mill at White Pines. The logging business grew by leaps and bounds. In the 1940’s, Doc had 90 loggers working for him, 45 to a side.
Doc Linebaugh is remembered because he was such a good boss and such a good friend. He died in 1974, but people are still talking about his generosity and his practical skills. He cared about his men and helped them out personally in emergencies, or when payday was too many days down the road. And he worked alongside his men, doing what needed to be done. Existing photos show “the boss” in his boots and work clothes, pausing for a moment between jobs. At some point in the near future, it is expected that “Doc” Linebaugh’s picture will be one of those hanging on the walls of the logging museum at White Pines.
Editor’s note: A photo of “Doc” Linebaugh standing with Lawrence Wilsey, the mill’s general manger, now graces the entrance to the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum.