Our Community

Dunbar Ranch

Editor’s note: Although those of us who work at, or otherwise are involved in. the Logging Museum come from a number of different communities, and even different counties, when we refer to “Our Community” in reference to the museum, we are talking about White Pines, and sometimes extend that to Arnold.

Back in 1938, White Pines didn’t exist, and the town of Arnold was just two gas pumps owned by the Hazelton family and the Ebbetts Pass Inn operated by Bob and Bernice Arnold. There was no post office, school, community building, golf course or any of the other things that we think of today. Up the hill, Camp Connell had its small store, and the Dorrington Hotel and Big Trees Park were operating, but the nearest shopping was in Murphys.

It was 1938 when the Blagen Lumber Company, its owners, its workers, and their families all packed up their equipment and possessions, left their homes in Sierra County and moved to to Dunbar Meadow, down the road from the Hazelton’s gas pumps. And an empty meadow was all it was — an open, unspoiled flat of land where Big Trees Creek flowed into San Antonio Creek surrounded by miles of dense, old growth forest.

A road was built to the meadow so the sawmill could be moved in and so work could begin on a new, independent community. It started as a tent city, but land was quickly subdivided and the new town of 200 people was completed in less than two years. The mill owner’s wife gave it a name, White Pines. Soon, Woods’ grocery store was built and the White Pines Post Office. The Blagen Mill office complex and a new elementary school came along quickly. The mill helped build a community building that was used constantly for dances, receptions, card parties, community suppers, and voting during elections. The mill even provided qualified medical personnel in case of accidents or emergencies. White Pines was thriving and continued to thrive for twenty five years.

But by 1962 the mill was obsolete and was forced to close. Without the mill’s paychecks, families began drifting away. The stores closed, and the post office shut its doors. A developer gained control of the mill property and built a dam across San Antonio creek to make a lake; his plan was to build expensive, new condominiums around the lake, effectively creating a new community where the mill and White Pines once stood. But finally, under pressure from the remaining residents of White Pines and the growing town of Arnold, the county government stopped the development plans, recognizing that the condo community didn’t fit with the rural, country setting of White Pines.

Since then, White Pines has held its own. Today, it is widely recognized as a close-knit community that’s proud of its pioneering traditions. Many of the original mill and logging families are still here and actively involved in the White Pines and Arnold communities. The newer residents are quick to recognize the benefits of small-town life, with nearby schools, safe streets, and good neighbors.

And White Pines’ history is still here. The mill is gone, of course, but the ball field sits where the mill was. If you explore around the field, you’ll see that the the old mill pond, now overgrown, is still there. The mill offices are now the Moose Lodge. The old school is now part of Independence Hall, and a new school, named for Miss Hazel Fischer, is teaching today’s kids. The lake that was to be surrounded by condominiums is beautiful White Pines Lake. And on a hillside looking over White Pines Lake and the old mill site, is the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum, preserving the history of loggers and logging for all those with a love of history.

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Comments

  1. Hello,
    I appreciate your site and museum. My father was a sawer at the White Pines sawmill from about 1950 to 1954. His name was Cliff Newton but some called him Red Newton. My Dad helped build the mill in the 30’s and my Mom, Joan Newton, cooked at the logging camp in town where all the loggers stayed in cabins that formed a big half circle. My Mom and Dad moved with the sawmill from Calpine to White Pines and told stories of how they lived in tents. I have many fond memories of White Pines although we left when I was 9 years old.
    We moved to Ketchikan, Alaska in 1954 then to the interior of Alaska in 1958. We homesteaded near Delta Junction Alaska, built a log home and cleared land at Shaw Creek road. My Dad died in 1968 and my Mom passed away in 2005 at the age of 86. I now live in North Pole, Alaska.

    I returned to White Pines for a short visit in about 1982 and ran into a childhood friend, Glen Scott. I remember Stanley Martincello, Ronnie Rector, Newt Scott, but not many more. I do remember it snowing over 5 feet one year and we had a very difficult time walking to school.
    I hope to make it back again even though the lake now covers where our house was. I still recall Big Rock and the old Manual’s Mill that was downstream from the White Pines mill.
    Yours,
    Gerald Newton

  2. Patti Dolley Geyser Says: August 6, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Gearld Newton, I remember you well, Nice to see your comment. Do you remember me or my younger brothers George & Carl Dolley? I would say George was nearer your age.

  3. george rohrbach Says: May 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I have an antique Idaho Jammer and a skagit yarder for sale if you are interested in maybe adding it to you collecyion – please call 509-782-1010 – George

  4. George,

    We have a jammer and we have no space for a yarder, but thanks for the offer.

    snlm

  5. Carol Clark Says: February 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Smiley,
    I finally got around to view your site. Very interesting. I will see it in person one day soon I hope.
    Carol

  6. Patti Dolley Geyser,
    Well I am back to read the comments. I am sorry I was gone so long. I actually did a Google search for Glen Scott and found this site again. No, Patti, I don’t remember you. I do remember a Patty Walker that was my 3rd grade girl friend 🙂
    My how the years have gone by. I live in North Pole, Alaska near Fairbanks. We just had about a week of 55 to 40 below zero. It is now warmed up to -26.
    Is Glenn Scott still around? How about Ronnie Rector? Ronnie and I used to be the smartest kids in class for math. We always raced each other. Tell Ronnie I got a math degree from college after the Army, if he is still kickin.
    Gerald

  7. berylmoody Says: April 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Well, I remember all of you. Patti – I certainly knew you – but since you were in high school when I was in grammer school, I didn’t know you well. I lived across the creek from Gerald and went to school with Carl Dolley. Patty Walker was also a friend when I was a kid. I live in Nevada City now and only occasionally get back to White Pines to look around. My mother (Wilda Fouts) turned 100 last October and lives nearby in a nice assisted living situation. My dad (Bob Fouts) died in 1985. Good to touch bases with old friends from childhood. Those were good days.
    Beryl Fouts Moody

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