Reedsport in Douglas County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
History of Local Steam Donkey
Each Machine Had a Personality
A Big Piece of Reedsport History
Here, restored by citizens of Reedsport, is one of the largest steam donkeys to work the Oregon woods, the Smith and Watson 12 X 13 compound geared universal yarder. It was placed in service in 1915 by the Winchester Bay Logging Company.
Making The Steam Donkey Work
The big Smith and Watson Yarder required a crew of 25 working full time to keep it under power: wood cutters to supply daily the three cords of wood for the fire box; pipe layers and pump specialists for the 2000 feet of water line necessary to pump the 3000 gallons of water to produce a day's steam; firemen to keep a steady heat to produce 250 pounds of steam pressure; engineers, drag saw cutters, and linemen to keep the steam donkey yarding logs from ¼ mile away.
Even though it took hours to change gears, the Smith & Watson compound geared steam donkey could yard logs more efficiently in low gear over rough and steep terrain than single speed machines.
In 1938 this steam donkey was retired in favor of diesel powered machinery.
Topics. This historical marker is listed Horticulture & Forestry • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features.
Location. 43° 42.199′ N, 124° 5.741′ W. Marker is in Reedsport, Oregon, in Douglas County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Avenue and North 3rd Street, on the left when traveling east on Water Avenue. Marker and subject Steam Donkey exhibit are located at the northeast corner of North 3rd Street & Water Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Reedsport OR 97467, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. What is a Steam Donkey? (here, next to this marker); U.S.C.G. Station, Umpqua River, 1939 (approx. 5.8 miles away); Umpqua River Lighthouse (approx. 5.9 miles away); Brandy Bar (approx. 8.3 miles away).
More about this marker. Marker is mounted on the south side of the chain link fence surrounding the Steam Donkey exhibit.
Also see . . .
1. The History of Reedsport's Steam Donkey.
Machine No. 36 is one of less than thirty public steam donkeys remaining in Oregon and one of only three of its kind, a compound geared two-speed yarder. Steam donkeys played an important role in early twentieth century logging. Powered by an efficient, wood-fed firebox, Machine No. 36 was used throughout the thick timber around Reedsport and Winchester Bay to haul logs downhill to the rail (Submitted on January 29, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. 3 1/2 ton Kelly-Springfield Truck Hauling a Steam Donkey - c. 1917.
While steam donkeys for logging were equipped with skids to allow them to be moved about in the woods, sometimes it was necessary to move them longer distances to new camps. This 1917 photograph shows one solution. The 3 1/2 ton truck was outfitted with an extended carriage to support the ample length and weight of the steam donkey assembly (a note on the original photo states the weight was about 15 tons). (Submitted on January 29, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Reedsport Logging History.
In 1912, the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad brought about an explosion of logging activity on the lower Umpqua. Several mills were built near the town, and huge log rafts crowded into the river along the waterfront. By the 1950s, logging dominated the local economy. While fishing and farming provided important opportunities, timber fallers, choker setters, equipment operators, truck drivers, and millwrights put the bread on Reedsport tables. (Submitted on January 29, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on January 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 167 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 29, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 7. submitted on February 8, 2018. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.