Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Pacific Northwest Logging during WWI
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Schroder
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 5558 | TRs
Location: on the beach
Schroder
  Top

Member
PostFri Nov 29, 2019 4:37 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
My great-uncle, a younger brother of my grandfather, was born near Bergen, Norway in 1887.  When he was 16, he decided to immigrate to Minnesota and join his older sister’s family on a farm.  He later ended up with a farm of his own in eastern Montana, which we only visited once when I was a child.  I didn’t know much about him other than he served in the army during WWI, which induced visions of him fighting in the trenches of Europe.  As I was recently going through my parents papers, I found out that he served in the 20th Spruce Squadron.  Wanting to find out where he fought, I discovered an interesting story.

Europe had a great demand for Sitka Spruce lumber to build airplanes.  They needed about 10 million board feet a month but the Northwest mills were only producing about 2 million.  The military took over the timber industry here by creating the Spruce Production Division of the Army Signal Corps and by the war’s end had almost 29,000 soldiers cutting trees and working in sawmills.  They stationed the workers initially at Fort Vancouver and then transferred squadrons to other areas as needed, eventually in 60 camps throughout the Northwest.  They built new sawmills at Vancouver (1 million board feet a day), Coquille, Toledo, and Port Angeles.  They also built 13 railroads with 130 miles of track to the sawmills.  “The network of roads and railroads that the division had built allowed for future development of the forests, which facilitated the growth of the lumber industry in the Pacific Northwest for the remainder of the 20th century.”  The effort also created a labor union, the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen, which continued for 20 years after the war.

My relative was stationed at Waldport, Oregon.


Wikipedia article on the Spruce Production Division

The U.S. Army Spruce Squadrons in the First World War

The Army in the Woods - Records Recount Work of World War I Soldiers In Harvesting Spruce Trees for Airplanes (pdf)

A side note to this - In the late 1990's I was hired by the government of Scotland to work with their forest products industry and develop a long-term plan utilizing their Sitka Spruce.  The forests of Scotland were almost completely harvested during WWI for timbers in the trenches and they replanted with Sitka Spruce seed from the Pacific Northwest.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
thuja
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Sep 2018
Posts: 5 | TRs

thuja
  Top

Member
PostSat Nov 30, 2019 8:47 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Part of the reason for the government's involvement in the logging business was because the IWW was organizing among the loggers at the time and the IWW was strongly against US involvement in the war.  In addition to all the usual anti-IWW hysteria, there was concern/fear that they would hamper US involvement in the war if they got too strong.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski
><((((°>



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 10101 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
  Top

><((((°>
PostSun Dec 01, 2019 12:32 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I recall mention of the "Spruce Corps" in Carsten Lien's "Olympic Battleground - the Power Politics of Timber Preservation".

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dick B
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Jun 2013
Posts: 107 | TRs
Location: Redmond, Or
Dick B
  Top

Member
PostSun Dec 01, 2019 12:48 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
When in forestry school at U Dub we were told that access to NW spruce was what prompted Boeing to set up shop in the Puget Sound area. Spruce being the main component in airframe construction after WW1. Anyone have any history regarding Boeing in the early years?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
reststep
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4304 | TRs

reststep
  Top

Member
PostSun Dec 01, 2019 3:13 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Interesting information Schroder Thanks for posting.

The Spruce Corp or Spruce Production Division of the Army Signal Corps is what brought Herb Crisler to this area.

--------------
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Seventy2002
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Jul 2008
Posts: 422 | TRs

Seventy2002
  Top

Member
PostSun Dec 01, 2019 4:05 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dick B wrote:
we were told that access to NW spruce was what prompted Boeing to set up shop in the Puget Sound area

The wood came before the airplanes. Boeing made lots of $$$ in the timber business, starting in Hoquiam, in 1902. He moved to Seattle in 1908, several years before he got the flying bug.

A short biography of William Boeing
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schroder
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 5558 | TRs
Location: on the beach
Schroder
  Top

Member
PostSun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
reststep wrote:
The Spruce Corp or Spruce Production Division of the Army Signal Corps is what brought Herb Crisler to this area.

Remnants of the Pysht camp, where Herb Crisler was stationed, are still there.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
mike
Member
Member


Joined: 09 Jul 2004
Posts: 6070 | TRs
Location: SJIsl
mike
  Top

Member
PostSun Dec 01, 2019 5:35 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schroder wrote:
The forests of Scotland were almost completely harvested during WWI for timbers in the trenches and they replanted with Sitka Spruce seed from the Pacific Northwest.

Not only sitka spruce. They are planting other species from the PacNW as well, e.g. lodgepole pine. Also doug fir but not commercially so much anymore. Some of the tallest trees in the UK are doug firs planted from seeds brought back by David Douglas.

candidate for tallest in UK. planted from seed by D.D.
candidate for tallest in UK. planted from seed by D.D.
doug firs planted about the same time
doug firs planted about the same time
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
catsp
Member
Member


Joined: 15 Jun 2017
Posts: 96 | TRs

catsp
  Top

Member
PostTue Dec 03, 2019 6:17 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Spokane office raided, leaders arrested, martial law declared.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
treeswarper
Alleged Sockpuppet!



Joined: 25 Dec 2006
Posts: 9142 | TRs
Location: Don't move here
treeswarper
  Top

Alleged Sockpuppet!
PostTue Dec 03, 2019 8:36 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I remember reading about this somewhere.  Also that the availability of cheap power and nearby aluminum plants were why Boeing ended up in the PNW.

The transport of seeds to other countries is interesting.  I learned in a forestry class that Doug-fir seeds were smuggled into South Africa.  They had to be smuggled because otherwise the seeds had to go through some kind of pest control routine that ruined the seeds.

So, is the Sitka Spruce in Scotland doing well?  I'm thinking I read somewhere that there is now an effort underway to replace it with native trees.

--------------
What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schroder
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 5558 | TRs
Location: on the beach
Schroder
  Top

Member
PostWed Dec 04, 2019 10:51 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
treeswarper wrote:
So, is the Sitka Spruce in Scotland doing well?

It thrives there in a climate much like B.C.. It's the most predominate harvest-able species.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dusty Trale
Member
Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 28 | TRs
Location: East of Redmond
Dusty Trale
  Top

Member
PostWed Dec 04, 2019 1:46 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
A good book to read about the Spruce Division during WW1 is, "Soldiers in the Woods, The U.S. Army's Spruce Division in World War One", by Rod Crossley. The book was published by Timber Times in 2014 in Portland. It has lots of info, photos and maps in WA and OR. The War Dept. approved the creation of the Spruce Productive Division on Oct. 17, 1917 and disbanded April 7, 1919.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Pacific Northwest Logging during WWI
  Happy Birthday Hiker Mama, ReubenD!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy