Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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Logging and Timber
A Prime Economic Factor
Others were also drawn to Salmon Creek for its timber. Samuel B. Carr, from Red Oak, Iowa, and Thomas Hood, an alleged deserter from the British Navy, began the first logging operation in northwest Burien around 1887. They worked their way up Seola Beach Drive onto the White Center plateau. In 1891 they moved operations to Salmon Creek, but gave up after a year due to its steep, wet hillsides. They bought land up on the plateau, near Oak Park, which they logged and subdivided.

Sam Carr was known as Long Sam for his long legs and ability to work steep hillsides. The Salmon Creek ravines, however, were so steep and slick that no one could work them for long. Carr and Hood logged only about a quarter-mile up the canyon, a challenge even for Long Sam. They used oxen to drag the logs down a skid road to the beach - Standring Lane - where they were kicked into the Sound at low tide. A back boom was placed around the logs at high tide, and they were rafted to Puget Sound mills.

Logging was a prime economic factor in Burien, especially between 1890 and 1920. Carr and Hood brought the first payrolls to north Burien. Starting at $1 a day, including room and board, the scale went up to $3.50 a day for special skills. Loggers worked 12-hour days, from sunup to sundown. Logs were hauled by wagon to the nearest sawmill or split into cordwood and sold in Seattle.
 
Skid roads were used by ox-team loggers. Small logs were embedded crossways on the trail - like railroad ties, only farther apart. These skids were greased by men slopping grease from buckets, providing the slickest and quickest route for logs to be dragged down the skid road to the Sound. Traces of these roads remain in Salmon Creek Ravine. In fact, they make up some of the main trails. Eventually “donkey engines” replaced oxen. A few skid roads remained in use, mainly by small-scale horse loggers dragging out trees, or a small mill working a leftover patch of timber.

Continue on to learn about some of the early homesteaders in the area.


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