Logging With Steam Power
Collier Memorial State Park located 30 miles north of Klamath
Falls, Oregon, in the heart of the Ponderosa pine region is an
ideal location for a museum displaying Pacific Northwest logging
In 1945 Alfred and Andrew Collier of Klamath Falls gave 146
acres of land to the State of Oregon as a memorial to their
parents. Two years later the brothers began to construct a museum
which would depict the evolution of logging equipment and challenge
the visitor to reflect upon the past and improve the present. Today
the museum is recognized as having one of the finest collections of
logging equipment in the country.
Exhibits include a logger’s home-stead, a blacksmith shed,
and Pioneer Village, where authentic cabins (including a
doctor’s office, a store, etc.) are filled with artifacts and
show a variety of construction techniques.
There are three buildings housing skidding and log transporting
equipment. Steam was important in the early days of logging, and
several examples of donkey engines are shown. These steam engines
provided power for skidding logs to loading landings and their use
gave rise to colorful jargon such as ‘high lead,’
‘choker’ and ‘whistle punk.’ There is a narrow
gauge steam-powered locomotive and several steam tractors.
This history of Oregon’s logging is preserved at a unique
logging museum at Collier Memorial State Park, north of Klamath
The history of one of these steam engines is interesting for
collectors of such engines. According to Rick Bauman, district
manager of Collier State Park, the Aultman-Taylor horizontal boiler
steam engine dates from around 1881. It is a 4-wheel horizontal
boiler, steam traction engine with spade grousers. It is 9 feet
high, 9 feet wide and 21 feet long and weighs 27,000 pounds. Steam
engines were used extensively in logging pine and also in hauling
lumber, as this engine was originally used for.
About 1912, John Hibbert bought the Aultman-Taylor to be used as
a threshing machine. The engine was also used to run a nearby
At some point, the Arnett brothers, L. L. and M. T., acquired
the engine to log with and then to run the sawmill that sawed up
the logs they had hauled in Swan Lake Valley. Young Paul Arnett (8
years old at the time) helped with the work and had to stand on a
box to reach the levers! L. L. Arnett estimates that this machine
developed 25 HP on the draw bar and 80 HP on the belt.
In 1915, George Hartley traded another steam engine to the
Arnett brothers for this one. He used it for hauling logs and later
for drilling wells, working with the Arnetts. The last well drilled
with the Aultman-Taylor was in 1930.
In 1954, the current owner, Alfred Collier (the donor of the
park) also donated the engine to the park for the museum. Its value
at that time was $1,500.00.
Steam engine enthusiasts would enjoy a visit to Collier Memorial
State Park. There is also a steam generating plant which produced
enough electricity to run an entire sawmill. Park facilities
include camping sites and pick-nick areas, with fishing in Spring
Creek and the Williamson River.
For more information, write Richard Bauman, Park Manager, at Rt.
2, Box 450, Chiloquin, Oregon 97624.
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