Sometime between 1908 and 1913, C.O. Rodgers brought a logging arch into the Creston Valley, for use in the logging operations for his Canyon City sawmill.
A logging arch is a horse-drawn log-skidding machine. Two huge wheels – ten feet in diameter – joined by a massive axle raised one end of a log (or stack of logs) so it could be dragged out of the bush to the nearest sawmill. It’s an amazingly simple, but ingenious, machine.
After a number of years of use in the Canyon City Lumber Company’s logging operations, this particular logging arch was all but abandoned on a ranch property in Lister. In 1960 it went to the Yahk Pioneer Park Museum, and when that museum went bankrupt in 1979, the Creston Historical Society bought its collection and the logging arch has been at the Creston Museum ever since.
After being exposed to the weather for most of its lifetime, the logging arch is in pretty bad shape. But it also happens to be one of the few large industrial artifacts in the Creston Museum’s collection, and the only one that’s exclusive to horse logging. So it’s pretty special. It’s also fairly rare – not the only one in existence, by any means, but not many of these skidders have survived to the present day. And it’s huge! Those ten-foot-diameter wheels really give you a sense of awe and respect for the people who built it and used it.
That sense of awe is felt by visitors to the Creston Museum today – and, we hope, for many generations into the future.
Thanks to funding from Columbia Basin Trust and the very generous support of members of the community, we are about to rebuild this magnificent machine. We’re partnering with a local wheelwright, connecting with craftspeople in Alberta and Manitoba, and sourcing authentic hardwoods from Ontario and Quebec to restore the logging arch to its original, working condition.
“When?” you ask. Right now. The logging arch will be dismantled next week in preparation for the restoration work. We’ll keep you posted on the progress!