old growth

logging, railroads

Building of Railroads

Erik Andreas Persson  (upper left)  posing for a photograph on a newly finished railroad bridge. (1903-4)

Erik Andreas Persson (upper left) posing for a photograph on a newly finished railroad bridge. (1903-4)

Soon after Erik Andreas Persson landed in the Northwest he became employed with the building and maintenance of railroads, transporting timber and lumber to nearby mills. This post begins with a photograph of him perched high on a massive bridge construction made of old growth Douglas Fir logs.  Resourceful and perhaps practical for it's time, this engineering monstrosity is linked together with enough board feet to make a modern lumber tycoon big money. 

Below, features snapshots of an everyday working mans life in the Northwest timber industry. In the latter photograph we see Erik Andreas as a person of seemingly unstoppable power, while in another we see him cuddling two small kittens in front of his home. It was an extraordinary time for manual labor, looking closely at the Heisler locomotive climbing the grade (pictured below), one can pick out dozens of white shirts catching a lift up the hill to work a long day.

Heisler steam locomotive climbs with several teams of workers on its back. 

Erik Andreas shares a softer side with two kittens.

Without the shade of an ancient canopy, these two workers bake while shaping hand hewn ties. 

community at large, baldridge

Community at Large: Baldridge Family

Community at Large will be a series of posts touching on various individuals and family photographs. Some are marked with names but most are not, hopefully in time the unidentified will become known through the internets immortal timelessness. 

I'll start with a photograph E. H. Pearson referred to as "the Baldridge all male family." Not entirely true obviously, for Mrs. Baldridge will make appearances in future posts, and from what I've gathered the "all male family" later had at least one girl (it's still a bit unclear). 

Here the boys stand with their father at the base of a massive Doug Fir, later to be felled I'm sure. Though the trees fate would surely be milled, in photograph its spirit remains eternal. The 13ft diameter timber has been claimed by the Wisconsin Lumber & Timber Co., of which Ira Baldridge was camp superintendent.

Thanks to Loreen Wells and her information about the Baldridge family, I was able to learn Mr. and Mrs. Baldridge's first names. With this bit of information the entire Baldridge family has been identified. 

From left to right: Henry, Ira, John, Harry, Benny & Jack.

My memory served me well for a change, I recalled seeing this postcard a few weeks back. To follow up on my assumption that the "Baldridge all male family" wasn't truly all male, here's proof. Mrs. Baldridge stands hand-in-hand with her young daughter Edna Baldridge, perched on a chair. The two accompany Mrs. Mary Bergestrom, who'll make appearances in future posts. 

Families ventured by rail from remote logging camps to have portraits taken in nearby Portland, OR. Some of the photographs were developed as homemade real photo postcards, like this one. Lucky for us, whomever scrawled these names on the back helped establish clearly, the Baldridge family did indeed have a beautiful baby girl, Edna. The exact year of this photograph is unknown, guessing somewhere between 1910-13.

Mrs. Minnie Baldridge and daughter Edna accompanied by Mrs. Mary Bergstrom.

Digging tonight I found this photograph of Edna, Harry, John and Henry Baldridge (Jack and Ben not pictured). The siblings stand outside a small cedar dwelling, possibly their home in a logging camp somewhere in the Cascades of Washington. The note attached explains their father Ira, was camp superintendent. This nearly completes identifying the entire family. With the exception of Mrs. Baldridge's first name, I now know the names of everyone. The discovery will inspire another push to locate any living decedents. They must be out there somewhere. 

Edna, Harry, John and Henry Baldridge (Jack and Ben not pictured)