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Elk (aka Greenwood)

Although the road signs say "Elk" officially it is the Elk Post Office at Greenwood. The reason for the strange appellation is that when postal codes were introduced there was another Greenwood in California so the name was sort of changed to avoid confusion.

A century ago the population was 10 times as large as today's. Schooners from the L.E. White Lumber Co. sailed regularly from San Francisco and early tourists took the 14 hour ride for $5, dinner and bunk included. The town had ten hotels each with a saloon and there five other saloons. Each of the ethnic groups which worked in the mill: Finns, Swedes, Irish, Russians and Chinese congregated in "their" saloon.

Elk Garage and MillElk Garage

The garage in Elk today was there when the mill was in operation - as were the buildings to the south in this picture taken in 1901. The building with the rounded roof in the picture left is the garage.

L.W. White Mill

 

Opposite the garage there is a path that goes down to the sea. It all looks so peaceful now. A hundred years ago it was a hive of activity. The L.E. White mill (see picture right) was tucked in the next cove.

Goodyear Lumber Co Mill
The Goodyear Lumber Co mill
– the successor to L.E. White
lumber operation
The empty log pond
The log pond when it was empty
Elk Mill Log Pond
Elk Mill log pond

The L.E. White offices are still in Elk. Today the offices are the local museum and the museum contains a cornucopia of logging operations artifacts and exhibits. Click here for details. The area around the museum was the lumber drying yard.

Elk Creek Railroad Elk Creek Railroad

The cliffs that curve round to the right and out to sea were the site of some incredible engineering. The railroad hung precariously on the face of the cliff (see picture right). The log dump was some forty feet above the water and the "main" line was on the cliff above it (see picture below).

Elk Railroad

 

 

 

Another view of the train crawling along a ledge blasted into the cliff

 

There was a spectacular trestle at Stevenson Creek - see picture below and another - a combined HoweTruss Bridge and Trestle - at Elk Creek.

Y shaped trestle at Alder Creek
Y shaped trestle at Alder Creek
Train on the North Fork trestle
Greenwood train in the woods
Alder Creek Trestle
Alder Creek Trestle
 
Alder Creek Bridge
Alder Creek Bridge
Train on the North Fork trestle
Train on the North Fork trestle
Y shaped trestle at Alder Creek
Shay loco in Greenwood woods
 
Loading cars in the woods
Loading cars in the woods
Loading a car with a steam donkey
Loading a car with a steam donkey
Drying yard at Greenwood
Drying yard at Greenwood
 

Looking down the tramway to the wire
Looking down the tramway to wire
The loading wire at Greenwood
The loading wire at Greenwood
Shipping out the lumber also required a major feat of engineering. At the end of the wharf the lumber was put on a sling and winched to ships moored offshore. The train did not go down the incline. Gravity was used and then a horse (called "Maude") pulled the empties back up to the mill. At low tide if you clamber along the foot of the cliffs you can see the concrete remains of the footings that supported the end of the wharf.

St Patricks Day parade in GreenwoodGreenwood/Elk has always been known for its parties. Their St. Patrick's Day party has been given annually since 1894. So if you really want to catch up with the past mark your calendar for March 17th at get yourself to Greenwood!

 

St Patrick Day parade in Greenwood

Book about Elk

Memories of Cuffey’s Cove and Early Greenwood by Flora Buchanan and Yerda Matson Dearing is an excellent source of information on Elk or Greenwood as the locals prefer.

For more information on Elk check out this excellent site: http://www.elkcoast.com/mendocino_coast_elk.html