The Skyline – A Ski Lift for Logs

We chose the name, Skyliner Print & Design, as an homage to the millworkers who helped put the city of Bend on the map.

Lumbering has been a large part of Bend’s history and when Brooks-Scanlon and Shevlin-Hixon lumber mills opened for business in early 1916, the city was set for an unprecedented growth. The rural town of Bend grew from a population of 536 in 1910 to 5,415 in 1920 – more than 900% increase. When the two mills opened up for business in 1916, they each hired more than 500 Bend millworkers.

The woodsmen who felled the large trees used “skylines” to move the newly cut Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir logs to the nearest collection sites. The rope and pulley system was attached to the top of tall trees, and operated much like a ski lift. The log mover was powered by a so-called “steam-donkey.” The cut trees were hooked to the drag line and pulled down a cleared trail to the waiting rail cars. There, the woodsmen would load the timber onto the rail cars for transfer to the mill ponds on the Deschutes River, close to today’s Old Mill District.

The building boom that followed World War I, saw Central Oregon lumber exported out of the area in large quantities. Blue & buggy lumber was a highly priced product for building projects as far away as New York. Local building projects also used Brooks or Shevlin wood products. Many of the homes around the Delaware Avenue Corridor and Riverside/Riverfront in Bend are built with local lumber. Entreprenuerial mill workers are rumored to have brought home building material from the mills in their lunchboxes, building “lunchbox specials.”

– Tor Hanson

Main image: A steam-donkey is used to load cut logs onto waiting railroad cars. Courtesy: Deschutes Historical Museum