Wendling Branch
O&C/SP 1896-1996
Union Pacific 1996-Present
Hyland Siding to Wendling abandoned 1948
Hendricks to Hyland Siding leased by Weyerhaeuser 1949-1987
Created 2/29/08
Back To Lane County
To take advantage of an increasing lumber trade in the Mohawk Valley, the Oregon & California decided to build into
the valley to coincide with their construction of the Cascades crossing east of Eugene. Work began on the Mohawk line
in 1896 at a place called Mohawk Junction just east of Springfield. From here, the branch ran through Hendricks,
Mohawk, Marcola, Hyland Siding, and in 1900 the tracks were completed to Wendling. On January 1, 1901 the first
train ran all the way through from start to finish. The main traffic on the line was lumber from the many mills in the area,
of which the Southern Pacific tried their hand. They operated a total of 3 mills in the Mohawk Valley from 1906 to 1908.
In 1908 the governor of Oregon at the time ordered the mills shut because they were selling logs off of homestead
lands. The mills reopened in 1909 but did not last to the end of the year. The biggest mill was the one in Wendling
belonging to the Booth Kelly Lumber Company. They were a major shipper on the line from the beginning to the late
1946 when the mill closed for good because the supply of timber had been exhausted. The line from Hyland Siding to
Wendling wasremoved in 1948. However, Weyerhaeuser had built a large mill east of Springfield Junction and wanted
to log a large tract of timber that they had near the Linn/Lane boundary. In 1949 they leased the existing SP grade
from Hendricks to Hyland Siding, built a new grade from their mill to Hendricks, and then relaid rails north from there on
the old Coast Range/Robert Dollar grade, and then turned east along the Mohawk River to a truck to rail reload. I'll go
into more detail about Weyerhaeuser on a different page. The arrangement with SP continued into the 1980's when it
was decided that it would be cheaper to use log trucks, and the timber was mostly played out. The rails were pulled up
all the way down to Hendricks. I do not know what the plan was at the time, butt there was and still is a mill at Hendricks.
It is possible that the SP thought that they might ship lumber out via rail, but this has not been the case. When I first
visited the line in the early 1990's the tracks ran through the sawmill, as you'll see below, but even then there was
vegetation covering the rails from Hendrics south. Today, all of this, even Hendricks, is considered Springfield. The
rails were recently removed from the mill yard to make room for lumber stacks. The rails south of here are still there but
not readily visible under all of the vegetation.
This is looking at the sawmill and the end of the line from Hayden Bridge Road. It should be noted that in
the day when lumber was shipped from here, which judging from the building in the background, that
there probably were two rails here side by side. (June 1992)
This view is looking south down the grade from the Vitus Lane crossing. Notice that there is now so much
vegetation that you cannot see the track a few feet from the crossing. (2/22/08)
This is the view looking north along the tracks from Vitus lane. Note that the rails have been removed
from the lumber mill area. Compare this photo with the one below to see the difference. (2/22/08)
Hendricks To Mohawk:
This view is looking north from Hayden Bridge road towards the steel truss bridge crossing the McKenzie
River. The chain handing down from the poles was used to alert locomotive engineers if their load was
too tall for the bridge. (2/22/08)
The name and location of the manufacturers of the steel truss bridge still show through on both sides of
the bridge. (2/22/08)
The bridge seen from the Mohawk highway bridge across the McKenzie
River, and looking south along the old grade. (6/1992)
All of these views are looking south at a steel truss bridge crossing the
McKenzie River by the branch. Even though the truss was constructed in 1876,
it was not put into place here until 1896, and has stood here ever since. This
bridge was last used by Weyerhaeuser into the early 1980's for their log trains.
The only use that it sees today is as a place to attach a rope to swing into the
McKenzie River on a hot day. Although, having stood in place for over 110
years, it should be a historic site. (2/22/08)
Trestle still partially standing of the first crossing of the Mohawk
River by the branch. All of these views were taken from the north
end of the trestle as this is the only part still standing. The part
from the Mohawk River to Marcola Road was removed following
Weyerhaeuser's activities. Note that the stringers are still in place
across the two main tiers. (2/22/08)
As you probably saw in the above photos, there are three logs tied together in a boom just upstream of
the trestle. It would seem that the reason for this was encase any logs came down the river they would hit
this and not the southern tier. (2/22/08)
Northern abutment of the second trestle. (2/22/08
Looking down the grade from the north end of the second Mohawk River crossing. (2/22/08)
This grange hall was found just east of the second Mohawk River crossing
alongside Old Mohawk Road. There was even a contraption that looks like its
been there for awhile that was used to cross the river. (2/22/08)
This culvert was seen after the grade crossed the road just north of the second crossing of the Mohawk
River. (2/22/08)
Although difficult to see through the brush and me not wanting to just start walking across a
field, this short trestle again still has its stringers in place. This is located just south of
Mohawk. (2/22/08)
These pictures show the concrete remains of the Fischer Lumber Company mill in Marcola.
When their mill up in the hills on Parson Creek burned in 1937, Fischer decided to build a
new mill in Marcola and log with trucks. The mill was completed in 1939. This mill only
operated until 1956 when it too was shut down. There used to be the remains of a power
plant across the road, but I see that it is now gone. Again I wish that in one of my past trips
down there I had snapped a picture of it. (2/22/08)
This is the old wooden machine shop that lied across the road from the mill remains. I do not know when it
was last used. (2/22/08)
Shown here is the trestle that crossed Mill Creek. Notice that the wooden bents are still
in place on the southwest side of the creek. A couple of years after these pictures were
taken, the bents were gone, probably washed away in a winter flood.
Shown here is the boiler house foundations for the Booth Kelly mill, on the
north bank of Mill Creek.
Trestle footing on Wolf Creek that led to the boiler house.
These two photos show the concrete remains of the old Booth Kelly mill on the south side of
Mill Creek.
These are the concrete remains of Wendling itself. I'm not sure
what these are the remains of, nor what the bars were needed for.