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Ties to the Past

Winema National Forest, Oregon, 1998
by Jorie Clark, District Archaeologist

“We worked long and hard, but we were in good company. And on the fourth day our logging camp was constructed.”

Returning and new Hubsters joined together to continue on with yet another phase of the “Life at the Hub” PIT projects. Over the course of two and a half years, we have inventoried, mapped, and collected (as well as cleaned, cataloged, and analyzed) numerous diagnostic artifacts from a 1920s National Register–eligible railroad logging camp where men, women, and children lived and worked.

The objective of this most recent PIT project was to take what we had observed on the ground and re-create how the logging camp may have looked by constructing a portable scale model of the site for educational purposes. Realizing that we could not produce a portable, yet visible, model of the entire site, we chose a portion of the camp that illustrated where the single men’s quarters and family quarters were located relative to the industrial area.

On a 2-by-3-foot-by-1-inch piece of plywood, we began to lay the foundation for our camp. Using railroad ties premade at the “n” scale (1:150), every item was carefully measured for size. Several historic photos and books strewn openfaced across the work area also served as great references for extrapolating size. An n-gauge Shay locomotive similar to the type used at this camp was painstakingly labeled with the name of the lumber company at a 4-point font size. Imagine applying 40-plus characters one by one! Cloning ponderosa pine trees was also a bit of a challenge, but was nevertheless cleverly done!

We also worked on the reception-area display case, where we created an exhibit entitled “Ties to the Past.” The exhibit comprised 1920s photographs and artifacts that linked the site to the diorama. Plans are also underway to construct a portable display case for the artifacts to be used in conjunction with the model.

We accomplished so much in just four short days! It was a great pleasure for me to work with these wonderful people—each bringing with them their unique talents, skill, knowledge, and amazing dedication.
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