Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Seldovia Sawmill

The Seldovia Clinic has a small collection of historical Seldovia photos on display. One of them is a picture of the old sawmill (the one from the 50's). Here is a picture of that picture. We also found out (from Susan Woodward's book, Seldovia) that the sawmill was repurchased for service as far back as 1932. At that time it was purchased by a school teacher whose wife was a nurse and by 1933, according to news clips from the time, it was back up and running. Other pictures of the sawmill in the 50's show that by then, it had fallen into disrepair and collapsed. Pictures from the turn of the century (1906) show some men milling logs on a beach in Seldovia. It was unclear whether or not that was the same location as our mystery mill down the beach, but it does lead us to believe that the sawmill in Seldovia had four distinct periods of use. First at the turn of the century for the herring fishermen and Russian fox farmers, then in the 1930's when the newspaper quoted large orders from all over the Kenai Peninsula- from locations such as Seward, Portlock, Port Graham, and Homer. The next era was the 50's in which it was used for a couple of years before being completely abandoned. An owner is listed on the back of the photograph in the clinic and we will update you with his name later. The next era, was when logs were milled in the 70's after the Native Association sold rights to have hundreds of acres logged. Grandpa worked on the logships then and will probably have even more stories about that time. Today, in the tradition of the early turn of the century settlers of Seldovia, there are a handful of private personal use mills in operation. While none of them produce the large orders that the Seldovia mill must have had in its heyday, they do service locals and provide a way for folks here to use local wood if needed. Most people, however, drive on up to Home Depot in Kenai or Anchorage for their large wood orders because of time and cost factors. Join us again later as we attempt a project from our deck to test the power of the outgoing tide. It's a full moon week and that means the tides are really high this week, so we want to see how powerful the tide is. Signing off for now, even as a large log goes floating up-slough on the incoming tide.

1 comment:

  1. That's so cool! That mill was huge. Thanks for sharing the picture. I've never seen it before. Keep digging you guys are doing a great job. :)