#4's History

#4's story in Port Angeles began in 1930, when Rayonier Incorporated built a pulp mill in Port Angeles.  Rayonier didn't own its own timberlands yet, so they bought a lot of timber from Bloedel Donovan Lumber Company of Bellingham, Washington.  Bloedel ran sawmills in the Bellingham area, but in the early 1920s, they began buying timberland on the Olympic Peninsula.  Among their first purchases was Goodyear Logging, based in Clallam Bay and Sekiu.  Goodyear's operation included not just thousands of acres of timberland, but also a logging railroad to haul out the harvested timber.  As Bloedel acquired more and more land, the old Goodyear rail line was extended further south toward the town of Beaver, and a new, second main line was built south toward Forks.   

Bloedel built spur lines out into the logging areas, and as timber was harvested, the logs were loaded onto railcars, and hauled down to the valleys by geared locomotives, which could handle the region's steep slopes.  Once in the valleys, the log trains were brought to Sekiu.  There, the logs were dumped into the bay, sorted by species, and formed into rafts.  The rafts of spruce and Douglas fir logs were towed to Bellingham for Bloedel's lumber mills, and the hemlock rafts were sold to Rayonier Inc and towed to Port Angeles and Shelton.  There, Rayonier chipped the logs and turned them into high-quality specialty pulps used to make textiles like Rayon, acetate plastics, photographic film, and more.  

Bloedel struggled during the Great Depression -- people couldn't afford to buy as much lumber as they had previously -- and in 1945, they decided to sell their Clallam operation to Rayonier Inc, which was highly dependent on Bloedel's stock of hemlock logs.  Rayonier was happy to acquire the operation but realized that the years of struggle had taken their toll -- much of Bloedel's equipment was worn out.  Rayonier began looking for replacements, and in May 1947, they replaced their 40-year-old Shay #4 with a used (but younger) Willamette geared locomotive from Long-Bell Lumber Company out of Longview, Washington.  Rayonier put the new locomotive to work at Hoko Camp, a logging camp a few miles south and west of Sekiu, where she was tasked with hauling empty log cars out to the forest logging sites in the steeper hills, and then trading them for loaded log cars that were ready to be hauled back to camp. 

#4 resting at Hoko Camp in the 1950's.

Rayonier continued to grow their logging railroad, eventually reaching south to the town of Forks, west to Lake Ozette, and east to Lake Pleasant.  #4 and the other locomotives were kept busy hauling log trains over much of western Clallam County.   Local historian and railroad enthusiast Craig Magnuson has developed an outstanding map of the western Clallam County rail lines, viewable at http://www.craigmagnuson.com/rrgrades.htm.  Though it shows other companies' rail lines as well, Rayonier's rail lines are the majority of the rail lines shown on the map.

Willamette Iron and Steel Works, builder of #4, and operating in Portland, Oregon was no stranger to logging machinery; they were a large producer of logging equipment, including steam-powered "donkeys" which winched logs from where they were cut to the landings, where they would be loaded onto log cars.  Willamette began building logging locomotives after the patents on the basic technology of the better-known Shay geared locomotive had expired.  Shay had "rested on their laurels" and Willamette realized that they could easily improve on the old designs and build a better locomotive than the Shay.  Production only ran to 33 locomotives before Shay caught up with Willamette's improvements and Willamette decided to return their focus to other logging machinery instead.

The number plate, showing the old number (701) underneath the 4.
The number plate, showing the old number (701) underneath the 4.

Rayonier's "new" #4 was originally built for Long-Bell, a forest-products company out of Longview, WA.  She was the 16th Willamette locomotive produced.  When she left the factory in 1924, the front of the smokebox wore the number 701.  When Rayonier bought her, they decided to assign her the same number as the locomotive she replaced, #4.  Rayonier was very conscious of costs, so instead of ordering a new number plate from the factory, they decided to just grind off the number 701, and cut a new number 4 out of steel that was available in their shops, and weld it in place where the 701 used to.  When standing in front of #4 today, you can still spot the remains of the 701 behind the 4!

In 1956, Rayonier began replacing their large fleet of steam locomotives with new diesel-powered units.  Most of the fleet of steam locomotives were scrapped right away, but a few were kept to use as backups when the diesels needed time in the shop and to do other jobs than hauling the logs in from the hills.  #4 was kept at the Sekiu yard where she was often used for switching duties -- pushing log cars a few at a time out onto the pier to be unloaded, and then building a trainset of empty cars to be returned to the woods.  She kept this duty until 1960, when she was spruced up and donated to the City of Port Angeles in celebration of Port Angeles's pivotal role in Rayonier's history.

#4 working in the rail yard at Sekiu, WA
#4 at work switching the railyard at Sekiu.
#4 polished up and ready to be put on display.
#4 in the fall of 1960, with a fresh coat of paint, ready to be moved to Port Angeles.

By 1960, Rayonier had stopped building rail spurs out to each new logging site, and instead used trucks to haul logs from the logging sites down to the rail line.  Diesel locomotives had almost totally replaced the steam locomotives that had hauled logs from the logging camps to the terminal at Sekiu, and Rayonier realized they no longer needed their fleet of steam-powered locomotives.  At the time, Steam locomotives were being retired from railroads all over America, and many local folks and communities asked Rayonier to donate or sell them a steam locomotive for display as a celebration of the history and contributions of the steam locomotives to the building of the communities. 

 Rayonier donated #4 to the City of Port Angeles, where Rayonier had opened a pulp mill in 1930.  #4 was cleaned, repaired, and painted to look like new.  However, the rail line connecting the Forks area  to Port Angeles had closed some years previously, so it wasn't possible to just fire her up and send her down the rails to Port Angeles.  Lacking a rail line, some innovation was going to be required to move her over the road.   A local logging company volunteered to haul #4 -- if the load could be lightened as far as possible.  Anything that could be removed was, including disconnecting the tender, and even the locomotive's wheel assemblies.  The main body was carefully lifted and set onto the backs of two logging trucks -- one facing forward, the other facing backward -- and they carried her over the highways to from Rayonier's Forks log yard to Port Angeles.  Brothers Clarence and Laurence Brager drove their log trucks for the 54 mile trip, which took just over 7 hours!

#4 atop two log truck for transport to Port Angeles; crossing the Sol Duc River bridge

#4 riding across the Sol Duc River bridge on Highway 101

#4 was originally installed for display at the top or Lincoln Street, at the intersection with Lauridsen Blvd, in November 1960.  A short section of rails was laid down, and she was reassembled and looked like new.  Many local residents today talk about their memories of playing on and around #4.

 (1968 Images courtesy of Vyvyan Makin

Three pictures together showing how #4 was moved to its current home

After a few years at that location, the City decided to move #4 east to a less-congested spot in a similar triangle of land between Lauridsen Boulevard, Chase Street, and East 13th street.  

City crews built an extra section of railroad track and laid it behind #4.  They then moved her backwards onto the newly-placed track, pulled up the track in front of her that she had just been sitting on, and moved it behind her, repeating the process until she had moved the block to her new home. 

In October 1978, Pacific Northwest Bell (the local telephone company at the time) employees put together a service project to remove the rust that had accumulated and to repaint her.  

She has been on display in Port Angeles for more than 60 years now, and time and weather have taken their toll.  It's time now to do some restoration and prepare her for the next 60 years!