Heritage

674One of the things that has helped us find our way in our adopted home town of McCloud is gaining a fuller understanding of the heritage on which it was built. As McCloud looks toward its future, it makes sense to honor its past .

The following information is from the McCloud Chamber of Commerce website and the entire story, along with more info about McCloud, can be seen with accompanying historical photos here.

The town of McCloud is proud of its varied and fascinating history. We welcome you to take a look back to its timber and railroad beginnings and forward to what the future may hold for this historic lumber community as we move into the 21st Century.

In 1829, a party of Hudson Bay Company trappers and explorers, led by Alexander Roderick McLeod, were the first white men to travel through the valley where McCloud now stands. In the years that followed a few hardy folks homesteaded in the beautiful Squaw Valley including Joaquin Miller, later known as the Poet of the Sierras.

MillIn 1892, A.F. Friday George built the first mill located in what is now McCloud, but it failed because of the difficulty of hauling the lumber over the hill by oxen. In 1897, the town of McCloud was finally established by George W. Scott and William VanArsdale, founders of the McCloud River Railroad Company. The railroad made it economically feasible to transport the lumber to more populated areas. The two men also purchased many of the small failed mills including the old Friday George mill and named it the McCloud River Lumber Company. Thus began the lumber company town of McCloud.

The McCloud River Lumber Company (known as Mother McCloud) kept the town secure and prosperous. The homes were steam heated and electricity was supplied by the mill. When your faucet leaked or a light burned out, “you’d just call Mother McCloud and a crew would be over to fix it for you” recalled a third-generation McCloud native. Those days ended in 1963 when U.S. Plywood Company purchased the mill, the railroad and the town.

In 1965, U.S. Plywood transferred town properties to John W. Galbreath and Co. whose job was to help company towns make the transition to privatization. The houses were then sold to the people living in them. The McCloud Community Services District was formed and the utilities, such as water, sewer and street lighting, were turned over to the district. They also assumed responsibilities for fire and police protection, library services and some road maintenance.

U.S. Plywood promised that there would be years of employment and a good economic future for the town as there were 50 years of timber to be cut. But, after privatization the economy of the town began to deteriorate due to the diminishing timber industry. U.S. Plywood, who had since merged with Champion International Corp., tried hard to keep going, but the days of the big timber companies were gone.

McCloud Dinner TrainThirteen years later, in 1979, Champion International closed the mill for good because the timber industry had fallen upon hard times. They chose not to retool and adapt their WWI era machinery quickly enough to survive the changes in the timber industry. The McCloud River Railroad whose well-being is so closely tied to the timber industry hit its low point in 1985/86 when they hauled under 1000 carloads per year. In 1987 it started to recuperate and became the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train in the mid-1990s.

In 1980, P&M Cedar Products, Inc. of Stockton, California bought the McCloud mill and reopened the lumber facility. Founded in 1969 as a producer of pencil stock (used to meet 60% of the worlds pencil needs) P&M Cedar Products has evolved into a progressive multi-dimensional wood-products company with diversified, worldwide interests. The P&M McCloud mill is a state-of-the-art fully computerized operation that supplies premium commercial lumber products for custom home builders, and appearance- grade consumer products sold to do-it-yourselfers in home center stores throughout the nation. The lands once held by Champion International are today owned by the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company and managed by Campbell Timberland Management. Land management companies see their role as one of stewardship over the forests making sure that they survive in a healthy diverse way.

mushroom_festival_and_mercantileThe mill closed for good in 2002, and many homes have been transitioned to vacation housing. Even though McCloud is once again facing an unknown future, it’s unique architecture, the beauty of the surrounding countryside, the purity and taste of the water, and the friendliness of the local townspeople, insure that McCloud will retain it’s charming and attractive atmosphere well into the 21st Century.

Heritage

Comments

10 Reasons to Visit McCloud in 2014

547586_443466532412958_858071264_n
McCloud is always worth the visit.  With many natural attractions and outdoor activities to explore, here are ten reasons you should come again and again to experience the wonder of this amazing town. 1.         McCloud Easter Egg Hunt April 12, 2014 As spring returns to mountains, the Easter Bunny hops into Hoo Hoo Park.  Asking Continue Reading...
Comments

John Muir and the Mountain

mountshasta
By Gary VanDeWalker Eight children raced through the Muir home in Scotland.  John Muir was the third child, always looking for an adventure in nature.  In 1849, his family moved to America, settling on a farm in Wisconsin.  Muir grew up in the outdoors, pursuing the sciences in college, changing from subject to subject and Continue Reading...
Comments

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

burney_falls_winter
By Gary VanDeWalker:   For Native Americans, water forms a supernatural line along the landscape, with a waterfall presenting a place of power.  As Burney Creek bursts out from underground springs of its forest home, it moves through the forest and bushes, plunging hard over the edge of the fauna covered cliff, cascading down in a Continue Reading...
Comments

Introducing HikeMtShasta.com

trinity-divide-december2013-010-copy-custom
  Editor’s Note: The following blog post is taken from www.hikemtshasta.com and used with permission. In addition to being a great read from both the “adventure” and “heritage” angles, it also introduces our blog readers to a fantastic local resource for hikes in and around the McCloud area. If you haven’t added www.hikemtshasta.com to your Continue Reading...
Comments

Hedge Creek Falls & The Gentleman Outlaw

DSC01792
McCloud Blog Note:  The photo featured on our homepage for this story is actually the “payoff” view from the end of the trail. Once you get to the viewing platform that overhangs the river, scramble up the hillside to catch this fabulous glimpse of Mt. Shasta! Over the hill from McCloud, at the northern end Continue Reading...
Comments

The Legacy of Alexander McLeod

hbclogo
By Gary VanDeWalker In the 1820′s, Fort Vancouver, in Oregon Territory, was the ultimate destination of those spending months traveling the Oregon trail, and the established departure point for the Hudson’s Bay Company’s teams of explorers.  The Fort stood along the northern bank of the Columbia River, a monument to the push into the West, Continue Reading...
Comments

The History of Snowman’s Hill

map
As cars rush over the Snowman’s Hill summit towards their destinations, the steep mountainside to the west remains unnoticed and unremarkable.  The snowy slopes guide their way forward.   Yet there is a story here along Highway 89 when this summit was famous and the snow covered run was crowded with cheering people.  Today the mountainside Continue Reading...
Comments

Wyntoon: McCloud’s Brigadoon

thebend
Two sharp bends of the McCloud River have watched the waters of history flow swift along her banks.  Wintu stood here as the salmon possessed the wet ribbon through the forest.  Clark Gable and Charles Lindbergh rested here sitting among the trees, which outlasted their careers.  Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., and his son John Fitzgerald Continue Reading...
Comments

Joaquin Miller: Poet of the Sierras

Sculpture created by Mark Oliver 2012
By Gary VanDeWalker Joaquin Miller travels through the pages of McCloud’s history with a sly smile.  In his life he was known as a gold miner, a horse thief, and a poet.   He lived among the miners and Native Americans, walking in both worlds with ease, in an era where they clashed.  His life carries Continue Reading...
Comments

The First People of McCloud: The Wintu

salmonfishing
By Gary VanDe Walker  Many years ago, in the shadows of the mixed forest of pines and oaks, the voice of a storyteller drifted along the breeze of the McCloud River.  His words described a being of mysterious origins, indescribable by any standard, called the Anamet.  It masqueraded as a person.  Coming from the mountains, Continue Reading...