At least one associated with the woods operations of the Grand Falls Mill
I’m a member of a couple of online groups where people post old vehicles and things that they have found abandoned around Newfoundland. Some things I really don’t care about depending on the location, others really peak my interest. I’m sorry if in some cases I might come off as a know-it-all, but I have done a heck of a lot of research that has involved machines and motorized vehicles in the woods. So I usually have some knowledge of how, when and why a vehicle might be on some long grown over road. There are a lot of things from the 60s and 70s, stuck, broken down and written off, but I’m more interested in the earlier stuff, which there isn’t a lot of.
I haven’t seen much in the way of really old stuff. But I know where it might be found.
If I had to give an answer as to what was the first woods motor road, I would have to say it was the Hall’s Bay and South Twin Lakes Road. The Hall’s Bay road was a government Highway, with a connection to South Twin Lake used by the Anglo-newfoundland Development Company. The first truck to ply a woods road with any connection to the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company was a Ford Model-T truck purchased from Dodd’s Garage in St. John’s in 1922. I know about this because it was tied up in a government scandal related to cutting pulpwood for relief. It was used for toting supplies during construction of this road and the pulpwood cutting that was done in conjunction with it (https://collections.mun.ca/digital/collection/telegram20/id/19931/rec/3). There was another Model-T in Badger around this time too; Billy Doritty-who had the unique role of being River Superintendent for the AND Co also had a Model-T, but it’s not really known if he used it in relation to his work. He did use it on the Hall’s Bay Road according to his son; so it is very possible he used it to visit driving and river improvement operations on Badger Brook. Trucks were commonly being used to move supplies from Badger to South Twin by about 1927-1929. I have seen reference to Dodge trucks and Ford Model A trucks.
The first truck to be used to supply logging operations associated with the AND Company was a Model-T in 1922. The story is rather convoluted but it was used on the road between Badger and Twin Lakes.
The Hall’s Bay line, as depicted here in 1930 was used as a transportation route by the AND. Construction of the 1920s version of the road was a rather convoluted affair that involved the Government, the AND Co, with J. Goodyear and Son’s doing construction work. It got better than this, but was still famously bad. For all practical purposes its construction connected the people of Green Bay to the Railway and almost equally the loggers of Green Bay to the Camps in Badger Division. If this was the public highway, can you imagine what some of the woods roads were like? Well if you are interested in this stuff you’ve probably seen some bad old woods roads.
Some of the most well known and longest used logging roads were pushed through in the 1930s. A tramway was built between Millertown and Lake Ambrose in 1927. Initially there were plans to put in branch lines, but ultimately that plan was scrapped. Instead, truck roads were built. A truck road branched off from Lake Ambrose towards Noel Paul Brook, around 1934, by 1939 it connected dozens of camps and ran much of the length of Noel Paul. Because of the extensive number of camps there must have been a few vehicles based out of Lake Ambrose. Back then there were clusters of camps at Blizzard, Snowshoe and operations were winding down at Lake Wilding. The first few camps had been constructed on Noel Paul by 1937. From what I was told, Lake Wilding was reached the “old fashioned way”, without any real roads. The only real old timer I have seen anybody find in the Millertown area was a circa-1940 White Truck. Now the thing is with this road, unlike others like the Sandy Road, parts of it weren’t used much after logging operations ceased in the area. Sure there were a couple of hunting lodges around there, but I believe that was prior to the 1980s, therefore there are big sections of this road that have just disappeared back into nature.
Likewise, a motor road was built parallel to Great Rattling Brook prior to 1934. It was bumpy and it was one way, but it was a road and a truck could drive on it. The amount of motor traffic that went over this road initially was very limited. All evidence suggests that it consisted of two trucks and the Superintendent’s car. Both written and anecdotal evidence suggests that the trucks used were Fords. Unfortunately the only picture I have of one of these trucks is of the back.
The AND Co had a fleet of light vehicles including this Chevrolet Apache used by the security department. In the mid-1960s the standard vehicle for the Woods Department wasn’t a pick-up, but a Volkswagen Beetle! Interestingly, the gentlemen in the photo looks like Ron McKelvie, who joined AND as security in 1959 and ended up as Woods Manager. (GFWHS)
I remember as a kid there was an old car or truck poked on the side of a service station in Badger. It was certainly of 1920s or 30s vintage. I often wonder now if it had anything to do with woods operations or not. There has to be at least the hulk of some old truck somewhere in Badger, which leads me to my next section, where might you find some old vehicle.
Any place that I am going to mention is going to be most inaccessible, or at least look inaccessible, thus likely preserving any vehicles that were abandoned there. As I have illuded to, the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company had a limited number of trucks back before say 1950, so there couldn’t have been too many ditched in the woods, Abitibi also employed an environmental cleanup crew in the 1990s which likely accounted for some wrecks in the areas accessible then, but if they were left a good place to look would include the following.
I have been told there are the hulks of some vehicles around Max Simms camp, which was Rattling Brook Depot. There is about a 25 year window that stuff could have been ditched here by the Company. There are more remote reaches of the Great Rattling Road that might have stuff on it, but if it broke down it was probably towed back to the depot with a tractor in the winter.
Lake Ambrose depot, there are numerous Cabins there today, but I cannot see how there are not some old vehcicles dumped in the woods here. If they were written off and beyond repair back before 1956 I don’t see them having expended the effort to bring them back to Millertown. The Branch Roads to Noel Paul and Rogerson, mostly inaccessible, but used during the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
South Twin Lake. AND Co pulled out of South Twin in 1957 after having logged there for decades. This is key because this is the era before there was much in the way of clean-up. The depot at the south end of the lake would probably be a great place to look. Another would be up in Seabright’s Valley on the North End of the lake. They were logging here when they pulled out, and it is very remote and hard to get to.
Beginning in the 1950s a lot of loggers were able to purchase cars, which they used to commute on a fairly regular basis to the camps. How many of these got wrote off on the side of some woods road?
Old Sandy Road, also known as Badger Branch. The landing opposite Badger is pretty well completely grown in, but back before 1966 there were a few buildings and even fuel tanks here. I know for a fact there is some stuff in the woods between here and the main Sandy Road, I just don’t know what it is. Likely on the other end from Sandy Road to Sandy Brook there might be some other stuff, there was a grader at Sandy, which had likely sat there since the switch over to self propelled graders in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the late 1940s there were one or two International Trucks being used to supply the camps on this road. By 1957 there were at least 19 camps on this road, and not one of them were Northwest of West Lake. At West Lake there is a early 1950s Truck that is one of the most intact examples I have ever seen come out the woods.
Hunt’s Brook area of Gander Lake-The AND Co had logging operations in this area up until the early part of the 1960s. As far as I know, vehicles had to be barged over here, so chances are, if they were wrote off or broken down, they were left. I have seen pictures of a number of vehicles in this area, oddly some are from later years. I don’t know the road network so I’m curious how they got over there.
Woods operations in Terra Nova were ended in 1963-so most of logging related vehicles in the Terra Nova, Lake St. John area are going to date from then. For an area which closed the earliest, operations in Terra Nova only really ramped up after the Second World War, so any road building before then was really limited.
THE WEST COAST/GLENWOOD
The chances of finding a truck in areas where Bowaters operated is greater than finding one in AND Co areas. Bowaters got into trucking earlier than AND and on a greater scale. Bowaters started trucking wood in the 1940s, using not only a fleet of large Hayes Trucks but also contracting large numbers of smaller trucks that hauled wood from areas like Lomond, Cormack, and others closer to Corner Brook. I have seen a number of pick-up trucks with Bowater’s Woods Department markings on them, yet I have never seen anybody turn up a truck with AND Co markings.
In conclusion, before 1953ish very little pulpwood was hauled by truck. Any trucks that were used were used to transport loggers and supplies, thus they were used on roads and didn’t have AS MUCH of a chance of getting stuck as this later pallet trucks. This said, I wouldn’t rule out the chances of a moose hunter or new logging operations finding an old 1930s or 40s truck in some of the more remote areas; I just think the chances of finding a tractor are probably better. Your chances of finding a truck from the 1960s is infinitely higher, Price was hauling a lot of wood with smaller (than we are used to now) trucks in all kinds of areas, Woods Department staff were also travelling in cars and trucks, as were loggers, so the chances finding a private vehicle are higher too.
But then again.
Having said all of this, prior to 1946 most transportation for logging camps was done in the Winter. Anybody that has spent any time in the interior will know that it is easier to travel via-snowmobile than it is to use road based vehicles. This is because bogs and other bodies of water freeze up. In the warmer seasons bogs are an obstacle, but in winter they are a ready made roadway. There were many operations and some camps that relied on winter roads, and thus had their activities limited to the freeze up(by 1950 it would be difficult to find many camps without some sort of road or trail connection). This said, AND Company cutting operations were conducted in the summer months going back into the 1920s and 30s, thus they had to have some supplies bought in during those times as well, so some sort of wheeled transport was needed.
What are you more likely to find?
Sled parts. Every year hundreds of tractor and horse sleds were used to haul pulpwood for AND from Hall’s Bay to Terra Nova. These had a lot of heavy duty metal parts on them including couplings and runners, these things are too thick and heavy to rust out any time soon. To put it into perspective, in Millertown Division in the late 1960s, there were still 250 sleds being used to haul wood; and this was during the era when a large percentage was being hauled during the warm season, so there are mountains of tractor sled parts all over central.
Beds-If the camp was abandoned without salvaging the usable materials you are going to find bed frames and bed springs. I once found a bedframe from one of A.F Ball’s pre-1952 camps on the edge of a clearing while looking for a moose. These beds, by and large are going to date from about 1946-1963.
Wash pans, cooking utensils-I know of a guy who looks at old logging camp sites, and he has found all kinds of bean pots, jugs and kettles. He’s found several stoves, and I’ve found a handful my self.
Oil drums, oil cans, industrial lubricants-I have found tons of this stuff at just one camp, unfortunately oftentimes the containers are not in great shape. Though I’m pretty sure a family member got at the prime stuff years ago. You find a campsite from the 1950s or early 60s and you are probably going to find lots of this stuff.
Tractor parts-apparently Caterpillar tractors used in hauling pulpwood used to shed parts, at least that’s what it seams to me. I have found entire tracks, parts of seats, manifold covers, sprockets, and all kinds of things I have no clue of what they are. I found an engine once, but Abitibi hauled it away, which leaves me to the next one.
Entire tractors. There has to be some tractors still in the woods. AND operated 77 Caterpillars in 1946 and were probably operating even more in the 1950s. Some of these had to have been stuck in a bog or a lake and written off. There were claims that there is at least one of the early Holt’s abandoned somewhere in the Black Duck Area. This was from a logger that worked there in the 1920s, nothing has turned up yet. The big problem is, these things probably sank in either a pond or a bog. I’m not sure of how much stuff got caught up in World War Two era scrap drives, but if it was too hard get it or not known about it was probably left.
Boats-I might have mentioned this before (lol) there are a few steel winch boats still in the woods, most notably at West Lake. I searched for one at Boom Landing and couldn’t find it. The mill was still using at least one of these in the mid-1990s. There are all kinds of wooden boats around, or should I say the remains of wooden boats. Mostly these are Bateaus, Gander Bay boats, and row boats dating from the 1950s and 60s. There is even an immaculately preserved 25-foot trap skiff at one unnamed lake, whose preservation boggles my mind.
Newer Trucks and Skidders/Skidder Parts. There are still a few skidders in the woods from the 1960s and 70s, where I don’t exactly know, but they are probably within a 30 kilometer radius of Cripple Back Camp, Harpoon Camp, Rocky Brook Camp, Sunday Pond Camp, Sandy Badger Camp, Roebucks Camp, Star Lake Camp, New Bay Lake and very possibly Cornfield Lake Camp. The latter didn’t operate for a very long time, but there was a place where people used to damp cars and equipment very, very nearby. I do know there are are handful of pallet trucks, including one or two with Price (NFLD) Logos on the doors in the Grand Falls area. I used to know of one forwarder as well, but that has since been removed, and was no more than 40 years old. There were operations around Victoria Lake from the 1950s to the 1970s, this included a time when a lot of the old logging methods were falling out of favor. This area is also very remote, but much of the area is also underwater. I have heard stories of islands and places around there where vehicles were just left, either by Price or by Hydro. I have also heard a good many were hauled out in the winter with snowmobiles.
Dams-Dams, Winds, River Improvements, Boom Piers-You want to know the oldest thing you are likely to find in the woods? A logging dam, or at least what remains of a logging dam. They are getting harder and harder find because they do get taken over by beavers, and organizations such as ERMA have removed several. Also since some of them are really old, the trails that led to some of them have been grown over for a lifetime. There is still part of the main dam at Noel Paul standing, though very much worse for wear, despite the fact that it is a wooden dam built in 1936 and abandoned in 1964. There are also some dam remnants on Tom Joe Brook that have to be around 90 years old, if not more. The Great Rattling Brook area has a few dams still partially in place; likewise Twin Lakes still has a handful of dams on its outflow from prior to 1954. There has to be all kinds of dams still in the Terra Nova area as well. There are areas in Millertown that are riddled with dams and river improvements from at least the 1930s; besides having been home to one of the last logging dams to be built-the one on Harpoon put there in 1987! But that one was thoroughly removed. Associated with a lot of these same dams are boom piers too. A lot of boom piers have weathered back into nature, but there are still pockets around. The main ones for Grand Falls are still mostly there, as are the associated ones near the Golf Course. Obviously, these were maintained longer than others, but they have been subjected to far worse ice and water conditions too. On the other side of the coin, the piers at Marks Lake are still present, and they have just been sitting there since 1952.
If you do find something old in the woods in the central area shoot me a message or post in the comments section, I might be able to add some context to what it is.
If it looks remotely pre-1970s or so, don’t be an arsehole and take to to the scrapyard!
There still might be one or two locomotives, at least one Holt tractor, a Linn Tractor (anyone know what happened to the one that ended up at Buchans?), and some other weird and whacky stuff out there rusting away.
Also there is a pretty good chance you might find a 1960s or newer school bus, people used them as camps, and they were also used to bus loggers to work from about 1962 onwards. I can say with certainty that there are busses out there.
Hey Bryan were you able to find an answer to my query about the bar that was on the property near Grenfell Heights and what is now the intersection with Scott Avenue where round about is now?