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Saturday, May 16, 2015

WIGWAM BURNER



This structure is looking rather cozy on its present location. It is now and has been in retirement since the early 1970s -- around forty years ago.  This very large structure is known in Oregon as a wigwam burner -- named for its shape of course. 

Burners were used to burn waste wood and/or sawdust at the many wood mill plants around Western Oregon. The burning created a lot of polluted air around mills and neighboring areas which led to their demise. A law was laid down that these burners could no longer be used beginning in the early 1970s. 

Now the few that are still standing are like large lawn ornaments on the landscape. I don't know how many are actually still in place. I took this picture at a former mill site named Davidson Mill Industries near Mapleton, Oregon.. I am glad the wigwam is still there as it represents a historical period when logging was a major industry in Lane County, Oregon as well as other counties. Although logging the land had its positives and negatives, it forced us to take stock of our clean air and develop laws to protect it.



Here is an old photo of a mill site with a wigwam burner that is in Oregon's Salem Library archives. The photo was taken by Ben Maxwell in 1963 in Independence, Oregon. Notice that nasty plume emanating from the wigwam burner.

AND -- Get a look at those fins on what appears to be an old Chevy (or Oldsmobile)!


More information:

My South Lane - Mapleton Wigwam Burner

The Columbia River -- Wigwam burners (great history)



14 comments:

  1. The improvement in most industry has improved the air quality. I agree it's interesting to see the relics left behind.

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    1. Joanne -- Air pollution is very much with us as new industries evolve with new chemical processes. Also when I lived in Portland, Oregon the gas emissions of the daily traffic was overwhelming. But we are still struggling to improve our air in spite of the large industries that fight us on improvement. thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  2. Interesting to me, as I don't know much about Oregon and its wood industry.

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    1. Michelle, I am learning as I go in this beautiful state with its many forests. Folks here seem very much inclined to keep Oregon green -- and they seem to be doing a great job of it -- the wood industry is not what is once was. But of course there is always two sides to a coin. Thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  3. I remember seeing those. I didn't know they were called wigwam burners.

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    1. Hattie -- At one time, I have read, there were hundreds of them on the west side of Oregon. Where there once were hundreds now just a few remain according to what I have read -- they seem now just talking points for former loggers and tourists. Thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  4. Seen a few in Colorado. They may be gone by now.

    I believe that is a '57 Chevy. What's interesting is in front of the 57 and at the far left of the photo are two '58 Impala's a very classy car and at the high end of Chevrolet's line. These guys were making pretty decent money. My first car was the same.

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    1. One Fly -- So you liked those old cars. So did I -- my dad drove a Chevy with fins. Can't remember the year. Now that you mention it -- logging probably did put a lot of money in the loggers pockets. What I have read, so far, about the logging industry is that most of the jobs were dangerous. Thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  5. I can't say I find it aesthetically pleasing, but the history is very interesting...I like it when you find things to show us that I might overlook because they make me uncomfortable...

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    1. I can understand your view on the burners not being particularly aesthetically pleasing. Saw a burner when I first arrived where I now live, I did take pause when looking at it. Not everything is soothing or beautiful. My belief is that folks who love history or culture and like to photograph should take the bad with the good. Sometimes we see urban graffiti all over a building and we shun it. But it is part of our culture -- don't you think? thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  6. Never heard of wigwam burners before. Surely I would have seen some at some point but maybe just didn't know what it was. Definitely prefer to see them preserved. It's nice to see from whence we came. :) Best wishes, Tammy

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    1. Tammy -- The wigwam burner was used to burn wood waste from the operating logging mill. At one time these burners were found all over western Oregon as this area was a heavily forested area resulting in many mills. . Logging has tapered off somewhat in western Oregon. I agree with you that it is nice to see from whence we came. Thank you for your comment -- barbara

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  7. Yes, how clever of you to think of Virginia Woolf, Barbara, I love and admire her work. The 'doll's house', it's amazing what comes to mind.... The Doll's House by Ibsen, then there's a short story by Katherine Mansfield, do you know her short stories? If only I could write like that. And then Mary Mouse and the Doll's House, the little paper books by Enid Blyton that were stocking fillers in the 2nd World War when paper was scarce.

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    1. Carole Anne -- I am not familiar with Katherine Mansfield nor Enid Blyton. I looked up their names on Wikipedia. Wiki had good coverage of both of these women as well as Ibsen who I was familiar with. I think I might read more of Ibsen. Do you have any of the little paper books by Enid? Apparently BBC did a program on Enid. Lots of nice writers to find out about. -- thanks for your comment -- barbara

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