Gary Barker writes
C Barker (my grandfather) owned a mill at the same time at Mcgee, a
remote area about 40 miles up the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River
(something like 25 miles as the crow flies North of Kellogg, Idaho.)
That mill opened in about 1948 and closed in 1962. They logged
the local area and transported the lumber over primitive gravel roads
to area markets. It was an economically viable operation at that time
to mill the logs and transport the lumber, as opposed to just hauling
the logs to a larger mill. At it's peak, I believe the mill processed
about one million board feet of lumber per year, operating only in the
mill was powered by two huge diesel engines that generated electricity
to drive the saws and other equipement. One of the engines was left at
idle until about 10:00 PM to provide electricity to the cabins
and other facilities. After that time, it was kerosine lamps.
father Clifford was alive until 1956, and we spent every summer at the
Mcgee mill. He worked driving bulldozer in the woods, building roads
and skidding logs. Uncle Roy drove trucks. My cousins Doyle, Dennis,
Ray were all there, working in the woods. Grandpa Barker was the boss
and bookkeeper. Most of my other relatives from the Barker side
were there also at that time.
was a magical place and time for us all, one I will never forget.
Playing with friends, fishing in Teepee Creek for trout, stealing pies
and cigarettes from the "cook shack". All the adults and children would
gather at the boarding house around a ten meter long table for dinner
in the evenings. Grandma Barker (Nellie), my aunt Opel, my mother, and
several other ladies would prepare and serve the meals to the hungry
mill workers and loggers. The workers were a melting pot of European
desent. I recall Irish, Polish, Chec, French, British and others.
after Dad died in 1956, we would go to Mcgee for the summer, as Mom
continured to help out there. I worked there as a "bull cook" in 1960,
and then in the mill in 1961 at age 13, on the green chain in the mill.
I also helped to dismantle the mill in 1963.