Feature photo above – Bordeaux logging camp train, 1906, Clyde Cummings, engineer. Photo from the Washington State Historical Society.
The Early Settlers
The 1870s brought the first logging claims to the Black Hills region of southwest Washington Territory. The Black Hills got their name from the dark shadows that frequently covered the thick forested slopes.
This area would eventually become Capital State Forest–named for its close proximity to the state capital of Olympia.
In 1880, a Utopian society from Brooklyn, New York tried to settle in the area. Most of the group didn’t last the first winter.
However, New York names like Central Park and Brooklyn still dot the nearby areas. Undeterred by that group’s misfortunes, more Utopian groups arrived in the Puget Sound area over the next few decades.
Serious logging of the Black Hills began in the 1880s and 1890s. Washington became the 42nd state in 1889, and Congress granted the new state 5,000 acres in what was to become Capital Forest.
A lower elevation logging camp was set up in 1898, in what would become the town of Bordeaux.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Bordeaux’s population grew to 500.
1902 saw the first of a series of devastating wildfires in the logging hills. Continue reading Dreamers, Loggers and Trains-Capital Forest’s Early Years