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Man of the Woods: 1951

Man of the Woods: 1951

My father, Samuel McJunkin, in 1951 after a forest fire fighting effort in the Cascade mountain range in Washington State. He worked for the Forest Service during the summers to help pay for college. View full size.

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Tough work

In the 1960s I worked for the British Columbia Forest Service in the rain forest on Vancouver Island between university semesters. Luckily I was never called on to fight forest fires: that was one tough job. Thanks for uploading this excellent image, it's one of the best I've seen on

Changes today

Great photograph. About the only things that haven't changed in his garb and equipage are the boots and the pulaski. Nomex fire shirts replaced other upper torso coverings starting in the late 60s and became mandatory around 1970. Metal hardhats are long gone. All firefighters now wear nomex or kevlar fire pants and they're hemmed at the bottom. The Whites are still pretty common although they are slowly being replaced by lighter weight boots to reduce fatigue.

Don Hall
Yreka, CA

Deep Woods

Looks like half of one of those stereoscopic pictures that were popular way back when. It looks almost 3-D on its own.

Stagged pants, caulk boots

I grew up in the northwest and feel I almost know him. The guys working in the woods would cut their pants off so they didn't snag on brush quite so much. The men I knew always called this "stagging" their pants for some reason. Whites Boots of Spokane is still in business as is Filson in Seattle look for their websites. Whites still makes caulked or calk (pronounced corked or just cork) boots and Filson still sells tin pants.


Not an axe: a pulaski. Standard Forest Service firefighting equipment for nearly a century. Great to see such an old one.

Pulaski, Tool of the Trade.

Wonderful Photograph, thank you for sharing. The hand tool is known as a Pulaski, named for its inventor, Ed Pulaski, a former U.S. Forest Ranger. Search "Ed Pulaski" for a very interesting story on its own. The safety covering on the tool edges are pieces of 1-1/2" fire hose. The clothing is most likely Filson Tin Cloth which usually come unhemmed and the boots most likely are Whites, both firms being based in Washington and popular in the woods. Again, a wonderful photograph.

Neither an axe nor a mattock

That tool is called a Pulaski. Named after Ed Pulaski. Still in use by wildland firefighters everywhere. It's a combination of axe and adze, just the ticket for digging firelines.


I agree with perpster. This is right out of an Ansel Adams scrapbook. "Stunning" comes to mind.


This is one of Shorpy's all-time greats. How lucky you are to have such an image of your father.


I bet you feel your father can walk on water - literally!

Older vintage

The sepia tone along with the timeless apparel could allow one to believe that this photo was taken earlier than 1951. Anytime between the 1920s to the 1940s is believable.

That's Where They Went!

Perhaps his pants cuffs are now protecting the ends of his mattock.

Forester Fashion

I like the frayed cuffs on the pants, done so that the pant leg would tear if you caught the cuff on a branch stub while stepping over a log. With a hemmed cuff, you just end up falling flat on your face.

Whoever took that picture knew how to compose a photograph!

What's up Doc?

What's he looking up at, a Tree he's going to cut down with his little Ax?



Lovely Picture!

Beautiful picture!


Looks like it was taken by Ansel Adams. Fantastic photo!


This might be my favorite photo of yours. Looks right out of a book, in one of those fancy National Park gift stores.

The snapshot as art

The snapshot as art photograph. From an opera or a dream. Any more?

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