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Smoke and Wreckage: 1939

Smoke and Wreckage: 1939

August 1939. "Centralia, Lewis County, Washington state. Railroad yard, looking down from highway bridge. Disaster to the town: The one remaining lumber mill burned down a week before. Note smoke and wreckage." Medium format negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Street view from Sept 2012. The mill pond seems to be in the right place.

Re: Unattached

Those flatcars belong to the lumber company and are for woods service only. The logs were indeed tied down with chains for the trip to the mill. This was essential, as lumber railroads were built cheap and on the fly, with steep grades and poor roadbeds. The chains came off when the cars reached the mill, which alas is no longer capable of sawing them into lumber. The shunt from yard to the mill pond minus chains would have been acceptable.

Re: Unattached

It is hard to see,but there are curved wedges under the logs to keep them from rolling off the flatcars.


Are those logs not somehow secured to the flatcars other than by gravity? Similarly, the photo also appears to have captured a person who might be unbound by societal norms. I think they were called hobos.

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