Bear Harbor Lumber Co. No. 1 Gypsy
Company build photo of Bear Harbor Lumber Co.'s No.1 (0-4-0)

TRLOTTTE wishes to extend our many thanks and gratitude to Mr. Michael Kellogg - Board Member and Newsletter Editor with the Timber Heritage Association of Humboldt County, California for providing us with the photographs and rich historical information seen on this page.

Bear Harbor Lumber Co. No. 1 is also called the "Gypsy" because of the horizontal gypsy drums and large gear mounted on the front of the locomotive which, with rope, was used to yard logs and to perform other tasks. No. 1, a narrow-gauge 0-4-0 built in 1892 at the National Iron Works by Marshutz & Cantrell of San Francisco, was a typical early wood-burning logging locomotive. The design was patented by John Dolbeer of the Dolbeer & Carson Lumber Company of Eureka, California in 1883. John Dolbeer also invented the steam donkey engine in 1882. It is credited with revolutionizing the logging industry by using steam power to move logs from the woods rather than by oxen or horses. The Gypsy locomotive was kind of a combination locomotive and donkey engine on wheels. Bear Harbor Lumber Co. No. 1 is one of the oldest locomotives still in operation. Only sixteen locomotives that old or older still operate anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. It still has its original lap-seam boiler; it is doubtful that even a handful of locomotives that old still operate with original boilers. It is one of only two locomotives built by Marshutz & Cantrell that still exist. Many early logging locomotives had gypsys; this is one of the few that did not get removed.

The Gypsy was purchased new for the Bear harbor Lumber Co. incorporated in 1893, but actually delivered in 1898. Bear Harbor, a small indentation on the Northern California coast, was hardly worth being called a harbor. 15,000 acres of timber land was purchased, a wharf was built and a two mile railroad was built. Tanbark and railroad ties where loaded on ships using a wire chute which was a platform hanging off the cable that connected from the end of the wharf to a ship anchored out in deep enough water. This kind of shallow harbor was called a "doghole". The locomotive was delivered by ship to the wharf. In 1895, the wharf was extended 100 feet and the railroad was extended further inland. At the end of the first 2 miles a 1,900 foot incline was built to raise the elevation 600 feet. Horses pulled the lumber cars on the lower two miles and No. 1 worked from the top of the incline 8 miles to a town called Moody where there was an engine house. The railroad was to be extended further inland and a second locomotive was purchased. In 1902 new investors bought into the company and planned to extend the railroad further and build a big new sawmill at Andersonia.

Disaster struck on October 31, 1905 on what was to be the sawmill's official opening day. As the first log was being ceremoniously cut, a brace was torn off the side of the mill by an errant cable, and hit founder Henry Neff Anderson where he stood officiating the event. Mortally wounded, Anderson died a week later. The mill had not resumed operations after the accident, and an economic downturn and subsequent natural disasters compounded the setbacks. By 1921, the locomotives had been retired to an engine shed in Moody, and the mill's equipment was packed away as the once promised community dissolved into abandonment.

Locomotive No.1 after more than 50 years of disuse
Locomotive No.1 after more than 50 years of disuse

World War Two and the associated post-war economic boom reignited the effort to reestablish the sawmilling community. In 1958, locomotive No.1 was relocated to the front of the mill office - its boiler none the worse for wear after 15 years of service on the railroad and decades of storage. It was donated to the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park in 1967 to be featured in its logging exhibit. THA volunteers and the state worked dilligently to restore No.1 to operating condition between 1977 and 1979, where it makes an appearance onder its own steam every year during Fort Humboldt's "Donkey Days", details for which can be found on this Fort Humboldt State Historic Park site.

No.1 in operation today Photo: Michael Kellogg to TRLOTTTE
No.1 in operation today during Fort Humboldt State Park's "Donkey Days"

HiT Entertainment's versions of No.1 created for the Misty Island Special have very noticable differences - The gypsy gear appears to have been relocated and miniaturized to the rear of the locomotive, and the cab is enclosed to mask the presence (or lack thereof) of an engine crew.

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