Feb 9, 2005

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1874 A Schooner at the
Basket Factory Wharf

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Ca 1900 Rolling Longs in Front
of the Basket Factory


In 1874, a drawbridge was the final link of two short bridges and a causeway ending at the Douglas shore  (left photo). This intersection was just below the site of the basket factory.  A schooner, with sails hoisted, lies at the factory wharf. In those days, the area was known as mill point, site of  the 1851 Mill Point sawmill established by Jonathon Wade. When the pine-log sawing business declined, the sawmill continued to operate as a planing mill. Then in the early 1870s, fruit growing came on strong and Robert Reid acquired the factory for the manufacture of fruit containers. He was a ship captain—perhaps the schooner was his vessel.

The right photo shows the basket factory as it looked from the upriver side. The photo dates to the early 1900s when the basket factory was going full tilt. Hardwoods were cut during winter and log booms were rafted downriver in the spring and summer. At the mill, special equipment sliced logs into thin strips.  The flexible strips were then used to make boxes and baskets that were essential to the handling of fruit.

Reid operated the factory for a few years before selling it to Joshua Weed and son William. Another son, E. E. Weed eventually bought and ran the business along with partners James Wark and D. Milton Gerber.  By 1910 the factory was one of the largest of its kind and employed up to 200 workers. Predictably, it suffered the same fate that befell many steam-powered mills of the era, burning to the ground in the spring of 1927.   

Today the only traces of the basket factory are old pilings out in the river—a trace of the log containment area. Take a look the next time you pass by. 

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