REVIEWS OF THE VIDEO "LOGGING BY RAIL IN ALGONQUIN PARK"

Page 1.

From Timber Times, Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette, Tall Timber Short Lines, from Canadian Railway Modeller
 

From TimberTimes #22

A US publication on logging and lumbering history, and modeling
P.O. Box 219 Hillsboro, OR 97123 1-800-821-8652

As an introduction you get a brief history of the Fassett Lbr. Co. using still photos and narration.

The core of this video is a professionally shot film from the early 1930s. It was shot as part of a promotional package to help their sales in England and elsewhere.

The film is fairly well done and edited (It's more "Roy Rogers" than "Henry Fonda.") There is some period music that accompanies the narration. There was banjo music playing when my wife entered the room and she said: "Oh no! Not another one of THOSE." Thankfully there was only one such song, I did recognize the style of some of the other songs as being from the 20s and 30s and they were much more pleasant to listen to. There are also a few interviews with people who remember this action.

What you do get here is a fascinating look at the company's full operation. The show  starts out with grinning Jacks going to the cookhouse and then heading out with the horse teams to the woods. Falling and horse powered yarding follows. The company logged and cold decked until Christmas.

After Christmas the men load the cold decks, using horse, power, onto sleds which are either pulled by horses or trucks or tractors. You will see all three. Some of the logs are loaded with a Barnhart loader onto log cars, the train being headed up by a Shay locomotive. There's some lively action going on here and nice scenes of passing trains.

Next you see the logs entering the sawmill and being transformed into boards. The lumber is then shown going to the drying yards and getting loaded on train cars.

Sound from the Cass Scenic Railway. and South Simcoe Railway has been expertly added to the train scenes to give us good full sounds.

When the credits start to roll don't stop and rewind, keep going, as they stuck a repeat of the railroad action on the end of the tape, a nice encore! SRG

(See the review of The Fossmill Story from the same issue)

Logging by Rail in Algonquin Park -the Fassett Lumber Corporationís  Fossmill, Ontario, Operation Circa 1930.

This video shows the Fassett Lumber Corporationís operations in Algonquin Park, Canada. In 1930, the company hoped to increase exports, and commissioned a professionally made, black-and-white, silent film showing its operations. The main part of this video reproduces that silent film with added sound and narration. A brief introduction gives the historical background 

We see the companyís logging operations in great detail- starting with loggers coming to work in the morning. They are shown hitching up horses and riding wagons to the woods. Then we see them felling trees, bucking them to length and hauling then to the railhead. A Barnhart loader is shown loading log cars to be hauled to the sawmill. The log train includes a little homemade caboose mounted on a log car. We see the logs go to the mill, where they are cut, edged, sorted and stacked. A little tram hauls the lumber to where it is loaded into standard gauge boxcars. We even see slash being burned in the boiler that kept the mill engine running. 

I enjoyed this video. It shows logging from the woods to the mill, and on to the market. It is must viewing for any logging enthusiast, and I canít wait to model that little homemade log car caboose. Bob Brown.

Journal of the Pacific Coast Logging Historical & Technical Society
PO Box 1636, Tacoma, Washington 98401-1636 Phone 206-759-6579 

Video Review:
Logging By Rail in Algonquin Park circa 1930 
The Fassett Lumber Corporation's, 
Fossmill, Ontario Operation, Circa 1930 

Past Forward Heritage Services, 30 mins. $29.95&$4.00 S&H 
514 Bear Mountain Rd., RR I Powassan, Ontario POH I ZO 705-724-6882, www3 sympatico.ca/past.forward 

I came across this film while surfing the net and it is one of those gems that tells a great deal about logging methods in a compact package.  Made in 1934 it shows the operations of Fassett Lumber Corporation.  The introduction uses stills to set the stage for a wonderful promotional film much like that many lumber companies had made during the days of steam logging.  Although taking place during the Depression the filming of hardwood logging methods with horse, steam and tractor power that are highlighted are very representative of the highball era.  It is well narrated and shows Fassett's operation from falling to loading finished lumber on Canadian National Railway boxcars. (This loading by hand into boxcars is a seldom seen but universal operation and begs to be modeled.  When was the last time you saw a model brakeman walking on the peaker of a loaded log car in motion? 

The stars of the film in addition to the lumberjacks going about their business heading to the cookhouse, falling, bucking loading and railroading hard at work in the snow) are the operation's 3 truck coal burning Shay and Bamhart loaders.  Great footage of the Bamhart in action in tandem with the nimble head loader gives one an inkling of the dangers of loading logs with single tongs.  Peavies are quite prevalent as is cross haul loading and the scenes of horse logging are the most informative I've seen.  There appears to be a pig as the camp mascot so keep an eye out for him!  The logs being transported to the railroad by horses and sleds through the snow is also very instructional. The Bamhart operations were very much reminiscent of certain photos in the Pennsylvania Logging series.  Scenes include loads on sleds being towed across a frozen river with a truck and then later a crawler tractor.  There is also very good interior footage of the 100,000 board foot capacity mill in operations. 

Musical ditties accompany the narration until the end where prototype sounds synchronized to the steam action stand alone in a reprise of the railroading action.  This reuse of the spectacular black and white video replete with steam plumes filling the cold winter air was a brilliant idea.  I highly recommend this view of hardwood logging in the Algonquin Park in Ontario.  The sound and video quality are excellent in my opinion with the vintage motion picture superior to many of these reproductions of period films one sees.  I'll watch this one again and again and am looking forward to getting the companion book. 

Reviewed by J. Clark McAbee 

The following review appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of the Canadian Railway Modeller

TV Trains Review By Jim Martin

The opinions on this page reflect the views of not one person but a panel of experienced railfans and/or modellers. Videos are graded on a scale of one to five, with five being considered excellent in everyway. Using standardized forms, videos are graded on video and sound quality, modelling value and viewer interest. A round robin discussion following the viewing assists the writer in distilling the panel's opinions. 

Logging by Rail in Algonquin Park

Produced by Past Forward Productions. 

Most modellers depict logging operations as quaint, little backwoods industries. Many, however, were huge. Perhaps none was bigger in Ontario than the Fassett Lumber Corporation with its extensive workings in Algonquin Park. 

In the 1930s the company was looking to increase exports. It commissioned a professionally made film to illustrate its operations and products. The next year, however, the giant mill burned to the ground and Fassett pulled up stakes. 

Fast forward some sixty years. Doug and Paul Mackey of Past Forward Heritage Services are working on a book about the operation. One of the people being interviewed says he has a film in the basement that might contain useful information. He does not own a projector and has never seen it. The Mackey's have struck gold - they discovered the company film, virtually unused, sealed in the can for six decades, in like-new condition. The book is put on hold while this video is produced from the film. 

Whether one is into logging or not, this is a wonderful video. The reviewers were amazed at the quality of these old images and the wealth of detail they contain. One sees the workers leaving the cookhouse; hauling logs by horses, trucks, tractors, and Shays; the operation of the Barnhart log loaders; and the sawmill with its enormous stacks of logs and lumber. Also pictured is the interchange with Canadian National Railways. 

The producers have enhanced the film by adding still photos, interviews with people who worked and lived there, sound effects and some authentically scratchy music. The review panel couldn't contain its enthusiasm, babbling through the first showing and then watching again to see what we had missed. The one thing that amazed us all was the working practices of the day. Workers used minimal safety equipment while riding the tops of logging cars, dancing around logs swinging at the end of the Barnhart loader and rapidly feeding logs into the giant saws. It was a dangerous business. 

The producers tell us this video appeals not only to rail buffs, but also to historians and family groups whose older members can recall doing such work. A number of smaller northern centres have been showing it in community halls. This video is an authentic, unique and beautifully-preserved look into a way of life that no longer exists. High fives all around! Watch for the companion book 'The Fossmill Storyí due out soon. 

Logging by Rail in Algonquin Park Produced by Past Forward Productions, 78 112 Spruce Street - Unit 10, Toronto, ON, M5A 2J1, Website: www3.sympatico.calpastforward 30 minutes, $29.95 plus taxes and $4.00 s&h. Check your hobby shop or local museum gift shop first. 

More reviews