Fonds 173 Gaston Mencke fonds

fonds-173

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1947-1998. — 1 cm of textual records, 55 photographs.


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Biographical Sketch

Gaston Mencke

In the late 40s and up to the mid 50s, revenue from farming was often below expenses, and working in a lumber camp for the winter was one way a farmer could supplement income. In the winter of 1947 Gaston went to work at the McCrae Lumber Co. at Faust. His first job was doing odd jobs in the mill yard, an area of about 15 to 20 acres with the bunk houses and cookhouse on one side and the actual mill on the other. Later he was given the job of clearing the edgings and slabs. Most of the transportation at the McCrae Mill was still done with horses, although the finished lumber was hauled by truck.

In 1949, Gaston and a partner began falling trees for the Park Brothers Sawmill in the Whitemud Creek area, a job he continued to do for seven winters. Fallers were paid by the tree, which they cut using crosscuts and swede saws until power saws became available about 1951. On an average day, they would cut, limb and top 125 trees. The Park Brothers mill was a 24 hour operation on an 80 acre millsite for the 60 to 75 employees. Camp buildings included a cookshack and dining room, office and small store, two shops to service cats and trucks, a warehouse to store supplies, and three bunkhouses: one for the fallers, one for the catskinners, and one for the millworkers. The mill was originally powered by steam, then by diesel.

After the Park Brothers finished logging their permitted area in 1955, the mill was closed and Gaston spent his winters, now with a young family on his farm. He retired from farming in and moved to Grande Prairie. His memoirs, “Recollections of my Days in the Bush Camps” was written in 1997 for a display on the history of the Lumber Industry at the Grande Prairie Museum.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of Gaston Mencke’s memoirs of the McCrae Lumber Co. at Faust, Alberta in the winter of 1947-48, and the Park Bros. Lumber Camp from 1949-1955; 43 photographs of the two camps; and 12 photographs showing modern equipment working at the Weyerhauser Mill south of Grande Prairie in February 1998.

Table of Contents

Series 173.01Recollections of My Days in the Bush Camps
Series 173.02McCrae Lumber Company
Series 173.03Park Brothers Lumber Mill
Series 173.04Modern Logging Machinery
Series 173.01Recollections of My Days in the Bush Camps. — 1947-1955. — 1 cm cm of textual records.The series consists of a copy of Gaston Mencke’s short memoir of his time at the McCrae Lumber Company and Park Brothers Lumber Camp from 1947 to 1955. The text is illustrated with photographs and includes a description of the Park Brothers mill site 45 years after he was employed there.
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Series 173.02McCrae Lumber Company. — 1947-1948., 18 photographs.The series consists of 18 photographs of the McCrae Lumber Company at Faust, Alberta, showing the mill site, equipment, activities and people involved in the operations.
 
McCrae’s Lumber Camp, 1948 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. McCrae Lumber Company operated a camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.01
McCrae’s Lumber Camp, 1948 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. McCrae Lumber Company operated a camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.02
McCrae’s Lumber Camp, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Gaston Mencke’s first job at the McCrae Lumber Company was cleaning the slabs and edgings. Location: 173.02.03
McCrae’s Lumber Camp, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. McCrae Lumber Company operated a camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.04
Top-burning the Slab Pile, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Top-burning the slab pile at McCrae Lumber Company at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.05
Clearing the Sawdust, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Clearing the sawdust at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.06
McCrae’s Lumber Camp, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. McCrae Lumber Company operated a camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.07
Cleaning the Conveyor, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Cleaning the base of the conveyor at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.08
Bringing in the Logs, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Eugene Plant bringing in a load of logs to the McCrae Lumber Company at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.09
Bringing in the Logs, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Eugene Plant bringing in a load of logs to the McCrae Lumber Company at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.10
Unloading Logs for the Mill, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Eugene Plante and brother Lorenzo ready to unload logs at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.11
Rolling Logs on Rollway, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Pete Fortin and assistant rolling logs on rollway at McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.12
Mill in Operation, 1948-1949 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Laurier Hachey sawying and Pete Fortin rolling the logs at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.13
Lumber Pivot, McCrae’s Lumber Camp, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Marcel Brunin on lumber pivot and Armand Mailhot piling the lumber at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.14
Truckload of Lumber, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Raoul Doucet’s white truck, average load 5500 to 6000 board feet at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.15
Truckdriver Duchesne, 1948-1949 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Truckdriver Donald Duchesne with Raoul Doucet’s truck at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.16
Mr. Larose, Bull Cook, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Mr. Larose, bull cook at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.17
Mr. Larose Bucking Firewood, 1947 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Mr. Larose, bull cook, bucking wood at the McCrae Lumber Camp at Assineau, near Faust, Alberta. Location: 173.02.18
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Series 173.03Park Brothers Lumber Mill. — 1949-1955., 25 photographs.The series consists of 25 photographs of the Park Brothers Sawmill and operations at Whitemud Creek. Subjects include the mill site and buildings, equipment and roads, activities and lumber mill employees.
 
Gaston Mencke, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Gaston Mencke at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.01
Park Bros. Logging Truck, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Marten Purchon, from Watino, in Park Bros. Logging truck at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.02
Park Bros. Logging Truck, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Marten Purchon, from Watino, in Park Bros. Logging truck at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.03
Cat and Jammer, 1955 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Cat pulling logs (full length trees) up the jammer at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.04
Yard Site, Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Yard site at Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.05
Boiler Shed, Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Romuald St. Amand in front of the Boiler Shed at Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.06
Cookshack, Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Cookshack at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.07
Fallers’ Bunkhouse, Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. St. Amand in the doorway of the Fallers’ bunk house at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.08
Fueling up the Power Plant, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Fueling up the power plant at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.09
Gaston Mencke at Park Bros. Camp, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Gaston Mencke sitting on the logs on the landing at Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.10
Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.11
“Suicide” Saw at Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Suicide Saw used to cut trees into logs at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.12
“Suicide” Saw at Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Romuald St. Amand beside the “suicide saw” at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.13
Elevating the Logs, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Elevation Conveyor used to bring logs to carriage and head-saw in the sawmill at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.14
Trim Saws at Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Trim saws cut planks into even lengths at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.15
Lumber Chain at Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Conveying chain bringing lumber to loading ramp at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.16
Slab Chute at Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Slab and edging conveyor dumped the scraps in the fire pit at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.17
Log Bank at Park Bros. Sawmill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Log bank at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.18
Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.19
“Suicide” Hill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. “Suicide” hill on the route to Watino from the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.20
“Suicide” Hill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. “Suicide” hill on the route to Watino from the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.21
Coyote Hill, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Coyote Hill about six miles north of the Park Bros. Sawmill on the route to Watino. Location: 173.03.22
Lamb Bros. Lumber Haulers, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Lamb Bros. Lumber Haulers from Spirit River at the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.23
Lamb Bros. Lumber Haulers, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Dan Dumont of Fahler at Watino, ready to dump a load of lumber from the Park Bros. Sawmill at Whitemud Creek north of DeBolt. Location: 173.03.24
Unloading the Lumber, 1951 1 print; b & w; 4 x 6 in. Dan Dumont unloading a load of lumber at Watino. Notice the small pile of planks behind the rear wheels that help the truck break faster. Location: 173.03.25
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Series 173.04Modern Logging Machinery. — 1998., 12 photographs.The series consists of 12 photographs of modern logging machinery at Weyerhauser operations south of Grande Prairie, mainly the “Lemmit” owned by Bob Boulet and his sons from Grande Prairie.
 
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; “Lemmit” Limb and Top Cutter at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. Location: 173.04.01
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; “Lemmit” picking the trees from the piles at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. Location: 173.04.02
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; “Lemmit” sucking the trees through the rollers to cut the limbs at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. Location: 173.04.03
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; “Lemmit” sucking the trees through the rollers to cut the limbs at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. Location: 173.04.04
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; “Lemmit” lopping the tops off at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. This machine can take two trees at a time if they are small. Location: 173.04.05
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; “Lemmit” lopping the tops off at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. This machine can take two trees at a time if they are small. Location: 173.04.06
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; Bob Boulet of Grande Prairie, owner (with his sons) of the “Lemmit” at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie. Location: 173.04.07
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; Finished piles of trees after being topped and limbed ready to be hauled from the Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie. Location: 173.04.08
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; Loading the trucks with a fork-lift at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie. Location: 173.04.09
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; Loading the trucks with a fork-lift at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie. Location: 173.04.10
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; Elks on the way to the bush at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. Location: 173.04.11
Weyerhaeuser Operations, Grande Prairie, 1998 1 ; colour; Elks on the way to the bush at Weyerhaeuser Operations south of Grande Prairie, taken February 12, 1998. Location: 173.04.12
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