|McCloud River RR Snowplow|
During this cavalcade, crossroads became towns, towns became cities and honest people worked hard to create a future for themselves and their families and a future for America.
But industry suffers from cycles of boom and bust. Nearly as quickly as Bodie, California sprung from the hills east of the Bridgeport Valley, it turned to dust when gold’s allure faded. Similarly, the coastal town of Greenwood, only eleven hours north of the bay by sea, is remembered by only a few black and white photos of the timber harvest that occurred there. Platina died (I’ve just been told) when the platinum played out. For Cherokee, it was diamonds. Beldon’s knell came when the Feather River Railroad (the old WP) punched further up the canyon.
Some towns retooled. Others did not.
|The streets are rolled up early|
McCloud was, indeed, a company town. Blocks are filled with period houses of common design. Some are year-round residences; some are summer get-aways.
It is easy to picture a twenty-four hour cacophony coming from this yard during the heyday of Shasta lumbering.
NO WATER IS MORE PURE than that which flows from beneath Mount Shasta. A short while ago, a large multi-national approached the citizenry about putting a water bottling plant on or near the old mill site. The corporation would bring needed jobs to an economically struggling area utilizing an infrastructure in place from former industries. After much debate, we are told by the woman at the front desk, townsfolk rejected the plan asking, if we get our water for free, why should we allow you bottle it and then sell it to us?
The company found a willing supply in Sacramento.
INDUSTRY IS STILL GLORIOUS, but it has changed. While, in America, we still are the most productive people on the planet, success is no longer measured by the number of ore cars that rumble down the right-of-way, or the board feet of lumber milled at a plant, or even the number of Chevrolets rolling off an assembly line back in Flint, Michigan.
Still it’s nice to slow down and look back. It’s good to recognize the labor that went before – the labor that built the foundations upon which we now operate. And it’s welcome to find a place like McCloud or Greenwood or Bodie to simply sit quietly and reflect on it all.
|(c) U C Davis|
Church of the Open Road Press