Pancakes and Pastimes

By Eben Lehman on February 26, 2009

The four new photo galleries added to our website today provide a unique look into various aspects of the lives of loggers outside of the forest work environment.  These new online galleries, containing nearly 150 historic photos, feature subjects such as Logging Camp Food, Logging Communities, Family Life, and Logger Rodeos.

The Logging Camp Food gallery provides images of logging camp dining halls, kitchens, cooks, food service staff, and meals served.  And not to peddle logger stereotypes, but yes, pancakes are prominently involved:

Big Paul Searls eating a logger’s breakfast.

If this gallery leaves you hungry for more information, I would also suggest taking a look at “Old Boy, Did You Get Enough of Pie?: A Social History of Food in Logging Camps” by Joseph R. Conlin from the October 1979 issue of Journal Of Forest History, which provides a great historical look at the types of food found in 19th and 20th century logging camps.

Moving away from pancakes and pie, the Logging Community and Family Life galleries include images of the homes, schools, and towns connected with the logging industry.  The Logger Rodeos gallery features historic photos of logging contests and competitions.  Anyone who’s caught a late-night ESPN2 broadcast of the Great Outdoor Games will be familiar with the contests found in these images, such as log bucking, tree felling, and the always popular birling, or log rolling competition:

For more logger photos, also check out this previous blog post.   To browse the full subject listing of all previously posted photo galleries, visit this page.

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0 responses to “Pancakes and Pastimes”

  1. Jessie Henninger says:

    This reminds me of one of my favorite folders in the USFS Collection which contains the Fire Lookout Cookbook (you should check it out sometime!) It explains how to fashion your own oven and bake a cake all the way up in a lookout tower. So interesting to see what was on everyone’s menu, though I think the fire lookouts ate somewhat less heartily than the loggers. Also love that there is now a keyword “pancakes.”

  2. Jessie,

    I’m so glad you mentioned the Fire Lookout Cookbook! I’ve long hoped to work a recipe into the blog, but I have to admit the recommended can of salmon isn’t very appealing to me!

    Anyhow, here’s our coverage on the 1938 Forest Service Lookout Cookbook for Region One, available through our (new and improved!) U.S. Forest Service History hub: https://foresthistory.org/ASPNET/Publications/Cookbook/Lookout_Cookbook.aspx. On this page, you’ll find links to PDFs of the 1938 cookbook and 1939 supplement.

    I find the cooking information and types of foodstuffs just fascinating — though it makes me grateful I am not beholden to the fire lookout diet.

    Perhaps “salmon wiggle” should be a new keyword, eh?

  3. Jessie Henninger says:

    Yes, that’s the one! At first I found the idea of being a lookout very romantic, but less so after I read the cookbook. I do marvel at all the tips on what to do with leftovers. Mmm…salmon wiggle.