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Vintage Photos of Lumberjacks and the Giant Northern California Redwoods they Felled

Northern California is known for being the home of some of the oldest and largest trees in the world. The culmination of this reputation sits in the northwest corner of the state, where redwoods in the Redwood National and State Parks can grow to be the largest in the world.

Today, the trees within the confines of the park are protected. But when settlers entered the area for the gold rush of the 1800’s, they turned to the giant trees to build housing and infrastructure. It wasn’t until the land was protected in 1911 by U.S. Representative John E. Raker, along with land purchases by the Save the Redwoods League, that logging in the area was prohibited.

We are so happy that the pristine NorCal redwoods are protected today, but that doesn’t stop us from marveling at the photos of the late-19th century and early-20th century loggers posing for photos next to the giant trees they felled. In fact, the photos give us a better glimpse of the sheer size of the redwoods beasts.

Here are some of the great photos from an era of logging in the redwoods forests of Northern California:

Loggers among the redwoods in Northern California. (Photo: Ericson Collection/Humboldt State University Library
Standing by a Sequioa log in Northern California, c. 1910. (Photo: Library of Congress/HAER CAL,54-THRIV.V,2–17

In the redwoods of Humboldt county. (Photo: Ericson Collection/Humboldt State University Library

A logger with a redwood. (Photo: Swanlund-Baker Collection, Humboldt State University Library

A felled Sequioa tree in Northern California, c. 1900. (Photo: Library of Congress/LC-USZ62-105050)

Loggers with a Redwood 20 feet in diameter. (Photo: Gerald W. Williams Collection/OSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center)
US Army Spruce Division solders sitting on a stump, c. 1918. (Photo: Gerald W. Williams Collection/OSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center)
Two loggers with a felled tree. (Photo: Gerald W. Williams Collection/OSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center)

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