The Spruce Division

19780084000245_450Darius Kinsey was a highly skilled and dedicated photographer of early 20th centuty life and industry in the Pacific Northwest. Among his many interests, forest scenes are prominent. It has been said he regarded the forest as a great cathedral, and he gathered many striking detailed images of early logging, millworking, and the use of steam power in the woods.


19780084005568_450For Kinsey, perfect photo opportunities often involved personal risk as he wandered about railroad trestles, logging sites, flooded rivers, glaciers, and numerous other wild sites throughout the west. His photographs are renowned for their great quality and detail.


20040050000015_450In 1918, the demand for light and strong Sitka spruce for aircraft components led to the intensive harvest of Sitka spruce in Oregon and Washington by the Spruce Production Division of the U.S. Army. The Spruce Division constructed railroads; and cut, processed, and shipped great quantities of finished spruce lumber throughout the United States and Europe for the construction of allied war aircraft.


19780084005009_450The Spruce Division constructed permanent camps throughout the coastal Pacific Northwest where the big spruce trees grew. The camps were supervised and operated by the U.S. Army, while the civilian loggers lived in the trim buildings as well, often with their families. In Skagit County, camps were located in nearby Hamilton, Clear Lake, and Sauk Prairie.


19780084001345_450For more information on the amazing Kinsey collection, contact the Whatcom Museum.


From the Whatcom Museum photo archives. Catalog No. 1978.84.5009; 1978.84.3300; 1978.84.1345; 1978.84.5568; 1978.84.245; 2004.50.15