Anderson Sawmill Project Displays


The latest Anderson Sawmill display was installed at Lindsay Park on Thursday, September 28, 2023.

It is one of several Anderson Sawmill equipment displays being planned for the community by the Forestry Heritage Society, the qathet Museum and Archives, City Parks, and the PR Community Forest.

Interpretive signs.

Andy and Clara Anderson spent their adult lives in Powell River in the logging industry. Andy died in 1977 at the age of 87. Clara, born Olson, (1890 – 1984) worked alongside Andy in all their endeavours.

Anderson’s steam-powered Sawmill, Lakeview Lumber Company, operated at Block Bay on Powell Lake from 1932 to 1960.

Quite an extensive operation!

Another view of the mill in 1955, looking east to Powell Lake, with Mowat Bay off-photo to the right. The Sunshine Coast Trail from the bridge across Powell Lake now passes by here.

One of the main sources of steam for the sawmill was this 10×15 Steam Donkey, made by Vancouver Engineering Works in 1918, labelled c/n 354. This Steam Donkey is the one now on display at Lindsay Park. The large fairlead at the front of the sled is now part of the Farmers Market Steam Donkey display.

The Anderson sawmill with its carriage and circular saws would have looked something like this, a photo of a USA-based steam sawmill. (we have not yet found photos of this part of the Anderson Sawmill)

Anderson operated several Steam Donkeys and for a time had one on a float at Mowat Bay. It is probably how he transported it from Block Bay.

In 1960, the Macmillan Bloedel and Powell River Company had their own plans for using Block Bay to haul out logs, so refused to renew the lease. The Andersons moved and stored their equipment at their 16-acre home property at Mowat Bay, a few km away.

In 1976 the Andersons donated the equipment to the Burnaby Heritage Village, where most of it stayed in storage. Burnaby offered to return selected portions of the equipment to Powell River in 2014, and the qathet Museum accepted the offer, after receiving funding from the PR Community Forest. After transport to Powell River in 2016, the equipment was stored in various locations while planning continued.

Main pieces returned included the Steam donkey, a Ross Carrier, two vertical Climax steam engines, and the main parts of the Sawmill itself.

Finding a local site for a single comprehensive display turned out to be difficult.

So in December 2021, a team with reps from the qathet Museum, Forestry Heritage Society, City Parks and the PR Community Forest resumed planning with a vision of creating several smaller displays.

Lindsay Park was suggested for the main Anderson Steam Donkey and the Paradise Exhibition Park for a second Steam Donkey.

In 2012 the Forestry Heritage Society received a donation of a steam donkey from up the coast that was similar to others that Anderson had owned. Given our desire to present the Anderson collection at various points in the community, we completed this presentation. The Fairlead, sky block and pulley are from the Anderson collection. We intend to add a smokestack to complete the display, and perhaps other items from the Anderson Collection.

Interpretive sign added beside the Fairlead.

Some photos of the Steam Donkey move to Lindsay Park on Sept 28, 2023.

An earlier era at Lindsay Park.

Between 1915 and 1919, Mowat, Wasser and Marlatt had a sawmill right on the edge of Cranberry Lake, between Lindsay Park and Hatfield Place. A Steam Donkey near the current location pulled logs all the way from Powell Lake up a skid road east of Waddington Avenue. Palmer and Whipple operated the sawmill until the 1950s using logging trucks to bring the logs.