The Long Bell Lumber Railroad

Leaf to Long Bell Camp, CA

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The town of Tennant, California is the relatively intact permanent/headquarters camp of the Long Bell Lumber Company's extensive logging railroad (1921 - 1954). The ordinary looking cottages were prefabricated in two sections, each mounted on permanent wooden skids, then brought in by rail on flatcars. The company store/gas station/wharehouse, now closed, is next to a large empty lot, covered with red cinders. Before it was dismantled at the end of operations, here was where they maintained and housed their steam locomotives from massive Logging Mallets for logging mainline use to Shays for gathering logs on an ever changing network of temporary branches and spurs.

A few miles to the northwest, along the main road out of town, is railroad location Leaf. Here, you can find the fenced-in private railyard, with rails removed and untreated ties, rotting away ,whereloaded shipments of logs awaited shipment by the Southern Pacific to their vast mill at Weed, CA.

Long Bell's mainline, which heads east from Tennant, is now the graded and paved Forest Road 77 to Medicine Lake. Modern signs show the old railroad mileposts. Hidden and obstructed turnoffs indicate where loaded cars were once picked-up and empty's dropped off.

Just north of Medicine Lake, turn-off onto FR 49 whcih leads to the entrance of Lava Beds National Monument. A scenic area of fairly intact logging railroad grades, including mainline, lies a mile or two south of the of the Monument. Here an upgraded logging railroad grade, now called Tichnor (44N22) Road crosses FR 49. The grades run just to the south of it.

Steven Weil
California, CA

To Steven Weil,

I have looked long and hard for information on this logging railroad and finally found in in "Rails in The Shadow of Mt. Shasta" by John R. Signor available from Alibris Books. It has two pages of information plus a detailed map. Alibris has used copies for $25.00.

Bob Bassett

Robert Bassett
Missoula, MT

I used to work on the Doublehead Ranger District, and I am familiar with the Long Bell railroad, and I have successfully drove the grade from just above the current Long Bell fire station, all the way to where the old road ties into the current UP line near Bray, CA. I even have an old picture showing the junction of the LongBell and UP. I currently work on the Goosenest district of the Klamath, which contains the western portion of the railroad. I would be happy to share much more info with you if you like.

Joshua Veal
Tulelake, CA

IN 1947/to 1954 from age 10 to 17 I LIVED in the Vaughn oregon commnity. there is still lumber mill there where the houses, church and combination genral store and gas station was. am interested in any history of this camp. pictures, etc.

Paul Rex Wilson
lebanon or, OR

My family and I lived in Tennant, CA from 1954-1958. My husband and brother-in-law worked for LongBell Lbr. co. in the maintenance shop. Have many wonderful memories from living there. Our house is gone..having a big tree toppled over through the middle of it during a storm and after it was sold to individuals, but just before they moved into it.

Phyllis Hovland-Searle
Roseville, CA, CA

My family lived in Tennant from March 1947 to Sept 1957. Two of my brothers and I were born while there. I went to first and second grade at the Tennant school. 1955-56 and 1956-57. One of my teachers was Mrs. Page. My dad worked out at "camp" until 1951 at which time he came in to work in the shop. He learned to blacksmith and then to weld. His name is John Park and he will be 90 this year. We moved to Weed in 1957 and he continued working for International Paper. We often talk about living there and my parents made lifetime friends there. I visited Tennant two years ago. My third brother was born in 1957 in Weed. Wish everybody could have the experience of living as we did in Tennant.

Dianne Park Breuer
Rolla, MO

My mother grew up in Tennant, California and left in 1930. My grandfather and possibly my great grandfather worked for Long Bell lumber 1930 census records show that they were flaggers. My grandmother was buried in the Tennant, Cementary in 1926. I am looking for history on Long/Bell Lumber, I believe they kept records of their employees who worked for them and kept their birth/death certificates, since their records could not be located at local recorders.

San Diego, CA

My sister Patricia & I (born in Dunsmuir) lived in Tennant from our births in 1925 & 1927 until 1930 when we moved to Klamath Falls. Our Father was a fireman/ engineer on logging trains there. Our Grandfather Stroud was an engineer on the RED ROBIN train. I think it was on the route Weed to Leaf ? I have original pictures. Also have pictures of the logging horses & some wrecks. I donated many to the museum in Weed and to the Collier Logging Museum . We lived in one of those houses next door to he Murphy family.My only memory is of the dances every week end. My Mother loved to dance

virginia lee stroud
klamath falls, OR

My wife and I built our home near Leaf, CA. There is still one of the original shed/buildings standing in Leaf. My parents met in Tennant in the 1930's and we are very interested in seeing old photos of Leaf and the CCC Camp which was located about a mile away.

Loch Jones
Leaf, CA

I recently obtained my fathers (Max Roy Kelly) military records and found that he worked as a carpenter (Box Maker) for Longbell Lumber Company in Weed, CA. in the early 40's.

Kathy Blevins
Apple Valley, CA

I don't think the pin on the map is in the right spot.

I work for UP now and am familiar with the line from Weed to Klamath Falls. Is Leaf where the junction to Tennant was? What was at Bray? You can see where there was a switch to that that empty field between the wye at the junction and Bray.

Loch, I met you once when we replaced the signal light near your house. Hope you're well!

Federal Way, WA


The wye is the junction to Tennant. Bray just had an interchange yard, from the looks of it.

Walter Imhof
Reno, NV


I think Leaf was the name of the control point at the wye with the line to Tennant. I have a photo of an SP system map that has the junction on it but I can't get a response when I email the address provided for such by this web site. I also have photos of the line.

Federal Way, WA


I believe you are correct. Looking at old maps, there is nothing there but the wye, and then the connection.

Walter Imhof
Reno, NV

We lived out south east of Antelope sink 59-69 stayed in Tennant when the burn happened at at the bottom of s hill I think 62 or 63

Jim Ellis

Search YouTube for: Long Bell Logging no audio

and You will find a wonderful video (rescued from the Black Butte dump)

You will get to see their hidden railyard at Leaf... not rotting away, but filled with that day's set of loaded log cars... all awaiting movement to their mill at Weed. To get logs onto the cars, they used a McGiffert Loader... which you get to see in action. There is a bulldozer

bringing a whole bunch of large logs right up to it. No ordinary

chain saws shown here... it's electric... See, there's the power cable.

Other scenes include: logging train as it goes by; temporary spur track,

in prefabricated sections being put in place; lots of loggers seated in

mess hall at Camp 1 as they are being served their professionally prepared

meal. You even get to see the immaculate, well-equipped kitchen.