The poles at Saseenos pole yard back in the mid-1940s.

The poles at Saseenos pole yard back in the mid-1940s.

The Saseenos pole yard

 Proud of the straight poles, businessman Eric Bernard marked this photo showing his harvest of 65 foot to 80 foot cedar poles as they were readied for shipping to market. Their destination was Minneapolis, Minnesota, where poles were assembled for distribution throughout the western world.This mid-1940s photo was taken from part way up Woodlands Road, which bordered the western edge of the pole yard, while the yard’s southern frontage faced the CNR line and siding. Central in this view is the railway’s level crossing sign which directed the locomotive engineers to signal with their steam whistle. Two hydro poles are noted in the background carrying electricity along Sooke Road, but Saseenos Station is not shown, as it stood further left (east). The poles had been hauled in to the CNR siding from Elder Logging at Muir Creek by truck driver Al Brodie.  Once at the yard, they were sorted by Joe Laberge; note his white horse in harness at the very left. These men used great ingenuity in loading the heavy poles onto the flatdecks which would sit waiting on the railway siding. The rail cars were equipped with 12 foot high stakes to secure the logs in place. To load, the men used a ginpole, tongs and a cable to raise the long pole, hold it horizontal until steady and lower it onto the deck. Both Bernard and Laberge took great pride in positioning the tongs effectively, to balance the poles and place them efficiently. With these poles, two rail cars, or extension gondolas were required to accommodate the overhang length.Later on, the horse was replaced by a gravel truck, and with truck driver Bert Acreman at the controls, the cable was attached to the front bumper and the poles raised by gasoline power for loading onto the rail cars.Bernard leased this poleyard from the Len Hewlett family, whose home was alongside, to the left.  The Hewletts had used the land for agriculture during the 1930s, selling their produce, bulbs and poultry to Victoria markets. In the late 1940s, Hewletts sold their property to Alf Brown, who used a small cat and an A-frame for loading his poles. Soon after, Brown moved his family from Otter Point to the adjacent Woodlands Road house.Half a century later, walkers enjoying the Galloping Goose corridor see no trace today.

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