Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sharp's Mill Teepee Burner ~ Yreka

Sharp's Mill Teepee Wood Burner, Sharp's Road, Yreka, CA

At the end of Sharps Road in Yreka, near the Siskiyou Fairgrounds, stands one of the two remaining Teepee (wood) Burner's left in the Yreka area. At one time there were as many as 13 lumber mills in our area. It is likely that this is part of what is left of the J. F. Sharp Lumber Company that thrived in Yreka for Many years. At one time it seemed that every single lumber mill had some sort of burner to help rid the mill of waste. Today we hardly think of waste as a major consideration to lumber mills as all the wood by-products (sawdust, chips, etc.) are used in such a wide variety of ways from presto-logs to strand board. But, back in the day, only about 50% of most trees were utilized in lumber products and the rest, was ~ well, waste. The teepee type metal burners were a Northwest invention and came about during World War I. This kind of wood burner was actually a new improved safety measure from the open pit burning that once occurred. These wood burners were used until the passage of the clean air act in 1970 and were eventually phased out during the next 10 years.

At one time Highway 99 passed nearby Sharp's Mill and the burner; recollections abound as a kid riding in the car at night ~ it was always an event to see the Teepee burners! They were like their own little Fourth of July display! Upwards from the Teepee one could see sparks and embers churning out into the night sky and floating upwards. Naturally, one could see the display during the day, but oh, at night ~ it was awesome to an 8 year old in the 1950's. It seemed completely magical, and the imagination of a child could find pictures in the smoke and embers, or fly high above riding on the heat waves.

These rusty and generally abandoned burners are still found sitting near roads if one keeps a keen eye out while riding along vintage routes in the Northwest. For those of you that have a copy of our book, Yreka, Images of America Series an aerial view of Teepee burners and mills on Sharps and Oberlin Roads from the 1940's appears on page 98.

Copyright: Claudia A. East, 2009


Steve B. said...

Do you know who owns the teepee burner in Yreka and how I might communicate with the party?

Claudia East said...

Hello, Sorry I don't know who owns the property. I would imagine that it is on public record and you could contact the County Recorder's Office. I am not exactly sure of the street address, but it is right behind the Waiiaka Trailer Park which is at 240 Sharps Road, Yreka. Good luck.