The Daily Chronicle, Centralia WA, circa 1976
Doty--The show place of Doty is an outdoor museum featuring logging equipment used in the Pacific Northwest a half century or more ago.
The man who has put it all together in his backyard is Bob Lyons, 66, a retired logger.
"I was a tramp logger," Lyons recalled, ":and worked in camps in Lewis County, Willapa Harbor, Grays Harbor, along the Columbia River and throughout the Northwest from the Canadian border to northern California."
Lyons worked for the Staeger brothers, John and Bert, when they had a logging outfit on Bunker Creek. He worked in Ryderwood when the place was a boom town with 2,000 men working there 50 years ago. Then Lyons settled down and went to work for the Weyerhaeuser Company for 30 years before retiring in 1973.
"I was lucky while working," Lyons recollected. "Only got hurt a few times when I was hospitalized for a broken leg, an arm or a collarbone"--although he confessed he has lots of broken ribs.
Since Lyons retired he has started gathering any piece of old-time logging equipment he could find, to place in his yard. After four years, Lyons has a real show place -- but he is not finished -- he would like to get his hands on a lot more.
"I've got to have something to do," Lyons said. His current project is restoring a drag saw with a seven-foot blade. He's got it operating so it really cuts wood and he loved every minute of tinkering to get it operational. The saw used to cut six-foot logs in five minutes or less.
His sons brought the drag saw home one day to surprise him. They bought it from a logging friend. The sons are Jim, who works for Weyerhaeuser now, Bob, who owns a logging truck in Shelton, and Ron, a former logger now living in Kent.
Lyons has high-climbed for Weyerhaeuser for many years. He has climbed to the top of 175-foot spar trees many times to hang a 42-inch wheel. He has one of the old one-ton bull blocks in his museum.
The blocks were used with oxen in the early 1920s, Lyons remembered. He has a cheese block that was used on a bunk of a log truck. This type of block has long been outlawed. High stakes are now used on the bunks.
In addition to high lead blocks, Lyons has some handmade tongs fashioned by a blacksmith around 1922, a flat hook choker used in the 1920s, a splicing spoon, spike bar and his old spurs and climber's axe.
Lyons is constantly on the lookout for any piece of obsolete logging rigging. He expecially wants a Tommy Moore block real bad. These were used before the high lead blocks.
His latest addition is a 1-3/8 inch Peter choker he found near the Pe Ell sorting yard. One of his oldest blocks on display in his yard is a 1915 block used when the logging grades were built.
Lyons loves trees and has planted many in his yard. He planted a fir tree hedge 10 years ago to give him privacy and provide a natural wall for his museum. He's got windmills in his yard, too, that give live and movement to his museum.
His wife, Mildred, is a Doty girl. He moved to Doty in 1937. In addition to the three boys, Mr. and Mrs. Lyons have a daughter in Renton, Mrs Jim (Lucille) Knevage.
When Lyons is not working on his museum or in his workshop, he's fishing. Sometimes it's the other way around -- when he's not fishing, he's puttering around his yard. It's all the same difference to him, as long as he enjoys his retirement years.