• If you like what you see here and your interests are compatible with our 30,000 other users, Welcome. Fill out the registration form with your interests, your real name (seen only by moderators) and your city, state or country. Your account is then manually checked and approved. There is too much funny business on the web for us to do otherwise. Be sure to use a working email address and do not use cloaking or anonymous web connections.

Abandoned Steam Engines of BC, June 2020

MFaris

Registered
For the last couple threads on this topic see here: Abandoned Steam in BC

I generally like to hunt engines in either the spring or early fall, that way I can avoid mosquitoes, high water, dense vegetation, devils club, and everything else that makes the north unpleasant. Unfortunately Covid19 made traveling north in the spring impossible and I expect it will do the same in the fall, so here I am in June at the pique of all the unpleasantness looking for engines!

So what am I looking for? First a mill site that contains two Corliss engines, then the remains of a 32hp Reeves, and finally some kind of return tube portable.

The mill was located at a place called Snowshoe, it consisted of a boiler house, a sawmill containing a large Corliss, and a planing mill with a small Buckeye Corliss.

This is where I'm heading-

20200628_070944.jpg

The location info I had for Snowshoe was somewhat vague but it gave me a starting point. I also knew that a nearby farmer had salvaged part of one engine for a yard ornament, i just didn't know how to find him...

So I got as close as I could to the area, then just started hacking with my machete...

20200628_112411.jpg

After about two hours, 500 mosquito bites, and two shredded arms I saw this!

20200628_111514.jpg

One very large concrete structure, bingo!

20200628_111638.jpg

More to come....
 

MFaris

Registered
Now that I've found the mill building the problem became how to enter it, there was a doorway about 12 feet above ground level on the wall pictured, but that wasn't much help.

20200628_112112.jpg

So back to the devils club nightmare to find a way in.... After surveying three sides I found a wall that had partially collapsed. And yes if I had gone left instead of right I would have found it sooner.

So, once inside, or should I say on top the collapsed roof structure, it became apparent this is the boiler house.

20200628_112028.jpg

20200628_111848.jpg

It's hard to see in the pictures but there are two boilers covered in concrete, wood and 60 years worth of vegitation. I hope you can make out the remains of the furnace brick.
But obviously no Corliss engines...

So back outside I went, now to locate a steam pipe and follow it to the treasure!

Except the pipe I found led to a flooded river with random concrete bits sticking up.

20200628_111356.jpg

... This is why I hate the north in June ....
 

MFaris

Registered
At this point I figured the engine's were lost, years of bank erosion had succeeded in hiding them forever. All that was left to do was find the salvaged parts if they actually existed.

So I fought my way back to the truck and started looking for a likely farm. Only one nearby property looked inhabited (newish fence posts), so down the very long driveway I went. And low and behold look what I found at the end!

20200628_103634.jpg

I knocked on the door and ended up getting a great history lesson. The farmer is who told me about the three parts of the mill, he told me that his flywheel came from the sawmill Corliss which is now under water after many years of bank erosion. He also told me that the planing mill Corliss is still there and intact, not far from the boilerhouse.

More to come....
 

MFaris

Registered
So now with the knowledge that one engine does indeed exist above water it was time to make a choice, find it or leave it until later in the year....
I decided to leave it until fall because I still wanted to look into the 32hp Reeves while I was in the area.

I've heard three different stories about the Reeves and what it was used for, the one common element was the location of one rear wheel. After a short drive I arrived at a very backwoods-ish house, but alas the wheel wasn't in sight as described...

Knocking on the door brought a very sweet old lady to the porch, I explained that I was looking for steam engine parts and had been told that she had a wheel. With this she lit up and asked me to wait while she put on a pair of gum boots.

A moment later her and a relation were guiding me through the tall vegetation to show me this-

20200628_120602.jpg
20200628_120608.jpg

She also has a couple gears from the engine, but we had no luck finding them.

Anyway she told me that the engine was once used at a small mill on the opposite side of the river, eventually becoming abandoned. A mill on her side of the river salvaged this wheel and some other heavy parts to use as tie offs for boats and logs. When this mill shut down she went and got the parts for lawn ornaments.

I asked her for directions to the original mill site, which she happily provided. Then she mentioned it's currently underwater due to the river conditions....

The river situation is becoming an issue for me!

With that I thanked her and departed.

It was at this moment that I decided to forego searching for the portable this trip, it's probably underwater also. Instead i decided to follow-up on some 110hp Case parts....
 

MFaris

Registered
My final stop was at a farm where a 110hp Case used to live, and ultimately got cut up. The owner was quite happy to visit and talk about his father's machine. He even showed me the original parts manual for it -
20200629_130439.jpg

And although the engine was cut up many parts were saved and scattered about, but unfortunately he had a prior obligation and couldn't visit very long. Before leaving we made a deal on a governor that had allegedly belonged to the 110. I don't know enough about Case governor preferences to confirm or deny it, but it's a high quality piece regardless.

20200629_165147.jpg

20200629_165151.jpg

20200629_165203.jpg

So there you have it, an utter failure of an engine hunt, but fun none the less!
 

Ihcguy

Registered
My final stop was at a farm where a 110hp Case used to live, and ultimately got cut up. The owner was quite happy to visit and talk about his father's machine. He even showed me the original parts manual for it -
View attachment 402439

And although the engine was cut up many parts were saved and scattered about, but unfortunately he had a prior obligation and couldn't visit very long. Before leaving we made a deal on a governor that had allegedly belonged to the 110. I don't know enough about Case governor preferences to confirm or deny it, but it's a high quality piece regardless.

View attachment 402440

View attachment 402443

View attachment 402444

So there you have it, an utter failure of an engine hunt, but fun none the less!
Great story , and you didn’t come home empty handed ether, Great governor and details for next adventure.
 

G Willikers

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
06/03/2020
MFaris,
Great stories.We are in the year 2020, so it is amazing that anything can be found at this late date.
To be able to connect with the actual people and the sites is keeping history alive.
You are into history and even archaeology. Remarkable!
 
Top