We had to drive to Oregon City to return a counterfeit knife I (Mike) bought at the Reedsport, Oregon Chainsaw Sculpting competition. Benchmade, the maker, asked me to return it so they could prosecute the counterfeiter. They gave me a deal on a real Benchmade knife and gave me over $50 of free merchandise. We ate lunch at Stone Cliff a Log Cabin Restaurant overlooking the Clackamas River. We had ribs with a Sour Black Cherry BBQ sauce. As we were driving back to the coast we saw a fire along the freeway, we were lucky, they shut down the freeway shortly after we passed by. Along Oregon Hwy 26, 18 miles from Seaside, is Lumber Camp 18, it is now a restaurant that housed in a building built from logs. This was Gordon Smith’s dream. In the early ‘70s he began with a few rusty pieces of equipment, some of which were donated, others on loan and most of them purchased; which all led to the construction of the log cabin. In the early days on construction Maurie Clark joined Smith. Because of his knowledge of the logging industry he was made “Riggin’ Boss.” Together they located and restored several pieces of the old equipment. All of the timber used in the building has come from the general area and logged by Smith. It has been hauled in, hand peeled and draw knifed with the help of his family and friends. Most dominating is the huge 85 foot ridge pole in the main room, the largest such structural member known in the United States. It weighed approximately 25 tons when cut and has 5,600 board feet of lumber in it. Another spectacular feature of the building are the hand-carved main doors. They are cut from an old growth Fir log. Each door is 4-1/2 inches thick and weighs 500 pounds. The two fireplaces are built with approximately 50 tons of rock found locally. The mantle of the fireplace in the main dining room is solid black walnut. Virtually all the lumber used in the building has been cut in Smith’s mill which is set up on the property across Humbug Creek. Smith is still doing some logging in the area, but his oldest son Mark has been helping him run things so he could stay with the construction of the building. His youngest son Clay is a faller and lives and works in the area. In the 20s and 30s the large logging operations such as Clark & Wilson, Big Creek Timber Company and others numbered all their camps. Therefore, the restaurant and logging museum is called Camp 18 because it’s located at mile post 18 on Highway 26.
On the Camp 18 property is located the Lumberjack Memorial to all those who have lost their lives while logging or died after the retired. It is a very special place, thought small is size, it took quite awhile to get through all the information.