Now that you can smell the smoke, creosote, and forest, I'll add sea air! I'm sure that everyone noticed that those railcars were carring one log each. Redwood logging trains, from the north coast of Calif., Mendocino and Humboldt counties. They were huge, as you can see on this card postmarked 1919 in Elk, Cal.
Mendocino County is isolated, and has a very rugged coastline with only four fairly large harbors, Point Arena, Casper, Mendocino, and Fort Bragg. At the turn of the century, there were no trains that connected to the inland raillines, and lumber was shipped on lumber schooners. Most of the loading points were slide chutes, bare points of rock jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. This chute was in Mendocino Bay and is a postcard made from a early photo, it is not used, all the rest of these cards were sent from the subject site.
The "harbor" at Elk was not really protected, but was a normally calm port because of the maze of reefs outside of the harbor. The mill was located at the south end of town on Greenwood creek, which was darned to provide mill ponds as seen here beyond the railroad tressle. After being milled the lumber went up the hill. Notice the steep incline behind the steam and smoke. That led to the lumber yard behind the large hotel to the left of the inclined track, and from there was hauled on small rail car by mule down a long pier that curved around the large rock island in the bay.
The mule, Maude, a local legend, live in the little "barn" to the left of the rail car of lumber.
Although the Elk Creek railroad was not a mail train, it did carry mail from the little logging town of Salsig.
The next port north was Mendocino, the largest bay on the coast, and one of Mendocino County's earlist post offices.
Casper is a few miles above Mendocino, and the second largest bay.
This train also carried mail from Northwestern, located about 10 miles east of Fort Bragg.
Darn post card collectors and scotch tape!