Shevlin

By Steve Lent, Museum Historian

Shevlin was a portable railroad logging community that was part of the logging operations for the Shevlin-Hixson Lumber Company in Bend.  After the Oregon Trunk Railroad arrived in Bend in 1911 plans for construction of two large mills began in Bend.  Brooks-Scanlon Lumber company built a huge mill of the east side of the Deschutes River and Shevlin-Hixson built an equally large mill on the west side of the river.  Both companies soon began construction of rail lines into the forest regions around Bend to harvest large tracts of forested land that they had accumulated since the turn of the twentieth century.

The Shevlin-Hixson Company created a portable camp that could be placed on rails and be a base for timber harvesting crews and their families.  The portable town moved south with the logging operations.  They kept their workers close to the logging operation by utilizing the logging camp that could be quickly and easily moved when the timber supply was exhausted.  During the first 16 years of operation the company generally operated one or two large camps at low elevations during the winter.  As weather conditions improved camps were usually split into three or four separate units.  The Great Depression forced Shevlin-Hixson to modify methods of timber harvest.  Demand diminished and it was no longer necessary to operate several relatively mobile logging camps and they consolidated into one large woods community.  Large and more sedentary, the camp set the pattern for the remainder of the Shevlin-Hixson operations.

A post office was established at the camp on July 20, 1931.  The first postmaster was William J. Baer.  The camp had most of the needs of the workers and their families.  There was a large family configuration of portable living quarters.  There was a business section that included a store, recreation hall, camp office, cook house and dining rooms.  There also was quarters for bachelors, a bath house, power plant and various other shops such as barber shops, soda fountain, tavern and pool hall to make camp living more pleasant.  At its peak the community had 600 people living at the site.  The company also provided social activities such as church services, movies and a small library.

Structures were off loaded along the railroad tracks.  One of the larger and more long lasting locations for Shevlin was at LaPine Camp which was occupied from 1932-1942.  The portable community was moved south to Summit Camp (1942-1947) and finally to Chemult Camp (1947-1950).  Shevlin-Hixson sold their operations to Brooks-Scanlon in 1950 and that company took over operation of the camp. The post office was finally closed on December 16, 1955.  The community was located on some maps but is now only a memory.