THE MCLEAN MILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

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THE MCLEAN MILL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

A Trip Back in Time at the McLean Mill National Historic Site, Port Alberni, BC.

A 2 1/2 hour drive will take you to one of Vancouver Island most interesting historical sites, the McLean Mill.  What makes the McLean Mill such a unique heritage treasure is that much of the original machinery and buildings have survived making it a rare example of a sawmill complex from the early days of mechanized logging on the west coast. Even more remarkable is that the sawmill has been restored to full working condition, the millpond and dam have been reconstructed and the companies original steam donkey is also operating along with a fully rigged ‘spar tree’ for pulling in cut logs and loading onto trucks.  You can see how an early 2oth century logging and milling operation actually worked!

The McLean Mill Port Alberni

The McLean Mill Port Alberni

Maclean Mill Steam Donkey & Spar Tree

Maclean Mill Steam Donkey & Spar Tree

The R.B. McLean Lumber Company was a family owned business that operated from 1926 to1965 and the site of the mill is located on 12.8 hectares (31.6 acres) on the outskirts of Port Alberni. It has 35 buildings and structures forming the self-contained community of offices, service buildings and residences centered around the sawmill.

Mclean Mill Office

The McLean Mill Office

The gas & oil shed

The gas & oil shed

Original old vehicles in the mill garageOriginal old vehicles in the mill garage

Original old vehicles in the mill garage

1929 Ross Lumber Carrier

1929 Ross Lumber Carrier

Wrecked Truck at McLean Mill

Interesting wrecks of old vechicles can be seen around the property

The focal point of the site is the steam driven sawmill powered by a Wheland Machine Works steam engine built in 1890. Logs are hauled from the millpond, sawn into timbers, planed and trimmed, all largely driven by this steam engine. The finished timber was sorted, and dried in the teacherage yard, the lumber dipped in a chemical bath to prevent mold, and was shipped from the mill by truck or by rail.

Maclean Mill steam engine

Maclean Mill steam engine

The McLean Mill in operation

The Steam Mill in operation

The planer

The Planer – the planer was originally was powered by an old steam tractor

In fact, the old railway lines to the mill are still in place and you can take a ride on a train pulled by a completely restored 1929 Baldwin ex-logging steam locomotive which leaves from the 1912 CPR Train Station in downtown Port Alberni. The 35 minute ride to the McLean Mill National Historic Site winds through the City of Port Alberni and the surrounding forests. For more information on schedules and ticket purchase, click this link: Train Schedule & Tickets

Alberni Pacific Railway to Mclean Mill

The 1929 Baldwin Logging locomotive at the station in Port Alberni

Alberni Pacific Railway to Mclean Mill

Alberni Pacific Railway to the Mclean Mill National Historic Site

Alberni Pacific Railway to Mclean Mill

Riding the rails to the Mclean Mill National Historic Site

For more information on the McLean Mill National Historic Site click this link: The McLean Mill

Maclean Mill Entrance

MacLean Mill Entrance

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About the Author:

Bruce is an avid sea kayaker and whitewater paddler, a writer and photograher. He and his wife Linda RV full time, love to explore, hike, paddle, bike and write about their adventures.

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