Carlton Lake

Carlton Historical Tour

Carlton Lake

Carlton, Oregon 97111, United States

Created By: Visit Carlton


Note: The lake is on private property. It is visible from Meadowlake Rd and Westside Rd. The former dam site can be viewed from the river access point at Wennerberg Park.

In an effort to jumpstart the lumber industry in Carlton, W. A. Howe built a wooden dam across the North Yamhill River in 1904. The first mill opened in 1906, operated by the Carlton Lumber Company. Logs were driven down the river to be stored in the lake. By 1911, the Carlton and Coast Railroad was used to carry logs down from the mountains. The mill, now run by the Consolidated Lumber Company, burned in 1914. The lake was drained in 1915. The mill wasn’t rebuilt until 1922, by the Flora Logging Company. The dam was rebuilt the following year.

The lake was a popular source of recreation for the community. During summer events, log rolling contests were held in the middle of the lake (See photo). During occasional winter freezes the lake was also used for ice-skating and hockey.

The Great Depression, and a forest fire in 1933 put stress on the Flora Logging Company. The Tillamook Burn of 1939, was the final straw. Much of the company’s timber burnt. The trestles of the Carlton and Coast railroad also burned, stranding locomotives and logging equipment in the woods. The Flora Company went bankrupt, and the mill closed.

Several other mills operated on the shores of Carlton Lake. By the 1950s, the timber supply was diminished. The largest mill, the L.H.L. closed in 1957.

With the decline of the lumber industry, there was less need for the lake. Maintenance of the dam suffered. An ambitious resort project was proposed in 1965. Plans were made to replace the dam, which was removed. The resort project failed, and the dam was never replaced. Lands in the lakebed reverted back to farmland.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Carlton Historical Tour


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