James H. Parkin: Portable Sawmill Pioneer

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But despite low demand and low commodity prices, there was money to be made. Producers began to experiment with ways to maintain profits despite low commodity prices. The 1930s became a decade of paid-by-the-piece operators, usually cutting ties for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The C.P.R. had ongoing need for replacement wood for timbers and ties, so formed a Tie & Timber Branch to run its logging and milling operations. Under the management of Edgar S. Home, it also let contracts to independent lumbermen.

One of them was James (Jim) Herbert Parkin, an owner/operator from Cranbrook. He and his extended family were employed continuously in this industry from 1927 to 1942 using a portable sawmill. Such mills played an important transitory role between the end of the logging railroads (in the southern interior, at least) and the use of trucks as movers of logs to large central sawmills.

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