History of this truck by Cody Hull (Casey’s Brother & family Historian)
Specs: Cummins 200, Mack 5 Speed Main Box, Mack 2-speed duplexer, Spicer 3-speed auxiliary, Mack single speed bogie rear ends, Wentworth & Irwin “off road style” Trailer, Bunk Equipment, Cab Guard, & Water Tank.
Upon returning home from 44 months of service in the U.S. Army during WW II, my grandfather, Homer Hull purchased the steam powered Ralph Hull Sawmill in Dawson, Oregon. He immediately renamed the sawmill Hull Lumber Company, Inc. At the age of 27, this young mill owner began making several upgrades to the sawmill, which included purchasing new equipment, i.e., a new logging truck. Papa already owned a 1941 Mack FP logging truck thus, his next truck would be a Mack too.
During the summer of 1947 Papa ordered a brand new green, tandem-axle Mack Model LJ from Gene Pitchford of Pitchford Motor and Mack Sales Co. in Eugene, Oregon. Mack LJs could be purchased with either a Mack 672 Cubic inch Mack Diesel engine or a Cummins 200 Diesel. Papa chose to order his Mack with a Cummins 200. His Mack was built at the Mack factory in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and competed on August 22, 1947. When the truck was completed, he flew to Allentown and drove it home to Oregon from Pennsylvania. Papa was going to have it outfitted as a logging truck but, he wanted to try something different. He took his LJ to Wentworth & Irwin Trailer Co. in Portland, Oregon and had it outfitted with and off-road style logging trailer and 10-foot wide truck and trailer bunks and a cab guard featuring a 390-gallon water tank to supply water to the brakes. The off-road trailer also featured two 55-gallon water tanks for cooling the trailer brakes. One tank was situated in the front of the bolster above the reach tongue; the second tank was located behind the bolster above the reach tongue. Papa was trying to increase his logs per load average, thus supplying his sawmill with more logs on every load.
Theoretically, this was a great idea but he soon found out that it was not practical. Papa soon found that the “oversized” loads that were being hauled by this Mack LJ were breaking the numerous bridges and wooden culverts on his logging roads. Also, the extra weight added by these oversized loads was making the truck sink and frequently get stuck on soft, newly constructed logging roads. Sometime in 1950 or 51 the tires an wooden reach were removed and the trailer was taken out of service and placed a the North end of the truck yard. The 10-foot wide truck bunk was replaced with a standard legal size 8-foot bunk and a newer road-legal 8-foot wide trailer was purchased to pull behind his green Mack LJ. In 1983, the 10-foot wide “off-road” style trailer was extensively modified and converted into use as a yarder dolly, allowing the mill’s trailer-mounted yarder to be moved and pulled by a D7 CAT.
Papa’s LJ was used from 1947 until about 1965 to haul logs varying in length from 40 to 100 feet. In addition to hauling logs, the LJ was used to haul the yarding donkey when the logging sides moved. In 1964 this truck was used to haul a log that was 110 feet long and 6 feet in diameter on the little end (had this log made grade, the resulting 28 x 30 inch slab 110 feet long would have been sent to the Mid-South Fair in Memphis, Tennessee).
Finally, in 1965 Papa’s LJ was officially taken out of service. My father, David Hull, stated “at the same time the LJ was taken out of service, the logging side needed motor to put into one of the yarders.” The 200 Cummins engine was taken out of the truck and put into the yarder. Dad said that “when this was done the mechanics found it easier to take the motor out by removing the cab, radiator, and hood,” which were sent to the scrap pile. The truck frame, fenders, front and rear axles, cab guard, and truck bunk & bolster were taken to a wide spot behind the truck shop and left there for good…or at least until the spring of 1987.
Dad always had hopes to someday restore this truck. During my Spring Break in 1987, Dad obtained the truck frame, fenders, front and rear axles, cab guard, and truck bunk and bolster. In 2003 a logging accident occurred and totaled the yarder that was towed by the modified Wentworth & Irwin Logging Trailer Dolly and Dad obtained it too. In 2004, he found and purchased a complete 1947 Mack Model LJ Logging Truck. Now completed the only non-original parts are the cab, front fenders, motor, all three transmissions, hood, radiator and water tank, truck bunk & bolster, the entire trailer and bunk are all original components to Papa’s 1947 Mack LJ logging truck.
From the time Papa bought this truck brand new in 1947 until the present time, it has always been owned by my family, hauled only logs to one sawmill and never left Dawson, Oregon. For me personally, this truck marked the end of an era. This was the last truck Papa Homer himself drove on a daily basis. Not many mill and timberland owners can maintain that level of involvement in their businesses.
P.S. Papa Homer, you left us with such a historical legacy and appreciation for our industry and heritage…we miss you very much! Unfortunately, Papa died at the age of 64 on April 19, 1985 and never got to see any of his trucks restored back to their original condition.