Artist(s): Frank Lewis and Nancy Lagana

Steam Donkey At Work

Mural Routes Member(s): Chemainus Festival of Murals Society Completed: 1982

Dimensions: 8.1m x 3m (27’ x 10’)

Best Viewed: From Waterwheel Square, on the north side of Coastal Community Credit Union.

“Historical Series #1: Steam Donkey At Work”

For the steam donkey and its crew, hauling a log from the forest was an obstacle course of the worst kind, fighting rocks, gullies and stumps every inch of the way.

“Charlie”, the line horse, waits patiently in the background, ready to pull the 20 millimetre (0.79 in) cable to the next felled log.

The steam donkey was invented by John Dolbeer in 1882. The one in the mural was built by Murray Bros, in San Francisco and started work for the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (V L & M) in Chemainus in 1885. The painting is based on a photograph from 1902.

The man controlling the lever on the steam donkey is Herbert M. Olsen, who was later to become prominent in world-wide lumbering ventures.

Now restored, the Dolbeer steam donkey has been retired to the BC Forest Discovery Centre in the Cowichan Valley.

(Please drop by the Chemainus Visitors Centre to buy your Official Mural Guide. Proceeds from the sale go to the Chemainus Festival of Murals Society).

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Where to Find This Mural

Location: 9781 Willow, Chemainus, BC. V0R 1K0 Get Directions