Keeping the Memories of Hilt Alive


Hilt California Historical Photographs, by Terry Tallis. This coffee style book contains most of the photographs of Hilt contained in the display originally created by Frank Graves at the State Line Services in Hilt, California. The 160 photographs and text cover the origins of the town, including many of the people who lived and worked in Hilt.

Most of the photos were taken in the 1920‘s a
nd 1930‘s and were extensively restored. Some of these photos are on this web site under historical photographs. Several other photographs were also included to complete the historical flow.

The book can be previewed and ordered HERE



In an attempt to collect as much of Hilt’s history and memories, we are making a concerted effort to record and document events, activities and the spirit of the town. Since our brochure went out in August, we have been receiving many photographs and stories. All the photographs we have received are being scanned in and will be displayed in the Hilt albums that Jerry Lehman is maintaining and shown at the Hilt Reunions. Also, we are making a catalog of all Hilt photographs and also hope to create a detailed history of the town. I have also be visited the local museums and newspapers to capture as much as they have on the town as well.

Hilt Memories and Photographs by Terry Tallis.

n the late 1960’s, I made a color slide program of the lumber industry for an elementary school. I took these 124 photographs and added some personal comments to describe the processing of lumber from the woods to the finished lumber in Hilt, California. These photos in this coffee table style book show the town, woods, mill, and areas around Hilt. 

The book can be previewed and ordered HERE



Hilt Elementary School 1921 to 1973

I am working on a book that has every student who went through the Hilt Elementary School from 1921 to 1973. We have every child from 1921 to about 1960 and from then on, we have mostly the class photos. This indexed book will have many old photographs which I am in the process of restoring and adding captions. I hope to have it complete by the town reunion in August 2011.

Fruit Growers Supply Company:
Hilt-Susanville-Westwood-Burney By Tim I. Purdy 8x11; 164 pages; illustrated; ISBN 0938373-19-6; Price $39.95

This is a highly sought after book concerning the logging and sawmill operations of this unique company.  Click on the book for more information.

Books and Reference Material on Hilt

Hilt Issue The Siskiyou Pioneer in Folklore, Fact and Fiction Yearbook, 1975. Volume 4 Number 8. Contains many stories and memories of Hilt by a number of its citizens. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, but may be available at some libraries.

There are many other books that I am using in research for a definitive history and stories about Hilt. The above and other books, articles and newspaper articles are some of the sources I am using. As an example here are a few (more will be added here as I keep working on this fourth book on Hilt.

Uncertain Encounters - Indians and Whites at Peace and War in Southern Oregon 1820’s - 1860’s by Nathan Douthit - Oregon State University Press.

In Search of Steam Donkeys by Merv Johnson - Timber Times

Mt. Shasta Camera, the photography of Charles R. Miller - Windgate Press (many great photographs of Northern California Lumber Co. in 1907.)

Two very excellent books on Italians, many who lived in Hilt: Siskiyou County Italians, Cultural and Economic Contributions by E. Mary Salanti Silva - these have a collection of biographies, documents and stories. Go to Mary’s web site for more information here.

Long Day’s Journey - The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era in the Northern West by Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes - University of Washington Press

Memorable Forest Fires by Gilbert W. Davis and Florice M.Frank

Memories from the Land of Siskiyou by Gilbert W. Davis and Florice M.Frank (There was several great stories by Frank Graves and the Hebards - lots of detail and memories of early Hilt)

History of the Oregon & California Railroad by John Tilson Ganoe (over 1000 workers were in the area building the road across the Siskiyou’s and thorough Hilt)

California to Oregon by Trail, Steamboat, Stagecoach and Train 1850 -189=87 by Scott Edwin

Oregon’s Great train Holdup - the DeAutremont Case 1923-1973 -compiled by Bert Webber

Roosevelt’s Forest Army, History of CCC 1933-1942 by Perry H. Merrill. (The CCC camp out of town was the Hilt Project F23 formed 5/5/1935 as part of the 9th Corp)

The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society Vol XXV Sept 1924 #3 (building of the railroad and all the discussions between Oregon and California over right of way)

Historic Spots in California Valley and Sierra Counties by Rensch (I am looking for a copy of this critter as it has some great gold rush history in the area including the town of Cottonwood - Wilmer Hilt was there in the 1910 census)

History of the Schools in Siskiyou County by Stanley J. Balfrey

I also have many, many newspaper and magazine articles. I plan to have a page on this site of those as well.

And there are many more museums / historical societies to visit and who knows what threads these books and others lead us.

We sure can use your help!

Jerry Lehman is keeping a growing set of Hilt albums, memorabilia and photographs that are shown at the Hilt Reunion.

I have copies of these and restore any old photographs and pass them on to Jerry.

We will have a set of all the photographs on DVD and copies will be placed with the Siskiyou County Historical Society, Fruit Growers, Jerry Lehman and myself. Thus we have disaster backup copies to preserve the history of this great little town.

If you have any old photographs, or stories, or maps or memorabilia that you want to share, get them to us. Let’s keep Hilt alive for generations to come.

Other pages being considered as material is completed:

Ranches in the area

Maps (especially the old roads. I think we are getting a handle on where the road came into Hilt before the first highway 99 was built - It came in south of Baily Hill.)

The Hilt School

Newspaper and magazine articles - we will summarize the many newspaper stories about Hilt - and we have pages and pages of these!

Stuff we are looking for - a page dedicated to things we would like to find answers for. This one can be fun as we get a whole bunch of people trying to come up with an answer (such as where was the Fairking Residence - in 1878-1880 the first school was held here) - WE FOUND IT!

Anything else you might like to see here (I am trying not to affect the privacy of anyone, so will tread lightly - to the point of avoiding - with information about people)

If facts are presented, we will try to collaborate or have proof of the information before disclosing it.