Redwoods in Stout Grove

Redwood Legends, Capt. Elam & Mr. Harry Cole


by Mario Vaden


The memory of Captain Elam or Capt. A. W. Elam may have faded with time just as this photograph faded with time. In the 1920s he was a forest engineer for the Little River Redwood Company.

Elam Creek in Redwood National Park that crosses the Redwood Creek Trail was named after Captain Elam. He also measured the Crannell Creek Giant coast redwood, the largest recorded Sequoia sempervirens known. It was documented with measurments and photograph.

See: Crannell Redwood.

This may be one of my shortest redwood pages. But it seemed worthwhile to mention Captain Elam and his role in redwood forest history. According to Professor Fritz, from the same time period, Elam was one of the "best redwood timber cruisers".

From looking at several historical photographs Captain Elam appeared to be stoutly built. In the photo below Captain Elam is closest to the white horse that has no rider. The horse was likely the ride for Major David T. Mason who took the this photograph. Copyright unknown and probably in the public domain now.

The men were Mr. Tanner, federal forester; Mr. Andrews, federal forester, William M. Wheeler, A. W. Elam, forest engineer, and H. W. Cole. This was taken in September 1924, on a trail by Little River.

The man H. W. Cole should be Harry Cole who worked for the Hammond and Little River Lumber Company during that era. And Mr. Cole is supposed to be the man to the far left holding a white hat. Maybe you have read or heard about the Harry Cole Redwood one of the tallest known redwoods.

The Harry Cole redwood is tucked away in Redwood National Park near Orick, California. It is 366.3 feet or 111.65 meters tall.


Harry Cole and Capt. Elam Historic Photograph of men with horses next to coast redwood