Club Founding

C. A. Barton – First Club President

For today’s Rotary history minute, I’m going to take you for a brief glimpse into the life and character of our first president, C. A. Barton.

C. A. Barton was the president and General Manager of both the Payette Lumber Company, which eventually became known as Boise-Cascade Corporation, and the International Railway Company.

C. A. Barton came to Boise in 1914 and his first act was to start a railroad up the Boise River to the Boise Basin to haul logs to the lumber mill.  In 1915 he built the sawmill in Emmett, and in 1921 the sawmill town of Cabarton was built on the Union Pacific line five miles south of Cascade.  This town was named in his honor.

Now I’m going to ask you to mentally put on your winter woolens.  Make sure that you’re wearing some heavy snow boots and your warmest gloves, because we’re going to take a little walk with C. A. Barton.

It’s March 28, 1917 and C. A Barton has been inspecting the logging camps above Cascade.

He has waited two months for the weather to clear sufficiently to make this inspection trip and on the way up found the snow on the level ground to be around four feet deep, although there is some heavy drifting.

This is the first time all winter that the railway was cleared for travel.  He arrived on a Tuesday only to experience a heavy snowstorm on Thursday which left 18 inches of fresh snow and below zero temperatures.

Knowing that he may have only chance to catch the train near Banks to head home, he and a lumberjack guide started out on skis.  After skiing 16 miles in the below zero blizzard, they found a station house where two Greek loggers had been snowed in for a week.

Mr. Barton and his guide experienced the greatest hospitality from the loggers who shared their meager food, insisted on sleeping on the cold floor to allow their visitors the bunks, and labored all night to keep a fire going in the tiny stove to heat the station house.

The following day, Mr. Barton and his guide skied another very difficult six miles to Smith’s Ferry.

After resting, they decided to walk the remaining 14 miles to Banks, which seemed easier than skiing because the snow was sticking to their skis.

The were able to catch the last train out of the area and upon arrival Mr. Barton was quoted as saying “I am pretty lame tonight, and my face feels like a blister from the burning wind and sun, but I will be at the office all right tomorrow morning.”

Our next Rotary history minute will showcase some interesting facts about our first Vice President, Herbert F. Lemp.

Copied from notes prepared by Cindy Conway & presented in 2008 or 2009