Bridal Veil was a small company mill town on the Columbia River. It took advantage of the great trees on the steep banks of the river, and took its name from the nearby Bridal Veil Falls. Along with the milling buildings, the company provided homes, a post office, a combination church and community center, as well as a cemetery.
The town was established in 1886 by the Bridal Veil Lumber Company on Larch Mountain. The site operated continuously for over 100 years. It had one of the longest runs for a company timber town west of the Mississippi River.
The town did not stand alone, but worked in concert with a nearby company town named Palmer. Felled timber was rough-cut at Palmer, then sent down a one-and-a-half-mile log flume to the finishing mills and railroad at Bridal Veil.
Palmer closed down in 1936, putting Bridal Veil’s future into question. The town was saved the next year when it was bought by the Kraft Food Company. The mills were retooled to manufacture wooden cheese boxes. They ran for over 50 years, closing in 1988 after timber resources began to dwindle. The whole town left shortly thereafter. Today, only the post office and cemetery remain.
Some years after its closing, the Bridal Veil Historic Preservation Society acquired the deed to the cemetery from heirs of the founders of the lumber company. This nonprofit works to keep the history of the site available to visitors. They work alongside the tiny old post office. Without residents, the office is able to stay in business as part of the wedding industry. Brides and grooms have made a tradition of sending their invitations through the office so it bears the unique “Bridal Veil” postmark.
More Bridal Veil Photos
The crew of the Bridal Veil Lumber Company, 1885-1919. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society) Enlarge Image
Bridal Veil Post Office continued to operate in 2019. (Oregon State Archives, 2019) Enlarge Image
Dinner time at the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company logging camp in the 1930s. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society) Enlarge Image
The mill town of Bridal Veil with a log flume shown to the right. (Wikimedia Commons) Enlarge Image