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Vaudeville Entertainer Promotes Forest Conservation


Born with a unique larynx, Charles “Birdman” Kellogg could sing like a bird, his voice ranging over 12 octaves.  His extraordinary singing and ability to mimic birds and insects made him an international vaudeville star. 

Kellogg loved the wilderness and was troubled by the rampant logging of redwoods in Humbolt County.  He wanted to combine the significance of conserving the greatness and beauty of these forests into his act.  He said, “Since all the world could not come to the forest, I kept thinking and thinking through many years how to take the forests out into the world.”

Then one day he had an idea.  Kellogg gained the support of Sunset magazine, Nash Motors, and the Pacific Lumber Company.  In the spring of 1917 he launched his project—a redwood “Travel Log.”  It was a motor home created from the log of a redwood tree.  He shipped the tree house on wheels by rail to the East Coast.

For the next year he toured and shared his conservation message. 

In storage for 75 years, the restored log is displayed today at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center, a short distance from where the Travel Log was built.

Source: Evarts, John, and Marjorie Popper, eds. Coast Redwood A Natural and Cutural History. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press, 2001. 134-35. Print.

Shockey has been a long-time JPR contributor and enjoys supporting the Southern Oregon Historical Society and JPR by digging up regional stories.