Learn

Meet Maine here.

Learn

Meet Maine here.

Logging Camps, River Drives, and Sawmills

 Logging was and continues to be important to Maine’s economy and identity. Before paper companies appeared on the scene, the nineteenth and early twentieth-century operation was called “long logging.” Maine logs supplied construction lumber for the growing state and country.

During the winter, logging crews of about 25 to 60 men had specialized jobs. Choppers cut trees down, Barkers took branches off, and Teamsters transported horse or oxen-drawn sleds of logs to the edges of rivers and streams. Since no highways and trucks were available, spring meant River Drivers were hired to put logs in the river to begin the “log drive” to the sawmill.

Long cold winters and hard work in the logging camp meant an excellent cook was essential. Bean-hole beans were the staple, but they had to be adaptable to cooking other foods as well. Check out the 1923 menu. They would also keep the camp clean while the men were in the woods.

Saturday nights in the camp was time for entertainment. Men would be expected to sing, tell stories, or play a musical instrument for the amusement of his fellow loggers. Talent wasn’t required, and it was a chance for loggers to relax after a hard week’s work.

 

Activities:

These activities are designed to give a glimpse into Maine’s long logging operation and an appreciation for some of the challenges. More importantly, however, it’s designed for you to HAVE FUN.

Lumber Camp Food

A Story in Tree Rings

Maine State Museum