Tag Archives: Logging

The Big Boom: Old Hudson River Chain Recalls Logging History


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courtesy Adam PearsallRecently my son Adam and his seven-year-old daughter Mckenna were canoeing on the Hudson River above the Feeder Dam in Glens Falls when they noticed a small tree growing atop an old stone pier about 30 feet from shore – and something more. Tangled in the roots, they found a large old rusted chain with links 4 inches wide by 6 inches long.

Sharing pictures with Richard “Dick” Nason, the unofficial Finch Pruyn historian and an authority on river log drives, it appears likely the chain was left over from the heyday of log drives on the Hudson River. The chain was found in the Big Boom sorting area. Logs were released from the Big Boom upriver and floated down to the sorting area where they were tallied by owners, identified by the owner’s mark stamped on the butt end of each log. The sorting area was used from 1851 to 1929. Dick suspects the chain may be from the late 1800s. Continue reading

Jay O’Hern’s New Book On Adirondack Logging


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adirondack logging book coverJay O’Hearn’s new book, Adirondack Logging: Life and Time in the Early Years of Logging’s Mechanization (Versa Press 2016) portrays the timber-logging lives of lumberjacks in the “Glory Years” following the introduction of Linn log hauling tractors.

The book includes interviews with loggers, remembrances of lumber camp life, accounts of river drives, the passing of old-style logging with horses, remembrances of yesterday’s lumberjacks, and stories that accompany appetizing recipes.

Rare photographic images capture the scenes once common around lumber camps, centers of the logging industry built exclusively for the lumberjacks. Continue reading

Chapman Museum Program on Sherman Island Dam


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On Thursday, September 15 at 7 pm at the Chapman Historical Museum, Director Tim Weidner will present an illustrated talk on construction of Sherman Island (Parklap) Dam in on the Hudson River in Moreau in the early 1920s. Members of the public are invited to bring and to share their clippings, photos or other research materials relating to Hudson River dams. Of particular interest is information about the “IP train track” that ran from the Finch, Pruyn & Co. mill along the north side of the river and the small settlement of kit houses built for workers at the dam site.

The program is presented in connection with the museum’s exhibition, Harnessing the Hudson, which will be on display through September 25th. The Chapman Historical Museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY. Public hours are: Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4 pm. For more information call (518) 793-2826 or go to www.chapmanmuseum.org.

Photo: Workers laying track to the Sherman Island Dam site, 1921.

New Website Features Franklin County Mill Town


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There is a new website about the Reynolds Brothers Mill and Logging operation in the community of Reynoldston in the Township of Brandon (Franklin County) which was in operation from 1870 – 1940.

“We have created this website to document the history of this small community using oral history tapes and transcripts we created in 1969/70 as well as with historical photographs and a range of related historical documentation,” according to local historian and website volunteer Bill Langlois.

Reynoldston is one of the many logging centered communities in the Adirondacks that prospered during the cutting of local forests but disappeared when those same forests were clear cut.

The site already features oral history interviews, photographs and documents and is expected to expand to include material on Skerry in the Township of Brandon and the Bowen Mill as well as a wide range of other tapes and transcripts on the early history of Franklin County.

Songs and Stories of Adirondack Lumberjacks and Miners


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Begin the New Year with an afternoon of engaging tunes and tales. Join the staff of the Adirondack Museum for “Working for the Man: Songs and Stories of Adirondack Lumberjacks and Miners.” The special program will be held at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, (Warren County) on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. There will be no charge for museum members and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00.

The historic work of loggers and miners was framed by dangerous conditions, back breaking work, long hours, and low pay. Although daily life was hard and often heartbreaking, it was also filled with music, laughter, stories, and strong community ties.

“Working for the Man” will feature musician Lee Knight singing traditional ballads of logging, mining, and rural life. Museum Educator Christine Campeau will join Knight to share historic photographs, artifacts from museum collections, and stories of work, family, and life in Adirondack logging and mining communities.

Born in the Adirondacks, Lee Knight now lives in Cashiers, North Carolina. He is a singer, storyteller, song collector, and teacher of folklore, folk life, and folk music. He performs regularly at concerts, folk festivals, and summer camps, where he tells stories, sings ballads, and calls dances. He has appeared with Pete Seeger, Jean Ritchie, Bill Monroe, Alan Lomax, and many others. He will play traditional hand-made instruments.

Following the program, Lee Knight will perform at the Copperfield Inn from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Extend the afternoon and make it a party! Join friends and neighbors to enjoy good music and sample food and drink specials offered by the Copperfield.

Photo: Ruby Mountain Mine, North River Garnet Company. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.