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"Log Drive Nearly Past Turners"

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The logs driven past Turners Falls in the summer of 1909 were spruce logs harvested in the far northwest corner of New Hampshire. These logs, harvested in the dead of winter, were floated down the river by gangs of rivermen beginning with the snowmelt. A log run monopolized the river except where booms successfully contained it, driving the other users of the river to dock until it had passed. But the river not only was a log highway: it powered the mills and factories on its banks. Water was diverted from the river's main channel into the runs that turned mills and generated electricity. At Turners Falls, a dam kept the water level high so that the power-generating canal there could be kept full of water. Annually, once the spring floods subsided, the height of the dam was extended by placing boards, called flashboards, atop the dam. A log drive needed water flowing over the dam for the logs to pass, but flashboards obstructed that. But in 1909, as the article notes, the river level was naturally high and enough water was available for all uses.


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