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"Log Drive of 36,000,000 Feet"

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The huge log drive of some forty million feet this article describes was assembled near North Stratford, New Hampshire, in the spring of 1909. It capped a decade of intense lumbering all along the upper Connecticut River, at an unsustainable rate of exploitation. That meant that by 1920 the lumber harvest outside Maine was dramatically smaller and would soon nearly disappear. Lumbering in the U.S. had been relatively small-scale before the Civil War, but a number of technological advances increased the ability to harvest and saw wood. The double-bitted axe from around 1850, the crosscut saw from 1870, and steam-powered saws beginning in the 1850s increased a mill's output from the 1,000 board feet per day in 1800 to more than 50,000 board feet per day in 1880. Corporate changes also increased logging efficiency, particularly the consolidation of large lumber companies that began in the 1830s and dominated the industry by the 1880s.


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