(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Logs were floated down the Connecticut River to the paper mills of Holyoke beginning in the 1890s. By then Berkshire County had nearly been stripped of its pulp wood. Trees were first cut in the fall or early winter and then stripped of their limbs near where they had fallen. They were dragged by horses over the snow to frozen lakes and streams. When the thaw came the logs were floated along specially built sluices to tributaries of the Connecticut. By the time they reached the river they were heavy and sodden, having been in the water for months. The ungainly logs often jammed together into seemingly unbreakable jams. Rivermen used dynamite to break the logs free. To keep other river traffic flowing, they made booms of logs to limit them to one side of the river.