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The log drive is practically past Turners Falls now and the river is again open to navigation much to the delight of the boat owners who have been patiently waiting for two weeks. It has not taken so long to get the drive past as was at first thought, for exceptionally large crews have been at work day and night for the full two weeks with the exception of portions of Monday and Tuesday of this week. The heavy rain we experienced early this week proved a great boon to both mill owners and log interests as it kept the pond about even with the flashboards all the time. An agreement was made Monday whereby the mills would have the water the first three days of the week and the logmen the last three, but the rain altered matters so that both sides had plenty of water. The flashboards were taken off the Vernon dam Monday forenoon in order to help the logs and the water received thereby was a great help Tuesday and Wednesday. None of the motor boats or row boats have been injured by the drive this year and the best of feeling has prevailed between the boatmen and the loggers.

(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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"Log Drive Nearly Past Turners"

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
date   Aug 21, 1909
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   3.5"
width   2.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L02.089

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See Also...

Logging at the Oxbow on the Connecticut River near Holyoke, Mass.

"Rivermen Reach Turners Falls"

"Log Drive Nears Turners Falls" article in Greenfield's Gazette and Courier newspaper

Log Driving on the Connecticut River

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