Bangor Maine: Lumber Capital of the World
I've been reading a good book at night called "Tough Men, Tall Trees" and it has a lot of stories and history about logging in Maine. I will try not to bore anyone here with too many statistics, but Bangor got its reputation by boasting some pretty big numbers. Since we are all woodworkers and know how much wood it takes to make a thousand board feet, I think these numbers may impress you.
The Penobscot River drains 2 million acres of forest
In 1860 Bangor received by Penobscot river-drive, 250,000,000 board feet of lumber! (pretty impressive for one winters harvest with axe)
This was delivered to 417 working sawmills in and around the Bangor area
3000 ships floated to Bangor to pick up lumber that year (again this occurred when ice was NOT on the river...a 7 month span)
One mill sawed 250,000 board feet in one day (Granted the logs were 56 feet long and 12 inches on the top end)
Hardwood was considered junk wood while Pine and Spruce ruled
If Hardwood had to be floated down river, it was lashed to 2 spruce logs to make it float.
The first river drive began in 1837 and lasted until 1965 and even today sunken logs are sometimes washed up from river-drive days. Driving dams and boom anchors still exist on-river as well.
The Peavy and the Snow and Neally felling ax were invented here and both companies exist to this day. In fact Peavies were of such importance that foreman on river-drive would often save the Peavy before trying to help the river-driver which was considered less valuable!
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"