Hallowell Steam and Boom Company, Hallowell, ca. 1895

Courtesy of Sumner A. Webber, Sr., an individual partner

Hallowell Steam and Boom Company, Hallowell, ca. 1895

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Looking north up the Kennebec River at the Chelsea side of the river pickers, sorters and raftsmen can be seen working the sorting boom. The great sorting boom for down-river mills was in Hallowell. The river is calm and workers are dressed in pants and long sleeved shirts.

Bunk houses with adjoining cook and mess shacks are erected on rafts and anchored on the Chelsea side of the river. In the fall, these rafts with houses would be towed into the cove below Vaughan's Point.

These men made up rafts of logs for the several owners by laying them crosswise of the raft, driving oak pins into the opposite ends of every sixth or eighth log with two quick strokes of a tiny axe, and then running lines the whole length of the raft with a clove hitch over each pin.

Each log was suppose to have an identity mark or brand and it was in this way that sorters and pickers were able to identify the logs which were to be made into rafts going to different mills. Unmarked logs were free for the taking.

Raftsmen often in red shirts, stood on little platforms at either end of the raft as they drifted with the tide, smoking their pipes or sculling violently with single fourteen foot wide bladed oars to keep the rafts straight. Drift logs were a boom to dwellers along the river banks, who got a fixed price from the owners according to the distance below Hallowell at which they were caught.

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About This Item

  • Title: Hallowell Steam and Boom Company, Hallowell, ca. 1895
  • Creation Date: circa 1895
  • Subject Date: circa 1895
  • Locations:
    • Hallowell, Kennebec County, ME
    • Chelsea, Kennebec County, ME
  • Media: Photographic print
  • Dimensions: 20 cm x 24.5 cm
  • Local Code: CP005008
  • Collection: Sam Webber Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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