About 1900 Sprague’s Falls on the St. Croix River, five miles north of Baring, was identified as an ideal location for a dam and a paper mill by a consortium of businessmen.
The St. Croix Paper Company was formed, land was purchased, and in 1905 the largely uninhabited area around the falls was cleared. About a thousand Italian contract laborers built the Woodland Mill in the summer of 1906.
By the end of September of 1906 the mill had produced its first paper, and in 1907 a second paper machine was added. In 1909 the town had grown to over 800 people, some the Italian laborers who had built the mill. Woodland prospered and the mill continued to expand. It remained a successful operation in 2013.
The foreground of this photo shows the mill pond, the large expanse of water that held many thousands of logs cut the previous winter and driven downstream during the spring thaw.
Log debarking drums at the Portland Company, Portland, ca. 1900
Item 12557 info
Maine Historical Society
"A five-car trainload of log-debarking drums in the Portland Company yard at the base of Munjoy Hill awaits shipment to distant paper mills." --Fletcher, David H. "The Portland Company 1846-1982." Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub., 2002. 97.
Crew standing in front of and on top of camp. On back written "Time of Winslow Homer's Hauler.(?) The picture also of final touch of Civil War period dress. See second figure from left, top of cabin and 2 old bearded ones.
Men on a logging drive about 1900. The exact location is unknown.
Men on log drive using peaveys at unidentified location. Several of the men are Arthur York, third from left, Orville Clark and Edmund Nedeau.
Pishon's Ferry was located where the Hinkley bridge now crosses the Kennebec River near the Skowhegan-Fairfield town line. Seen here are loggers amidst the logs in this log jam.
A U.S. Forest Service scaler measured logs at Bear Pond, Waterford Township as part of the salvage logging process conducted by the Northeastern Timber Salvage Administration in the aftermath of the New England Hurricane of 1938.
Workers rolled logs from a truck onto a rollway at Lovewell Pond, staging them at the pond for transport by stream to a paper mill.
The Northeastern Timber Salvage Administration oversaw the salvage logging efforts in the aftermath of the New England Hurricane of 1938.
In this picture, logs are being hauled out of the Aroostook Woods on a bobsled.
Bobsleds have runners in the front and rear. Each pair turn lefts and right independently of the other, making the sled more maneuverable.
Each pair of runners on a bobsled can also pivot up and down as the sled is pulled across uneven ground for a smoother, more stable ride than that of a long sled.
Hauling from the yard
This engine, called "Dewey," hauled logs, wood chips, and pulp from the Penobscot River to the pulp mill in Lincoln. The rail is called a narrow gauge (2") because it is narrower than a standard gauge 4' 8.5" rail. The men in the photo are unidentified.
One other engine besides "Dewey" hauled to the mill.
This 34-wheel rig was believed to be the largest truck hauling wood in the United States in 1980.
This load of pulpwood totaled 62 cords and weighed 382,000 pounds. The trucking rig was custom made; Gerald Pelletier, a private contractor for Great Northern Paper Company in Millinocket owned and operated it.
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Steamboat "West Branch No. 3," Lower Lakes, West Branch Penobscot River, ca. 1945
Item 101723 info
Norcross Heritage Trust
The Great Northern Paper Company towboat, West Branch No. 3, replaced the West Branch 1 during 1943-44.
The towboat was built at North Twin Dam and served on the Lower Lakes hauling booms of pulp wood until 1963.
Herbert Brewer (left) and Al Lester (right) load logs onto a trailer pulled by a Farmall tractor on MacMahan Island. Brewer and Lester worked for Edwin Cromwell (1908-2001), a sawmill owner from Westport who managed the logging operation.
The loggers hauled the wood to a boom on the west shore of MacMahan Island, and floated it over Goose Rock Passage to Westport Island.
The landowner's association on MacMahan Island prompted this timbering operation out of concern for the devastating effects a fire might have on the island. A forester from Pejepscot Paper Company supervised the removal of trees, which were cut to make a fire lane across the island, separating the forest and cottages.
The timber was sold as pulp for paper production at the Pejepscot Paper Company in Topsham.
Digester for Lincoln Mill on Maine Central Railroad, Bangor, 1956
Item 31391 info
Lincoln Historical Society
A Maine Central train carrying a digester for the Lincoln paper mill. The digester cooks the wood chips until they dissolve into pulp.
Soda digester for the S.D. Warren Paper Company, Westbrook, ca. 1920
Item 5637 info
Maine Historical Society
S.D. Warren Paper Company of Westbrook used this soda digester or sulphite digester fabricated at the Portland Company, which fabricated machines from steel and is one of the longest continually running factories in New England.
This machine combines sulphite with the wood pulp to soften the pulp enough to create paper fiber.
Sulphite digester for Glen Falls Paper Manufacturing Co., ca. 1920
Item 5622 info
Maine Historical Society
At the turn of the century the Portland Company manufactured sulphite digesters for paper companies. These digesters processed the wood pulp in such a way as to make it soft enough to create paper. The Portland Company is still a thriving industry on Portland's waterfront. Early in its history it crafted many things from steel including engines, lighthouse parts, and marine equipment.
Paddlewheel steamer "F.W. Ayer" towing boom, Pemadumcook Lake, ca. 1920
Item 101122 info
Norcross Heritage Trust
The first large steamboat Great Northern Paper Company used was a side-wheel model named F.W. Ayer. It navigated the Lower West Branch Lakes.
One of the steamer's duties was to tow booms of pulp wood, as it was doing near the foot of Pemadumcook Lake.
A Great Northern Paper Co. five-ton truck showing camp and forest fire equipment, including a high-speed portable pump.
View of Blue Village from the present site of Blue Hill Hospital looks across piles of lumber at the town wharf with the steeple of the First Baptist Church and Blue Hill Mountain in the background. Lumber was a major export of Blue Hill in the 1800s. Annie Clough* wrote: "...in the village, hundreds and thousands of cords of wood, hemlock bark, and other forest (and farm) products were piled on the town landing ready for shipment each year." Some of the cordwood was shipped in vessels to fire the lime kilns in Thomaston.
* Clough, Annie L.: Head of the Bay, first printing Elm Tree Press, Woodstock, Vermont, 1953; reprinted Blue Hill Historical Society, Blue Hill, Maine, 2006
Setting logs for spring drive, Aroostook County, ca. 1895
Item 35446 info
Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library
In the winter when the ground is frozen, trees are cut, trimmed and hauled to the river, where they are stacked in preparation for the spring thaw and log drive.
This staging area is believed to be in the Machias Lake area.
Passengers and freight awaited loading at the original wharf in Norcross Cove sometime before 1905, when North Twin Dam was rebuilt and higher water levels made relocation of the wharf necessary.
Steamer Gypsie was docked in left background as two scows loaded with hay and barrels of provisions were readied for transport.
River drivers put the canoe of Henry Withee and Horace Bailey on their tote sled to haul it around a log jam in the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Withee and Bailey were canoeing the Allagash and were stopped frequently on the West Branch by log jams.
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