Saturday, July 14, 2012

Susquehanna Boom

Susquehanna boom cribs
 View from the Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat of one of the cribs that was part of the Susquehanna Boom, a series of man-made cribs on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River near Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The boom was designed to hold lumber that was floated downstream until it could be processed by the nearly 60 lumbermills that were present during the late 1800's.

Susquehanna boom cribs

This is part of a series of cribs as seen from aboard the Hiawatha. The boom was made of 352 cribs that were 22 feet high and extended for over seven miles in the river. The sheer boom gathered the logs into the main boom that was capable of holding up to 300 million board feet (8700,000 m³) of logs.

The owners of the lumber mills were known as Lumber Barons, and were among the richest people in the country, making Williamsport the most propserous city (per capita) in the country at the time. West Fourth Street in Williamsport became known as Millionaire's Row, where the Lumber Barons built their extravagant homes and churches.

The laborers were known as Boom Rats, and worked twelve hours a day, six days a week for $1.50 a day. Other workers that worked the lumber were loggers, sawyers, choppers, climbers, and fellers. A complete history of the lumber era in Williamsport can be found at the site.

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