1989.69.17 | Sorting Gap at Fredericton

Sorting Gap at Fredericton
1911, 20th century
11.8 x 14.9 cm
Gift of Sylvia Yeoman
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Depending on the strength of the currents, the degree of success in breaking jams and the distance travelled, the drivers would arrive at the "booming grounds" from late May to late June. At the booming grounds, logs were sorted in preparation for the final journey to the sawmill. This area was sometimes called the "sorting gap."

As the logs came down the feeder rivers or brooks and into the main waterways, they were corralled in coves and inlets and secured by a cribwork wall of timbers driven into the bottom. There could be one or a series of booms, but the operations performed in them were the same. Square timber or logs from several different companies would initially be mixed together and would have to be driven through the sorting gap.

Source : All in a Day's Work: Lumbering in New Brunswick [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    A boom is a collection of logs held together by a chain, cable or line of timber used to keep them from floating away.

  • Where

    Fredericton is 150 kilometers by water from Saint John and is located at the junction of two driving rivers, the Nashwaak and Oromocto.

  • When

    The decline of the eastern white pine in the late 19th century meant that sorting gaps were mostly composed of logs, not large square timbers.

  • Who

    A woodsman possessed many different skills and adapted them to the different stages of the process, including work at the booming grounds.