1989.69.9 | Log Jam Above Castonia
Log Jam Above Castonia
1911, 20th century
11.1 x 15.3 cm
Gift of Sylvia Yeoman
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
By the late 19th century, the industrial development and use of the river valleys were at their peak. Fortunes were made through the timber, logging and lumbering industries. As the spring thaw began in April or May, the drama and excitement of the spring log drive tested the nerves and determination of all involved. Fluctuating water levels, changing current speeds and the winding patterns of New Brunswick rivers and streams were among the problems and drawbacks encountered. The chief danger of the log drive lay in the formation of logjams in the narrower confines of the rivers or brooks. It took a brave man or group of men to confront and break a jam holding back thousands of gallons of water.
Source : Window on the World: The Rivers of New Brunswick [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)
To free a logjam, the key log, the one that caused the problem in the first place, had to be found and dislodged.
Castonia is located in the timber-rich region of northern Maine, near the headwaters of the St. John River.
Dynamite might be used in the rare cases when all other methods failed to free the jam.
The job of freeing a logjam was completely voluntary; there were many casualties.