Maine Forest and Logging Museum
The Maine Forest and Logging Museum preserves the history of Maine's logging industry and promotes sustainable forest agriculture. It is located on a former site of an actual sawmill that was owned by Oliver Leonard (1764-1828), a lawyer and speculator in lumber. The museum recreates a 1790s logging and milling community, featuring a reconstructed working "up and down" sawmill, a blacksmith's shop, a bateaux (a small flat bottomed boat), a trapper's line camp, a covered bridge, and a settler's log cabin. Numerous tools and other artifacts are on display, and the visitors can read stories about the people who lived and worked in the industry. Highlights at the museum include the sawmill, a working Lombard log steam hauler, and a 1920s mill yard.
Backstory and Context
Instead of an outdoor museum, a living history site was proposed. This way, the lives of the lumberjacks and loggers could be shown in an authentic way. Archaeologists had found evidence of sawmills on Blackman Stream in Bradley, Maine, so this location was picked as an authentic location. Scott Paper Co., Great Northern Paper Co., International Paper Co., St. Regis Paper Co., Diamond International Corp., Boise Cascade Paper Group, Dead River Co., Prentiss & Carlisle Co., J.W. Sewall Co., J.M. Huber Corp., Seven Islands Land Co., and J.D. Irving Ltd. donated a total of 204acres for the creation of the museum. The area was mostly forest, with the remnants of a stone dam on the stream. Soon, a water-powered sawmill was constructed, along with buildings that would have been lived in my loggers.
The entire living history site shows what life in the 1790s was like, with volunteers dressing in period clothes to make the experience authentic. The biggest attraction is the Lombard Log Hauler which was recently restored. This was the first tracked vehicle and successfully burned wood and traveled on iced roads. This machine replaced the need for fifty horses. The shingle museum is also operating, with volunteers showing how shingles were made from the trees that were harvested. A blacksmith shop is also functional, showing visitors how different machines were made, along with other products such as horseshoes.