Logging and Lumbering

Logging and Lumbering (HM1O04)

Location: Canton, NY 13617 St. Lawrence County
Country: United States of America

N 44° 35.807', W 75° 10.494'

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There had been a saw mill on or near Falls Island from the early 1800s. The James Spears Saw Planing and Shingle mill was located here in Falls Island in the 1800s. This view from the Canton Town Hall shows supplies of logs and lumber at the south end of Falls Island. This mill produced lumber for local markets, for the sash and blind factory, and probably for a regional market as well. SLU, ODY Archives. The extensive surface remains of this structure include the stone and concrete walls along the race, the race itself, the foundation of the steam boilers, and the ruin of the sawdust bunker. The square concrete structure is probably the sawdust bunker and was connected to the east side of the mill by an iron blow pipe. When Spears converted from water power to steam, the sawdust and wood scraps were used as fuel for the boilers. James Spears used a system of tramways on trestles to move lumber to the northern end of Falls Island. Detail of Sanborn map The spring break-up usually came in April when melting and rains worked together to raise the waters of the Grasse to a high point. The real excitement and danger began when the logs were released into the river and hundreds of thousands of logs moved in one mass. Gangs of lumberjacks traveled with the drive, using peevies and pike poles to keep the logs moving, poling them off the meadows, breaking up jams before they were formed. SLCHA [St. Lawrence County Historical Association] James Spears converted the water power operation to steam by 1910, which afforded him a more reliable source of power, though the danger of fire was increased. The Spear mill burned in 1912 and was not rebuilt. Canton Town and Village Historian Fall and winter were devoted to cutting timber and spring was the season to get timber to the mills, Once the trees were felled and cut into 13-foot lengths, the logs were hauled bu sled of skidded to the river bank. The owner of a mill was required by law to register a log mark that could be hammered into the end of his logs before they went into the river. St. Lawrence County Clerk's Office When logs reached the sorting gaps they were either directed to a holding area or allowed to float on downstream to the next mil. Logs were directed down the east channel, close to the island, where they could be lifted by a winch into the saw mill. Some logs may have been directed into the sluiceway that runs through the center of Falls Island. Canton Town and Village Historian
HM NumberHM1O04
Placed ByGrasse River Heritage
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 9:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 486118 N 4938174
Decimal Degrees44.59678333, -75.17490000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 35.807', W 75° 10.494'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 35' 48.42" N, 75° 10' 29.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)315
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 35 Riverside Dr, Canton NY 13617, US
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