Logging and Sawmills
Sawmills were an early feature along the Buffalo, but were usually associated with a grist mill or a community center. During the later part of the twentieth century more portable sawmills were common, being set up near the wood source or the building source. This makes it difficult to trace all the sawmill locations. For example, the Rush Valley had at least eight to ten sawmill locations during its heyday. In the twentieth century the gasoline-powered sawmill equipment made it even easier to tote the mill to the source, utilized the available timber and then move on.
Many an area young man made his first wages helping with the timbering or sawmill operation. Beginning in the 1880s, timber contracts were purchased along the overlooked ridgetop lands of the Buffalo. Threes were cut and slid down to the river for floating to the sawmill or railhead. Other loads went out by wagon. Stave mills were another timber use. At the stave mill the timber was sliced into staves for barrels and then transported to manufacturers.
Logging became a big commercial venture along the Buffalo from the 1880s to the 1930s and continues to today in some areas. It is appropriate that historic sites relative to this industry be recognized in the Buffalo National River.