The Allegany River offered a perfect way to get logs and lumber to market. The first raft of lumber to go down the river from this area was in 1807. The high point of rafting lumber and logs was from 1812 to 1900. By 1840 three hundred million feet of lumber was rafted downstream annually. The Allegany River was declared a public highway in 1870 because of the lumber rafting downstream.
The first photo shows the last rafting party to leave from the George Nessel Mill on the Four Mile Creek in Allegany, April 15, 1890. Notice the bare hills in the background. The wooded land had been exhausted. Today those same hills are once again covered with a hardwood forest.
This scene is on the edge of the Allegany River just behind St. Bonaventure University at the mouth of the Four Mile Creek. The crew is preparing the lumber for the river trip to Pittsburg. The forest at that time was composed of pine and hemlock. The pine was in great demand in Pittsburgh and points west.
The second photo is on the Five Mile Creek. It is the Bill Chamberlain Mill on Five Mile Road in Allegany. The date is not known. Notice the home in the background.
The third photo is the Snyder & Smith Lumber Co., on the Horton Farm located on Five Mile Road, Allegany, NY taken in 1906. Of note here is the attire of the individuals and the inclusion of the women and children. Often picture day meant wearing of good clothing, although two of the gentlemen look more like the loggers. It was not uncommon for families to be a part of the lumbering camps, however, it is not known if that was the circumstance here.
Information and photos submitted by Francie Potter
Allegany Historical Society