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Learning about their community
Youngsters from the Mountain Valley Middle School listen as Bill Weston, 90, of the Rumford Historical Society shows a scaled model of a logging boom and talks about their role in the history of the logging industry. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD CENTER -- Youngsters from the Mountain Valley Middle School have been doing activities to better learn about the community they live in.
On Thursday, those in the River Valley Unit were busy as they visited the Mexico Historical Society on Oxford Street in Mexico, the Lufkin Museum, home of the Rumford Historical Society in Rumford Center, and then watched the documentary movie, "The Don," a cabin cruiser Don with 35 aboard that went down in lower Casco Bay after an explosion in June of 1941. Most of the party lived in Rumford and adjacent Mexico.
One of the highlights when visiting the Lufkin Museum was a talk from Bill Weston, 90, a charter member of the Rumford Historical Society.
Using a wooden scaled model of a logging boom, he told youngsters about their role in the history of the logging industry.
A log boom is a barrier placed in a river, designed to collect and or contain floating logs timbered from nearby forests sometimes called a fence or bag. With several firms driving on the same stream, it was necessary to direct the logs to their owner's respective booms, with each log identified by its own patented timber mark.
As the logs proceeded downstream, they encountered these booms in a manner that allowed log drivers to control their progress, eventually guiding them to the river mouth or sawmills. Most importantly, the booms could be towed across lakes, like rafts, or anchored while individual logs awaited their turn to go through the mill. Booms prevented the escape into open waters of these valuable assets.
Log boom foundations were commonly constructed of piles or large stones placed into cribs in a river to form small islands. The booms were themselves large floating logs linked together end to end, like a large floating chain connecting the foundations while strategically guiding the transported logs along their path.
Weston said the use of these booms, which often measured 15x20 feet square, was stopped during the 1960's, in part for enviromental reasons but also because by then, it became easier to truck the logs.