The Moosehead Lumbermen’s Museum

The Moosehead Lumbermen’s Museum contains hundreds of items relating to the lumbering history and culture of the Moosehead region.

Its centerpiece is a 30-foot bateau (plural “bateaux”).  It was last used by the Scott Paper Company on the Roach River log drive in the early 1960s.  It was stored for many years in a barn at KokadjoweemgwasebemsisBateauLumbermen'Museum

 

(known as Kokadjo) and was donated to the museum in 1993 by George and Linda Midla, then owners of the Kokadjo General Store.  Similar vessels had a long and colorful history on the log drives and were used by lumbermen to help move pulpwood and to break up log jams.  They were phased out over the years, their need being totally eliminated when river driving ended in this region during the 1970s. The bateau still has its original red paint which would help searchers find it if the boat had been overturned in rapids. You will notice there is pitch and tar on the sides.  This combination was used to “caulk” the wooden hull to keep it from leaking.  Notice also the small holes in the wood plank in the middle of the bateau.  These holes were caused by caulked (spiked) boots worn by river drivers to maintain their balance on wet wood.  They would walk along this plank with long poles to steer the boat around rocks.

The displays change and items frequently added because many local people took part in the river drives and logging era of a generation or so ago and they continue to donate artifacts.

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MHS President Bob Cowan weaves fascinating stories and insight into a guided tour of the Lumbermen’s Museum. A group visiting this summer said they understood so much more about the region because our guides breathed life into what would otherwise have been objects hanging on the walls of the rooms. Docents provide entertaining, informative tours throughout the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan museums.

In addition to the bateau, there are many other objects on display relating to the lumbering and woods industry.  You can trace the earliest forms of cutting wood, from crosscut saws to axes and eventually chainsaws.  We also have a collection of early boom pins and boom chains.  Several of the items on display, such as cant dogs and pickpoles, were found on the bottom of First Roach Pond. These items are shown just as they were, pulled from the water.

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Early chainsaws. Note the handle on the saw end (left) for two-man work.

There is also a large display of photographs telling the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs), an important era of Moosehead history from the 1930s when hundreds of young men were put to work when jobs were few and far between.  Many of the first logging trails were carved out of the woods by them. The collection was presented to the Moosehead Historical Society in 1996 by the late Paul McKeon of Shirley.

Hundreds of small hand tools — many unique — are on display.  You will find tools here that can’t be found anywhere else because they were individually made for a specific job by a local blacksmith.

 

Moosehead Historical Society & Museums Mission:  to devote our resources to the discovery, identification, collection, preservation and interpretation of materials that document the history of the Moosehead Lake region and its people. We interpret and exhibit the history of the Moosehead Lake region and its watershed, especially the settlements, towns, and citizens, past and present, and perpetuate the contributions of the early settlers who populated the area.

Our mission is also to protect and preserve the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House and any other real estate the society may own.  We seek to collect, preserve and record items of historical significance and to acquire and hold by purchase, gift, devise, bequest, grant or otherwise, real and personal property necessary or advantageous for the realization of the foregoing purposes.