CA Gold Rush sawmill lumber

Asked February 14, 2013, 5:58 PM EST

Dear Sir or Madam, For our scholarly journal, I'm researching this daguerreotype from the Gold Rush (probably 1853). It is of a man's cabin and I know he owned a sawmill. In this detail, in the distance you can see lumber stacked. The question would be, is this a building site and it's stacked there to build something? Or, is there sawmill nearby and this is fresh-cut wood staked for drying? There seems to be one piled stack as well as a lot stood up 'teepee' style. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Mark Johnson, editor The Daguerreian Annual

Allegheny County Pennsylvania forestry wood drying and processing

1 Response

Hello: My best guess is that this lumber is being stacked for building since it does not appear to be stacked in a way that would lead to drying - and least not without significant warp and splitting. That said, I'm not sure when the currently used practice of stacking lumber in layers with 'stickers' (spacers to allow air movement) in-between came into use. So I will ask a few people that might know and will update my response based on what I learn.