History of timbering featured at Pasto Ag Museum open house Nov. 18

November 09, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The next in a series of open houses at Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will focus on the history of timbering in Pennsylvania and its significance in America's past.

The event is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Pennsylvania has long been the top hardwood state in the country, with a forest products industry that now employs about 10 percent of the commonwealth’s manufacturing workforce.

"Timbering has always been vital to the Keystone State's economy and to the livelihood of many of its residents," said Pasto museum curator Rita Graef. "But the enterprise of moving logs from the forest to saw mills has become much easier with the advent of modern equipment and tools.

"It is fascinating to look back at how logging was accomplished in the early days."

Featured at the Nov. 18 Pasto Museum open house will be a 20-minute, black-and-white silent movie shot in 1926 showing the activities of the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company.

"It features rare footage of the entire timbering process, from cruising a stand of virgin hemlock, cutting trees with hand saws, peeling the bark, loading and transporting, floating, and finally milling the huge logs at an old saw mill.

"The film includes early bulldozers used for clearing the land and images of a Heisler locomotive, manufactured in Erie specifically for use in logging. An American Hoist and Derrick loader is depicted, loading narrow-gauge rail cars to send to the saw mill."

Paul Fagley, historian and cultural educator at Greenwood Furnace State Park, will interpret the film and answer questions. He also will demonstrate how a Biltmore stick is used to calculate board footage of timber.

"Fagley's knowledge of the history of timber and logging, and related railroad and industrial processes will intrigue visitors to our open house," said Graef. "He is a captivating storyteller who can bring to life the objects in the museum with details of how they worked and tales of the people who used them."

The film will be played with narration several times during the open house. Tours of the entire museum will be offered, with demonstrations of some exhibits available.

Operated by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, the museum will be welcoming visitors from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday during Penn State home football weekends as part of an initiative to increase public awareness of the museum's collection.

The final open house this fall is slated Nov. 25 and will focus on lighting before electricity. The museum will celebrate the end of the series that Sunday with an ice cream social, offering Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream to all visitors while supplies last.

More information on the museum and its open houses is available online. To receive information and event reminders via email, send a message to PastoAgMuseum@psu.edu. Contact curator Rita Graef at 814-863-1383 or by email at rsg7@psu.edu.

Located on the Ag Progress Days site at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs -- nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45 -- the museum features hundreds of rare farm and home implements from the "muscle-power era," before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines.

  • The enterprise of moving logs from the forest to saw mills has become much easier with the advent of modern equipment and tools.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 12, 2012