The Lumber Industry

(Adapted from the Warren Times Observer’s Special Edition, "Warren’s First 200 Years")

               Many people came to Northwestern Pennsylvania because there were large stands of pine, hemlock and hardwoods (maple, beech, ash, and oak) available. Hardwoods covered much of the western portion of the county, and the evergreens were mainly in creek valleys and southeast of the Allegheny River. The Allegheny, Conewango, Brokenstraw, and Kinzua were natural waterways for the rafting of lumber to southern markets including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and New Orleans. It was one of the county's main industries for one hundred years. The rafting of lumber began in the late eighteenth century and ended just after 1900.

               Sawmills were eventually built on even the smallest streams, and logs and sawed timber were hauled out of the woods by horse, and later by a huge network of logging railroads. The largest sawmill in Pennsylvania during the early 1900s was in Sheffield. It was called the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Co. The trees cut in Warren County in the early days were used mainly for crude board lumber, shingles, and ship’s masts.

               Lumbering continues to be an important industry in Warren County, with second and third-growth forests available for regular harvesting. Many area logging companies gather from the timberlands of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The Allegheny National Forest is the site of much modern timber management research and practice. Sites such as the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station in Irvine conduct research on species like the native black cherry.


Additional Resources:


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society