WORKERS IN THE WOODS
Lumber mill towns were located at strategic nodes in the railroad network that connected the rural lumber supply to the demand in America's growing urban centers. Lumber production in the "machine age" was an integrated process connecting mill and standing timber, and local transportation determined its success. In fact, transportation was the greatest physical obstacle and financial expense confronting timber companies operating in the mountains. Mass production of timber in the mountains awaited the heavy equipment brought in by railroads. Lumbermen had already put this technology to good use in the North and West, and the southern pine industry became completely dependent on railroads and the associated steam equipment. 1 Laying conventional track for standard equipment in the mountains was expensive, labor-intensive, and in the end unsuitable for the terrain. The great demand for timber in the construction of growing population centers of America between 1880 and 1920, however, provided sufficient financial inducement to spawn ingenious adaptations to the needs of mountain logging.