Dynamite, Whiskey, and Wood

Available beginning April 7, 2006

The Connecticut River log drives were the longest in America. Every year, river men drove over a quarter of a million spruce logs 300 miles from the river’s headwaters near Quebec to sawmills in Massachusetts. The drive began in April, and the logs reached the sawmills at Riverside (Turners Falls, MA), Mt. Tom (the Northampton Oxbow) and Holyoke in August.

In many places the river bed of the Connecticut is a museum of log drive artifacts: lost tools, whiskey bottles, boom chains, log cribs that anchored booms, sunken bateaus and even the occasional spruce log have been found by divers. Exploration of these sites is what inspired this documentary. View an online gallery of archival log drive photos.

Ed Klekowski uses underwater footage of log drive sites, historical photographs, early film footage, contemporary newspaper accounts, and personal reminiscences to tell the story of the Connecticut River log drives.