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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Old wood-burning logging engine #202
Sherman Sumbler, Jr. surveys old wood-burning logging engine #202 with "cabbage head" smokestack, 1987. Photo courtesy Southern Forest Heritage Museum

Southern Forest Heritage Museum: History of Forestry and the Forest Industry in the South

This 57-acre museum -- representative of the many sawmill towns that once flourished throughout the South -- offers a unique opportunity to glimpse the golden age of lumbering and saw milling. It contains rare equipment and buildings that date back to the early 1900s. The museum was developed from a surviving sawmill in Long Leaf, Louisiana, that once provided a livelihood for hundreds of families from 1892 to 1969.

The commissary is one of the buildings remaining from the once thriving company town. This store now serves as the museum entrance and interpretive center. Other museum highlights are its steam-powered sawmill and planer mill, the roundhouse, and a belt-and-shaft driven machine shop. Two rare McGiffert log loaders and a Clyde skidder are examples of early steam logging equipment. Much of the plant's railway remains, as well as three steam locomotives dating from 1913 to 1923.

The Southern Forest Heritage Museum & Research Center was formed in October 1992 because of an unusual circumstance -- an old sawmill that had been closed since 1969 was simply left in place. Concerned individuals saw the opportunity to turn the site into a not-for-profit museum, which could provide a sense of awareness and pride about the culture and heritage of the southern pine forest. [Southern pine refers to a group of pines that are typically longleaf, shortleaf, slash and loblolly.] Because of the superior quality of logs milled at Long Leaf, its lumber was in demand for shipbuilding during World War II. Exhibit cases and panels provide a timeline narrative of Long Leaf history.

Project documentation includes a 20-page historical report and PC disk, museum brochures and newsletters, a video, 15 photographs, nine slides, local newspaper clippings, and a poster.

Originally submitted by: John Cooksey, Representative (5th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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