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Meadow River Lumber of Rainelle

On December 28, 1970, the steam whistle of the Meadow River Lumber Company of Rainelle blew for the last time, sounding a death knell for what was once the largest hardwood sawmill in the world. Beginning in 1910, the triple-band mill cut an average of 110,000 board feet in a ten-hour day. During the first year of operation this equated to about three million board feet cut, and in later years, annual production surpassed thirty million feet. In the end, the company's failure to introduce modern forestry and milling technologies reduced its ability to compete.

Many historic artifacts relating to the Meadow River Lumber Company's operations survived through the efforts of townspeople and former employees. George Collins, whose father worked for the company and kept many records and objects from destruction, brought this private collection to the attention of the Division of Culture and History.

The Collins donation, a gift to the State Museum and Archives in late 1979, forms the nucleus of this exhibition that the state museum created for the purpose of traveling to museums throughout the state. If you are interested in borrowing this exhibit please contact Darren Husband at 304-558-0220 or email him at

Photographs of the exhibit | Museum Home