• Potential investors in villa sites gather on and around a logging tug, 1913. Courtesy of the North Lake County Public Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    1913 Potential Investors
    • Date
    • 1913
    • Creator
    • Thiri, Al.
    • Description
    • Potential investors in villa sites gather on and around the logging tug "Defiance." The woman on the bow is Dorris Harbert. Next to her is her father, James Harbert, prominent Polson businessman and Polson booster, who is making a speech while the "h... more
      Potential investors in villa sites gather on and around the logging tug "Defiance." The woman on the bow is Dorris Harbert. Next to her is her father, James Harbert, prominent Polson businessman and Polson booster, who is making a speech while the "hungry multitude" apparently anticipates lunch. less
    • Rights
    • Https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/.
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • North Lake County Public Library, Polson, Montana.

  • Three young men posed around a very large band saw blade at the Anaconda Copper Mine Company Mill, 1909-1911. Courtesy of the University of Montana - Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    3 men and large saw blade in the ACM Co. Mill
    • Date
    • 1909
    • Description
    • Three young men posed around a very large band saw blade in the filing room at the Anaconda Copper Mine Company Mill at Bonner, Montana.
    • Rights
    • Https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/.
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library.

  • Men and boys pose on top of large log on a Northern Pacific railroad flat car. Courtesy of the University of Montana - Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    Braced large log on railroad flat car
    • Description
    • A large log on a Northern Pacific railroad flat car is braced from rolling by a small log placed under the side of the log. Men and boys pose on top of large log.
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/CNE/1.0/.
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library.

  • A 1908 log jam on the Blackfoot River, which illustrates the vast amount of timber taken from local forests. Courtesy of the University of Montana - Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    The Great Log Jam of the Blackfoot River
    • Date
    • 1908-06-07
    • Creator
    • Forsyth, N. A. (Norman A.), 1869-1949.
    • Description
    • A view of the great log jam on the Blackfoot River after the flood of June 7, 1908. Image entitled ""Log jam looking south from center"" from the series ""Missoula Through the Stereoscope."" The buildings in the background are possibly part of the mi... more
      A view of the great log jam on the Blackfoot River after the flood of June 7, 1908. Image entitled ""Log jam looking south from center"" from the series ""Missoula Through the Stereoscope."" The buildings in the background are possibly part of the mill. Near Bonner, Montana. less
    • Rights
    • This image may be protected by copyright. Permission may be required for use and/or reproductions. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections at the University of Montana, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library: http://www.li... more
      This image may be protected by copyright. Permission may be required for use and/or reproductions. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections at the University of Montana, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library: http://www.lib.umt.edu/asc. less
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library.

As the developing mining industry and railroads grew, companies seized the opportunity to exercise their political power in order to guarantee their access to the abundant natural resources across Montana. Railroads, mines, smelters, and towns all used enormous amounts of lumber. Railroads used vast amounts of timber for ties, to brace tunnels, and to support trestles and bridges. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company used more than 200,000 board feet of timber every day in its mines. Smelters burned thousands of cords per day in their smelting processes.

In the 1880s, Marcus Daly, who owned the Anaconda Company and the Northern Pacific Railroad, bought up several small lumber companies and created the Montana Improvement Company. This company became one of the most aggressive logging companies, cutting timber wherever they could, including illegally on public lands and on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

In 1885, the government sued the Montana Improvement Company, saying it had illegally cut $600,000 worth of timber in 1885 alone. Marcus Daly told Congress that 10,000 workers would lose their jobs if the illegal logging stopped. The Northern Pacific Railroad used its power to gain support of Montana’s territorial governor, Samuel T. Hauser. They threatened to remove all railroad money from Hauser’s bank if he did not oppose the federal lawsuits. The lawsuits dragged on for years while illegal logging practices continued in Montana. The massive deforestation of many areas prompted many to call for a better logging management system.