One of the largest known Chestnut trees in the Smokies was rejected by loggers because it was hollow. It was eventually felled and used to build a retaining wall for a railroad above Tremont. Sadly, all of the Chestnut trees in the Smoky Mountains and the US were killed in the early 1900's. Chestnut blight was inadvertently introduced into the United States via a shipment of trees from Asia that were intended to be used to produce larger chestnuts by cross-breeding. What was unknown at the time, however, was the fact that Asian chestnut trees were infected with but resistant to C. parasitica, yet the American Chestnut was highly susceptible. Beginning in the early 1900's, and within the next few decades, virtually all Chestnut trees were killed or reduced to stump sprouts by man because of the fear of extinction of the legendary American tree. This did not work and Chestnut trees are no longer the magnificent specimens they once were. They are now part of the forest under story rather than the towering canopies that once covered our country.
A train carrying logs makes it's way out of the Smoky Mountains. Over 400 miles of railways were built in the Smokies to move the timber from the steep mountain slopes to large centralized mills in the foothills to be cut into lumber.
Approximately 500 men worked for Champion Fibre at this saw mill. The town that grew up around the mill included a commissary and dozens of houses for employees. The national park's Smokemont Campground now occupies this site.
Horses pull logs along an elaborate slide used to transport timber down and out of the mountains.
The longest slide in the Smokies stretched for two-and-a-half miles.
A steam powered log-loader used tongs to place logs onto a railroad flat car.
Men on the flat car would guide the logs into place using peaveys and cant hooks.
Men worked in crews to fell trees.
A "Chipper" would determine which direction a tree should fall, then cut a "lead' notch in it.
Two more sawyers would then fell the tree using crosscut saws.