Boom & Bust | Lumber Heritage Region

Boom & Bust

–Lumber brings luxury–

The development of log booms played a significant role in the generation of wealth from the lumber industry in the region.


Changes in the industry

Wealth abounds

The lumber industry was a boom and bust economy in Pennsylvania as the landscape was stripped of timber resources.

Williamsport emerged as the “Lumber Capital of the World” following the Civil War. Lumber barons dominated towns and trade in the region. The introduction of balloon‐frame house construction and standardized lumber cuts in the mid‐19th century increased the need for lumber on a national scale.  Competition in the lumber market arose from Chicago and the Midwest before the Civil War and the Deep South after the war.

Economic “panics” in 1873 and 1893 adversely affected the lumber industry in the region. Ghost towns bear witness to the lumber industry. Clearcutting of timber resources, especially along transportation corridors, severely damaged the lumber industry at the close of the 19th century.

Next: Renewing America's Forests