Boom and Lumber Company, Ronceverte, WV
The St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company opened
the largest softwood manufacturing plant in the United States in Ronceverte in
1802. The company’s president was Col.
Cecil C. Clay, a US Army Brigadier General who hailed from Philadelphia. Col. Clay brought the first log drive down
the river from Pocahontas County. The
tallest, finest trees from this drive supplied the timbers to build the “Big
Mill” at Ronceverte.
The Greenbrier River was harnessed at Ronceverte with
dams, cribs, booms, pockets and equipment to receive and store the endless
millions of logs cut from the mountains of upper Greenbrier and Pocahontas
sections and floated down to feed the ravenous and unending whirling buzzing
saws. They had a capacity of 110,000
board feet per day.
It was at 4:30 one morning in September 1908, that the
“whistle that shook the earth” sounded for the last time. The last log in the
millpond was cut, the “Big Mill” shut down, and the softwood lumber business of
the St. Lawrence Boom and Lumber Company passed into history.