Many of the trail and landmark names around Snowshoe come from the long logging history in the area.  Names like skidder, powder monkey,  ballhooter, grabhammer, Shay, and Heisler are all terms that the loggers used when harvesting the old growth spruce from the mountains in the early 1900’s.

Just down the mountain from Mountain Lodge 160 At Snowshoe is the historic logging town of Cass where you can get a first hand look at this history. The town of Cass developed with the timber and railroad companies that were in the valley and operated by West Virginia Pulp and Paper Mill. The mill operation was enormous during its heyday 1908 to 1922. It ran two 11-hour shifts six days per week, cutting 125,000 board feet of lumber each shift, an impressive 1.5 million feet of lumber per week. The Cass mill also had drying kilns using 11 miles of steam pipe to dry 360,000 board feet of lumber on each run.

The adjoining planing mill was three stories high, measuring 96 by 224 feet. Massive elevators carried up to 5,000 feet of lumber to the separate floors and machines. Some of the flooring machines were so big that it took 15 men to operate them. There were two resaws here that could accommodate boards up to 35 feet long. The large surfacing machines finished all four sides of a board in one operation.

Now the railroad and surrounding buildings and lands are part of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.  They have just finished operations for the season and will open up again in the spring. Don’t miss this outstanding opportunity to see how the region was developed and the logging history of the area.

Video by Walter Scriptunas II  — Check out his other great work — especially the Pocahontas County stuff —  at his website