The sawmill was used in the early 1900s near Deerlodge, Montana. It is representative of the portable sawmills that were brought between the various logging sites in Montana. It was donated by The Missoula Saw Inc. in 1990 as the showcase for the Museum’s forestry interpretive area.
Can you spot... the sawmill’s power source?
The case steam tractor provides power for our saw mill; in 2016 it turns 100 years old. On Forestry Day (last Saturday in April) and the 4th of July you can see the sawmill in operation.
This sawmill originally came from Deerlodge, Montana. It is representative of portable sawmills used in western Montana from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. Many sawmills from that time were not considered permanent, but could rather move from site to site. This particular kind of sawmill has a circle saw as opposed to a band saw. The diameter of the circular saw blade was a limiting factor on how large of a log could be sawed.
The Society of American Foresters reproduced the lumber shed that covers the sawmill. The Society also assists with the Museum’s forestry interpretive area. The area surrounding the sawmill has a variety of wagons, machinery and other timber-related items that help tell the story of the logging industry that was so important to Missoula’s early years. The University of Montana also maintains a logging competition site at the far end of the Forestry Interpretive area. This site is used throughout the year by forestry students as they practice for the annual Forestry Day logging competitions. Both students and professionals participate in this competitive event.