Logging has always been an important part of the economy of Bland County. Rocky Gap and Bastian were both logging towns in the first half of this century. The full gauge railroad ran from Narrows to Suitor, primarily, to haul timber products. Initially it was bark for the Snowflake Tannery in Narrows. Later large sawmills in Rocky Gap and Bastian sent lumber to markets. Dinky railroads ran up every hollow and valley at one time or another. There were literally hundreds of sawmills scattered about the landscape.

The English Ott sawmill in Rocky Gap and the Hardwood Lumber Company in Bastian were by far the largest operations.Many sawmills were powered by portable steam engines that ran on wood scraps. They could be hauled near the source of the timber and a saw mill set up next to it. This sawmill was located up Wolf Creek and the photograph was probably taken during the 1930's.

If you visit some of these places today you can still find traces of the old camps but most of it has faded away as new houses are built around it. Logging and sawmills were boom times for places like Rocky Gap and Bastian, but a boom is always followed by a bust, and the large sawmills of the past are just memories today.

Logging still plays a very important part in the Bland County economy, but it is on a much smaller scale.

Virginia Hardwood Lumber Company

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