Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Way Back When-sday: River Wannigan

I recently sent my story, Enticing Julia Morgan, to my agent. I'm really excited about this story. It's set in 1898 at the height of the logging era in central Minnesota.

As I crafted this story, I wanted to make sure I was able to capture the romance and flavor of the logging days on the Mississippi River. My town was home to one of the largest lumber mills in the United States at that time. It was called the Pine Tree Lumber Company.


Millions of feet of logs flowed downriver from the logging camps in northern Minnesota each spring/summer/fall. All winter long the logging camps would cut and stack logs along streams and riverbanks. When the river thawed they would roll the logs into the Mississippi.


With each "drive" of logs, the camp would send along one, or possibly two, river wannigans to travel with the men driving the logs.

 
The wannigan was a floating shack, usually 25 to 30 feet long, and built low to the water to keep it stable on the fast moving river. The main wannigan was used as a cook shack, and the second (if there was one) might be used for sleeping.


I included a couple of wannigans in Enticing Julia Morgan. My hero, Noah, is the owner of a large mill (inspired by the Pine Tree Lumber Company) and he often goes out to the wannigans when they travel by to hear the news from the winter logging camps.


I had fun bringing the wannigan to life in my story.


Your Turn: Have you ever heard of a wannigan before? Would you like to ride in one?

4 comments:

  1. Awesome to see pictures since I've read the story. :) And YAY for being done and sending it to your agent. Great job, girl!

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  2. Ooh, this post made me super excited to read your book! :)

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  3. How way cool is this????? Quick get published so I can read!

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  4. I have to say I'd never heard of one before reading your book. But how interesting and well, brave. They rode alongside all those logs? I'd say that would have been a touch of too much excitement for me.
    Congrats on sending it to your agent! I can't wait to see your name in print!

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