Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920 / Edition 1

Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920 / Edition 1

by Ronald L. Lewis
     
 

ISBN-10: 0807847062

ISBN-13: 9780807847060

Pub. Date: 06/29/1998

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

In 1880, ancient-growth forest still covered two-thirds of West Virginia, but by the 1920s lumbermen had denuded the entire region. Ronald Lewis explores the transformation in these mountain counties precipitated by deforestation. As the only state that lies entirely within the Appalachian region, West
Virginia provides an ideal site for studying the broader

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Overview

In 1880, ancient-growth forest still covered two-thirds of West Virginia, but by the 1920s lumbermen had denuded the entire region. Ronald Lewis explores the transformation in these mountain counties precipitated by deforestation. As the only state that lies entirely within the Appalachian region, West
Virginia provides an ideal site for studying the broader social impact of deforestation in Appalachia, the South, and the eastern United States.

Most of West Virginia was still dominated by a backcountry economy when the industrial transition began. In short order, however, railroads linked remote mountain settlements directly to national markets, hauling away forest products and returning with manufactured goods and modern ideas. Workers from the countryside and abroad swelled new mill towns, and merchants ventured into the mountains to fulfill the needs of the growing population. To protect their massive investments, capitalists increasingly extended control over the state's legal and political systems.

Eventually, though, even ardent supporters of industrialization had reason to contemplate the consequences of unregulated exploitation. Once the timber was gone, the mills closed and the railroads pulled up their tracks, leaving behind an environmental disaster and a new class of marginalized rural poor to confront the worst depression in American history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807847060
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
06/29/1998
Edition description:
1
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
836,258
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1The Virgin Forest and the Backcounty Economy15
2The Touch of Capital: Railroads, Timber, and Economic Development of the Backcounties45
3Land, Capital, and Timber Operations at the Periphery81
4Making Capital Secure: Law and the Industrial Transformation of West Virginia103
5Workers in the Woods131
6Ethnicity, Exploitation, and Social Conflict165
7Connecting the Periphery: Commercialization of the Countryside185
8"New Men" versus "Old Men": Political Economy and the Country Seat Wars211
9The Market Revolution and the Decline of Agriculture235
10If Trees Could Cuss: Environmental Destruction and the Beginnings of Restoration263
Notes293
Bibliography317
Index399

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