Humans have been using wood to construct shelters and other buildings for thousands of years. With the advent of metal tools wood could be cut and shaped making it more useful in serving our needs. The invention of the sawmill dramatically improved the ability to process trees into boards and planks. During the early colonial times in North America, the location of sawmills largely directed the continent’s settlement. Where there was flowing water there was power for a sawmill and the ability to more efficiently build homes and businesses. Rivers were also used to transport the felled trees to the mill and the finished lumber to the end users.
Modern sawmills are a far cry from their early predecessors, although the basic need for lumber has not changed.