Murrayville has one main street, from which, at intervals, are offshoots in the shape of side streets. It is about 75 feet wide, and is full of the stumps of the trees cut to make room for the town site. On either side of this main street, for perhaps an eighth of a mile, are ranged the stores. They are of every conceivable kind and shape. There are a few log houses, more tents and tent houses, but one-story frame buildings abound. A tent house is half log or frame house and half tent; it is simply a shell of logs or boards with a canvas roof. This kind of building is very plentiful in the West, and particularly popular in new towns. The canvas is not made specially for the houses; it is an ordinary tent adapted to the purpose. Their size is often considerable. I have seen them 90 by 30 feet, but the average are from 60 by 20 to 40 by 20. They are plentiful because they are cheap, lumber being an expensive article in a new country, but they are more comfortable than a tent. Anything covered with canvas is damp in rainy weather, and insufferably hot when the sun pours down upon it; besides light canvas is not waterproof, and here eight-ounce or bucking is used almost exclusively.
There is no seasoned lumber in the town, and promises not to be for some time owing to the limited capacity of the sawmills of the gulch. Everything has been built of green material, and for a long time lumber was worked into houses the same day it was sawed. It sells now for $35 per 1000 feet, and before any sawmills were put in it was at one time as high as $300 per 1,000 feet. At that time every plank was whip sawed, the amount made was small, and the demand was very great. Many thousands of feet were sold at $300, $275, $250 per 1,000 feet, and most of it was sold before it was cut. The sawmills, of course, hurt the tremendous profit of the business, but for a long time both they and the whip sawyers coined money. They have held prices up most persistently, but $35 per 1,000 feet is a high figure, and ought to satisfy them. The whip sawyers have not given up; they are still working and making sales.
For the benefit of those who know little of lumber I will say that whip-sawing is done by two men. The log is placed on two uprights. One man stands above on the log; the other is below. They have a long thin saw, with handles on either end. One man is continually pushing the saw, while the other is pulling it. The man below usually wears goggles to keep the sawdust from his eyes; whip sawing is hard work and slow work, but it pays, because running expenses are almost nothing. The freshness of the timber is seen most plainly in the frame houses. From those recently erected the pitch can be seen oozing in quantities. Besides this habit of oozing, the pitch has an extremely rude and unmannerly way of dropping constantly. When the inhabitants are not kept busy dodging the glistening balls, they have lively times making a general clean-up.