"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Thursday, September 30, 2010

the logging era

Settlers began logging in the Manitowish Waters area back in 1892. Until 1905, the logs were transported to lumber mills in the Eau Claire area via the vast web of river systems. In winter, the logs were moved to the water ways on large sleighs pulled by horses, and later by steam tractors.
an old postcard showing the horse-drawn logging operation
The Manitowish Waters dam was built in 1892 to facilitate log transport by raising the lakes' water levels. This is a surprisingly utilitarian fact given that "the Chain" now provides little benefit to Excell Energy, which owns the dam.

Side wheel steam boats moved log rafts from the headwaters of the Manitowish Waters chain to the dam. Many companies used the river system and it was necessary to identify each log with a company's registered mark. The ends of the logs were marked with log hammers.

The hammers made a distinctive imprint. Paul Brenner found a log in Rest Lake, in 1982, which he recognized as having been cut by the Chippewa Log and Boom Company of Chippewa Falls, WI. The mark was registered on October 2, 1902. The company camp was located just below the dam, behind the present day Pea Patch restaurant.

The present blog writer's great-grandparents arrived in the area to take advantage of the logging opportunities and worked, as so many others did, in a logging camp. Their old axes and saws are proudly displayed in our home, which was once theirs.

This post serves as a brief introduction to our (much more detailed) interview with... *da da da dum* Paul Brenner. Coming up next, folks!

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