Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

C. L. Harrington: A Lifelong Love of the Wisconsin Northwoods - Image Gallery

C. L. Harrington: A Lifelong Love of the Wisconsin Northwoods | Wisconsin Historical Society
Neal Harrington was assigned to the American Expeditionary Forces in October 1918. He was sent to France with the 20th Engineering Corp as a 2nd lieutenant. On the way to France he survived the February 1918 bombing and sinking of the Tuscania.

C. L. Harrington's ID Card, 1918

Neal Harrington was assigned to the American Expeditionary Forces in October 1918. He was sent to France with the 20th Engineering Corp as a 2nd lieutenant. On the way to France he survived the February 1918 bombing and sinking of the Tuscania. View the original source document: WHI 107789

This gallery consists of more than 100 photographs from the Cornelius (Neal) L. Harrington collection. Harrington was a superintendent of Wisconsin state forests and parks who made a lasting impact on Wisconsin history of forestry and conservation. Many of the photographs taken by Harrington and others are snapshots taken on pleasure trips or to document fieldwork. This gallery highlights Wisconsin state parks, preserves, forests as well as people in Harrington’s life. His collection of material is rich with photographs depicting the development of the Wisconsin state parks and forest reserves.

A Photographic History of Wisconsin Parks and Forest Development

EnlargeAerial view of Peninsula Park, with the Lake Michigan shoreline in the background.

Aerial View of Peninsula Park

Aerial view of Peninsula Park, with the Lake Michigan shoreline in the background. From the C. L. Harrington collection. View the original source document: WHI 108192

The dates of the photographs in Harrington's collection range from early in the 20th century to 1969. Many of them lack any annotation about date, location or photographer. Few photographs had more than one of those criteria. Neal himself took some of the photographs, and mailed others to family and friends.

Since the collection represents a fifty-year span of time, and multiple people took the photographs, they vary widely in quality. The photographs track and document the development of Wisconsin forest nurseries, state parks and forest preserves. Some of the photographs illustrate the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. Others capture Wisconsin forest rangers, showing what clothing they wore and what tools they used. Forest-fire fighting, logging and lake views are other common subjects.

Parks and state forests in Wisconsin are very important to both tourists and local residents. Photographs in this gallery include images of Peninsula Park, Terry Andrae State Park, the Trout Lake nursery and forest reserve, Pattison State Park, Ojibwa Roadside Park, Perrot State Park, Brule River State Forest, Flambeau River State Forest, Rocky Arbor Roadside Park, Nelson Dewey State Park, Point Beach State Forest and Wyalusing State Park. Neal Harrington enjoyed Wisconsin’s outdoor beauty, but there is significant evidence in these photographs that he also enjoyed the people he worked with and met at professional conferences.

C. L. Harrington

EnlargeThe Buffalo Head, a 'native' stone sculpture by the Mississippi River at the junction of Flint Ledge and Indian trails in Wyalusing State Park.

The Buffalo Head, 1936

The Buffalo Head, a 'native' stone sculpture by the Mississippi River at the junction of Flint Ledge and Indian trails in Wyalusing State Park, April 9th, 1936. Photo from the C. L. Harrington Papers. View the original source document: WHI 108222

Neal Harrington was born in Hurley, Wisconsin August 26, 1891. At 18, he entered the University of Wisconsin in September 1909 and began working for the state in the summer of 1910 at the Trout Lake Pine Nursery. He graduated from the University of Michigan in June of 1913 with a degree in Forestry. From 1913, when he joined Wisconsin’s Forest Conservation Service, he was instrumental in establishing the Flambeau River, Kettle Moraine and Black River State Forests. Harrington was a superintendent of Wisconsin state forests and parks from 1923 until his retirement in 1958, a career of over fifty years. Though at times controversial, Harrington was dedicated to his position and created a long legacy. He developed early public forestry policy for forest recreation, forest protection and forest management. Harrington Beach State Park is named in his honor.

During the years Neal Harrington spent working in Wisconsin he collected material on the history of forests and conservation in Wisconsin. He saved many letters, financial records, ledgers and photographs of his personal and professional life. His collection shows his love of Wisconsin and the value of his lifelong work as a forester. Even after his retirement in 1958, Neal Harrington remained an active visitor to Wisconsin's state parks and forests. He passed away in 1966 while still working on the history of conservation and forestry in Wisconsin.

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