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Logging and Forest Products

The 19th-century logging industry reshaped the landscape of central and northern Wisconsin, provided a livelihood for thousands of workers, and formed the roots of today's thriving paper industry. By the late nineteenth century, Wisconsin was one of the premier lumber producing states in the U.S., and from 1890 to 1910 forest products led Wisconsin's developing industrial economy.

Despite its obvious potential, logging was only a minor activity for the first white settlers, who actually brought lumber with them from the East at great expense. Throughout most of the 1830s, logging was carried out on a small scale around Prairie du... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: The development of the lumber industry in Western Wisconsin  The development of the lumber industry in Western Wisconsin
Link to article: More than 100 articles on logging and the lumber industry  More than 100 articles on logging and the lumber industry
Link to article: Recollections of logging the Chippewa Valley, 1844-1916.  Recollections of logging the Chippewa Valley, 1844-1916.
Link to article: An 1886 visit to the Menominee community of Keshena  An 1886 visit to the Menominee community of Keshena
Link to article: A Made-to-Order Farm to lure settlers northward, 1921  A Made-to-Order Farm to lure settlers northward, 1921
Link to article: Recollections of Old Superior  Recollections of Old Superior
Link to article: Lumberjack tales of Paul Bunyan  Lumberjack tales of Paul Bunyan
Link to article: Peshtigo's priest recalls surviving the fire  Peshtigo's priest recalls surviving the fire
Link to article: Community-building in the northern forest in the 1880s.  Community-building in the northern forest in the 1880s.
Link to article: A lumberjack recalls an 1898 forest fire  A lumberjack recalls an 1898 forest fire
Link to article: A rafting trip down the Wisconsin River in 1868  A rafting trip down the Wisconsin River in 1868
Link to article: Rafting lumber down the Wisconsin River in 1849  Rafting lumber down the Wisconsin River in 1849
Link to article: Peshtigo residents look back, 50 years after the Great Fire  Peshtigo residents look back, 50 years after the Great Fire
Link to article: A lumberjack describes living conditions in lumber camps in the 1850s  A lumberjack describes living conditions in lumber camps in the 1850s
Link to artifacts: A mid-1800s birchbark maple sugar container  A mid-1800s birchbark maple sugar container
Link to book: The wild animals of Paul Bunyan's Northwoods  The wild animals of Paul Bunyan's Northwoods
Link to book: Wisconsin's earliest forest conservation plea, 1867  Wisconsin's earliest forest conservation plea, 1867
Link to book: Proceedings of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin (1996-2006)  Proceedings of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin (1996-2006)
Link to book: A guide to the Great Lakes lumber industry, 1886  A guide to the Great Lakes lumber industry, 1886
Link to book: Proceedings of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin (1986-1995)  Proceedings of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin (1986-1995)
Link to book: The marvelous exploits of Paul Bunyan  The marvelous exploits of Paul Bunyan
Link to book: Report on the Menominee at Termination, 1958  Report on the Menominee at Termination, 1958
Link to book: Memoirs of an Interpreter among the Ojibwe, 1840-1900  Memoirs of an Interpreter among the Ojibwe, 1840-1900
Link to book: Folklore and folktales collected by Charles E. Brown  Folklore and folktales collected by Charles E. Brown
Link to book: A Guide to CCC Camps in Wisconsin, 1937  A Guide to CCC Camps in Wisconsin, 1937
Link to book: Descriptions of Wisconsin disasters and catastrophes, 1848-1948  Descriptions of Wisconsin disasters and catastrophes, 1848-1948
Link to book: The history and traditions of the Chippewa Valley  The history and traditions of the Chippewa Valley
Link to book: Stockbridge and Munsee Testimony, 1892  Stockbridge and Munsee Testimony, 1892
Link to book: Proceedings of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin (1976-1985)  Proceedings of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin (1976-1985)
Link to book: An 1875 history of the Chippewa Valley  An 1875 history of the Chippewa Valley
Link to images: Pictures of the cutover lands in northern Wisconsin  Pictures of the cutover lands in northern Wisconsin
Link to images: An advertisement tries to attract settlers to the cutover region.  An advertisement tries to attract settlers to the cutover region.
Link to images: Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868  Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868
Link to images: Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.  Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.
Link to images: Life in the logging camps, as shown in historic photographs.  Life in the logging camps, as shown in historic photographs.
Link to manuscript: The lumber company makes its case against Deitz, 1906  The lumber company makes its case against Deitz, 1906
Link to manuscript: John Deitz makes his case, 1906  John Deitz makes his case, 1906
Link to places: "The Island of Happy Days" in Cedar Lake  "The Island of Happy Days" in Cedar Lake
Link to places: Lumber riches fund a Menomonie theater  Lumber riches fund a Menomonie theater
Link to places: A model community takes shape in the cutover  A model community takes shape in the cutover
Link to places: Paine Lumber Company in Oshkosh  Paine Lumber Company in Oshkosh
Link to places: Four-star accommodations in 19th century Sheboygan County  Four-star accommodations in 19th century Sheboygan County
Link to places: Forest Lodge in Namekagon  Forest Lodge in Namekagon

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to article: The Earliest Paul Bunyan Stories  The Earliest Paul Bunyan Stories
Link to book: Early Days in the Chippewa Valley.  Early Days in the Chippewa Valley.
Link to book: A Republican politician describes changes in government regulating powers  A Republican politician describes changes in government regulating powers
Link to book: Wisconsin Blue Books  Wisconsin Blue Books
Link to book: Recollections of a Republican politician, 1915  Recollections of a Republican politician, 1915
Link to book: Early Lumbering on the Chippewa by Bruno Vinette  Early Lumbering on the Chippewa by Bruno Vinette

Related Links

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Learn about other topics from our new book, Wisconsin History Highlights
The Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871 web site
A history of industrial development in Wisconsin
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A historian looks at 100 years of Wisconsin forestry
Learn about and purchase a book on Wisconsin's famous and historic trees

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