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Outta the Woods and Onto the Mills: Shifting Timber-Harvest Strategies on Minnesota's Early Lumbering Frontiers.

Douglas A. Birk
Senior Research Fellow
Institute for Minnesota Archaeology

Frontiers and Resources
Temporal Considerations
Spatial Considerations
The Archaeology of Stumps and Logs
Case Studies
References Cited

At the time of initial white contact America's great northeastern forest was so vast that a squirrel could travel from Maine to Minnesota without touching the ground. European colonists who judged the quality of land by its vegetal cover (e.g., Birch 1979:171-75) at first saw the forest as a "desolate wilderness." Their methods of forest exploitation were crude and inefficient and the act of clearing land was typically more valued than the timber it produced (Bacig and Thompson 1981:2; Flader 1983:123, 205-06). Most wood cut during colonial times was consumed as fuel, used in building houses or fences, or reduced to charcoal for smelting iron ore (Yahner 1995:23-26). Under such conditions, logging, in most areas, remained a parochial and often kin-based enterprise until after the period of American Independence. In the nineteenth century, with florescence of the Industrial Revolution, the forest came to be viewed as an economic resource and lumbering emerged as a specialized, autonomous enterprise (Dinsdale 1965:255; Flader 1983:254-255; Brashler 1991). Pine-harvesting enclaves pushed into wooded hinterlands and formed a lumbering frontier, a form of industrial frontier, which, like the proverbial squirrel, moved westward with the advancing tide of Euroamerican settlement. Extant technologies, attitudes, and behaviors followed that arena westward to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota and so did woodsmen who honed their entrepreneurial skills in the pineries of the northeast (Stanchfield 1901:346; Larson 1949:17, 74-76; Kohlmeyer 1956:535; Smith 1974; King 1981:11).

A lumbering frontier can be viewed as a phase of a colonizing process. In the western Great Lakes Region the development of commercial logging in the nineteenth century disrupted earlier social, cultural, and settlement systems common to the fur trade. Lumbering promoted human migration, demanded new skills, and opened lands to radical exploitation. Often left in its wake were derelict communities, improvised transportation nets, and ravaged landscapes (Hagg 1948:149). Historians argue that appropriation of the forest was either a glorious part of America's Manifest Destiny or a frenzied process fueled by capitalist greed (e.g., Swanholm 1995). Whether electing to celebrate or condemn the white-pine era, however, most scholars agree that it helped condition later land-use and shape modern attitudes towards forest management (e.g., Smith 1974:106).

A lumbering frontier can also be viewed as a geographical place or setting. Mid-Minnesota, for example, with its abundant forests and waterways, was a region well suited for commercial logging. The sources of the Mississippi drained some of the richest pine lands in the world. Lumbermen there, as in more northeasterly zones (e.g., Dinsdale 1965; Fries 1989; Karamanski 1989; Brashler 1991), at first relied on waterways to transport logs from stumps to mills. Continued cutting exhausted accessible forests near large streams and challenged lumbermen to find new ways to exploit more remote or isolated stands. The dynamic process favored technological innovation and greater capital investment, thus inviting the control of big business. Over time, saws supplanted axes, lumber camps grew in size, sleds and railroads extended cutting operations, and sawmills became automated factories. In central-Minnesota, as the pace and efficiency of the pine harvest increased, the lumbering frontier generally moved northward and upvalley. Once the harvesting process began there was little question that all marketable trees would be cut; it was just a matter of how and when.

Finally, a lumbering frontier can also be seen as an ecological relationship in which certain human and industrial behaviors might be considered as accommodations to environments and opportunities (e.g., Bennett 1969; Flader 1983; Lewis 1984:2). Adaptation could reflect in the settlement choices, technological responses, or economic adjustments that pioneering human populations undergo when establishing in new areas (e.g., Hess 1979:123-24). Archaeology can recognize spatial-temporal patterns that suggest the "positioning" of adaptive systems in geographic space. For archaeologists to understand such systems they must know the purpose, setting, and inter-relationship of places and activities used during operation of the system (Binford 1982:5-6; Knight 1981).

This paper explores nineteenth-century lumbering frontiers from a historical, geographical, and ecological perspective. It focuses on early pine-harvesting strategies and organizational relationships in the Mississippi Headwaters Region north of Crow Wing (Fig.1) and is part of a broader study anticipated by the Institute for Minnesota Archaeology (IMA) to show how Minnesota's lumbering industry developed, how it operated, and how it changed over time. A premise is that early log-procurement operations were structured around resource distributions, technological capabilities, and harvesting thresholds (e.g., Dinsdale 1965; Karamanski 1989). Such criteria are central to understanding regional lumbering frontiers. They provide a means to predict, evaluate, and interpret lumbering sites and activities (e.g., Knight 1981; Rohe 1985) and promote comparison of lumbering frontiers with others of different types, or in different times or places (Steffen 1980).

Like certain agricultural pursuits (Green 1979), commercial lumbering can transform forest ecosystems. Indeed, many social and technological adjustments required of loggers have been in response to conditions of their own making. A long-range research goal is to not only show how Minnesota-area lumbermen responded to the systematic demise of their organic resource base, but to define how the lives and livelihoods of later colonizing populations were also affected by the fact and legacy of primal forest depletion. Other avenues of logging research might address labor conditions and ethnicity (Orcutt 1925; Franzen 1992:75), gender and business relations (Larson 1949; Brashler 1991), management and environmental concerns (Rohe 1985; Richner 1986), or other issues including public interpretation and archaeological preservation (e.g., Buchanan 1978:53; Brashler 1991:54). Logging studies that seek to explain procurement behaviors, harvesting thresholds, and the development and transmission of technologies or ideas might also find use in the study of other human groups or cultures.


Frontiers and Resources

As defined by Donald Hardesty (1985) and Kenneth Lewis (1984:263-92) industrial frontiers involve specialized extractive enterprises (like lumbering and mining) undertaken in peripheral areas. Such frontiers are resource dependent, progress largely in response to consumer demands, and assume spatial definition in large measure from the interplay of human technologies, production costs, and the distribution of raw materials (Trigger 1968:66-67; Cochran 1981:8; Limp 1983:35). Industrial frontiers are impermanent, usually of short duration, and often rely on a transient, ethnically-diverse, and male-dominated labor force. The leading figures and promoters on such frontiers are often enterprising individuals who reinvest profits (Kohlmeyer 1956:533) or diversify to capitalize on "all aspects of the development of a new country" (Hagg 1948:144). Frontier enclaves are bound by common financial and production concerns and are cosmopolitan in the sense that they lack self-sufficiency and are closely linked to outside markets and economies (Steffen 1980:xii). Technological innovations spread rapidly in such theaters but new ideas or developments often require further "improvement" or experimentation for local use (Newell 1986:10).

Harvesting behavior on lumbering frontiers can thus be seen as an adaptive response to outside influences and as a negotiation to find "appropriate" skills and technologies to meet local demands. Because of its transitory nature, logging often required frequent movement or abandonment of old facilities which, in turn, provided many opportunities for retooling or restructuring operations (Kohlmeyer 1956:533). The need to overcome conditions like rugged terrain or snowless winters also favored innovation (Rector 1953:198-202; Rohe 1985:375). While high levels of tradition and standardization are hallmarks of industrial frontiers, there might be areas where different (idiosyncratic) methods are used to solve similar problems or where certain companies or contractors find it profitable to compete with dated equipment (e.g., Hardesty 1985:218-20). Indeed, the capital investment needed to adopt most new technologies often prolongs the use of older ones and even where new technologies are put into use there might be little real shift in methods (Dinsdale 1965:264, 272).

The dispersion history and nineteenth-century composition of Minnesota-Wisconsin area forests are generally known from studies of pollen and charcoal taken from lakebed sediment cores, and from witness-tree data noted in original land-survey records (e.g., Marschner 1974; Finley 1976; Jacobson 1979; Almendinger 1985). Early settlers thought it an act of Divine Providence that a great reservoir of pine was situated in the northern reaches of the Mississippi Valley while treeless prairies awaited settlement downstream. Initial estimates suggested it would take centuries to harvest the northern pine (Berthel 1948:199; Fries 1989:4-5). In Minnesota's Rum River basin alone a cruiser (i.e., one who assesses timber-harvesting potentials) reported pine sufficient to keep seventy mills busy for as many years (Stanchfield 1901:333; Larson 1949:168-69). Such predictions might have been true had it not been for the growing public appetite for wood products, innovations that accelerated the cutting rate, and the lack of any incentive or policy for sustained-yield forest production.

With a perceived "super-abundance" of forest resources at hand, American industrialists developed a cavalier attitude about their use and accepted innovations that destroyed immense quantities of potential product or that resulted in degradation of natural environments. At lumber mills, for example, the adoption of larger, thicker, and faster saws created huge piles of sawdust (Cochran 1981:45, 66), a wasteful byproduct often discarded into local waterways. At the same time, deforestation and log drives promoted higher rates of stream sedimentation and cut-over areas were susceptible to wild fires. Early loggers were usually more concerned with competing than conserving (e.g., Nelligan 1969:29-30, 175; Smith 1974:98) and typically thought of conservation as a means to reduce production costs and material waste and not in terms of actual resource preservation (e.g., Upham 1915:818-19). A move to husband Minnesota's forests only emerged after the lumbermen had "finished their work" and even then it required a political struggle (Larson 1949:263-64, 317, 341-43). Obviously some ideas and conditions on lumbering frontiers changed more quickly than others.

It is an elemental fact that lumbermen were attracted by forests but prosecuted their exploitation by cutting one tree at a time. Forests were diverse, dynamic, and unevenly distributed. Trees, on the other hand, were permanently anchored and each, by its characteristics and setting, was in a sense unique. No two trees ever had the exact same relationship to terrain, watersheds, markets, or human technologies and each therefore required special investments of money, time, and labor to harvest (Loehr, in Rector 1953:13). Beyond the stumpage value most of the delivery cost of a log at the mill hinged on transportation (Rector 1953:15). The worth of pine trees or a stand of pine trees was thus not only gauged by their size and quality, but by their spatial relationship to transportation lanes, mills, and consumer outlets. It follows then that, on any given lumbering frontier at any given time, there were boundary conditions beyond which it was not feasible to fall trees or to operate mills (Ibid:67; Hagg 1948:137). Forest resources beyond such thresholds cost more to harvest, transport, mill, and market than they were worth. The boundary conditions might be expressed in terms of catchments from which resources, like logs, could be economically moved to collection points like landings or mills (e.g., Rossman 1976:91).

The activities associated with the procurement and processing of pine can be divided into five interrelated phases: awareness, acquisition, forest operations, transportation, and milling (e.g., Karamanski 1989:66). Awareness, involving the discovery and assessment of timber-harvesting values and potentials, and acquisition, the various means of establishing cutting rights or ownership of trees, are documented through written accounts. The other activities are more firmly represented in the material record and in some areas vestiges of the facilities basic to each can yet be recognized. In parts of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, for example, the remains of engineered transportation facilities like railroad grades, sled roads, and dams are found along with the ruins of built environments like sawmills, shops, and logging camps (Franzen 1992:74).

What makes all of these constructs interesting archaeologically is knowing that each once served as a fixed and definable part of a past production system. Each had a specific function and useful life and each was conceived, fabricated, and used under some potentially knowable criteria, "rules," or constraints that might reflect human mental processes or organizing principles. A knowledge of the rules can help us to get inside of the system so that we might begin to think like and better understand nineteenth-century loggers. What determined the use, placement, design, layout, and association of logging camps, dams, roads, and railroads? How were harvesting thresholds and transportation lanes determined? How did harvesting strategies vary through time, between companies, or from one area to another? By focusing on the spatial-temporal patterning of pine-era lumbering sites and on their inter-relationship with resource distributions, topography, waterways, harvesting modes, labor pools, consumer markets, and other factors, archaeologists might develop a better appreciation of both frontier logging ecology as well as later settlement history (Dinsdale 1965; Hardesty 1985; Karamanski 1989).


Temporal Considerations

From the beginning, loggers did their work in Minnesota "with a good deal of system" (Seymour 1850:202). The sequence and timing of their activities developed largely in response to environmental variables, like climate and weather, so that specific tasks were scheduled and conducted to take optimum advantage of natural conditions. The staging of activities followed a "logical" progression in which, for example, camps were built and supplied before forest operations were initiated (e.g., Larson 1949:177-78; Knight 1981:45, 47-48).

For early Minnesota loggers, the "yearly cycle" began in July and August when hay was cut near the scene of their planned winter harvest (Bond 1853:86; Folsom 1888:703). Cutting and banking operations usually took place during winter months when snow eased the skidding of logs, and frozen lakes and marshes formed convenient lanes for moving men, equipment, and logs through areas of even rugged terrain. Stockpiled snows melted each spring releasing water needed to transport logs or power sawmills. A "logger's dream" was a winter in which the ground, marshes, and waterways froze, snow was plentiful, and there were sufficient days of good sleighing to secure a big harvest. A nightmare was a winter of unusual warmth, too much or too little snow, or early snows that kept the ground and waters from freezing (Rector 1953:198-200).

Anything that upset harvesting schedules or productivity might promote invention and change in the logging industry. In the mid-1870s, in response to a few "practically snowless" winters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan (i.e., West and Wilcox 1907:729; Nelligan 1969:73; Rector 1953:196), some loggers only cut trees along the banks of good driving streams while others, in all three states, "built tramroads, hauled snow for their sleigh roads and experimented with dry hauls." Pole roads were used for summer hauling in parts of the St. Croix Valley, and big-wheel, aerial-cable, and railroad transportation were tried in Michigan or Wisconsin (Rector 1953:197-200). Horses also became more common in the woods (Rohe 1984:19) and, by the mid-1880s, were being used in east-central Minnesota to pull small sleighs along roads specially iced and grooved for sleigh runners (Johns 1986:18).

The evolutionary aspects of logging gleaned from historical records (e.g., Hagg 1948; Larson 1949; Dinsdale 1965; Clarke 1979; Fries 1989) are important for defining continuities or changes in regional harvesting modes. The earliest phase of pine logging in Minnesota involved the use of hand tools and physical energy augmented by animal power (Larson 1949:77; Dinsdale 1965:255). Oxen teams were relied upon for the most difficult dray and skidding operations because they could be used to haul over bad roads "to a greater extent than could horses" (Orcutt 1925:4). With increased use of formal logging roads and horses in the late-1870s and the later introduction of better sleds and larger horses, oxen were almost wholly replaced by horses by the turn of the century (Larson 1949:175-77; Rosholt 1982:26). Oxen played a major role in the pineries of central Minnesota and as far north as Grand Rapids (Fig. 1), but were little used in more northerly areas of the state that were cut later (Ryan 1975:22; 1980:44).

Such changes or conditions should be evident in the archaeological record. For example, logging sleds grew to larger sizes with improvements in design, hardware, and runner-shoe construction (Orcutt 1925:11-12; Vandersluis 1974:14). Machine-made horse shoes were introduced in the second quarter of the nineteenth century (Chappell 1973:106), and oxen shoes were hand-forged until 1863 when mass-produced forms became available. Different styles of oxen shoes were thereafter patented, including during the years 1879, 1880, 1882, and 1887 (e.g., Rosholt 1982:17). The presence, absence, or intermixing of horse and oxen shoes at particular sites or niches could reveal which animals were most widely employed in local harvests. Approximate dates might be assigned to the oxen shoes and possibly the horse and sled-runner shoes from their style, size, or method of manufacture. The dates might be further refined through consideration of geographical contexts or through the study of larger artifact assemblages containing other temporally-diagnostic materials (e.g., Rohe 1985:361).

A transformation is also seen in the size and character of logging camps. The first camps in Minnesota, dating from the 1830s, were primitive and short-lived. By the 1840s, one-room "State-of-Maine" shanties were in use, each with an open fire (i.e., a cambuse) and a hole in the roof to vent smoke (e.g., Larson 1949:79-84; Rohe 1986:18-20). Men slept on boughs or hay and had simple diets. Heating and cook stoves and wooden floors were introduced to the camps in the 1870s (Rector 1953:71) and Dingle-style architecture (i.e., where two structures were connected by a covered passage) became popular in the 1880s (Rohe 1986:23-24).

By the 1890s, with an expanded work force, growing task differentiation, improvements in overland communication, and reduced distances between supply centers and cutting areas, camps became larger with a broader range of specialized structures and activities. Many camps came to be built on or near railroad lines with apparent disregard to major waterways. There were also farm camps where horses and oxen were kept during the off-season and where summer caretakers might gather hay or raise potatoes and other garden produce (Ryan 1980:35-36). By 1915 most log buildings were replaced by balloon-frame structures covered with tarpaper (Ryan 1975:26; 1976:25).

Canned goods appeared in the camps in the 1890s and were in wide-spread use by 1917 (Ryan 1975:15-17). The presence of cans and bottles could suggest how and when specific sites were used (e.g., Vanderluis 1974:314-15). Like other "imports," the containers might also demonstrate the interconnection of logging frontiers with the outside world and show the depreciation of regional foodway differences in the camps over time (Rock 1984; Ryan 1980:35-37; Busch 1981). Because "the camp that served the best meals" was said to get "the best men," foodway studies may also be linked to considerations of ethnicity, labor relations, wage structures, and productivity (Conlin 1979). An example of the influence of working conditions is seen in the case where a particular logging outfit demanded so much from its men that it had "three crews--one coming, one working and one leaving" (Vandersluis 1974:169n).

IMA has identified the archaeological remains of logging camps in central Minnesota from the 1840s, 50s, 80s, and 90s and hopes to add others from the "missing decades" from the 1830s through the period of World War I when the initial cutting phase there was about complete. So far, the study has focused largely on observation of externals like settings and visible features to identify sites and to explore the inter-relationships among camps, camps and harvesting thresholds, and camps, transportation routes, and supply centers. As the study matures it will move more into a consideration of internals, like contents and structural details, that might provide greater site-specific information about such things as diets, living conditions, and task specialization.

Other than logging dams, cribs, and booms (i.e., water-borne log-containment or control facilities) few engineered structures were required or used on Minnesota's lumbering frontiers before 1880. Later, with innovations in transportation and a higher incidence of harvesting in areas away from major driving streams, there were an increased number and variety of structures reflecting greater technological and monetary investments. As noted, a knowledge of the types, functions, and distribution of such features should help reconstruct both the organizing principles used to exploit certain forest zones as well as the time frame of exploitation (e.g., Dinsdale 1965:272-74).


Spatial Considerations

The spatial dimensions of pine-harvesting frontiers are envisaged as a series of unique, inter-related, overlapping, or even nested catchments and niches. As used here catchments are conceived as resource-acquisition zones or cutting areas associated with fixed points (like landings, camps, and sawmills), while niches are definable areas of operations (like watersheds) where timber-harvesting might have a more complex and protracted history.

Logging began in Minnesota in the 1820s when troops from Fort Snelling cut pine on the Rum River for a newly-established government mill at St. Anthony Falls (now within the area of Minneapolis) (Fig.1). The Rum was the closest source of pine to the mill but it was also a shallow and crooked river often jammed with trees. By 1834 troops shifted their cutting operations to the Mississippi above Little Falls. The first commercial sawmill at St. Anthony Falls was completed in 1848 (Kane 1987:18) and by 1852 there were four water-powered mills there and four steam-powered mills at nearby St. Paul. The Twin Cities' mills obtained trees from as far north as Crow Wing or beyond and fed an insatiable market for manufactured wood products both locally as well as in areas downriver (Berthel 1948:199-200; Larson 1949:27). A sawmill built at Little Falls, in central Minnesota, in 1848 was closer to the northern pine forests but was so far removed from viable consumer outlets that it was considered a futile attempt to "force improvements in advance of the demands and needs of the country" (Birk 1995). While some Twin Cities' mills shared catchments with the Little Falls mill, the southern mills, nearer broader markets, were more successful.

Catchments for sawmills were typically larger, more elastic, and less predictable than those associated with individual camps or landings and it is the latter types of relationship with which this paper is primarily concerned. Logging firms often required their crews to walk up to a mile and a half or more from camps to cutting areas but tried to keep the distance within one mile. When the distance became too great, the camps were usually abandoned and new ones were built closer to the resource base (Ryan 1976:48). Some camps were used for less than a single harvesting season (e.g., one annual cycle) while others, particularly those in prime cutting areas or those which doubled as farms or supply centers, might last for several years (e.g., Stanchfield 1901:347). By knowing the distribution of dated lumbering-camp sites and projecting their catchments one might be able to infer or approximate the extent and configuration of contemporary lumbering frontiers. Differing threshold criteria might be needed when considering the harvesting catchments of rail-based or rail-borne logging camps (Rohe 1986:28).

Felled trees were originally skidded from the forest through the use of go-devils (i.e., wishbone-shaped hardwood frames also known as travois sleds) or later with metal skidding tongs or chains (Orcutt 1925:10-11; Ryan 1975:5; Nelligan 1969:71). In some areas the go-devil was supplemented or replaced by the dray (i.e., basically little more than a pair of bobsled runners) which could haul a heavier load more quickly (Rector 1953:191).

The earliest phase of lumbering focused on harvesting "shore timber," and felled trees or logs were taken directly to nearby lakes or streams where they were deposited on the ice or "banked" at shore landings (dumps, rollways, banking places, etc.) to await spring log drives (e.g., Stanchfield 1901:346; Rector 1953:72; Nelligan 1969:117). Because the threshold for such short-haul skidding activities was not much more than a quarter of a mile (Ryan 1975:5, 22), there was little need for preparing formal logging roads when harvesting shore timber (Larson 1949:78). Longer-distance hauling with go-devils was impractical because it added to the time, energy, and expense of harvesting while reducing productivity (Orcutt 1925:11; Larson 1949:175). Indeed, throughout the logging era, wherever commercial skidding occurred, the threshold for that activity remained relatively unchanged (e.g., Ryan 1976:58; Karamanski 1989:67).

The use of logging sleds usually required the clearing of roads and, where roads were prepared for that purpose (e.g., West and Wilcox 1907:707-08), the sleds were more efficient and far-ranging than go-devils. Logging roads were initially primitive and the first sleds were small, relatively narrow, and long-runnered contraptions usually pulled by oxen. Regardless of whether horses or oxen were used on such rigs, however, early sledding catchments rarely extended more than a mile or two from water and seldom, if ever, exceeded a distance of three miles (e.g., Larson 1949:13, 174; Stanchfield 1901:337; Nelligan 1969:117). Oxen were steady and powerful animals that worked well in teams. They ate less than horses, cost less, and needed less care. They were also slower and less nimble and even under the best conditions, with "good roads," had a hauling capacity of only about 1,000 or 1,500 feet per load per team (Ryan 1975:5; Nelligan 1969:117; Orcutt 1925:11). In the late-1870s, by using two, four, or six horse teams, "a 3000-foot load was usual, and one of 5,000 feet was good" (Larson 1949:179). Prior to the early-1880s then, it is expected that the vast majority of pine-harvesting activities in Minnesota occurred near natural waterways.

Later, in the mid-1880s, as larger horses, improved sleds, and more formal sled roads came into use, the pace of harvesting quickened and catchment areas expanded. Under the new system, logs cut at greater than economical skidding distance from driving streams were first skidded along informal trails to secondary collection points called skidways. Logs piled at skidways were subsequently loaded onto sleds and conveyed to major collection points at landings or "log dumps" (e.g., Larson 1949:178-79; Nelligan 1969:71-72, 119; West and Wilcox 1907:708). As further innovations in iced sled roads reached Minnesota from Michigan in the 1890s (Larson 1949:363-364; Orcutt 1925:11-12), fewer horses could pull even larger loads. Cargoes of 10,000 feet and more became practical and, in some instances, "sled trains" were made by linking two or more loaded sleds in series (e.g., Larson 1949:179; Ryan 1980:48-49). Not only did ideas move westward; during the 1890s, several Michigan firms actually relocated "complete with machinery, millwrights, workmen, capital, techniques, and reputations to the Duluth area" (Kohlmeyer 1956:536).

As iced-and-rutted sled road technology matured in Minnesota, logging railroads also emerged on the scene. The first such railroad was begun near Duluth in 1886 and soon their use spread through the northern part of the state (King 1981:7). During the peak use of railroads in northeastern Minnesota, most skidways were located aside railroad mainlines or spurs (i.e., side branches) from where the skidded logs could be loaded directly onto the trains for further shipment (Ryan 1946:304; 1975:36). Such a convenient arrangement, when attained, was sometimes called "hot logging" (Rosholt 1982:26). Hot logging was less common in central Minnesota where the lumbering frontier developed earlier, use of rail lines was more conservative, and iced-and-rutted sled roads and river drives proved economical.

A typical catchment or threshold for horse-drawn sleds on iced-and-rutted roads varied in radius from less than a mile to about six miles. Trips up to four miles from landings or skidways (equaling a round trip of eight miles) were fairly easy for healthy and experienced horses. Trips extending out five-to-six miles were seen as a "horse kill" if two excursions a day were planned (Ryan 1946:300; 1980:41). Sled hauls exceeding six miles were often considered money losers (Rosholt 1982:26; Trunt 1993:16). More distant hauls were seemingly rare, though in circumstances where remote pockets of quality pine were found and where terrain and hauling conditions were favorable, some contractors might work out as far as ten or even upwards to twenty miles, especially if they used steam crawlers (i.e., treaded tractors) for transportation (e.g., West and Wilcox 1907:705; Larson 1949:175, 364; Ryan 1980:41). Crawlers could make up to four round trips per day on iced roads up to five mile in length, while pulling a train of sleds (Orcutt 1925:16).

Generally speaking, where iced-and-rutted sled roads were depended upon, timber-procurement was conducted during the coldest winter months and within six-miles or some lesser economical sledding distance of driving streams (Dinsdale 1965:258-59; King 1981:13). The use of railroads changed the transportation pattern, partly by reducing the reliance on rivers (Larson 1949:363), but did little to alter the basic thresholds documented for the non-rail aspects of timber harvesting.


The Archaeology of Stumps and Logs

Submerged logs are often found in northern lakes and streams and lumbering-era pine stumps, many charred by fire, are still seen in undeveloped wooded areas. As artifacts of growth environments as well as human selection and manipulation processes, such objects can contribute to an understanding of the past. The very presence of sunken logs can show that a waterway once served as a conduit for transportation, and the location of logs within a waterway might suggest where they were originally cut. Logs can offer clues about the composition, maturity, general health, or recent fire-history of a forest at the time of harvest, and stumps might provide similar details in terrestrial settings. Information derived from stumps and logs regarding wood species, quality, and size might reveal standards used in selecting and bucking trees and could suggest whether the harvest was intended to provide lumber, pulp, railroad ties, poles, bridge-work, or other materials (Ryan 1980:10-12). By studying sunken logs at selected logging-railroad termini in central Minnesota, it should be possible to determine whether logs shipped by contemporary narrow or standard-gauge railroads were of similar length .

Because lumbermen were required to place identifying marks on their logs, similar in purpose to branding cattle, such marks can be used to trace ownership (Bachmann 1945:126-127). Evidence of ownership, in turn, can help to establish when and where logs were cut and to tell which firms transported logs on which waterways (Larson 1949:143, 179-80). It might also suggest which firms had access to the best pine or show variations in procurement standards that existed between areas or companies, or through time. Marked logs seen in photographs may have similar interpretative value and can be used to date or identify anonymous logging scenes or affirm harvesting modes or technologies used in specific areas.

Tool marks on logs can show whether trees were chopped or sawn and, in some areas, old stumps might also document the means and direction of falling trees. Limb scars might be examined for saw or ax marks or to assess the intensity of forest-product utilization. A low number of logs with limb scars could indicate that felled trees were topped in the field with only choice trunk-sections being procured for milling. Tall stumps might show a similar lack of concern for conservation, or other conditions, like deep snow at the time of harvest. Until the 1880s, one source claims, trees in central Minnesota were falled with an axe and "about breast high" (Smart n.d.). Logs may also bear evidence of having been shaped or modified for shipment in booms and rafts or for use in construction. Other aspects of sunken-log studies might focus on dendrochronology, the impacts of land and water transportation on timber quality, the long-term affects of submersion on various species or dimensions of wood, the dynamics of log jams, the economic losses of early lumber companies, whether logs were bucked where they fell or at landings, and so forth.


Case Studies

Lumbering frontiers plotted on maps typically appear as a dispersion of harvesting cells, patches, or fronts with various outfits operating wherever they could establish cutting rights and ensure the efficient transportation of logs (e.g., Smith 1974:106; Rosholt 1982:31; Karamanski 1989:88). Geographical information illustrating the initial advance of logging into the Mississippi Headwaters Region clearly shows that haphazard pattern as well as a strong preference for harvesting pine along major streams upvalley from milling sites (Fig. 2). Data from the same area during the early 1880s show a proliferation of new harvesting activities with an enduring interrelationship among camps, cutting areas, and waterways (Fig. 3). By applying the threshold standards suggested above one can get a very real idea of contemporary harvesting limits and of the environmental constraints or other variables that left certain forested areas untouched or with little cutting while others nearby were infested with loggers. Indeed, it is often possible to see the influence of topographic features on harvesting and transportation modes and on the size and arrangement of catchments.

A brief consideration of pine-procurement activities within two adjacent harvesting niches, the Gull and Pine river watersheds, shows the historical congruity between the two areas. In each case similar problems were solved with appropriate technologies tailored to meet local needs. Both watersheds were directly or indirectly tributary to the Mississippi River and both had branch streams headwatering on the eastern edges of the "Foothills," a part of the rugged St. Croix glacial moraine extending from the area of Pillager in the south to near Ten Mile and Leech lakes in the north. The flowage in each of the two watersheds was interrupted by natural slack-water basins like Gull, Norway, and Whitefish lakes (Fig. 2). To protect the archaeological record from vandalism, some sources and data used in developing the text, maps, and charts (Figs. 2-9) are withheld from publication here.

The Gull River Niche. The Gull River drains Gull Lake and enters the Crow Wing River about four miles above that stream's juncture with the Mississippi (Fig. 2). Early noted for its pine-covered hills (Bray 1970:54, 56, 59), the Gull River was opened to intensive logging in 1853 when the United States government authorized construction of a sawmill at the river's mouth (Fig. 2). The mill was the first water-powered sawmill in the Mississippi Valley above Little Falls. It was built on lands belonging to the Ojibwe (Chippewa, Anishinaabeg) and was the first sawmill owned by that group in northern Minnesota. The mill later changed management, lost its dam to a flood, suffered a fire, and closed during the Civil War. The catchment for the mill was up the Gull River, but whether it actually extended to the shores of Gull Lake is uncertain. Logging did occur at Gull Lake by 1869 when at least two camps were said to be operating there (O'Brien 1904:227). That some early cutting was done with axes is learned from an 1894 map showing areas of "old chopping" on the north end of Upper Gull Lake (Birk 1985:19).

A legal document found in the Crow Wing County Recorder's Office (Bond Record Book A:116) shows that logging continued at Gull Lake in 1871. The document, an inventory (see table below), suggests the kinds of stock and equipment (including oxen and stoves) then in use in the local pineries and provides another interesting example of how written evidence can promote the study of logging materials, technologies, and conditions.

Items sold in May, 1871, being on a raft at the foot of Gull Lake

The Northern Pacific Railroad crossed the Gull River in 1870 on its route west from Lake Superior. Nine years later a firm known as the Gull River Lumber Company bought land at the river crossing and in the pineries to the north (Fig. 3). The company then developed the town of Gull River and a large mill at the crossing. Logs to feed the mill were floated in from Gull Lake, many being shuttled across the lake in booms pulled by company steamboats. The harvest of pine on the interconnected lakes and streams to the north and west required that several logging dams be installed, and another dam was constructed at the outlet of Gull Lake to regulate the flow of logs downstream (Fig. 4). The company kept a farm camp on Stony Brook northwest of Upper Gull Lake.

Much of the produce of the Gull River Mill was shipped on the Northern Pacific to consumer markets in treeless areas of western Minnesota and the Dakota Territory. At the same time, residents along the railway in the parklands of west-central Minnesota engaged in oak-logging to provide ties and fuel for the railroad as well as hardwood lumber, firewood, and fencing material for other consumers (West and Wilcox 1907:704). The Gull River operation focused on the harvest of pine and, at its peak, the town of Gull River included about 300 people with as many or more men annually employed in the woods around Gull Lake.

In 1889, with the accessible pine nearing exhaustion, the Gull River Lumber Company established an isolated narrow-gauge logging railroad from Lake Margaret on the northwest side of Gull Lake into the pineries in adjacent townships to the west (Fig.4). Rails, cars, and locomotives for the new line were hauled in by "land and sea." The stock included two Shay engines, gear-driven locomotives that would perform well on meandered tracks and inclines up to 12 percent (King 1981:178, 186). The state of Michigan, with a big head start in lumbering, by 1885 had over fifty narrow-gauge railroads in operation, with a wide variety of incompatible gauges. By the time the Lake Margaret line (officially the "Gull Lake & Northern Railway") was constructed, the use of narrow-gauge railroads was in general nation-wide decline. The Lake Margaret line was initiated just three years after logging railroads debuted in Minnesota and it turned out to be the state's only narrow-gauge logging railroad. Nonetheless, its value is demonstrated by the fact that some 55-million board feet of logs were landed at the Lake Margaret "log dump" terminus in the winter of 1890 alone (King 1981:7, 49, 52).

The expanded Gull River operation devoured most of its accessible pine by 1892, and the mill and much of the town were dismantled and moved to Brainerd. At the same time a new standard-gauge line (the "Brainerd & Northern Minnesota Railroad" or B&NM) was built north from Brainerd into the uncut pine forests by Spider Lake, in the Foothills northwest of Gull Lake (Fig. 4). The new line incorporated part of the roadbed of the old narrow gauge line and included the use of trestles and several short, temporary spurs. Steel from the old narrow gauge railroad was used to construct a new light-weight standard-gauge line in northern Minnesota, and at least two of the old narrow-gauge engines, after conversion to standard-gauge, were used as "switching and spotting engines" on the new B&NM line (Vandersluis 1974:170, 221).

The original plan was for the standard-gauge B&NM line to be constructed beyond Spider Lake to Leech Lake, but some of the intervening pine had already been cut and flushed down the South Fork Pine River or taken out through Pine Mountain Lake and the Upper Pine River (also known as Norway Brook) (Fig. 3). The cost of constructing a first-class rail line through the hummocky Foothills was also exorbitant. Once the rail-based cutting was completed in the Spider Lake area, the best option was to abandon the mainline back to the area of Lake Hubert (near Upper Gull Lake) and to extend the B&NM from there northwards, in part over a fairly level and sandy outwash plain on a course paralleling the old Crow Wing-Leech Lake government road (King 1981:51-52). Pine stands beyond economical reach of Pine Mountain and Ten Mile lakes were then exploited through the use of railroad spurs. Two such branch lines, the Island and Man lakes spurs (Fig. 4), were abandoned when the accessible pine was again exhausted.

In 1912, after the lumbering frontier shifted northward, the logging dam at the outlet of Gull Lake was replaced by a larger government dam which is still in operation. As late as World War I, some remaining stands of pine were being cut in the western hinterlands of the South Fork Pine River watershed and hauled by horse-drawn sleds over iced-and-rutted logging roads to a rail landing at the town of Pine River. By then, the mainline of the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota Railroad was a common-carrier route and stations along the rail corridor formed the nucleus of pioneer settlements, many of which, like Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Backus, and Hackensack, survive today.

The Pine River Niche. The Pine River, named for the rich pine lands it drains, enters the Mississippi northeast of Crow Wing (Fig. 2). Commercial logging began in the Pine River watershed about 1850 with initial cutting confined to banks near the river's mouth and up the Little Pine tributary (Fig. 2). Harvesting was in full swing on the Pine by the 1880s with numerous competing firms or contractors working throughout the drainage (Fig. 3). Many streams in the watershed were developed with logging dams, and some slack-water basins like Norway Lake were furnished with booms to contain or control the passage of logs (Fig. 4).

Logging on the Pine River drainage was somewhat different than in the Gull River basin. For starters, the federal government constructed a large control dam at Cross Lake, at the outlet of what is now the Whitefish "chain-of-lakes," as early as 1886. Up to that time, logs were moved across the Whitefish lakes in enclosed "bag" booms pulled by horse headworks. A headworks was a large raft equipped with a central capstan or windlass and a long rope tied to a large anchor. In operation, the headworks was attached by a second rope to a boom of logs. The anchor was carried forward in the intended direction of travel, the anchor was dropped, and horses, harnessed to sweep poles, circled the windlass and winched the headworks and the boom to the anchor. The process was repeated until the logs reached their destination (e.g., Larson 1949:185-86; Nelligan 1969:164; Vandersluis 1974:277; Ryan 1976:30-31; Bacig and Thompson 1981:82-83). On other Minnesota lakes the capstans were turned by men (e.g., Dobie 1959:129), by men or horses (e.g., Vandersluis 1974:276a, 287), or by steam engines (e.g., Anonymous 1963:6). As in parts of Michigan, the application of such a "poor man's technology" at Whitefish Lake may have resulted from the presence of so many independent companies or jobbers (e.g., Karamanski 1989:77).

The only logging steamboat of record on the Whitefish chain was placed in service in the late-1880s. It lacked the smart lines of the company steamers on Gull Lake and was "more like a low draft barge...built for carrying heavy goods and loads." When not shuttling men, equipment, and supplies the steam barge was sometimes used to tow log booms from the mouth of the upper Pine River through to Cross Lake (Burnson 1995:9).

Predictably, there came a time when the most accessible pine on the Pine River watershed was nearing exhaustion. At that point, beginning in 1890, a corporation established an isolated standard-gauge logging railroad running from its headquarters camp near the government dam at Cross Lake (Fig. 5) into the uncut pineries north of Whitefish Lake (Figs. 3-4). The "Northern Mississippi Railroad" or "Cross Lake Line" was begun less than a year after the start of the narrow-gauge line at Lake Margaret. Again temporary spurs and trestles were installed, and hoists were operated on Blind, Wabedo, Girl, and Pine lakes and others as well. In some areas the use of "hot logging" techniques allowed timber to be skidded directly to the rails (Vandersluis 1974:137, 206). Logs transported by the new system were landed or "dumped" at Cross Lake from where they were floated past the government dam to downstream mills on the Mississippi. Few logs were milled at Cross Lake because there was little local demand for wood products and no interconnection with the Northern Pacific or other outside rail lines to transport produce to distant markets.

The Cross Lake operation was purchased by Frederick Weyerhaeuser and associates in 1893. Thereafter, even at a harvesting rate of about two million feet a week, there was sufficient pine to keep the harvest going for well over a decade. Supplies for the operation were transported across the Whitefish chain-of-lakes from the town of Jenkins, a whistle stop on the B&NM, by the aforementioned steam barge (Burnson 1995:9). The Cross Lake Line was finally idled after 1907 and removed in 1910 (Birk 1966). The government dam survives. So do Cross Lake and Longville, settlements formed near either end of the original mainline of the old Cross Lake railroad.

Owner's marks found on old logs in various parts of the Pine River watershed provide clues to the firms operating there. For example, sunken logs recorded on the Upper and South Fork branches of the Pine River and at Cross Lake exhibit familiar Weyerhaeuser marks, while a log observed at Norway Lake is identified with C. A. Smith, a co-partner of the Pillsburys (Birk 1966; Larson 1949:231, 242). Placenames are another important source of information about logging and the Pine River niche now includes towns like Pine River, Backus, and Longville, lakes like Jack Pine, Norway, Trestle, Ox Camp, Jail, and Clough, and a bay called Booming Out (or Boom-and-Out), all of which take their names from trees, loggers, or logging activities.

Dams and Spurs. The Island Lake spur of the B&NM railroad and a series of dams on the South Fork Pine River were used to move logs from the western Foothills (Fig. 4). Comparison of the two systems shows some of the inherent differences between the use of streams and railroads in timber harvesting and provides another example of how future archaeological investigations of such facilities might progress. The dam and rail systems both required advance planning and engineering and were opportunistic in the sense that each made judicious use of terrain and water features to gain maximum efficiency through minimal expenditure. Under the right conditions, it is said, a well-managed logging railroad could be operated for a tenth of the cost of hauling the same tonnage by horse team (Larson 1949:362). Water transportation was even less expensive and was favored by operators who lacked access to or could not afford rail technology. Large pine logs were relatively easy to move when afloat and were little susceptible to rot or insects when in water. As a practical matter, however, many Minnesota streams had to cleared of rocks and debris or otherwise manipulated to make them suitable for log drives (e.g., Larson 1949:185).

Logging dams came in many types and sizes but all were intended to store water and enhance or control its flow and thereby to facilitate the landing and driving of logs (e.g., Rector 1953:100-01; Ryan 1976:55-57; Rohe 1984:21). Dams were typically made of local materials and required little special equipment to construct (e.g., Nelligan 1969:167). They were commonly built in series, and dozens and dozens of dams are recorded on Minnesota streams and outlets. Nearly 100 such structures were once in operation on the St. Louis River in the northeastern Minnesota (Waters 1977:37) and almost 70 on the St. Croix (Rohe 1984:21). Some dams were temporary earthen "cut-away" structures designed to be breached or literally cut-away to release water and logs stored upstream. The site of one cut-away dam on the Upper Pine River is now marked by two borrow pits set on opposite sides of the river. Most dams on the South Fork Pine River (Fig. 6) were more-permanent earthen-winged structures outfitted with wooden sluices and control gates and, in some cases, bridge decks (Warren Huffman, personal communication).

Siting, integrity, and ease of operation were critical in dam building. Those dams on the main channel of the South Fork were fairly evenly spaced and were operated like a string of locks or impoundments through which logs could be lowered downstream in measured steps. Many components of the South Fork dams were yet intact in 1960 when the author first saw them (Birk 1966). Most of the former dams or dam sites are named after modern landowners.

Like other early lumbering sites, logging dams are individually intriguing yet gain importance when viewed as parts of a system. For example, it is seen that none of the South Fork dams was positioned in the lowest reaches of the valley where the stream gradient is under three feet per mile (Fig. 7) and where high banks are rare and marshy expanses common. To build a dam in such an environment would force the stream from its banks and carry logs out onto flooded landscapes where they would be difficult or impossible to recover (e.g., Nelligan 1969:166). No dams have been found on Cedar Creek or other upper tributaries draining from the Foothills where stream gradients might approach or exceed 29-feet per mile. The only potential for such structures there, in fact, would likely be at the outlets of basins like Cedar Lake (Figs. 6 & 7). All of the known South Fork dams appear in the mid-valley sector where stream gradients are moderate and where erosional forces have left relatively high stream banks.

Precipitation and runoff were critical for log drives and, even where rivers were harnessed by dams, mild winters or droughts could spell trouble. A perfect logging-dam system then might be one with a capacity for collecting as well as storing large amounts of water at its head. On the other hand, it was a poor investment to develop a system's storage capacity much beyond its accumulator capacity (Potter 1913:7). The Section 23 and Baldwin dams, the uppermost known in the South Fork series, were built on the edge of large marshes near the toe of the Foothills moraine. The watershed above these structures is about sixteen square miles. To enhance its storage capacity, the Baldwin Dam was augmented on its south side by an earthen dike, about one-half mile in length (Fig. 6). These structures, by their placement, design, and association, are consistent with a headwater's reservoir (e.g., Nelligan 1969:78, 91, 133, 135, 159-60; Vandersluis 1974:259). Because many marshes at the head of the South Fork interconnect, maintaining the storage level of the "Baldwin Reservoir" (the impoundment of Baldwin Dam and dike) was likely assisted by the Norman Dam on nearby Dabill Creek.

At some point, to increase the volume of water fed into the South Fork, a ridge on the east side of "Cut Lake," high in the Foothills, was breached or "cut" to channel its water down Cedar Creek (Figs. 6 & 7). Such ventures, to either collect or release water, were not uncommon in northern pineries (e.g., Nelligan 1969:78, 149, 159; Vandersluis 1974:295a) and an apparent similar example of water capture is seen on the Upper Pine River where water from Little Sand Lake may have been released into Lake Hattie through a cut ridge (Fig. 6).

There are numerous remains of old logging dams and other water-control structures in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and it is now clear that standards for recording and interpreting such facilities must go beyond site-specific considerations of setting, architecture, and materials, to include operations, capacities, organizational relationships, and other data that might reflect on their role within broader transportation or procurement systems.

Logging railroads were much like streams made of rails, and in both the Gull and Pine river lumbering niches the original mainlines and spurs of logging railroads were built into regions generally lacking rivers of driving capacity (Fig. 4). Unlike streams, however, most logging railroads had the advantage of continuous, all-weather, year-round, two-direction use in transporting logs.

The Island Lake Spur, or Spur 42, a six-mile long branch line with at least three short spurs or "feeder lines" of its own, left the mainline of the B&NM at a wye north of Pine Mountain Lake (Fig. 8), about 42-miles from Brainerd. The spur entered and overtopped the Foothills moraine, terminating at a trestle and log hoist on Goose Lake. The first mile of the spur ran over marshy but nearly level terrain giving locomotives a running start before their climb into the hills (e.g., Vandersluis 1974:27). The ruling grade, with an average two-percent rise in one mile, was on the eastern slope of the moraine (Fig. 9). Above the segment of ruling grade, the spur followed a winding course through a natural passage in the hills avoiding abrupt changes in elevation and crossing several small lakes on wooden trestles. Although original plans for the spur have not survived, it has been possible to reconstruct the basic organization of the line and to surmise the placement and use of its side tracks, skidways, and landing catchments through field investigation. When field work began in the early 1960s the remains of many such features could still be seen, including the sluiceways of some old logging dams on Stony Brook (Birk 1966). The Island Lake Spur is said to have stayed in use until 1909 (Vandersluis 1974:219).

Explorations at Island Lake Spur and elsewhere have shown that it is easier to follow the course of old rail lines and sled roads in areas of rugged terrain than in less hummocky landscapes. The need to keep log-transportation lanes fairly level required considerable cutting, filling, or grooming in hilly regions which often left highly-visible traces on the ground. By tracking old sled roads and road networks in such areas and by observing their spatial relationship to rail lines and waterways, it is possible to reconstruct the general early patterns of pine harvesting. The same can be done for more recent phases of cutting by tracking those modern roads often bull-dozed up and down hills to accommodate the shipment of logs with gas-powered trucks. The layouts of the two transportation systems are vastly different and, except in instances where they coincide, are usually easy to tell apart. As is common wherever logging railroads were built, some modern roadways make use of old abandoned railroad grades.

The sled-road collection system associated with Island Lake Spur often followed topographic contours and, wherever possible, took advantage of gravity to move logs from areas of higher to lower elevation. The rules of engagement in such terrain, gleaned from written records, suggest that teamsters with loaded sleds would "never expect to climb a grade steeper than five feet in a hundred" although they would go down some "alarmingly steep" hills after hay, brush, or manure was laid in the tracks to brake their descent (West and Wilcox 1907:707). In general, hills inhibited direct-line travel, reduced load sizes, and increased the cost requirements of hauling (Larson 1949:178).

The apparent sled-catchments and the general direction of log movements in the area of Spur 42 are indicated by arrows on Fig. 8. The remains of old sled roads can still be seen emerging from slopes and valleys, like the Long Lake basin, on the east side of the Foothills and leading towards Pine Mountain Lake. Old sled roads also appear to converge on Goose Lake from the north, west, and south, and include one gently-contoured trail that extends from the north end of Goose Lake to and beyond the next lake west (an unnamed lake with an elevation of 1419-feet asl; see Fig. 8). Given the nature of these observations it is apparent that archaeological studies of logging railroads can benefit by observing rail-corridor placements, construction and operational techniques, and profiles in addition to identifying trestles, hoists, skidways, landings, and log-dump sites, tracing out ancillary sled roads and catchments, and locating associated logging camps and railroad maintenance facilities.

Railroads eventually won out over rivers as the chief carriers of logs in Minnesota. As the tempo and cost of the lumbering industry increased and big business gained control, more and more railroads were built to ensure a steady supply of logs at the large and expensive mills. Log drives were seasonal affairs and logs banked on streams or stuck in drives tied up capital and idled salaried mill workers. Although the initial cost of rail transportation was more than that for river drives, railroads became more economical with extended use (Larson 1949:363).



This preliminary report explores the harvesting aspects of nineteenth-century pine lumbering frontiers from an archaeological perspective. It suggests that certain harvesting activities were organized around established transportation thresholds and that the threshold distances increased over time with advances in technology. Case studies from the Gull and Pine river watersheds in the Mississippi Headwaters Region show that early lumbering activities in Minnesota enjoyed high levels of technological and methodological standardization. Many innovations appeared in the two adjoining harvesting niches at about the same time and in a manner similar to contemporary lumbering-frontier developments elsewhere in the Great Lakes Region. Finally, some suggestions are made for how certain investigations might proceed in the future.

With a theoretical framework in hand to define the basic spatial-temporal aspects of early Midwestern pine-harvesting frontiers and a promising means to generally predict the function and inter-relationship of various logging sites and features, IMA is now ready to begin more extensive research. The ultimate goal is not only to illuminate and contextualize developments on Minnesota's early lumbering frontiers but also to show how such developments impacted natural environments and human populations, set the stage for later settlement and land use, influenced forest-management and legislation, and shaped attitudes toward current timber-harvesting practices and quotas.


Acknowledgments. I wish to thank the many old-timers in the Pine River area who shared their recollections of early logging days with me in my youth, including the late Francis Allen, Jim Anderson, Sig Carlson, Morris Crommett, Warren Huffman, and Hank Oberbillig. Thanks too to Collin Swift who showed me the South Fork logging dams and dike and to Mike Greer who told me of the Island Lake Spur. Hours spent exploring logging properties with friends, Collin Swift and Reggie Silbaugh, not only led us to record numerous sites and features that are now gone but also formed lasting impressions for me of what it once meant and took to be a pine logger in the north woods.


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Updated 29 Jun 1999