• UNIT-Local History Connection
    Title: Lumbering and Railroads
    Focus: Lumbering became an important industry in the Upper Peninsula in the 1880s.
    Connection: Remember when we talked about Michigan"s "Green Gold".  Today we are going to talk about the importance of railroads for transporting timber.
    Teaching Point:
    1. Much wood was needed to build homes and businesses in the Midwest.
    2.Lumbering work went on year-round.
    3. Trees were cut in winter, and in the spring the logs went by river to the mills.
    4. Where there was no river, railroads had to be built to bring out the lumber.
    Resource Material for Teachers:

                An important part of the story of the building of the State Locks and shipping canal at the Sault in the 1850s was the matter of financing the project. It was paid for by granting to the contractor the right to select 750,000 acres of federally owned land within the state. The St. Marys Falls Ship Canal Company selected well: they chose mineral lands in the western Upper Peninsula, but, in fact, a much larger percentage of the land they selected contained choice stands of huge white pine trees, some of which was in the Upper Peninsula, but even more was in the Lower Peninsula. Thus, the connection of logging to Sault history goes beyond just the logging which took place nearby.

                The heyday of white pine logging in the Upper Peninsula came between 1880 and 1900. The colorful history of the rugged lumberjacks and the spring river drives of a winter’s worth of logs is well-told in the book Deep Woods Frontier: A History of Logging in Northern Michigan, by Theodore Karamanski (Wayne State University Press, 1989). One of the early influential citizens of the Sault, Henry Seymour, came from northern New York and built a sawmill at the Sault. 

    Active Engagement: Color Book with descriptive text found on pages 32-33Student Pages.

    Share: Invite Bill Cook from MSU Extension Office (Escanaba office) to speak to your class about the lumbering industry.

Last Modified on February 14, 2018