Early Logging History

© Photographed July 26, 2018
Erected by C. M. Olson
Couderay, Sawyer County, Wisconsin
45.796987, -91.292647
Google Maps

In 1840 nearly one-sixth of the white pine west of the Appalachians grew here in the Valley of the Chippewa River. Containing some twenty-five billion board feet of virgin timber, this magnificent forest became an important basis of Wisconsin's first great industry. About 1840 it began to fall to the axes and saws of hardy woodsmen who swarmed westward principally from New England, Canada and the Scandinavian countries. Upper Chippewa drew from its tributaries, Moose, Couderay, Brunet, Thornapple, Flambeau and Jump Rivers. Feeding the sawmills of Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, La Crosse and other river towns, it was distributed as lumber throughout the United States, an ingredient in the making of a great industrial nation. Early days motive power was oxen and river transportation. 
Pine logging ended in 1905. Hardwood would not float: logging of same started in 1885, ended in 1945. Much sawed locally but several billion feet railed out after the railroad reached here in 1903. Rails entered Eau Claire in 1871. Ladysmith in 1885. 
The rugged lumberjacks and rivermen who made this industry possible were contemptuous alike of hardship and danger. Such hazardous work as breaking log jams that formed in the rivers. One large jam at Chippewa Falls in 1869 which was fifteen miles long, thirty feet high in places and contained 150 million board feet. They gave freely of their energies and lives to change frontiers into settled communities. Their breed has not been seen in Wisconsin since the passing of large scale logging early in the twentieth century. 
To their memory -- and especially the 200 or more, many unknown, who died in carrying out their perilous labor -- this marker has been erected by C. M. Olson, Couderay, in 1956. Also, the Tubby Forest Marker. 
P.S. -- Eleven men drowned when their bateau upset while breaking a log jam at Holcombe in 1905, the last big log drive on the old Chipp.
[Note: Paragraphs added for ease in reading.] 
[Note: Marker transcribed exactly as written, without correcting errors in syntax and pronoun usage.]
The marker is tucked away inside the trees at a picnic area at the Eddy Creek Fishery Area and is accessible from westbound Wisconsin Highway 27 / Gettysburg Street, just west of where it crosses Eddy Creek, Couderay, Wisconsin 54828.

See also, Couderay, also at this location.

 It's easy to miss this marker (not visible from Highway 27).

 The marker is visible to the left, in the shadows . . .

 The pullout connected to Highway 27.

 The marker is located at Eddy Creek Fishery Area.

The marker is located in Couderay, Wisconsin.

 Couderay is a Little Wisconsin Community.

Little Wisconsin will be available May 7, 2019.

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