History of the Great Lakes Logging Boom

The shores of the Great Lakes region were once covered with dense stands of massive white pine, oak, and yellow birch. As the supply of timber began to be depleted in the eastern states in the 1800’s, settlers and loggers moved westward and into the Great Lakes. Thus began the historic logging boom that thrived around the Great Lakes from the 1850’s through the 1880’s.

Loggers, working for a dollar a day, transported the timber via a combination of horse and sled, and massive log drives down rivers and across the bays of the Great Lakes to the countless mills that dotted every port city, from the shores of Canada down to Chicago, Illinois. Each log was stamped on the end via a special stamping hammer to identify the name of the logging company. Companies such as the Wisconsin Land and Lumber Camp, set up their camps in the winter, when the timber could be cut and more easily transported by sled to the edges of the rivers and bays, to be floated down in the spring to the thousands of sawmills along the shores of the Great Lakes.

Though a staggering number, it is estimated that billions of board feet of lumber were cut in just a few short years, during the height of the logging boom. Massive log jams, rising 20 feet above the water, became the stories of legend. A small percentage of this lumber sank either before it reached the sawmills or while floating in giant holding area awaiting processing.

Recovered Lumber from the Great Lakes

This lumber has lain, as a snapshot of history, perfectly preserved in time, until its present recovery by Timeless Timber®. This old growth timber, with its dense grain pattern, lends an exceptional beauty and strength to any design, and allows one to own a piece of North America’s history, the likes of which will never be seen again.

If you have a special project in mind, contact us to help you find the right timber for the job.