Dunn, Michael J., III
Thumbnail Sketch of Logging Activities Around the Manitowish Waters Area
Unpublished paper on the Manitowish Waters Historical Society Webpage
Manitowish Waters
Original Date

“A Thumbnail Sketch of Logging Activities in the Manitowish Waters Area”. This narrative discusses the logging and lumber history from 1887-1912. It references logging and lumber companies and barrons as well as railroad companies and lines. An outstanding review of logging practices in the Manitowish Waters area that included new details regarding the logging era. [From the Manitowish Waters Historical Society Webpage.]

This is dated from a letter from Michael Dunn to the Town Chairman of Manitowish Waters, dated May 1, 2017, forwarding this and other papers.

The text below is the material about the railroad, passing through Star Lake and Boulder Junction to Buswell.

  • Bookwood Historical Collection, Star Lake
URL (full text)

What made the third phase of logging on the chain followed: It was made possible by construction of a new branch railroad line by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, a common carrier of both passengers and freight. Its main line from Chicago and Milwaukee led to Minocqua and Woodruff, but from there a minor branch line extended farther to Star Lake and Boulder Junction and west to Papoose Junction, where the passenger and common carrier freight ended at a three pronged wye track a mile west of the site of modern day North Lakeland Elementary. A wye is an arrangement of tracks so that a branch extends at a right angle from a main line, and gentle curves from either direction form the connection to the branch.

One leg of the straight track ran from Boulder Junction to the wye. The second leg was the stub up to Buswell. The third leg continued straight west, but it was operated like a private line for the benefit of logging camps and the Yawkey Bissell's private, log loading tracks right on the lake shore. almost directly across from Rest Lake where the logging era had begun with the dam.

This third logging era would complete the chain's logging history.

From 1905 until fire destroyed the sawmill at Buswell, along with the company village, a mixed train with a passenger car at the end of a string of freight cars would turn onto the middle leg of the wye and either back or run forward to the village [Buswell]. Its general store was the farthest place on the St. Paul where a passenger could ride a train or buy a ticket. This quaint ritual lasted from 1905 until around 1910 when a savage fire wiped out the village and the mill (but spared the timberlands where the lumber company continued logging on its private rail lines for a few more years. (The village had been almost within walking distange of Island Lake.)