The Logging Era
Many volumes have been written about the logging of northern Wisconsin. It is beyond the scope of this project to attempt to retell the entire story. The bibliography provides useful sources for those who want to pursue that study. Excellent books are found in all of the local libraries and bookstores. Rather this topic, as it evolves, will present information specific to Star Lake and the local area, or necessary to understand what was going on in Star Lake.
To give readers a concept of the scale of the logging in Wisconsin, consider the following from the 1932 Report of the [Wisconsin] Committee on Land Use and Forestry:
"The original forests of Wisconsin comprised about 30 million acres. The total stand of timber can only be approximated, but it is certain that it exceeded 200 billion board feet.
"In 1898, and estimate by Roth, published in Bulletin No. 1 of the Wisconsin Geological Survey, entitled Forest Conditions of Northern Wisconsin, based on census figures and a state-wide canvass, showed that to that date a total of 103 billion feet of pine had been cut. An estimated 26 billion feet of pinehad been wasted in logging and fires, and 8 billion feet of hardwoods had been utilized. Althgether 137 billion feet had been thus accounted for. Since 1898, there have been cut and manufactured 21 billion feet of pine, 18 billion feet of hemlock, 18 billion feet of hardwoods, and one billion feet of miscellaneous softwoods, a total of 58 billion feet. During this period an additional 4 billion feet was wasted. The total yield of Wisconsin forests many thus be placed at 200 billion feet.
"These figures take no account of the considerable amount of timber produced by farmers or sawed by very small mills, nor do they include the large quantities of fuel, mining timbers, railway ties, piling, ship timbers, cooperage, wagon-stock, and other products locally produced and counsumed and not included in census figures. Quite probably these uses would aggregate another 15 billion feet."
Major logging operations in the Star Lake area began with the arrival of the railroad at the end of 1894. The sawmill in McKenna, Wisconsin, owned by Williams and Salsich, closed in September of 1894. It was transported by the Milwaukee Railroad to Star Lake and reconstructed. Thus began extensive logging operations in the Star Lake area. Ghosts pp. 33 & chap. 12
However, the DNR believes that there was logging of white pine in the 1880s in the area between Star and Plum Lakes in the area which is now the Plum Lake Hemlock Forest State Natural Area. Plum Lake SNA.
**** indicates no known author.
Weddings at Star Lake 1895-1910
Jesse A. Stone & A. I. Lathrop, December 25, 1905. Princeton Union