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Saginaw in Saginaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era

 
 
Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker, Side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 26, 2020
1. Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker, Side 1
Inscription.  The Saginaw River Watershed has been crucial in the development of Michigan. In the 1830s when white settlers moved into the area, they discovered the rich timberlands and hundreds of miles of rivers, providing an excellent base for lumbering which soon thrived in the area. In 1834 Gardner and Ephraim Williams opened the first steam mill at the foot of Mackinaw Street in Saginaw. By 1854 the Saginaw Valley had become the leading producer of lumber in the state, a distinction it held for the next forty years. In 1869 the watershed area alone was earning seven million dollars yearly from lumbering, and Michigan was producing more lumber than any other state.

This extraordinary output was possible because of a carefully organized process, which was constantly improved through invention and imagination. Cooperative boom companies were formed to collect the logs and float them downstream to the mouth of the tributaries. Using company marks, the logs were separated at this point into floating booms, and then formed into rafts, held together by rope and wedge-shaped oak pins. The Saginaw was one of the few rivers to use wooden pins extensively.
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The greatest impact on production, however, was made by saws. A series of refinements in blades and the introduction of gang saws increased capacity so dramatically, that, in one year, 1882, the Saginaw yielded one billion board feet of lumber. By the 1890s the loggers had depleted their raw material and much of mid-Michigan was cut-over, barren land. The Saginaw lumbering era had come to an end.
 
Erected 1976 by the Saginaw County Bicentennial Commission and the Michigan History Division, Department of State. (Marker Number L415.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1834.
 
Location. 43° 25.055′ N, 83° 57.881′ W. Marker is in Saginaw, Michigan, in Saginaw County. Marker is at the intersection of South Michigan Avenue and Court Street, on the right when traveling south on South Michigan Avenue. On the same corner as the Saginaw County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Saginaw MI 48602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Saginaw County Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Fred J. Borchard Park (within
Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker, Side 2 (Continued from other side) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 26, 2020
2. Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker, Side 2 (Continued from other side)
shouting distance of this marker); Core Sample (within shouting distance of this marker); Carl Cardwell Poston, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); Treaty of Saginaw (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Presbyterian Church (about 600 feet away); Benjamin and Adelaide Cushway / The Cushway House (approx. half a mile away); Hoyt Park Shelter and Field House (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saginaw.
 
Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker on the corner of S. Michigan Ave. and Court St. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By John Garman, August 26, 2020
3. Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker on the corner of S. Michigan Ave. and Court St.
Look for the Clock and Bell Tower in front of the Saginaw County Courthouse as your landmark. There is parking on S. Michigan Ave. in front of the Courthouse.
Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kathy Garman, August 26, 2020
4. Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era Marker
A view from the corner of S. Michigan Ave. and Court St. with the Courthouse barely visible beyond the trees.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 7, 2021, by John Garman of Rochester Hills. This page has been viewed 334 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 7, 2021, by John Garman of Rochester Hills. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 24, 2024