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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Thompson in Schoolcraft County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Mill Brings Prosperity to Thompson

 
 
The Mill Brings Prosperity to Thompson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
1. The Mill Brings Prosperity to Thompson Marker
Inscription.
The early 1880's brought tremendous change to the Thompson area. The abundance of nearby virgin timber and the natural harbor attracted the interest of the Delta Lumber Company of Detroit. Under the leadership of company president E.L. Thompson, a lumber mill was built on the shore of Lake Michigan, just south of where you are standing. If you look carefully you can see the remains of the brick and concrete foundation on which the mill engine was located.

By 1885, the Mill was one of the best steam mills in this part of the country. Additional circular saws and boilers increased production. The mill required 20,000,000 feet of timber to operate for the season. Expansion of the dock was necessary to accommodate loading lumber on ships bound for large cities to the south. The landscape changing 'burner," one of the largest of its class was used to dispose of dust and waste from the mill.

As the Mill grew and prospered so did the company town of Thompson. Businesses necessary to keep the Mill and its employees supplied with goods and services sprang up. Population increased, roads were created and improved, and rail lines once used only for hauling logs were extended. They now transported passengers to local attractions and outlying communities.

The Mill operated continuously for 42 years under several
Far Left Images image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
2. Far Left Images
Top: One of the few remaining signs of the Mill is the crumbling foundation of the power plant. In the spring dock pilings can also be seen along the old shoreline and out into the lake. Bottom: Lumber was stacked by hand on the docks to await loading on ships.
different owners. In 1893 F&F Company (Frank and Friant) took over from the Delta Lumber Company, followed by the Thompson Lumber Company, North Shore Lumber Company and finally A.M. Chesborough Company.

In 1924, with timber resources used up, the saw mill and much of the town were dismantled and shipped away. While the village of Thompson still existed, it was to slowly become what you see today.

Photos courtesy of Miles Stanley
 
Location. 45° 54.401′ N, 86° 19.479′ W. Marker is in Thompson, Michigan, in Schoolcraft County. Marker is on unnamed road 0.1 miles east of U.S. 2, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. The unnamed road is north of Thompson, about 415 feet north of Manistique Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Manistique MI 49854, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Life in a Lumber Town (here, next to this marker); Thompson Docks (here, next to this marker); Christmas Tree Ship / Thompson (here, next to this marker); Schoolcraft County (here, next to this marker); The Christmas Tree Ship (here, next to this marker); Carl D. Bradley (approx. 5.1 miles away).
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Near Left Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
3. Near Left Image
The Mill at Thompson produced an amazing amount of lumber each year. Much of this lumber was used in the building boom in Chicago.
Upper Middle Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
4. Upper Middle Image
Timber bought to the Mill by rail was dumped into the mill pond to begin the process of milling.
Lower Middle Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
5. Lower Middle Image
Logs were cut into lumber and sent to big cities, like Chicago. Slab wood (bark edges) was sold to residents for $1.25 a cart load for stove wood.
Upper Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, June 3, 2017
6. Upper Right Image
Men came from all over the U.S. and Europe to work at the Mill. Descendants of some of these workers still live in Thompson today.
Lower Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
7. Lower Right Image
As seen here, the village of Thompson was transformed from a small settlement to a busy company town.
The Mill Brings Prosperity to Thompson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, May 31, 2017
8. The Mill Brings Prosperity to Thompson Marker
This marker is the one partially visible behind the green Michigan historical marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 13, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 13, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on July 13, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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