University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter V: The Great Fire of 1871,   pp. [58]-68 PDF (2.6 MB)

Page [58]

AFTER the Civil War a period of great business rivival
followed, accompanied by such high prices as had never
before been heard of, nor have scarcely been equalled since.
Moreover, building operations in a thousand new prospec-
tive cities of the West were resumed which called for vast
quantities of lumber. As a result the woods that surround-
ed the Belgian settlers, which up to that time had only been
a huge obstacle to their progress, assumed a considerable
potential value. A number of mills were erected in different
parts of the settlement, piers for shipping the forest prod-
ucts were built at many places on the shore of Green Bay,
and the pioneers found that money could be made both
winter and summer right at home on their farms.
    Foremost among these mills was the Scofield Company's
mill at Red River. A pier was built, 1100 feet long, and a
mammoth shingle mill capable of sawing up to a million
shingles a day. There was only one other mill on Lake
Michigan capable of such large output. Hundreds of men,
mostly Belgians and Indians, were employed in and around
the mill, and a village containing three or four hundred
inhabitants was built on the hill on the north side of the
road leading down to the mill.' On the flat below stood the
mill and other buildings including a barn with stalls for a
hundred horses. In the beginning it was customary for

Go up to Top of Page