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Art work of the Wisconsin River Valley
(1901)

Part 2


often night and day without interruption except for Sunday. This radical change in conditions
has had a marked effect upon the character of the men employed in the work. They are no
longer of the "floating" class which the varied demands of the old system produced. They have
their fixed employments the year round, they have their homes and families, and the little mill-
centers, even in the heart of the woods, have their school-houses and their churches, and the
social life which belongs to the small community.
These vast lumbering interests, employing summer and winter thousands of men, produc-
ing millions upon millions of feet of lumber, involving financial operations which in the course
of a year run up into the millions of dollars, is really the foundation of the commercial activity
and business prosperity of the busy and prosperous section. Looking at the past, considering
the thousands of acres which have been "logged off", measuring what seems by comparison the
smaller portion of the Valley which remains with timber upon it, and looking at the dismantled
mills which tell the tale of exhausted timber holdings, it would seem as if the day of the lumber-
man in The Wisconsin Valley were so near over that the end is in sight. Yet the pioneers of
The Wisconsin Valley came from the camps of Maine sixty years ago because they thought
they saw the approach of the end which has not yet come; twenty-five years ago the statisticians
of the Michigan lumber field figured out the end of the business there, and the mills are still
running. There is a marvelous vitality in the last end of lumbering operations.
More important however, than the future of the lumber business, is the future of the
collateral industries which in one way or another arise out of it. The lumbermen of The
Wisconsin Valley have become rich, most of them beyond the immediate demands of their
business. The result is the presence of capital for home investment which results in the build-
ing up of many interests which make the general prosperity of the community. First of all
came the organization in all the business centers of the Valley of banks with home stockholders,
and home capital. This has insured a local financial policy everywhere, thoroughly identified
with the interests of the people, and the extreme rarity of failure in this direction has amply
attested at once the conservatism which this policy insures, as well as the advantage of having
the financial supply of the community controlled and directed by those with interests in
common. Beyond this, the capital wrested from the forests has been used in the very general
development of factories which in addition to drawing upon the resources of the country for the
raw material, furnish the employment which supports a large and growing population. The
diversified nature of these industries insures their permanency, for they do not, as do the saw-
mills, all draw upon a common source of supply, and that, one which is by its nature limited and
not subject to replenishment. The future prosperity of The Wisconsin Valley depends more
upon these growing and developing manufacturing institutions, than it does upon the saw-mills,
which have, for the most part, done their work.
As the part which was played by the Old Wisconse' in the early development of the Val-
ley was of prime importance, so, in the more permanent growth of these later days she is a vital


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