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

Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year

[Rosalie Parnell's book on Somerset, Wisconsin],   pp. 11-64 PDF (24.6 MB)

Page 30

Nerves Dam was built ten miles above St. Croix Falls in 1891
costing $10,000.00 a ft. The length of the dam is 1,000 feet, its
possible head is 17 feet with a flowage reaching up to ten miles.
The purpose of the dam is to hold the yearly cut of logs and to
supply water from the extensive reservoir for driving to the St.
Croix River. Navigation was impeded by the millions of logs filling
the river above the boombyet. Holding the water by dam leaves the
river below during a large part of the year, with less than its
natural flow. In recapitulation it is found that the aggregate
amount of pine timber cut during these sixty years within the St.
Croix drainage area is about 140,400,000 ft. Its stumpage value may
be estimated at about $3 per 1,000 or an estimated total of
$42,000,000.00. The amount paid for labor in cutting and driving
the log amounts to about $28,000,000.00. The sale of value realized
from lumbering in this valley has amounted to some $70,000,000.00.
Most of this vast amount in lumbering production has gone to
the greater prairie region and northwestern plains to build farm
homes, towns and cities. Many a young man in central Wisconsin and
Western Minnesota and the Dakotas received his first money for labor
performed at the boom in the sawmills or in the pineries where wages
have laid the foundations of many happy and prosperous homes. In the
"Days of Forty Six" which was given in celebration of high school
completion in Center City, Minn. and St. Croix Falls, Wis. June 14-
16, a pageant reviewed the early history of St. Croix Valley planning
historical events home coming June 8, 1915, St. Croix Press.
St. Croix Falls was the head of navigation. A committee was
appointed in 1838 - Capt. D. T. Govenor, S. R. Vam Saint, Capt.
Fred A. Bell, George Merrick, Capt. Oscar Knapp and son George,
Elijah, S. Lavy, Sylvester Perro, (son of Big Joe) Commissioner Ed
Herman of Devils Lake, Capt. Isaac Staple, Moulton of La Crosse,
Capt. Winanas, Capt. W. A. Blan, and Dave Swam. This all happened
at the arrival of the Palmyra.
The first white people to navigate in the steamer on the St.
Croix River and St. Croix Lake were the party in charge of Henry R.
Schoolcraft. They entered the lake from the Mississippi River July
16, 1832 and went to what is now Taylors Fall.

Go up to Top of Page