In the nineteenth century, the federal government gave generous land grants to the railroad companies to induce them to construct transportation systems and thereby open areas to settlement. The railroads were supposed to use the proceeds from the sale of these lands to underwrite the costs of laying track. The Chicago and North Western Railway sold much of its northeastern Wisconsin grant to the public at $5 to $15 an acre at a considerable profit. Here in this former land office building, the company began selling forested land two years before the railroad line reached Wabeno. This land office salesroom was itself a product of the forest. The one-room building is made of logs joined at the corners with a combination of square notches, half notches, and half dovetails. Still visible are the scars of the broadax used to shape each log. Log posts support the wraparound veranda and its pent roof. In 1923, the railroad donated the building to the Town of Wabeno as a library. Probably at that time, a concrete foundation and basement were poured and a split-fieldstone chimney added.
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Wabeno Public Library (Chicago and North Western Land Office)
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