By 1850, as eastern lumbermen flocked to the Wisconsin pineries, the lumber industry became a mainstay of Wisconsin’s economy. This logging boom virtually stripped the state of its white pine forest and helped build Chicago during the last half of the nineteenth century. The Holt-Balcom Lumber Company, owner of about one thousand acres of forest in Oconto and Marinette counties, was one of the many corporations that turned the Northwoods into board feet. The lumber camp here was typical. It originally included this log bunk house and kitchen, but also a log blacksmith shop, a wooden horse barn, a warehouse, a truck garden, and spring pasture and hay fields. The bunkhouse, probably constructed in 1880, is the oldest known logging camp building in Wisconsin on its original site. The gabled structure consists of two pens divided by an open passage, twelve feet wide. The larger, eastern pen was the cookhouse, and the smaller, western pen was the bunkhouse, which still contains the loggers’ double-deck bunks. It is constructed of white pine logs, peeled but left round, and connected by half-dovetail joints. Chinks between the logs were probably filled with slivers of stone or wood, covered with a lime-mortar daub. The McCauslin Lions Club of Townsend-Lakewood restored the building in the 1970s. It is now a museum managed by the Oconto County Historical Society.
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Holt and Balcom Logging Camp No. 1
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