In the late 1880s, lumber magnate Henry Sherry transformed the Flambeau River from a flowing stream into a conduit, turning raw energy and trees into paper. He purchased cutover land, built a dam and lumber mill at Park Falls, and in 1890 brought in the railroad to serve his new business, the Park Falls Lumber and Paper Company. After bankruptcy in the depression of 1897, he reincorporated his mill as the Flambeau Paper Company. Flambeau Paper used two methods for processing pulp, paper’s primary ingredient. In the groundwood process, workers forced logs through grinding stones, producing the coarse grade of pulp fiber used for newsprint, cardboard, and wrapping paper. The sulphite method involved cooking wood in a chemical bath to remove the cellulose fibers, producing a finer, stronger grade of paper.
After a fire in 1900 destroyed the original paper and pulp mill, Sherry expanded the plant, constructing this modern office building. Built in two sections, it combines a machine shop and storeroom (now offices) and the office block. Philipp of Milwaukee designed the office block, a handsome brick, side-gabled structure, with a slate roof. At center is a three-stage, hipped-roofed clock tower, whose staircase leads past the raised basement to the entrance, which is framed by an elliptical arch. Extending to the north is the one-story machine shop and storeroom, with a stepped parapet. The rhythmic pattern of checkerboard blind arches over the windows ties this wing to the more impressive office block. To the south, a small garage wing features a stepped parapet and a pent roof, supported by large brackets.