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EARLY DAYS IN THE LUMBER BUSINESS
Page 11 (beginning page)

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.Devillo R. Holt  &  Colonel Uri Balcom



W.A. Holt


.....
      Anson Eldred         Wallace P. Cook

 

Oakman A. Ellis
EARLY DAYS IN THE LUMBER BUSINESS

When I first worked for Holt & Balcom   the office was on South Water Steet in Chicago, on what was known as the lumber market. At that time nearly all of the lumber which was used in and around Chicago, and which was shipped out all  over the Middle West, was brought to Chicago in sailing vessels or steam  barges or tow barges. The Lumber Companies in Menominee, Marinette, Oconto, and Sturgeon Bay all had offices on South Water Street, and the buyers for the big distributing yards in Chicago used to come down there every morning to buy lumber. Some days when the wind was from the North a large fleet of sailing vessels would be tied up at the docks, and I have seen the river filled from the Junction of the North and South Branches all the way to Clark Street Bridge with what were known as Lumber Hookers, that is, sailing vessels. The sawmills on the East shore of Lake Michigan, in Muskegon, Manistee, Ludington, and other ports, used to ship their lumber largely on steam barges which carried about four hundred thousand feet of lumber, which could be loaded at the mill in one day, run to Chicago in the night, and be unloaded the next day in Chicago, and back to the mill at night. This was a cheap way to transport lumber and if I remember correctly the freight was usually about $1.00 per thousand feet. Several of the big companies on Green Bay had tow barges, that is, they had a large tug which towed two or, three large vessels. The Kirby-Carpenter Company, Ludington, Wells & Van Schaick, and the Peshtigo Company each had a string of barges. While the barges were loading at the mills the tug would take a tow to Chicago and bring back empty barges. The lumber from the sawmills was run by roller directly on to the barges and was transported to Chicago where it was unloaded and sorted and piled in the yards and distributed from there. Some of the big Chicago yards, like the Chicago Lumber Company, S. K. Martin Lumber Company, Edward Hines Lumber Company, Ketcham & Fick, Soper Lumber Company, Henry Brothers, South Branch Lumber Company, Perley Lowe & Company, and a few others, each handled a hundred million feet or more a year, and many of them had line yards of their own throughout the Middle West to which the lumber was shipped from Chicago. Some of the mill companies had their own yards in Chicago, such as the Peshtigo Company and N. Ludington Company. There were firms who made a business of measuring and inspecting cargoes 

Eleven

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