The Mills of Stevens Point
The following article on the mills in Stevens Point appeared in the Portage
County Gazette on Wednesday, July 31, 1878 and was printed
originally in an early edition of PEDIGREE POINTERS.
The Mills at this point are located principally on the banks of the river, and are all, with two or three exeptions operated by steam power. The exceptions are the flouring mill and Clark's Saw and Shingle Mill.
Clark's Saw and Shingle Mill was built as early as 1846, and is on the east bank of the river on the shaurette dam - a costly structure built, as it is, at the foot of Sharette rapids, which is 6 ft. in height. It drowns out the rapids, giving a slack water navigation for about nine miles that enables logs and lumber to be landed, which, but for the dam, would have to go before stopping. This dam involves a large yearly expense to keep it in repair, which expense falls wholly upon Mr. Clark. The mill was rebuilt in 1875 and is furnished with two double rotary saws, two gang edgers, two gang runners, a gang lath mill and a shingle mill. Its capacity is about 65,000 feet of lumber and 30,000 feet of shingles per day. It has a boomage of about three million feet, but the boom, unlike those at most of the other mills, can control the logs running on the river, independent of the boom operated by the Stevens Point Boom Company. Its total cost with dam, etc., exceeds $60,000. It gives employment to from 20 to 25 men.
Karner's Mill is situated on the west bank of the river, about one mile above the foot of Main Street. It cost about $10,000, and is furnished with one set of rotary saws gang edger, and shingle and lath mill. This mill can manfacture from 25,000 to 30,000 feet of lumber per day, besides shingles and lath. It has boomage for about one million feet of logs, and has cut this season about 700,000, including those now in the boom. This mill, if not within the corporation, is so close as to be considered within the city limits. The next mill on the river is that of Bosworth & Reilly.
The Bosworth & Reilly Mill was built by the Knox Brothers, Marcus Crawford acting as foreman, millwright, etc., in 1874, costing some $30,000, with its appurtenances. It is furnished with an engine of 100 horse power, three boilers and an improved self saw dust feeder, one self rotary saw, gang edger, gang trimmers, shingle and lath mill, and is capable of cutting 60,000 feet of lumber and 30,000 shingles per day. The Knox Brothers sold this mill to Messrs. Bosworth & Reilly in 1877, who refitted it, putting every thing in perfect trim for a large business. This enterprising firm have a controlling interest in a tract of pine timber estimated at forty millions, from which they are now logging with the use of two tram roads, each about four miles in length. They have about one million feet of lumber of last years cutting on hand. They expect to be able to keep the mill supplied during the entire season, and have a very large force of men employed in the woods and at the mill. Their large force of ment employed in the woods and at the mill. Their boomage capacity is about 4 millions. The next in order is Weston Mill.
The Weston Mill was built by William Weston & Sons. These gentlemen are natural mechanics, as well as trained mill men, and the mill was in the greater part constructed by them, and several improvements in the mill bears the stamp of genius. The engine house is built of stone, with sheet iron roof and a superior stone bed for the engine of 60 horse power, which rests upon it. Besides the usual mill machinery this mill has several contrivances which increases its efficiency, one of which is a set of dump blocks, so-called, used to facilitate the turning of the log upon the carriage; also a steam can't hook. In the gang edger, Mr. Weston has invented a horizontal roller, attached to a spring lever, which holds the stuff going through the deger closely up to the guide. The saws in the gang edger are so arranged that they can be adjusted to any length stuff, by the turning of a wheel. This mill has a boomage of about one million, and a sawing capacity of from 30,000 to 35,000 feet per day. The cut at this mill, including those in the boom, this season, has been about one million. A mill of this capacity requires about twenty-two men to operate it.
The Wisconsin Lumber Company's Mill is situated on the opposite bank of the river, nearly opposite the Weston Mill. It was built in 1873 by a stock company consisting of N. C. Wadsworth, A. J. Cronkhite, L. S. Davis, S. S. Hobson, M. Wadleigh, J. A. Walker, E. R. Herren and B. G. Plummer, at a cost of about $40,000. This mill was finely fitted up, with all the necessary machinery for a first-class mill, but like many other stock operations, it has failed to re-emburse its stockholders, and has passed into the hands of the Northwestern Life Insurance Co., as mortgagees, after foreclosure. It was operated under lease last season, by Wadleigh & Herren , but nothing has been done with it this season. The property has a river frontage of 2,000 feet with a possible boomage capacity of two and one half millions. These area all the first-class saw mills. There are three shingle mills with a capacity of from 75 to 100,000 each per day, as follows.
The Portage County Lumber Company's Mill, owned by W. J. Clifford , is on the east bank of the river between the Weston and Bosworth & Reilly Mills. Under the energetic management of its owner, a very large quantity of shingles were manufactured at this mill last season which is likely to be followed up this season. The other shingle mill is owned by non-residents; is a first-class mill, but not in operation this season.
There are three first-class planing and manufaturing mills and one other not in operation and has not been for some years.
Wight and Potter's Mill was built in 1876; has a 40 horse power engine which operates as the necessary machinery for a first-class planing and manufactuing mill, including sash, doors, blinds and nouldings of all kinds. In connection with the mill is an excelsior Dry Kiln, so constructed that green lumber can be taken off from the railroad cars, directly on to the kiln cars, each kiln car holding about 4,000 feet. Ten such cars fill the kiln. Forty thousand feet of lumber can be seasoned at one time without checking or warping. The total cost of this mill and appurtenances was about $10,000.
E. M. Copps Planing Mill is situated on the north side of the slough and is also a first class planing mill. This mill was rebuilt last year, having been destroyed by fire, supposed to have been kindled from sparks escaping from Clifford's Shingle Mill. The loss was a very severe one to Mr. Copps, but with his characteristic energy the mill was rebuilt and now ranks among the wealth producing institutions of our city.
E. R. Herren's Mill is situated on the main track of the Wisconsin Central Railroad, and cost, with its appurtenances, $14,000. It was built in 1874. A 40 horse power engine operates the necessary machinery for dressing and splitting lumber and manufacturing mouldings. The management of this mill is excellent, everything being kept extremely neat and the prospects of fire from the use of the mill reduced to a minimum. About seven million feet of lumber was operated upon by this mill last season.
Pride & Co.'s Mill situated as it is upon the opposite side of the main line of the Central railroad, but is not yet completed. It has an engine of 50 horse power and all the necessary machinery for a first-class planing mill and manufacturing establishment, together with some machines not ordinarily found there. This company in a short time will be prepared to contract for buildings from churches and school houses down.
The North Star Flouring and Grist Mills are near the Shaurette dam, and furnished with power created by that dam, and were built by the energetic proprietors, Lampert & Co., in 1875. The building is of stone, costing completed, with the apprutenances, over $30,000. It contains 6 runs of stone and 4 machines for cleaning the grain before it goes upon the stones, viz: Kurtzs cockle machine, Barnard & Lea's separator, California smut machine and Barnard & Lea's wheat brush. One of the water wheels in use at these mills was manufactured at the machine shops of Rice & Bros., of this place. The old grist mill located on the Shaurette dam has been leased by Lampert & Co., and refitted, a new bolt being just put in for the manufacute of rye flour. Side tracks extend from the main line of the Wisconsin Central Railroad down each side of the river and furnish railroad facilities to each and all of the mills except Wade & Co.