Menomonie, Wisconsin History/Greeneggsngram
Andrew Tainter and Henry Stout, the founders of the Knapp, Stout & Co. logging industry, provided the main source of economic wealth and employment for the town of Menomonie in the years of 1846-1901.Logging is an industry that focuses in falling trees and preparing timber for distribution. Through this industry, Menomonie has been associated historically as a town with economic stability. Logging has had a detrimental effect on the forests and environment by causing deforestation, changes in river flowage, dried up swamps, and flooding in surrounding areas. The forests were once the home of the native Wisconsin people. Once Knapp, Stout & Co. made their name, the indigenous people were forced to relocate.
Logging Impact on Menomonie and Economy:
Knapp, Stout & Co.
Menomonie was a small town in 1853 when Andrew Tainter and Henry L. Stout found interest in a logging mill. This would soon become a corporation known as the Knapp, Stout & Company. The logging industry was a potential gold mine at this time due to the amount of trees that were in the area. Within 50 years, the company had increased production within the mill from 100,000 feet of lumber to producing 5,706,602 feet. This was the largest lumber corporation in the world at this time.The company ran three mills operated by the company’s own electric plant and water works. The mill was the employer of around 800 men.The corporation had other mills as well which had a total employment of around 3,000 men. The company not only contributed towards employment but also the growth of the town in form of taxes. With the amount of money being brought in from the mill, these taxes had a great impact on Menomonie.
Impact on Menomonie:
This kind of a large industry created quite a bit of influence in Menomonie by supporting local businesses. “The Company has been prompt to aid and encourage any public enterprise that promised to be of benefit to the entire community”. This is a crucial concept which points to the fact that Tainter and Stout did do a lot for their town with the money that was made from the industry. With his wealth, Andrew Tainter built the Mabel Tainter Theatre to commemorate the death of his daughter. Tainter intended to, “Advance the cause of education, to encourage the culture of Science, art, and literature and to promote the social and moral well-being of the community”.  Tainter was a big influence on the town by creating a place of self enhancement and growth with this building. James Stout, son of Henry Stout, founded UW Stout in 1891 from the inheritance he received from his father (History of Wisconsin Stout’s Founder, 2015). This was a great impact on the town, due to the fact that Stout used his fortune to better the lives of those less fortunate. Whether donating to various charities, creating employment, or adding to the architectural appeal, this company brought a sense of community to the people of Menomonie.
How Industry Transported Lumber
Role of Red Cedar River
Logging was not a major industry for the white settlers until the Menominees (Native Americans) were forced to give up their territory of Central and Eastern Wisconsin. With so much land taken from the tribes of Wisconsin, logging was a reasonable resource to get into. Some obstacles that were a big issue for the growing logging industry were long distances from the supplier to the market, undeveloped rivers and roads, and lack of efficient transportation. Knapp, Stout & Co. was a large industry which consequently needed an effective way of transporting their product. Lumber was shipped in multiple different ways all over the country. The Red Cedar River was a large aspect of the company's ability to get the lumber across the country. The company used the Red Cedar river to ship lumber to the Mississippi which in turn transported lumber as far down as St. Louis. Steamboats were used in this process to guide rafts along the river in attempt to minimize the amount of logs lost. Dams were created to facilitate the sheer number of logs flowing down the Red Cedar. Along the multiple rivers Knapp, Stout & Co. set up offices to direct the lumber to the final destination. The rivers of Wisconsin and the Mississippi river played key roles in the success of the Logging industry in Wisconsin. The logging industry also had a big role in changing the integrity of the rivers through the creation of dams, which changed the current of the water.
Role of Railroad
Due to the harsh winters of Wisconsin, the rivers used for transporting the lumber would freeze in the winter creating a problem for the company. In order to maintain a constant supply of lumber to the consumer, railroads were the main source of transportation in the winter months. In a span of 50 years, railroad mileage in Wisconsin increased from 900 miles to 7500 miles due to the lumber industry. Railroads were a logical form of transporting the lumber due to the fact that trains could transport year round and also reach previously unavailable destinations. Also, trains could transport some lumber that would not have been able to travel downriver. Logging camps were subsequently moved farther into forests, broadening the area of production. These camps were worked year round by the logging industry (History of Menomonie, 2015).
Effects on Landscape of Wisconsin
The lumber industry had a major effect on the landscape of Wisconsin. Through excessive logging of the forests, not only did the lumber industries wipe out a substantial amount of the trees, but also negatively impacted the ecosystem through the destruction of habitat. With the trees that were cut down, only about 40% reached the sawmills. Much of the wood that was left behind played a destructive role in the fires that swept through Wisconsin. The flow of the rivers traveling through deforested areas was altered as well. This had an affect on the logging and rafting because current was affected. Many swamps have dried up in Wisconsin, causing a loss of habitat for wildlife. The logging mills and fires that followed in their place created a loose ground that has run off when it rains or when the snow melts. This has caused many of the Wisconsin rivers to flood in the spring. The Knapp, Stout & Co. logging industry among others had an incredibly devastating effect on the environment and ecosystem of Wisconsin.
Impact on Native Wisconsin People
The Menominee tribe was one of the original Native people to live in Wisconsin. At one point in time they had control over most of the central state, about 10 million acres (Sultzman, 2015). Through the settlement of the land and the logging industry that took over, the Menominee were left with a small fraction of what they had previously occupied. Treaties were negotiated to get more land for the logging, which forced the Menominee to leave their land, “Between 1831 and 1832, the federal government negotiated three new treaties, which ceded about 3.5 million acres of Menominee land”. Following the treaties and being ceded, by the year 1856 the Menominee were only left to a 235,000 acre reservation (Sultzman, 2015). The Menominee were one of a number of tribes affected by re-location as the logging industry overtook more of the state. When Knapp, Stout and Co. arrived, most of the area was occupied by Ojibwe peoples. The logging industry had a major impact on the native people of Wisconsin in a negative way through seizure of their land and destruction of the state they call home.
- Wisconsin Historical Society: Logging and Forest Products.(2015, November 5). Retrieved From: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-027/?action=more_essay
- The History of menomonie: (2015, November 5). Retrieved From: http://www.menomonie.com/facts_frame.html
- Chicago Herald. (1891, October 21) On Red Cedar River [Article]. Retrieved From: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org
- Kircher, A. (1999, March). The Knapp, and Stout Company. Retrieved From: http://web.durand.k12.wi.us/hs/history/KNAPP/knapp.html
- Dopp, M. (1913). Geographical Influences in the Development of Wisconsin. Chapter V. The Lumber Industry [Article]. Retrieved From: http://www.jstor.org/stable/200164?seq=11#page_scan_tab_contents