Screen: uploaded 8/18/2020
Screen: uploaded 8/18/2020

Logging in Northern Wisconsin

Thure de Thulstrup (American, 1848 – 1930)
publisher : Harpers Weekly (American)
Electrotype engraving
Plate : 13 1/4 x 9 1/8 in. (33.66 x 23.18 cm)
Sheet : 16 x 10 3/4 in. (40.64 x 27.31 cm)
Mat : 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.64 cm)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number

Before 1820, most of the upper midwestern United States was covered with old-growth forests that supported a rich variety of birds, animals and other wildlife. As white settlers moved into the area and displaced the original Native American inhabitants, they began to cut down the trees for their own use and to sell for use in other markets. Most commercial tree cutting occurred during the winter so that the logs could be pulled more easily over the snow to a riverbank or railway line. When spring came, the logs were floated down the river or taken on a train to sawmills where they were dried, aged and cut into boards. By the second half of the 19th century, lumbering had become a major industry in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Initially, loggers cut trees selectively, leaving smaller trees to continue growing so that the forest habitats were not completely destroyed. But as demand for lumber and paper increased in the years after the Civil War, loggers began clearcutting the trees and by the 1920s most of the original forests—and the natural habitats they supported—were gone. The forests that exist in the upper Midwest today consist primarily of second- and third-growth trees that were planted or naturally seeded on a patchwork of public and private lands from the early decades of the 20th century onward.  

Object Type