I had two goals besides getting some exercise, the first one being to make my way to Barker-Stewart Island where the lumber baron Hiram Stewart made his fortune.
A footbridge across the Wisconsin River leads to the island which is surprisingly small for what was such a big operation financially. The local historical society occasionally had costumed interpreters out here but otherwise there isn't much to see except the foundation of the sawmill.
The Barker Stewart Lumber Company was once the largest producer of hemlock lumber in the count. The original sawmill on the island was built in 1881, and purchased in 1887 by C.C. Barker and Hiram Stewart. By the end of the 19th century, Barker and Stewart could process 40 million feet of lumber annually and the mill was in operation until 1915.
|Railroad truss bridge in background built 1888, sawmill foundation foreground|
Every winter, men would head to the north, cut down trees and drag the logs to the Wisconsin River.
Every spring as the river thawed, the logs would come rushing into Wausau and would get pulled from the river and milled on the tiny island.
The other reason for my run was we had passed some murals on our way to the Inn that I wanted to capture and a quick run past was the perfect way to get a closer look. Here's a fun rendering of Wisconsin's state motto "Forward" and so unique to see it on the side of a residential home near the river.