This is the town of Arkansaw in the early 1900's. It is quite an interesting story of how it became a town. During the year 1852, a man by the name Willard F. Holbrook took a day off work to go fishing with a friend from the East. That day he and his friend came upon a crystal clear stream alive with speckled trout. The winding course of this stream reminded him of the Arkansas River, and he decided to call it the Arkansaw Creek. He was going to build his own mill on that site.material on Arkansaw's early history had been made available to us because of the painstaking
A couple of years later he came back to that site with his brother, George. They looked for a good site to build a sawmill, but first they built a log house nearby. It was a 16' x 20' room with a loft where eight workmen slept. After he had the sawmill up and running he built a second house a little closer to the mill. He used his first house as a drying house for the lumber. A little later, about 1857, he had Arkansaw plotted by G.C. Wolcott. Things just boomed in Arkansaw after that.
Mr. Holbrook's sawmill was now in good working condition. In a corner of his sawmill he had been building furniture. By 1866 he had managed to build a furniture factory. In the factory they had made furniture out of black walnut, hard maple, and butternut. The furniture had been hauled to Eau Claire, Red Wing, and Menomonie by long framed, spring wagons.
In the year of 1870 James Pauley, of Reeds Landing, became Mr. Holbrook's partner. Together they built a new store. They also made the sawmill a little bigger, and they had then built an ashery near that.
In 1872 the furniture factory had burned down and had to be rebuilt. It was rebuilt just south of the house now owned by the Karl Strand family. It was a three-story building with considerable dimensions. At the peak, it employed about 80 men. In 1881 the factory was sold to E.C. Bill who then sold it to Samuel Dickson. He made it into a basket factory. Later it was sold to S.L. Plummer. In 1890 L.L. Plummer had the building demolished. They used the lumber to build three houses in Arkansaw.
Mr. Holbrook built a planning mill east of his home in 1885. He operated that until his death. Forest Plummer purchased that mill and rented his house. He used the house as a shop where he made furniture. A couple years later the house was torn down and the lumber was sold to various parties. The steps had remained for several years as a reminder of the Holbrook family.
Whatever happened to the old sawmill? An agent came to town selling fire extinguishers, and he thought that the falling down sawmill would be the perfect building to test it on. That was the end of the old sawmill that originally got the town of Arkansaw started.
This web page was created by Mike Richardson in April of 1997. Edited March 2004 by John Melstrom
All this information was taken out of the book entitled, Glimpses of Arkansaw History. Much of the
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