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Bringing history to life and learning about our community


Did you know that Michigan and the Harbor Springs area were once important locations in the
lumber industry? Between 1860 and 1910, thousands of white pine trees were cut down and
shipped all over the country. North of Harbor Springs there were many logging camps where men
called lumberjacks worked to cut down trees and haul logs.

WOW. That’s a lot of logs!

Harbor Springs had many sawmills; factories where the logs cut at camps in the woods were
turned into finished lumber (planks and beams). The lumber was then sent to furniture makers
or other woodworkers to turn into household items.

Take a look around the room you are in right now. What items can you find that
are made from lumber? Write your answers below.
In 1871 a man named Ephraim Shay invented a geared steam train he called the
Shay Locomotive. The train hauled logs from the woods to the sawmills. It was much
more efficient than horse-drawn sleds and soon most lumbering companies were
using Shay trains.

Ephraim Shay moved to Harbor Springs

in 1888. He built his own logging
railroad, the first city water works and a
unique house called the Hexagon House.

Shay was an inventor. If you could
invent anything, what would it be?