The History of Haymaker

So imagine this.

The year is 1871 and you're a young Ohio farmer with a wife and three small children. You look out over your fields of barley, rye, and buckwheat and see your horizon as it will likely be, forever and ever as you know it. You then receive word that your rich uncle back in Baltimore has died and left you an inheritance approaching the value of a minor kingdom. You're not well-educated, per se, but you're industrious. You decide to turn this windfall into something big—a future agricultural empire. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is barely inhabited, the land there is cheap, and so you purchase ten-thousand acres—sight unseen—from the Schoolcraft Land and Lumber Company.

That "sight unseen" part is, of course, the kicker.

And it kicked young Ezekiel Harrison right where you'd expect. The lumber company had assured him that half of the land was free of forest. Harrison—by train, boat, and horse—journeyed to this northern wilderness, and instead of finding clear-cut fields awaiting the plow, the place was an apparent wasteland of swamp and sand. And the stretches that were fertile had to endure a growing season so short it seemed, some years, that spring tumbled directly into autumn. Desperate for other fools to follow his lead, Harrison incorporated the town and named it Haymaker, to create the impression, it's said, that the place at least made something.

But a mere six years later, the Schoolcraft Land and Lumber Company built a mill on the banks of Oslo Creek, just west of Harrison's land. A boom soon followed. Shanty towns sprung up. And lumberjacks poured into town, sawing and hacking away all day, drinking away their money all night. Haymaker trees helped build towns throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana. In 1871, with the earth along Lake Michigan still smoldering, Haymaker lumber rolled into Chicago to help rebuild after the Great Fire.

Even the Jack Pine Savage tends to mellow with age. Many settled down, built permanent homes, and started families. PULPWOOD MILL



Soon lumberjacks poured into Haymaker, erecting shanty towns, working long hours, and drinking away their money and their nights. But, over the years, many of these wild men settled down, built permanent houses, and started families. They lived close to the land and respected the rights of their neighbors. Lumber became king of the local economy, and Haymaker trees helped build new cities throughout the Midwest and rebuild Chicago after the Great Fire.