When James Haynes of port Huron came to, they might mouth of the “Monstique” river he began an industry that would change the small town in the upper peninsula forever. Beginning in 1848 on the base of the “Monstique” river one of Michigan’s most important industries, the lumber industry, was developed.
With the help of the Hall and Buell Lumber Company the small town known as “southtown,” which had a population between 300 and 1,000 residents in its heyday. Was quickly developed as a lumber community outside of Manistique. The town did not last long and the post office was closed in 1905. Mill’s lumber company had access to Indian lake and around town, but once all the timber was cut and made into lumber, there was no more timber for them.
The Chicago and Weston Lumber companies owned the rest of Schoolcraft county, and since they had a vast more resource of lumber, they were able to outlast the progressive Mill’s Lumber company. Once the small town of Southdown turned into a ghost town, the town of Manistique was able to grow even faster.
From the Indian River, the logs were rafted to Jamestown. The lumber from the mill was then transported to the Manistique docks on a horse-drawn railroad which ran on two-by-fours. The magnificent route ran from River road to Jamestown and then onto Maple street to the docks. The Jamestown Mill ran from 1857 to 1880, when they sold the remaining of their standing timber to the Chicago Lumber Company.
Technological advancements, including the crosscutting saw and logging railroads, helped accelerate the timber cut in Michigan during the last decades of the 19th Century. Michigan ranked first among the states in production of lumber in 1870, 1880, and 1890, but by 1920 it was 16th as forests were depleted. Over 200 billion board feet of lumber was produced from Michigan forests by 1929. In the late 1800's states as far as away as Colorado and Wyoming and even some European cities imported Michigan lumber.