Logging, Paul's Area of Expertise
May your swing be strong and true, your ax forever sharp, and the White pine tall and plentiful.
Logging in this area relied heavily on the expansive system of rivers and waterways.
When Joseph Nicollet camped near the mouth of the Pine River in 1836, he described its waters as "...transparent and pure as crystal." Zebulon Pike's journals document that his expedition traveled up the Pine River in 1805 while exploring routes to the headwaters of the Mississippi. Other explorers also plied the waters of the Pine River over the years including Nicollet and Cass.
Norway Lake, a 350 acre lake near the source of the Pine River was once a giant repository of logs cut from woods north of Pine River. Pilings from a boom dam constructed at the lake outlet are visible in the river today. Behind the boom dam, thousands of huge White and Norway pine logs floated on the lake until the dam was blown in spring and the logs driven to sawmills at Crosslake and further down the Mississippi to Brainerd and beyond. Sunken logs are still present today on the bottom in one area of Norway Lake.
Still interested in learning more about real lumberjacks and the birth of the legendary Paul Bunyan? Check out these stories:
The True Story of the Paul Bunyan Legend, by Wayne Chamberlain
Paul Bunyan Beginnings - The Research, by Rod Nelson