St. Joe

The Milwaukee Railroad and Milwaukee Land Company played instrumental roles in establishing St. Joe in the late 1880s. When the nearby town of Ferrell refused to cooperate with the railroad’s building requests, railroad surveyors simply changed their plan and laid the railroad upriver from Ferrell. At the same time, the Milwaukee Land Company purchased several acres near the railroad and began selling lots. Lured by the Timber and Stone Act of 1878 and the Forest Homestead Act of 1906 that made land affordable, new residents arrived in droves to purchase and develop the heavily timbered area. The area prospered, and soon, a sawmill, hospital, school, and post office were built to serve the needs of area loggers and their families. However, when the Rose Lake Lumber Company ceased operations in 1926 and the sawmill burned, St. Joe’s prosperity dwindled and the post office closed in 1927. Today, this tiny community’s economy is still tied to its history in the logging/timber industry.

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