Why Is That? Why are there huge, ornate houses downtown?

Lumber companies set their eyes on the Chippewa Valley in the 1850s as a prime spot for business, with impressive riverways and ample pine in the northwoods. Soon, workers from all over the country and the world immigrated here, often as lumberjacks or farmers.

At first, everyone lived simply. They built log cabins and then simple houses made with the boards produced in the local sawmills. However, by the 1880s, business was booming. The owners of the companies became known as “lumber barons,” a sarcastic name referring to a higher class in British society. Like royalty, they became very rich. To show off their wealth, they built huge, ornate houses according to the latest styles such as Queen Anne, which features asymmetrical shapes, porches, and steep roofs.

Read the rest on Chippewa Valley Family Magazine.

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