Marinette County WIGenWeb - Centennial History - Towns, part A

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The Townships and Communities
(continued ... Peshtigo, Amberg)

Another important event of 1887 was the incorporation of Peshtigo as a village. In 1838, J.H. Levenworth built a sawmill on the west bank of the Peshtigo River, and in 1850 he built another on the east bank. The mills contributed greatly to the growth of the little community, and by 1850, Peshtigo had a population of 566. In 1867, a wagon road joined Peshtigo and Peshtigo Harbor.

The first settlement at Peshtigo (Squaw) Harbor was a boarding house to accommodate the men who brought Levenworth's lumber down the river on rafts to be loaded on ships bound for Chicago. About 1868, W.B. Ogden, of Chicago, developed the little settlement at the harbor as a "company town." Ogden had purchased the Levenworth mills, and vast timber tracts throughout the county. He built a third sawmill at the mouth of the Peshtigo River; here he also constructed a shipyard, boarding house, store, school house, blacksmith shop, and residences for his superintendent and harbormaster. Laborers at the village built their own homes with materials furnished by Ogden's Peshtigo Lumber Company, and in return lived rent free for ten years. The company never allowed a saloon at Peshtigo Harbor, so the workers had no difficulty "resisting temptation," and were able to save their earnings and buy farming land from the company. Ogden also laid railroad track from Peshtigo to Peshtigo Harbor. Thus he was able to move his lumber to the markets of the south and east, and to his lumberyard in Chicago.

After the disastrous Peshtigo Fire of 1871, tenacious survivors rebuilt, and the area began to recover from this terrible disaster.

At the close of the firs ten years, Marinette County consisted of these four townships: Marinette, Peshtigo, Wausaukee and Porterfield. In 1890, Amberg achieved township status. Because of the plentiful fish and game, profusion of herbs and berries, abundant grasslands and verdant forests, this area had long been a favorite Indian campsite. The Indians called it "Ca-sh-men-na-doo-ten- skee-wen," wihch translated means "God's country." The early white settlers named in Pike, for the river teeming with this fine game fish. From the 1860s to the end of the century, many logs from this ample timber supply were sent down the river to the mills in Marinette and Menominee. The railroads reached here in the 1880s, and the area became a supply center for lumber camps. the first permanent settler, Warren Buckman, arrived in 1883 with a wagonload of blankets, clothing, guns, and ammunition to set up a trading post. He pitched his tents just west of the Pike, across from the present Catholic Church, and traded his wares for furs, ginseng, and venison saddles. In late fall, he returned to Green Bay to replenish his stock. The following spring, he built his log trading post, the remains of which can still be seen on the east bank of the Pike near the foot of Dow Rapids. The second permanent settler was Charles Dahl, a surveyor for the railroad which reached there in 1884. Just three years later, a Chicago businessman, William Amberg, became interested in developing a quarry which had been started in this area. He recognized the potential of the granite quarries in this area. He recognized the potential of the granite quarries to supply paving and building blocks needed by the growing cities. In 1887, Amberg and Cameron bought forties on the sites of the Martindale and Argyle quarries, and the Aberdeen quarry. The following year, he platted the village of Amberg, and gave it his name. On the night of August 15, 1903, a disastrous fire occurred, but the town was soon rebuilt. In the early 1900s, the town of Amberg had a population of about 500; it has now grown to 812. The irregular, picturesque hills, fine lakes, and swift flowing streams with many falls and rapids make this township ideal for outdoor sports and recreation. Dave's Falls Park is located here.

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