History of Hermansville

A history of the northern peninsula of Michigan and its people;.
Author: Sawyer, Alvah L. (Alvah Littlefield), 1854-1925.

The village of Hermansville was founded in 1878 when C. J. L. Meyer pf Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, started a saw and shingle mill for the purpose, of sawing up t he pine and cedar timber on lands purchased by him. Mr. Meyer operated this mill until 1883, sending most of the product to Fond du Lac to stock his sash and door factory. In 1883 Mr. Meyer organized the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Company, which acquired the mill and his holdings, he being the principal stockholder. In 1886 and 1887 the company began plans and experiments to utilize their hardwood timber. Up to this time there had been little, if any, hardwood cut and practically no maple had been used for flooring. In the early stages of manufacture of maple flooring, it whs customary to match the lumber as well as possible with the machines then on the market and after it was laid to traverse and cross plane it to bring it to a uniform surface. This was not only very tedious, hard work but was too expensive to admit of its general use. The machinery used for the hard rock-maple of the upper Peninsula developed so many defects that flooring shipped in long strips had to be cut into short pieces when laid, and a large percentage thrown away. The idea was conceived of cutting out all the defects at the factory and shipping nothing but clear or serviceable flooring, all of which could be used. As no machinery was then made that would successfully work the hard rock maple, a series of experiments in machine building was undertaken which resulted in the special machinery now producing the justly celebrated I X L maple flooring. All the difficulties of uneven matching were overcome and these machines now produce a flooring whose uniformity of machine work has not been equaled by any other made. In 1887 the company built a second-saw-mill and commenced the erection of a large maple flooring factory. In 1889 the company became involved in the failure of C. J. L. Meyer at Fond du Lac and Chicago and for two years was in the hands of an assignee for the benefit of its creditors. But in 1892 a settlement with the creditors was made and the property returned to the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Company, who operated it during the following three or four years under considerable difficulty.

In 1896 Dr. Geo. W. Earle acquired practically all the bonds and stock of the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Company and its progress has been steadily upward ever since. Up to this time the company was operating under the laws of Wisconsin, but in 1900 the present organization was effected under the laws of Michigan with a capital stock of $1,000,000 fully paid in. The company owned over 60,000 acres of land, which was selected for its hardwood timber and much of which is uncut, besides controlling much additional stumpage, and last year it purchased the large holdings of the William Mueller Company, so that it can readily see a supply for its mills for more than twenty-five years to come.

In addition to tho I X L maple and birch flooring, the company handles all the pine, hemlock, tamarack and cedar timber, cedar posts, poles and pilings, spruce and hemlock pulpwood that grows on the land they cut each year. These amount to an enormous traffic. Over ten thousand cars were loaded for shipment and received loaded with logs and other forest products last year. The company owns practically all the buildings in the village and takes pride in keeping the village clean, and beautifying the grounds. They have planted shade trees and have endeavored in every way to make the village attractive to other employes and a credit to the county. For the past twenty years the company has been soiling its lands to settlers after the timber has been removed, and has settled several hundred families. These lands were in most instances sold on small payments and long time, and the results have been very gratifying. In addition to its very extensive lumber business, the company maintains a large general store, and is developing some fine farms. George W. Earle is president and Edwin P. Radford general manager of this company.

The firm of Nieman,Pipcoin and Roll have a large general store at this place and are doing a thriving business. A very substantial and rapidly growing farming country adds much to the trade of this manufacturing village. The village is unincorporated and is a part of the township of Meyer, so named in honor of the founder of the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Company.