Sawmills in Arcadia:
The Starke Land and Lumber Company Sawmill

Next | Previous | Return to Start

In the 1850s, Henry Starke was working with his brothers in Manistee as a marine contractor and tug operator. In the mid 1860s, the Starke brothers received a federal contract to build piers to protect the harbor entrance. Until at least 1868, they operated a fleet of tugs.

In his off-time Henry Starke traveled throughout the area looking for good timber land not already owned by other lumbermen. In the spring of 1866, he made his first purchase of timber land, and by 1883 he owned a large sawmill and around 2,000 acres in northern Manistee county.


StarkeSawmillSide570pxStarke Sawmill in Arcadia
Henry Starke built this sawmill at the north end of Lake Arcadia to produce lumber for the Starke Land and Lumber Company.

"Starke's Mill -- 1882 Is situated on Bar Lake, near the shore of Lake Michigan. It is 126 feet long and 26 feet wide, the boiler being 27x65 feet. The mill is one of the A.P. Allis' of Milwaukee, best large saw mills consisting of large circular top saw, gang edger,, butting off saws, nigger canters, etc. The arbor shaft is a hollow still one through which a small stream of water is forced; it is finely perforated where it runs in the boxes and at the arbor, in consequence the shaft and saw are always kept cool.

"There is one of the covel improved saw sharpeners and the accessories of a first class saw mill. Stuff 40 feet long can be cut, the average cut for the season being 35,000 hardwood lumber per day.

"The logs for the mill are brought to Bar Lake or put into the creek that runs into the lake, where there is enough water to float them to the mill.

"The boiler house contains two boilers, 5 feet drum, 20 feet long, containing each 70 three inch flues. The boilers are separate and so constructed so that both or either of them can be used at a time. A large independent steam pump is located in the boiler house.

"The mill is run by two engines 14x24 in, that are placed on solid stone foundations, side by side, about 4 feet apart., which are connected, 2 fly wheels occupying the space between them.

"A pier had been built near the mill, running 1025 feet into Lake Michigan, 800 of which is 20 feet wide the outer 225 feet being 60 feet.

"Mr. Starke is cutting a channel from Bar Lake to Lake Michigan, which he intends deepening so as to permit vessels to come up to the mill and load, should an accident to the pier prevent it from being used.

..."The slabs from the mill are used in constructing the dockage near the mill.

..."He shipped last season, besides hardwood lumber about 1,000 cords wood and large quantities of cedar posts, bark and hemlock, and cedar railroad ties."
-- Manistee County Directory of 1883



Henry Starke

Busy Day at the Starke Sawmill
This photo shows the view looking west at the Starke sawmill. Note the train pulling logs and the horse & cart apparently waiting for the train to pass.

The Basket Factory
Lumber was not the only product of the Starke sawmill. This photo shows construction on the end of the sawmill to build a basket factory.

Next | Previous | Return to Start