Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company Office Building, photo submitted in 1991.
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Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company Office Building
N5551 River Street, Hermansville - Menominee County
Other Names IXL Historical Museum
Property Type frame building
Historic Use COMMERCE/TRADE/business
Current Use RECREATION AND CULTURE/museum
Style Stick/Eastlake
Narrative Description The IXL Historical Museum, the former office building of the Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company, is a capacious, T-shaped, cross-gable, two-story structure of wood-frame construction and has an exterior whose styling is inspired by the Swiss chalet. Its clapboarded exterior walls are, on the front and two side walls, subdivided into rectangular panels by vertical and horizontal stickwork bands aligned with the window frames of both stories. The front and side gables display diagonal stickwork as well. Bands of vertical boarding appear at the basement level and frieze on all sides, and open, triangular brackets support the strongly projecting eaves on all sides. Panels of vertical boarding (with some diagonal boarding as well) alternate with clapboarded ones below the window level in each story and in the gables in the front and sides. Gabled door porches on the front and two sides and the front and side-facing gables display stickwork truss gable ornaments with pierced and applique detailing beneath the gable peaks. The building's rear elevation is finished in simple clapboarding, with only a hint of the ornamentation found on the other three sides. The structure contains three stories plus a full basement.
Statement of Significance The former office building was the administrative center for the Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company's extensive timber empire and its logging, sawmilling, and wood-products manufacturing operations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wisconsin Land and Lumber is notable among the lumbering firms of Michigan's Upper Peninsula for its interest as early as the 1880s in utilization of hardwoods as well as the more easily handled softwoods that made up the vast bulk of the area's timber crop at the time and for its pioneering role in the development of hardwood-flooring machinery. The building is the best preserved example of an office and headquarters for a logging and sawmilling firm left in the entire state of Michigan-- a state that at the time this building was constructed was the national leader in lumber production. It remained the headquarters of the firm from its construction in 1882 to 1883 until the death of the grandson of the firm's founder in 1978 and has been preserved intact, complete with its historic furnishings, as the IXL Historical Museum. The Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company office building is also a key example of frame, Late Victorian, office building architecture in the context of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Period of Significance 1882-1941
Significant Date(s) 1882-1883
Registry Type(s) 07/26/1991 National Register listed
12/11/1973 State Register listed
Site ID# P24210