Saginaw Valley Lumbering Era
The Saginaw River Watershed has been crucial in the development of Michigan. In the 1830s when white settlers moved into the area, they discovered the rich timberlands and hundreds of miles of rivers, providing an excellent base for lumbering which soon thrived in the area. In 1834 Gardner and Ephraim Williams opened the first steam mill at the foot of Mackinaw Street in Saginaw. By 1854 the Saginaw Valley had become the leading producer of lumber in the state, a distinction it held for the next forty years. In 1869 the watershed area alone was earning seven million dollars yearly from lumbering, and Michigan was producing more lumber than any other state.