New milestone in Merrill’s history - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New milestone in Merrill’s history

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MERRILL (WAOW) -

Before the logging industry moved westward, Merrill was a vital link in keeping the industry moving.

"Merrill was really a hub of activity, a bustling town; we had an opera house, a streetcar, and all the trappings you would have with a very progressive city" Pat Burg of the Merrill Historical Society told Newsline 9.

The process of log stamping is where Merrill made its name.  Logs cut from the Northwoods were floated up the Wisconsin River to Merrill.  There they would be stamped, a practice similar to cattle branding, with marks identifying which log would go to which sawmill.

The Merrill Historical Society, 102 E. 3rd Street, Merrill, is home to a large collection of log stamp hammers salvaged from the Wisconsin River years after use. 

"It's really pretty unique to this part of the country because by the time other parts of the country were being logged, the technology had changed" Merrill Historical Society volunteer Thomas Burg said. 

The society currently operates inside a former church building northeast of downtown.  But after more than five years of collecting donations, plans to break ground on an expanded historical center are quickly coming to fruition.

With hopes of raising one million dollars, the society says they hope to have bids out on the project by late-January with a groundbreaking this spring.   

Adding on to the rear of the church building will allow for more room to house the society's logging artifacts, its sizeable collection of Native American cultural relics and space to host community events.

The updated construction will also make the facility handicap accessible. 

More information on how to donate to the historical center construction efforts can be found at www.merrillhistoricalsoc.com. 

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