Land & Lumber, a History of Portage County written by Michael Goc and brought to you by the Portage County Historical Society. The history of any place is the story of people, ideas and resources. It tells how the people of a community used the resources present to realize their ideas. In Portage County the key resources were--and still are--water, land and lumber. They were used by native people to build a culture, much of which is lost today, but whose remnants give evidence of a people of spirit and imagination. The white pioneers of the county came here specifically because of its resources of water power and lumber that they would use to establish a 19th Century industrial center. Along with the lumbermen came those for whom the land was enough and who built an agriculture based on the distinctive nature of the county’s soil and water resources.
After a century and a half, the basics have not changed. Water and lumber are still basic to the county’s industrial base. Farmland, and a relatively new method of using the water beneath its surface, still make a distinctive agriculture. Each generation brings its own ideas but still uses the same resources as its forebears.