St. Croix Boom Company House was the home of W. F. (Frank) McGray,
superintendent of the St. Croix Boom Company for 34 years. It is located
adjacent to the St. Croix Boom Site which is a National Historic Landmark.
Along with its barn, the house is the only known extant building directly
associated with the St. Croix Boom Company.
St. Croix Boom Company built a boom in 1856 two miles above Stillwater,
Minnesota on the St. Croix River for the sorting and rafting of
lumber cut by the valley's many lumber companies. The St. Croix
Boom Company closed down in 1914 after 57 years of continuous operation.
McGray is reported to have sent the first log throught the boom in
1856, and on June 12, 1914, it was he who hitched the last log to
(click image to enlarge)
entered the employ of the St. Croix Boom Company in 1856 and in 1871
was made superintendent or boom master. He lived on a farm across
the river in Wisconsin until 1885 at which time it appears that the
company built a residence for him and his family on company property
above the boom site. McGray retired from the company in 1905 at the
age of 71. He had purchased his residence from the St. Croix Boom
Company in 1885 and continued to live in it after his retirement until
1919 when he sold the property. The St. Croix Boom Company House and
Barn were named to the National
Register of Historic Places in 1980.
St. Croix Boom Site
is a picture hanging in the Gazette office, showing the old
boom-master, Frank McGray, hitching the last log that came through
the Saint Croix boom; the log was a large one, scaling, I would
say, five hundred or six hundred feet and this closed operations
at the boom for all time; that was on the twelfth day of June,
1914; on this day also, the last meal was served in the old
cook house and among those that sat down to dinner that day
were Mr.McGray, James R. Brennan, then the boom master, D.J.
McCuish, Eugene O'Neal, Rev, John McCoy, then pastor ot the
First Presby terian Church, R.S. Davis, W.C. Masterman and several
others, whose names escape me at this writing."
April 2, 1928.
From 1856 to 1914, this site was the terminal point for the
great Minnesota log drives down the Saint Croix River and its tributaries.
Each year millions of logs were stored, then measured and sorted,
and their ownerships determined, before being assembled into rafts
for shipment downstream to the mills.
was the earliest, most important, and longest-lived of the major
log storage and handling areas in Minnesota, which for a number
of years trailed only Michigan and Wisconsin as the nation’s
leading lumber producer. Nothing now remains of the boom site. It
has been designated as a National
Historic Landmark since 1966 and includes a roadside parking
area with it's
own history dating to 1936.
HISTORY OF THE ST. CROIX BOOM SITE >