Winfield Scott Gerrish

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Winfield Scott Gerrish (born 15 Feb 1849 in Lee, Maine—died 19 May 1882 in Evart, Michigan) is credited with revolutionizing lumbering in the U.S. state of Michigan by building a seven-mile-long logging railroad from Lake George to the Muskegon River in Clare County, Michigan in 1877.[1] Although not the first logging railroad in the state, Gerrish's railroad was very successful. Garrish adopted the idea of using a steam locomotive on steel rails after seeing a Porter 0-4-0 rod engine at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.[2] However, twenty years earlier in May 1857 the Blendon Lumber Company successfully and profitably employed a standard gauge steam locomotive on its approximately seven-mile-long logging railroad that extended from the center of Blendon Township in Ottawa County, Michigan to the bank of the Grand River.[3] The use of rail allowed year round transportation of any size tree to the sawmills where unpredictable rivers were previously used.[4]


  1. ^ "The Forests of Michigan - page 143". University of Michigan Press, 2003. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  2. ^ Michigan's White Pine Era, 1840-1900, by Rolland Harper Maybee, Michigan Historical Commission, 1960.
  3. ^ Bajema, Carl Jay (April 1991). "The First Logging Railroads in the Great Lakes Region" (PDF). The First Logging Railroads in the Great Lakes Region. Oxford University Press on behalf of Forest History Society and American Society for Environmental History. Retrieved Sep 25, 2010.
  4. ^ Log Transportation in the Lake States Lumber Industry 1840-1918 by William Gerald Rector, 1953.