As mines prospered along the Keweenaw and the communities that served them grew and expanded there arose a large demand for building materials. In order to meet this growing need, the Keweenaw became home to a second major industry - lumbering. Before long the massive swaths of virgin timber across the peninsula were felled and floated down rivers towards newly constructed mills. One of these mills was located along the shore of Pike Bay, built by the Sturgeon River Lumber Company in 1888. Thanks to a man-made channel connecting the bay with one of the Keweenaw's longest rivers - the Sturgeon - the Pike Bay mill became the regions largest and most productive.
As the mill prospered the surrounding community of Chassell prospered as well, quickly growing in both size and population. Helping its situation was the towns location along the Duluth South Shore and Atlantic Railway, connecting it to the rest of the Keweenaw by rail. Before long a thriving business district developed, and a great deal of churches of various denominations were established. Filling its paternalistic role, the company built two impressive school buildings for the town and by 1908 was providing electric power from its generators. One thing that would never find a home in Chassell was a saloon, since such an establishment was forbidden by the company.
NOTES: Over the years the lumber mill changed hands several times, finally closing for good in 1928. For the next several decades lumbering continued to support the town, thanks to a sprinkling of smaller mills and container factories. But as the Copper Empire faded away to the north, the demand for lumber faded away as well and the town contracted to its current size.
DIRECTIONS: Follow US41 south-east from Houghton for about six miles, town will be along highway.