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100 years after logging left Stillwater, artifacts keep bubbling up

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It was on June 12 of 1914 that the logging industry drifted away from the St. Croix River.

But the Pioneer Press reports on a memorabilia collector who still finds the occasional log floating to the surface with the telltale marks of the companies that sent their felled trees to the St. Croix Boom.

Mark McGinley knows the identifying marks of many of the companies that floated logs to the boom to be sorted and measured. The marks were a little like the brands that ranchers put on livestock. The Pioneer Press says McGinley's collection includes dozens of end marks, bark marks, and iron stamps.

He tells the newspaper his father started collecting log marks in the 1960s. McGinley, who lives in Marine on St. Croix, says logs that have been mired on the river bottom for more than a century still sometimes make their way to the surface.

Keeping the logs straight was a challenge in the days when more than 200 companies were doing business on the St. Croix. The boom was used from 1856 until 1914 and today the site is a National Historic Landmark

The Washington County Historical Society says it was a clearinghouse for the timber from more than 5 million acres of forest in Minnesota and Wisconsin. There were other log storage areas in the region but the St. Croix Boom was the earliest, the most important, and the longest-lasting, the Society says.

A ceremony on Thursday will commemorate the centennial of the last log passing through the boom. It will include speakers from the National Park Service, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the group Friends of the Boom Site.

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