Study Description

Lumbertowns in the Cutover: Economic Cross-Sections of 94 (Mostly Obscure) Wisconsin and Michigan Communities at 4 Decade Long Intervals

Unique Identification Number: CB-026-001-1-1-United States-DPLS-1870

Summary: The data includes city and county populations; latitude and longitude of city; date and amount of peak lumber production; per acre value of farm land in city and county; manufacturing: lumber and forest products, wood and metal using, sawmill machinery, shoe and leather, clothing and textile, brewing and bottling of alcoholic beverages, and miscellaneous; wholesale trade-including wholesale liquor and wholesale lumber; mines, mineral and farm product processing; retail trade and service-including retain liquor; transportation; number of out-of-town firms doing business in the city; bank capital in thousands of dollars; number of railroads entering the city.

Methodology: The data were hand coded into IBM punch cards from microfilm copies of the Mercantile Agency Reference Books obtained from the Library of Congress. The principal investigator of this study, James Bruce Smith, went through records of about sixty thousand firms listed in the Reference Books from 1870 to 1930. He used the firm descriptions in the Reference Books to classify these firms into 16 "Capital Sectors" in order to study the economic growth of these lumbertowns in Wisconsin and Michigan. There are a total of 94 lumbertowns in this study. Among them 15 towns have economic data for the time spans of 1870 to 1900, 32 towns have data for 1880-1910, 34 towns have data from 1890 to 1920 and 8 towns have data for 1900 to 1930.

Technical Note: Data are stored in card image format. There are 8 records per case. Each record is 80 columns long. The total number of cases is 94.

Document: Codebook (.pdf, 842K), and one copy of the Mercantile Agency Reporter's Manual, 5th edition, 1927. The Mercantile Agency's Reporter's Manual is hard copy only.

Date of Study: 1870-1930

Geographic Coverage: Wisconsin and Michigan.