River Wanigan

Located a short walk from the logging camp is a moored river "wanigan," a replica of a floating cook shack and bunkhouse once used by river drivers when moving logs down river to the mills. As you enter the river wanigan area, located year-round on a bay in the Mississippi River, the date is Saturday, May 12, 1901.

At the beginning of the century, the most viable and economical way to move logs from forests to the sawmills was to float them down the river. These river drives were the most colorful and dangerous part of the lumbering story.

The river drives took place early in the spring, to take advantage of the high water resulting from the melting snow. The wanigan, a barge-like boat, was the headquarters for the drive.

This wanigan floats on the Mississippi River awaiting the next drive downstream, as the crew of "river pigs" (log drivers) push and prod the huge pine logs from the pineries up north into the river, for transport to the waiting sawmills in river towns.