The Thompson Railroad Line served the mill owned by the Delta Lumber Company beginning with a terminal located at Indian River. In the early logging days, softwoods floated down the river to this terminal to be loaded onto flat cars. After the turn of the century, loggers began cutting the hardwood forests and the railroad extended its lines 20 miles north. Oxen were used to haul timber from the forest to clearings, where the wood was then transferred to horse drawn sleighs and taken to the trains.
When the train arrived, the logs were unloaded into the mill ponds. These ponds were surrounded by the docks which extended out into the lake a depth of 16 feet. The timber was then milled and stacked to dry on the docks. The scrap wood, or slabs, were cut into smaller lengths and hauled to nearby Manistique.
Once the lumber was dried, crews would load the schooners with lumber to be shipped all over the Great Lakes region. These lumber "hookers", as they were called, were designed for shoal water operation since many mill ports were relatively shallow. Also important to the economy of the region was commercial fishing. Family owned fishing vessels also used the Thompson docks as their home port.
Photos courtesy of Miles Stanley