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From 1870 to 1890, Michigan was the nation’s leading timber producer, and its sawmills were among the most efficient in the world. The Lake George & Muskegon River railroad, Michigan’s first logging railroad operating with a common carrier charter, began in Clair County on this day in 1877. Railroads made it possible to go farther away from rivers to access trees and transport wood. By 1887 there were 89 logging railroads in Michigan.

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