Erected by Rivers, Rails & Trails Heritage Area
Osceola, Polk County, Wisconsin
By 1845, the first sawmill was erected in Osceola. It stood two stories high and was capable of cutting 10,000 board feet every 24 hours. Approximately 35 million board feet were cut during its existence. It was located on Osceola Creek near the shores of the St. Croix River. In the fall of 1853, the first wheat raised in Polk County was ground in the Kent Brothers' new gristmill. The mill built above Cascade Falls, stood four stories tall and was propelled by an overshot wheel driven by water. It was the oldest mill still in operation in Polk County when it was destroyed by fire on the morning of July 5, 1880. Remnants of the mill still remain today.
This is one of many interpretive signs in the River, Rails & Trails Heritage Area, a project funded in part by a Heritage Tourism grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.