Michigan Roadside Attractions: Lumberman’s Monument in Oscoda
The River Road National Scenic Byway travels alongside the Au Sable River for 22 miles beginning in Oscoda and South Branch. One of the highlights of this scenic drive is a stop at the Lumberman’s Monument, a 14-foot-tall bronze statue that honors the efforts of those involved in the logging industry in early Michigan. Robert Ingersoll Aitken, a sculptor whose other work includes the west pediment of the United States Supreme Court Building, created this tribute.
A plaque at the base of the statue reads “Erected to perpetuate the memory of the pioneer lumbermen of Michigan through whose labors was made possible the development of the prairie states.” Work on the monument was completed in 1931 and it was dedicated in 1932. This site is managed by the USDA Forest Service, and there are many interpretive signs and displays that help tell of the area’s history. Best of all, it is free to visit this site! There are trails that wind through the trees, as well as stairs that lead down to the river for an incredibly scenic view (especially in the fall).
The surrounding area was very important in helping settle Michigan, as an abundance of white pine and easy access to the river made it possible to send timber to sawmills where it could be made into boards for the construction of houses, factories, and more. After the industry died down, much of the forest was replanted and it is once again an impressive sight to behold today. Below is one of the interpretive displays that shows what a river logjam could look like.
The Lumberman’s Monument is located on Monument Rd., just north of W. River Rd. It is about 15 miles west of Oscoda/US-23, and about 7 miles east of M-65.