The Huge Forrestville Dock and the Iron Chief Boat House
Very little is currently available online on this huge Forestville dock. So, we turned to some genealogical information to fill in the blanks. This is an excerpt from Forestville Bicentennial History.
Forestville’s Huge Docks
The docks, or landings, built to handle lake shipping were maintained at a continual expense; but dockage, none the less, made a land-office business in the old days The original Forestville docks were made of logs cribs filled with stones, piling supporting the warehouse end of the pier. Their approaches were made down on the beach terrace, and neither of the docks ran straight out into the lake but stood at about a 15-degree angle from due east.
At the time of the 1871 fire, the "Ward" dock was being run by Jake Buel, the local lumber king. Jake and Eber B. Ward rebuilt the dock after the fire and operated it until about 1877.*
Docks were a Community Gathering Spot
The docks became the economic centers of the shore towns, but they were also a social center as well. In small communities " going down to meet the boat" was a welcome adventure. The old docks were never equipped with railings and it is a wonder that more people didn’t fall into the lake. A few did, some of them drunk and one fellow rubberizing at the ladies along the boat rail rode his bicycle right off the dock end. Tom Potts, the drayman, once back his team off the docks. He unhooked them and they swam ashore.
The old dock afforded a fishing pier for the whole community. As far as I can remember, only worms were ever used for bait. The old-timers that I remember sometimes treated them more effective minnows, but we did sometimes resort to gaffs "or grab hooks to snag big perch when the water was clear, and they ignored our worms. Fishing from rowboat was unnecessary while the long docks stood.*
*Excerpt the Forrestville Bicentennial History