Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Founding Fathers of Deerbow

I've been telling you about some of the urban legends of this town and I never told you about the "big men". I never care to learn about it in high school. It wasn't until a year or so ago I started to look into the past of the city. There are some rich tales there, someone could make a mini series out of them.

The two biggest names were Strake and Thorson. They were the lumber barons of the city. Deerbow would not be much of a place to live if it hadn't been for them founding their lumber company here. Where the Deerbow River forks off, they had built their first mill. It was a perfect place. The logs would come down stream and they would stack them on the piece of land that juts out into the river (Jacob's Landing).

They built a big empire here. They were not as rich as the Rockerfeller's, but they were well off. Of course they were pillars of the community. Strake gave all the land to the University. Thorson built theaters (for his wife, because she missed the theater life in New York). There are schools named after them, there are hospitals, their names are all over Deerbow.

There was a dark side to the men as well. Thorson was the bad guy of the duo. Rumors of him cheating business associates, possibly killing one, there are stories of his strange taste in women. But the one that I remember from childhood was what had happened at the mill.

He might have been Deerbow's first serial killer. Long before OSHA, long before safety regulations, business owners like him could cut as many corners as they needed to make a profit. There were a lot of accidents at the mill. Many fatal. But, the odd thing was, most of the accidents happened to people that crossed Thorson. I remember a friend of my father's telling me that her grandfather had been a foreman at the mill. He was often asked not to be in certain areas at certain times. And at those times, people died.

There is so much more, I will write about them later.

Any stories like that where you live?

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