- US ARC River Falls Mss AZ
Business records of an early St. Croix Valley land speculation office which evolved into a general real estate agency, and personal papers of agency owner Harry D. Baker. Originally known as the Cushing Land Agency, the company was established in 1854 to manage the land and water power investments of Caleb Cushing, a Massachusetts lawyer. Included are detailed financial records, letterbooks and a few client case files, records relating to land acquisition and sale, occasional administrative and advertising papers, and some maps which document the transition from an agency chiefly involved with timber cutover land sales for agricultural purposes to one selling developed farms and vacation lake homes.
Harry D. Baker in 1893 joined his father, agency owner Joseph Stannard Baker, in the firm's management where he worked until 1966. Harry Baker's papers document his civic involvements in St. Croix Falls and regional communities and relate to the First Presbyterian Church, Red Cross and county assistance following a 1922 tornado, Polk County Council of Defense during World War I, and establishment of Interstate Park at the St. Croix River Dalles, Wisconsin's first state park. Reminiscences about the land agency, his childhood, father J.S., First Presbyterian Church, and Interstate Park are in a tape-recorded interview with Baker and a series of letters which Baker wrote to his long-deceased brother Clarence. An unpublished booklet containing recorded dialect renditions of stories told by Swedish immigrant Olag Strandberg is also part of the collection.