Early Livelihood in Jenkins

Making a living as a trader had nothing to do with Wall Street back in the early days of the 1800’s. Trading posts dotted the Whitefish Chain then and trading was about furs for flour, or meat for shoes.

As the logging industry’s impact grew, traders saw a reliable market for their goods, establishing regular supply routes from trading posts to logging camps. By the 1870’s, logging was a powerful economic engine in the Jenkins area. Providing for all those loggers spurred the need for farmers, merchants, bankers, postal service and a school.

With the arrival of the railroad to Jenkins in 1895, the population went from twenty eight people to 164 residents just five years later. Jobs were plentiful.

The 1920’s marked the end of the timber harvesting boom and logging camps slowly began to transform into resorts. Now people worked toting tourists. Boat-making company, Gleason Boats, established itself in Jenkins, making wooden boats for resorts and residents. Other businesses opened their doors too. Some of the original buildings, such as Underdogs Restaurant, are still part of Jenkins today.

By the mid 1960’s, things were changing. Both passenger and cargo rail stops were discontinued and in 1965 the Jenkins School closed its doors. But about that same time, a restaurant opened at the corner of County Rd. 16 and Highway 371. The A-Pine remains today, transformed many times and now a fixture at this intersection. Other businesses sprung up at this hub, including a movie theater, equipment rental and hotel. The whole area was annexed into Jenkins in the early 1990’s. City officials also welcomed Pequot Tool and Manufacturing to town. The good jobs provided by these businesses, and several others have spurred new growth, including two housing developments, Veterans Park and a state-of-the-art ball field.