Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rochester on the Road: Yawkey Hall

If you own property in the Yawkey and Chapman subdivision on South Hill, the name shown in this photo may look familiar to you. This town hall  is located in the small village of Hazelhurst, Wisconsin, lying just northwest of the larger town of Rhinelander. Standing on Yawkey Street in Hazelhurst, Yawkey Hall is named in honor of William Clyman Yawkey and his nephew, Cyrus C. Yawkey, Michiganders who founded the Yawkey Lumber Company there in 1893. The Yawkey company owned and processed three hundred million feet of standing timber in the Hazelhurst area during the heyday of the lumber industry.

 William C. Yawkey was also heavily invested in Michigan timber stands and in several Detroit businesses; at one point he was considered to be the richest man in Michigan. In 1891 he had become president of the Western Knitting Mills and moved the company to Rochester, taking over the old Rochester Woolen Mill property.  His partners in that concern were Charles S. and William C. Chapman, who had also worked for him in his Wisconsin lumber business; the partners built a new, state-of-the-art woolen mill on the Rochester site in 1896.

In Rochester, William C. Chapman moved into the real estate development business at the turn of the twentieth century, as the community saw a boom after the arrival of the interurban line and the sugar beet factory.  Chapman and Yawkey invested together in property on the southern edge of the village of Rochester, and there platted the Yawkey and Chapman subdivision.

The Yawkey name is also associated with sports history, as William C. Yawkey's son, William Hoover Yawkey, was the sole owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise from 1903 to 1908, and part owner with Frank Navin from 1908 to 1919.

If you ever find yourself in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin, be sure to stop by and visit this connection to Rochester history.

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