Eau Claire, WI: Wisconsin Colonization Society.
Softcover. Very good. 11 sheets of legal-sized (8.5" x 14") paper secured by grommets at the top and folded into 8.75" x 4" paper covers with "Soil Maps & Farm Plans of Made to Order Farms, Wiconsin Colonization Co. Eau Claire, Wisconsin" written on the front. Covers worn and stained, contents very good. The Wisconsin Colonization Company was the brainchild of Eau Claire land developer Benjamin Faast, who hoped to transform the "cutover lands" (land that has been thoroughly logged without replanting or repurposing) of northern Wisconsin into a region of prosperous yeoman farmers. The company's promotional literature was designed to appeal to "urban workers, recent immigrants, and renting farmers. Faast portrayed farming in the Cutover region as a route to economic security and happiness.... To make his dream a reality, Faast believed that land dealers had to provide much more than the land itself" (Vogeler, Wisconsin, A Geography, 1986). He offered not only liberal payment terms, but "made to order" farm plans that showed where homes and outbuildings could be placed and what lands were suitable for pasture, hay, and crops. Erika Janik writes in the Wisconsin Magazine of History (Vol. 90, No. 4, 2007) that the company's ready-made farms were "one of the most ambitious of the era's rural reform ideals, intended to strengthen farm businesses, stabilize rural society, and revitalize land decimated by logging and mineral extraction." This prospectus, which is undated but likely from around 1920, includes details on 18 farms currently being offering in southern Sawyer counter. Each offering includes a written description and two small, hand-colored maps -- one showing the different soils on the property and the other showing the locations of fields, barns, houses, orchards, gardens, timber, etc. A hand-colored map on the cover shows the location of each farm relative to roads, railroad lines, and towns. Additional text includes description of eight soil types (connected to a key for interpreting the soil maps) and a one-page "General Report," which describes conditions in the region generally and points out the value added by the Wisconsin Colonization Company -- including "the construction of roads, the erecting of the first buildings, long term easy payments, the organization of community centers and clubs, and the services of a practical agricultural expert." .