In 1902 Franklin Pierce Hiles a son of the lumber baron
"King George" Hiles of Dexterville, west of Wisconsin Rapids purchased
thousands of acres of timberland in the Pine Lake area and started a sawmill
near the Mill Pond. In 1903 the village was named "Hiles". Mr. Hiles
was energetic. He started a sawmill near the Mill Pond, improved the dam on
Pine Creek, arranged with the Chicago and Northwestern railroad to run a spur
from its mainline at Stella Junction 10 miles to the west, established logging
camps, constructed a large boarding house, general store, schools, churches
and some 30 houses. Hiles had its own logging railroad running into the forest,
east and north of town. The census of 1905 indicates 450 persons were living
in the area. In 1905 Hiles sold to the Forster-Whitman Lumber Company, which
was later, reorganized as the Forster-Mueller Lumber Company. In 1917 Charles
Fish purchased the town (and lumber and logging operation) from Forster-Mueller
he operated the mill until 1928 when financial reverses forced his creditor,
the Chicago Title and Trust to take over. In the early 1930's the mill was
closed, dismantled and the equipment was sold.
In the 1930's 10,000 unemployed transient walked the roads. The state of Wisconsin was helping out by maintaining eight transient posts in various parts of the state. Hiles was one such depot housing 300 - 600 men. Food and lodging was provided until February 1934 when the building burnt down. Men took to the road again or shifted to the CCC or WPA.
In 1940 C. B. Hanson and Sons started a new sawmill it was located on the north end of town. It operated until 1954. In September 1971 Ted Roberts Lath and Lumber Company went into operation. Today, Hiles is a balanced mixture of the old-forestry and logging and the new-four-season tourism: hunting, fishing, and change of colors, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
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