Thursday, December 4, 2014


This will be a series of posts intended to shed some light on the age of the boots you just spent part of next month’s mortgage on, that “super rare” pick at the local thrift shop or the “be all, end all” pair just posted for sale on an online auction. Some will be pleasantly surprised at what they learn and some will find the information a huge disappointment – those super rare 1940’s “Horsehide” Chippewa’s may not be what you think after all.

Before diving into the age and value of your particular pair of Chippewa Engineer Boots, let’s cover a little background on one of America's oldest footwear companies.

Early settlers arrived in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 1836, and that same year the American Fur Trade Company commissioned brothers Lyman and Truman Warren to construct a sawmill. This ushered in the lumber era, which became a major catalyst to the community’s commercial growth, boosting the population.

Chippewa Lumber and Boom Company - the largest sawmill under one roof in the world

During logging operations a large farming community was built up around the City, and a number of shoe factories were established to support labor and answer the mail for necessary heavy-duty outdoor footwear, namely Chippewa Shoe Manufacturing Company, Weyenberg Shoe Company, Hand Made Shoe Company, Hartman Shoe Company, Independent Shoe Company, and Mason Shoe Company.

For 75 years lumber was the major industry in Chippewa Falls. After the lumber industry declined, the town was able to survive because of its early diversification of economy. Mason Shoe Manufacturing and the industry with the longest continuing history in the city (1867), Leinenkugel Brewing Company, are the two business that remain successful to this day.

The vacant Chippewa Shoe Factory, once called an eye-sore, was converted into low and moderate-income apartments.

To be continued ...

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