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The town took the name Dalkena after the surnames of the D & K Mill Company’s founders, Dalton and Kennedy.

Now an almost deserted village, this town stands slightly above the river. On both sides of the tracks of a branch line of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway were the remains of a big lumber mill that burned in 1935. In 1902, the Dalton and Kennedy Sawmill was built, and for a number of years the town prospered. Even before the destruction of the mill, however, the supply of timber was nearing exhaustion. Still visible in the river are jam breakers, resembling lean-to huts on pilings; and below is a quiet lagoon where a few years ago thousands of logs floated.

Along the route at frequent intervals were stretches of blackened hillside, sprinkled with charred snags and logs, residue of destructive forest fires. By midsummer the trees are dry as tinder and require only a chance spark from a donkey engine, a burning match carelessly dropped, or a bolt of lightning to burst into flame. A tiny blaze fanned by dry winds will become a roaring, moving wall of reddish flame and black smoke. An army of firefighters, with shovels, axes, and dynamite, do what they can to check the fire, but before a blaze is brought under control, it usually has destroyed many square miles of timber and brush, homes, and even small towns. Even many miles away the air is heavy with smoke, through which sun is seen as a smoldering red disc.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Dalkena Lumber Company Barn

Also known as the LaPorte Barn, it has a distinctive cupola and is one of only two buildings remaining from the more than 40 that once comprised the company town. The nearby horse barn sports the same cupola. Before the fire that destroyed the mill in 1935, the barn loft and its hardwood floor was a favorite venue for dances.