Knapp, Stout, & Company mill. On June 22, 1855, Ebenezer Thompson began a mill here, cutting a short ditch across a bend in the Red Cedar River to form a mill race. In a short time high water enlarged the ditch until it became a main channel. On February 24, 1858, Mr. Thompson deeded the interest to Capt. B. B. Downs who made such improvements as the dam, and enlarging the operation. The town grew up almost solely around the sawmill and was consequently named after Captain Downs. At sometime between 1858 and 1883 the mill was sold to Knapp, Stout, & Company, the date of sale not being recorded, but the Dunn County history does mention that after a big flood of 1883, Knapp, Stout, & Company asked Capt. Downs to return to town and see if he could rebuild the dam for them, which he did.
The Knapp, Stout, & Company built a boarding house (The Timber Inn building) and company store for the mill workers. This building housed a barber shop, common dining room and kitchen, along with bedrooms for the workers upstairs. The mill was closed in 1900 and then torn down soon after. It is said that The Timber Inn is the oldest standing wood structure in Dunn County.
"It was the greatest lumber corporation in the world: that in 1873 on the Red Cedar and Chippewa Rivers owned 115,000 acres of pine lands and had in its employ 1,200 men." -- writer of Wisconsin Historical Society Collections.