In many areas of Wisconsin in the late 19th century huge quantities of timber were felled and processed. Iola was no different. The river was not only dammed to provide power for the sawmill, but the resulting body of water made it easier to move timber to the mill in the winter or summer. One of the more dangerous occupations was guiding the logs through the water with long pikes, called peaveys. As the picture below shows, a crew of 'river monkeys' as they were called, moved the logs into the sawmill from what is now Lake Iola.
While much of the lumber was processed and shipped out of Iola, the quantity was so great that logs were also shipped out of Iola to other sawmills south of Iola. Some of these car-loads of logs can be seen in the image above.