At the mention of Lake County Indiana many think of the steel mills and sprawling refineries. But the landscape was far from that when John Wood first arrived in the county in 1835. Then the area was one of virgin forests, rolling prairies and impenetrable swamps. It was a far cry from the Massachusetts he had left. Lake County was still the American frontier, while the area around Danvers, MA, Wood’s hometown, was developing into one of the nation’s major industrial areas. John Wood traveled back east for his family and upon his return to Lake County in 1837, built a simple up and down sawmill on the banks of Deep River. The following year he constructed a grist mill. These two operations represent the first industrial complex in Lake County.