Minocqua, WI

Located in the northwest corner of Oneida County, Minocqua obtained township status on March 13, 1889. The town’s name was derived from the Ojibwe word “Ninocqua,” meaning “noon-day rest.” Native Americans once used the Island of Minocqua as place of rest during their journeys.

Minocqua Lake aerialToday, Minocqua (often referred to as part of the Lakeland area) is a flourishing tourist destination, with a variety of accommodations – from rustic cabins to luxurious condominium suites, and campgrounds to bed and breakfasts. It features fine dining, unique shopping, attractions and historical museums, as well. It is also home to one of the largest concentrations of fresh water bodies in the world, providing endless outdoor recreational opportunities for four seasons of fun in the Northwoods.

Minocqua Police Department
418 Chicago Avenue
P.O. Box 346
Minocqua, WI 54548
(715)356-3234
www.minocquapd.com

Town of Minocqua
415 Menominee St, Suite A
Minocqua, WI 54548
(715) 356-5296
www.townofminocqua.org

Population and Geography

canoeingMinocqua has an approximate year-round population of 4,821, and is the largest township in the northern half of the county. Because its major industry is tourism, the population nearly quadruples during the summer months.

The township consists of approximately 107,520 acres of land and contains approximately 45 lakes. Approximately 187 miles of road located within the township. The altitude is 1,626 feet.

Government

fireworksThe Town of Minocqua is governed by a town chairman and a four-person board of supervisors. Town board meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday’s of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. in the board room of the Minocqua Community Building.

The Minocqua Community Building, located at 415 Menominee Street, was originally the Minocqua High School, which was built in 1907. An addition was added in 1935. In 1982, when the building was being renovated, a fire destroyed the oldest section of the structure. This section was rebuilt and officially opened on June 26, 1983. Today, the building houses the Minocqua Public Library, Town of Minocqua offices, meeting rooms and Volunteer Fire Department.

History of Minocqua

Lake at sunriseThe name Minocqua is said to be derived from the Ojibwe word “Ninocqua,” meaning “noon-day rest.” The island is believed to have been the area Native Americans camped at during their travels. Other legends say the name came from Ojibwe Indian Chief Noc Wib or Minocquip, who lived on the island with his followers.

The history of Minocqua is also rich in logging lore. When early settlers arrived in Wisconsin, virgin forests with mammoth, hundred-year-old trees covered nearly 90 percent of the state. This vast wonderland was viewed as an inexhaustible forest by loggers arriving at the turn of the nineteenth century to harvest the wealth of timber. Logging boom towns cropped up everywhere. In 1887 when Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Companies forged their way to the northern most regions of the state, Maniwaki sprang up as a major logging town. It was formally established on March 13, 1888.

In 1891 the town consisted of 29 saloons, two hotels, two general stores, a small market and approximately 15 homes. Lumberjacks could be seen everywhere, especially in the saloons, frequently drinking until their paychecks were gone. Interesting tales exist of surgery performed in the saloons by the famed Dr. Thomas Torpy, after whom Torpy Park is named.

Father and son by the lakeThe lumberjacks worked feverishly through the winter months, reaping as much timber as possible until the spring thaw, when the logs were sent south to the mills. In the 10-year period between 1890 and 1900 loggers cut nearly all of the pine and hardwood forest of the north.

As the logging industry dwindled, the resort industry began, and the railroads were used to bring visitors by the hundreds who were seeking the plentiful fish that swam in the beautiful lakes and the abundant recreational opportunities in the area. A "Fisherman’s Special" weekend excursion was established, and the Northwoods Hiawatha brought up eager fishermen.

Businesses prospered as more and more people found the area a delightful place to live. The businesses were originally established on Front Street, which was the main street of town in the early 1900s. But in 1912, a devastating fire leveled most of them.

The fire started at the Lakeside Hotel, which was located on the corner of Front and Flambeau streets, across from today’s post office. A group of men tried to stop the fire by setting dynamite, but their plan failed and 14 buildings burned to the ground, including the Lakeside Hotel, a general store, a meat market, a restaurant and the opera house. The estimated damages were $110,000 – a staggering amount in those days.

Some of the business owners rebuilt at their former sites, but most of the re-growth was on Oneida Street, the main street of town today. Many of the later buildings remain today. Blue historical signs are posted in front of them.

History of Minocqua, Woodruff, and Arbor Vitae

The Minocqua, Woodruff, Arbor Vitae Area has a rich history and has grown into a booming tourist destination that delights people from all over the world.

Culture in the Minocqua Area

Opportunities to experience arts and culture are more abundant in the Northwoods than you may have imagined. From arts and crafts shows, live theater performances and oil painting classes to live music in the park and traditional Ojibwe craft workshops, you will find plenty of ways to enrich your cultural palate.

Minocqua, WI

Located in the northwest corner of Oneida County, Minocqua obtained township status on March 13, 1889. The town’s name was derived from the Ojibwe word “Ninocqua,” meaning “noon-day rest.” Native Americans once used the Island of Minocqua as place of rest during their journeys.

Today, Minocqua (often referred to as part of the Lakeland area) is a flourishing tourist destination, with a variety of accommodations – from rustic cabins to luxurious condominium suites, and campgrounds to bed and breakfasts. It features fine dining, unique shopping, attractions and historical museums, as well. It is also home to one of the largest concentrations of fresh water bodies in the world, providing endless outdoor recreational opportunities for four seasons of fun in the Northwoods.

Arbor Vitae, WI

As one of the older towns in Vilas County, Arbor Vitae was established in the 1890s, shortly after Vilas became a county in 1893.

Today Arbor Vitae is the center of a flourishing tourist industry and is home to a wide variety of accommodations – resorts, cottages, private homes, hotel/motels, bed and breakfasts and campgrounds.

Area attractions include wildlife parks, live theater, antique shops and events. Unique shopping, many fine area restaurants, golf courses and endless outdoor recreational opportunities also offer four-season fun in the Northwoods.

Abandoned railroad right-of-ways and many logging roads provide an extensive trail system now used for recreational purposes such as snowmobiling in the winter and hiking and biking during the spring, summer and fall.

Lake Tomahawk, WI

Nestled in the heart of Oneida County is the community of Lake Tomahawk known as the Queen of the Northwoods Lake. If you're looking for a quiet change of pace from noisy areas, this could definitely be your destination.

Tomahawk Lake became a township in 1914 and its name was changed to Lake Tomahawk in the early 1930's.

Lake Tomahawk is located between Minocqua/Woodruff to the north, and Rhinelander to the south. Lake Tomahawk is in the middle of the American Legion State Forest and boasts many miles of hiking and snowmobile trails, lakes, magnificent forests and pristine beaches.

Each year there are major musky and walleye tournaments that ultimately bring in some of the best trophy fish. Lake Tomahawk cherishes the quiet times, but is only minutes away from larger town amenities. There's never a bad time of year to visit Lake Tomahawk in Oneida County.

Woodruff, WI

Woodruff is a small, unique town that was established in 1888 in Oneida County. The town is believed to be named for George Woodruff, owner of the Woodruff-Macguire Lumber Company. He often had freight labeled, “Ship to Woodruff at Muskonegan Creek, NorthWestern Terminal.” Thus, his name became associated with the site.

Today, Woodruff is the center of a flourishing tourist industry and is home to a wide variety of accommodations, attractions and endless four-season outdoor recreational opportunities.

A significant Woodruff historical attraction is the Art Oehmcke State Fish Hatchery, which began in 1901. It continues to be one of the only hatcheries still operating in Wisconsin that is responsible for raising and restocking muskellunge, walleye and northern pike in lakes throughout the state.