History of Star Lake, Wisconsin, and Environs

  • Article

    There is a tendency to think of the history of Star Lake as beginning in 1894, with the arrival of the railroad, the construction of the sawmill, and the development of a company town based upon the logging industry. And in the often used sense that history is a written record, the history of Star Lake does begin in 1894. But we know that Europeans had been in the area before that, as surveyors (the government survey occurred in the 1860's; someone had to have laid out the railroad line before it was build in 1894; someone had to have known that there were trees worth cutting), trappers, fishermen, and the like. Somehow the lake had been named in the 1870's (see The Name: Star Lake), and it seems likely that whoever named it had seen it. Before that Native Americans called the area home.

    Before the arrival of humans natural forces wrought great change upon the land; the greatest of these was the glaciers. Fire, climate change, the successions of plants and animals all shaped the landscape we see today, and which now constitutes Star Lake.

    The subdivisions selected for this webpage, listed on the left, are arbitrary, but they do show the major eras of prehistory and history of Star Lake.

    At the Bibliography tab above is an historical bibliography of Star Lake. Listed in the Comprehensive section are articles and other materials that present, however briefly, a complete or overview history of Star Lake. In the Major section are historical references to Star Lake which present historical information about the town and which do not fit any of the separate subject bibliographies, listed at each topic on this webpage. In the Minor section are items relating to, or examples of, the writing of (local) history. They are not specifically related to Star Lake.

    Charles P. Forbes
    March 10, 2007
  • Bibliography

    Comprehensive References

    DeWitt, Mabel Sayner. Brief History of Sayner and Star Lake. [Essay Presented by Mrs. DeWitt before the Vilas County Historical Society.] Sayner, 1955. View Full Entry
    Gould, F[rank] A.. Star Lake, Wisconsin, Forty Years Old December, 1934. [The Milwaukee [Railroad] Magazine, January, 1935.] Milwaukee, 1935. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Sayner-Star Lake Chamber of Commerce. Star Lake, Wisconsin. [Annual Tourist Brochure] Sayner, 2008. View Full Entry

    Major References

    ****. Best of the Northwoods, The. Boulder Junction, 1992. View Full Entry
    ****. Frances L. Love [Obituary]. [Vilas County News-Review, Sept. 17, 2003, p. 4A.] Eagle River, 2003. View Full Entry
    Bokern, James. Canoe Routes of the Chippewa. [M.S. Thesis] Stevens Point, 1987. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Hooper, C. W., ed.. Arbor Vitae, cast 115 votes Tuesday and Star Lake 67.... [Minocqua Times, April 8, 1897] Minocqua, . View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Hooper, C. W., ed.. Gov. Scofield...enroute to Star Lake..... [Minocqua Times, September 9, 1897] Minocqua, 1897. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Hooper, C. W., ed.. Rev. D. C. Savage will hold services..... [Minocqua Times, August 26, 1897] Minocqua, 1897. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Krueger, Kurt. Over-Harvest of Walleye on Star Lake Outrages the DNR, Resort Owners.. [Vilas County News-Review, April 30, 1986, p. 1.] Eagle River, 1986. View Full Entry
    Laabs, Joyce. Collection of Northwoods Nostalgia, A, From the Pages of the Lakeland Times. [Vol. 1 (of 2)] Sun Prairie, WI, 1978. View Full Entry
    Lakeland Times. First 100 Years, The. 1888-1988. Minocqua-Woodruff Centennial Edition. [Lakeland Times] Minocqua, 1988. View Full Entry
    Myers et al.. Railroad Spurred Minocqua's Growth. [The First 100 Years, 1888-1988, Minocqua-Woodruff Centennial Edition] Minocqua, 1988. View Full Entry

    Minor References

    Apps, Jerry. Old Farm. Madison, 2008. View Full Entry
    Mann, Charles. Legacy of Jamestown: America, Found & Lost. [National Geographic, Vol. 211, #5, May 2007, pp. 32-55.] Washington, 2007. View Full Entry (Full text available)
  • Links
  • Images
  • Miscellany