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Early Summer Residents

A handful of summer residents began to appear in the Manitowish Waters area in the 1890s, mostly seeking world-class fishing and hunting. At first, camping along the shore of a lake or renting a modest cabin for the summer emerged as the standard accommodations during the late 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, summer residents slowly began to acquire land and enjoying their own summer cabins. With limited railroad access to what will become the community of Manitowish Waters, summer residences along the chain of lakes will develop more slowly than surrounding towns.

After WWI, the construction of highway 10 boosted development along the Manitowish Chain. The Roaring '20s brought more folks to the Northwoods, seeking a permanent family cabin on the chain. Bullish real estate plans were developed, spurred by a soaring stock market that will crash in the fall of 1929. For instance, a huge real estate development was planned on the southeast shore of Rest Lake (to be called Shore Acres) but collapsed. Some found real estate bargains during the Great Depression and joined the growing number of summer residents. Ultimately, the US's victory over the Axis Powers during WWII will launch the rush of modern summer residents in the town of Manitowish Waters.

For more in-depth stories and images regarding Manitowish Waters early summer residents, please select "Full History" below.


Flancher Family on the Manitowish Lake railroad  c 1910
Flancher Family on the Manitowish Lake railroad c 1910

Brown/Byram cabin on Rest Lake c1934

The Northwoods offered great outdoor sporting opportunities with an abundance of lakes, streams and forests. Before WWII and air conditioning the chain of lakes offered a summer escape from the hot, humid close quarters of urban centers.  A cabin along cool northern lakes was a prized property.   Porches were designed to catch cool lake breezes for both relaxation and sleeping. Across the nation, people suffering from ailments like asthma and allergies were encourage to come north for the summer.

To explore the early Summer Residents of Manitowish Waters further, just click on the lakes and streams links below to to see pictures and read the stories from our town's past.

Wild Rice Lake and Trout River

Alder and Little Trout Lakes

Manitowish and Little Manitowish Lakes 

Little Star Lake

Spider Lake

Island Lake and Rice Creek

Fawn and Stone Lakes

Clear and Big Lakes

Manitowish River

Rest Lake

Vance, Sturgeon and Benson Lakes

Circle Lily, Dead Pike Lakes 

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