History of Northern Resort
The history behind the Northern Resort mirrors that of the town of Minocqua, Wisconsin. The development of the resort occurred at the same time as the influx of settlers to the area. Both have a rich history and show true American grit and the desire to use native resources to establish a thriving community.
Gus Nolan, surveyor and timber cruiser, arrived in Minocqua (previously known as Nin-oco-qua by the Ojibwa Native Americans who resided on this land) from Canada in 1887. As with many of the early settlers, he saw the massive, hundred year old trees that covered most of the state as a prime opportunity to build wealth and establish a new township. Minocqua was formally established on March 13, 1888.
Unfortunately, greed got the best of the loggers and in a span of only 10 years, they managed to cut down nearly all of the pine and hardwood trees of the north.
As the logging industry dwindled, the resort industry blossomed. Focusing on the vast span of individual fresh water lakes and chains-of-lakes in the area, Gus Nolan saw an opportunity. His dream was to develop the land into a tourist destination and provide luxury accommodations to all guests who stayed.
He built what he called "The Northern" in 1900 on 10 acres of land which included more than 1,200 feet of Lake Minocqua shoreline. By 1924 the hotel accommodated 100 guests. There were also six cabins, a dance hall, and other outbuildings on the property enjoyed by the hundreds of people the railroad brought.
With a prime location and a desire to accommodate the most affluent guests, the original Northern Resort was a fine example of early Wisconsin tourist accommodations. The neatness of the grounds and buildings was known for miles around. Its location and easy access to the lake from buildings made it one of the most valuable pieces of property on Lake Minocqua.
The original lodge of the Northern Resort was demolished in 1992. A few of the older cottages still stood including the kitchen-help cottage that was nearest the trail. Progress had caught up to old resorts like the Northern Resort, as visitors demanded more luxury. Modern cottages were constructed to replace the grand old lodge. Some of the photographs pictured here were actually 1950's postcards that documented the new cottages and confirmed the popularity of the early resort.
In 2002, The Northern Resort was purchased by the Nitschke family, Wisconsin natives and heirs to the late, Packer legend, Ray Nitschke. While they may have changed the name slightly, they've done nothing to change the excellent service and level of comfort provided at the resort.
While under their management and ownership, Nitschke's Northern Resort has blossomed into a very active, 4-seasons resort with families enjoying the Northwoods all year round. From spring to fall, guests can find a space of serenity and laughter among the tall Northern Pines surrounding this historic resort.
"Brigit and her staff are amazing. I've never stayed in a cabin so well-kept before. Her desire to maintain the grounds and homes is clearly evident."
"I enjoy cooking for my family and doing so at traditional hotels and cabins is simply not possible. I love that the cabins have everything you need to cook including a potato peeler!"
"This resort is so much fun. Right down the street is horseback riding and mini golf. We can also take the bear skin trail downtown and do our shopping, eating and drinking without having to worry about driving home."