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A Little History to Get You Acquainted

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 -- the desire to use native resources to establish a thriving community.

old style picture of lake minocqua

Gus Nolan, surveyor and timber cruiser, arrived in Minocqua (previously known as Nin-oco-qua by the Ojibwa Native Americans who resided on the 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 another 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.

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.

northern resort sign

While under their management and ownership, Nitschke's Northern Resort blossomed into a very active, 4-seasons resort allowing families to enjoy the property year-round.

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