Minocqua, Wisconsin

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Minocqua, Wisconsin
Entering downtown CDP Minocqua
Entering downtown CDP Minocqua
Nickname(s): The Island City
Location of Minocqua, Wisconsin
Location of Minocqua, Wisconsin
Coordinates: 45°50′48″N 89°49′50″W / 45.84667°N 89.83056°W / 45.84667; -89.83056
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Oneida
 • Chairman [2] Mark Hartzheim [1]
 • Town Clerk [1] Roben Haggart [1]
 • Town Treasurer [1] Laura Mendez [1]
 • Town Secretary [1] Abby Trapp [1]
 • Total 168.1 sq mi (435.3 km2)
 • Land 150.8 sq mi (390.6 km2)
 • Water 17.3 sq mi (44.8 km2)
Elevation[3] 1,598 ft (487 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 4,859
 • Density 32.2/sq mi (12.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 715 & 534
FIPS code 55-53225[4]
GNIS feature ID 1583727[3]

Minocqua is a town in northwestern Oneida County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 4,385 after taken in the 2010 census. The census was done over Minocqua and the unincorporated community of Rantz, both which are located in the town. Minocqua is commonly referred to as "The Island City." [5]


Minocqua was officially organized in the year 1889. While there are varying explanations regarding the meaning of the word "Minocqua", most credit its origin to the Island's first inhabitants, the Ojibwe Indians.[6] The town Minocqua is named after, "Ninocqua", the Ojibwe name that is defined as "noon-day-rest".[7]

In the late 1800s, Minocqua was a logging town. Minocqua Clawson was the first white child born in town. Clawson Hill was a famous landmark in town, and it is now the current location of the Pointe Resort & Hotel at the south end of the Highway 51 bridge.

The construction of railroads were a critical component of Minocqua's early growth. The Milwaukee Road originally came to the area to provide access to timber. Later, railroads catered to sportsmen and tourists, transforming Minocqua into the vacation getaway it remains to this day. The two railroad trestles that brought trains to the Island are still intact and serve as the trailhead for the Bearskin State Trail that provides hiking and biking in summer, and snowmobiling in winter.

Much of the town's business district was destroyed by a major fire in 1912. Many of the buildings on the main street today were designed and built after the fire. Although the last several decades have brought a higher percentage of visitor-oriented retail stores, the downtown still retains a U.S. post office, banks, restaurants, and a barber shop. The Island, Minocqua's city center, contains the Campanile Center for the Arts, the Minocqua Police Department, Minocqua Fire Department, and the Minocqua Community Center, which houses the town offices and public library.

Landmarks on the Island include Torpy Park, the Belle-Isle building, the Minocqua Community Center, Bosacki's Boathouse (now The Boathouse), T Murtaugh's Pub, and the Thirsty Whale. Town offices and the Minocqua Public Library are located in the Minocqua Community Center. Bosacki's Boat House burned to the ground in 1972. Although state regulations prohibited the structure being rebuilt over water, a public outcry convinced the DNR to allow it to be rebuilt where it had originally stood.


Minocqua, established in Wisconsin's 34th Assembly, 12th Senate District, and the Seventh Congressional District, is represented by Representative Rob Swearingen, State Senator Tom Tiffany, and Congressman Sean Duffy.[2] The town board consisting of a town chairman and four supervisors, is responsible for governing the citizens of Minocqua.[2] There have been 30 town chairmen in the history of Minocqua. The list of early town chairmen include A.O. Dorwin, Jacob Huber, Thomas Bolger, William Schlecht, and Dr. Torpy.[8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 168.1 square miles (435.4 km²), of which, 150.8 square miles (390.6 km²) of it is land and 17.3 square miles (44.8 km²) of it is water. The total area is 10.29% water.

Termed the "Island City," a portion of the town is situated on what was an actual island, which is accessible by bridge on Highway 51 and "the fill" to the north. Much of Minocqua has sandy soil, although areas of the far northwest and the northeast are clay. The majority of the soil is highly acidic and many areas are covered by forests.

The highest point in Minocqua is Squirrel Hill, located near Winter Park (1735 ft per Wisconsin Blue Book). The highest structure in Minocqua is the Lakeland Sanitary District water tower, a steel tank on Hwy 51 North put in place in the 1960s during the winter.

The community of Bo-di-Lac is located in the western portion of the town bordered by Squirrel Lake, Diamond Lake, Booth Lake, and the town of Lac Du Flambeau (Bo-di-Lac is short for "Booth-Diamond-Lac du Flambeau).


As of the census[4] of 2010, there are 4,835 people residing in the town occupying 2,079 households. There are a total of 4,835 housing units in town of which 2,493 are seasonal in nature.

The racial makeup of the town is 96.1% White, 0.2% African American, 1.7% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Turkish, 0.1% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

26.4% of the town's population is age 65 or older while 16.3% is below the age of 18. The median age is 51.6 years.

The average household size is 2.11 persons.


Minocqua has one public elementary school, Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School, and one high school, Lakeland Union High School. A satellite campus of the Nicolet Area Technical College is located next to the high school.


Tourism plays a substantial role in the economy of Minocqua.

As a forested lake community, there are many outdoor summer activities, such as fishing, camping, waterskiing, boating, hiking, bike riding, berry collecting, and swimming.

Minocqua is home to the world's oldest amateur waterski team, the Min-Aqua Bats[9]

The Fourth of July is an especially patriotic holiday in Minocqua. A parade is thrown every year and the entire town comes to watch. There they can enjoy dancing, live music, fireworks, and a Min-Aqua Bat waterski and boat show.

Minocqua's nightlife includes bars featuring live music in the summer. During the fall, rifle and bow hunting draw many visitors, as does the annual downtown merchants' Beef-a-Rama held the last Saturday in September. Winter activities include snowmobile festivals, Nordic (cross country) skiing, ice fishing, downhill skiing in nearby hills, snow tubing, sleigh rides, and snowmobiling. Minocqua is home to Minocqua Winter Park, a premier cross-country skiing venue as well as a sledding mountain and ice-skating pond.

A business strip runs through downtown Minocqua ("The Island") with tourist attractions and shopping.

Arts activities include the Tommy O's Northern Stars Playhouse, the Campanile Center for the Arts, and the annual HMMGG Festival of Arts and Culture.

This is a view of Camp Agawak from the Waterfront.
A view of Blue Lake from Camp Agawak

Museum and other exhibits[edit]

The US flag that was lowered by the last eleven US soldiers to depart from the Vietnam War, is on exhibit in Minocqua.[10]

The Minocqua Museum is located in Minocqua.[11]



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°52′17″N 89°42′40″W / 45.87139°N 89.71111°W / 45.87139; -89.71111