Presque Isle, Wisconsin

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This article is about the Wisconsin town. For other areas, see Presque Isle.
Presque Isle, Wisconsin
Location of Presque Isle, Wisconsin
Location of Presque Isle, Wisconsin
Coordinates: 46°12′49″N 89°42′4″W / 46.21361°N 89.70111°W / 46.21361; -89.70111
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Vilas
 • Town Chairman Jack Harrison
 • Supervisor Adam Johnson
 • Supervisor Karen Swenson
 • Total 74.4 sq mi (192.8 km2)
 • Land 61.7 sq mi (159.8 km2)
 • Water 12.7 sq mi (33.0 km2)
Elevation[1] 1,680 ft (512 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 616
 • Density 8.3/sq mi (3.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 715 & 534
FIPS code 55-65425[2]
GNIS feature ID 1583981[1]

Presque Isle is a town in Vilas County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 616 at the 2010 census. The unincorporated communities of Presque Isle and Katinka Village are located in the town.


The name is a corruption of the French language, presqu'ile meaning a peninsula.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 513 people, 241 households, and 176 families residing in the town. The population density was 8.3 people per square mile (3.2/km²). There were 1,216 housing units at an average density of 19.7 per square mile (7.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.81% White and 0.19% Asian. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.58% of the population.

There were 241 households out of which 15.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.3% were married couples living together, 2.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.6% were non-families. 20.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.42.

In the town the population was spread out with 13.8% under the age of 18, 1.9% from 18 to 24, 16.8% from 25 to 44, 36.5% from 45 to 64, and 31.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 56 years. For every 100 females there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $41,250, and the median income for a family was $43,438. Males had a median income of $35,000 versus $29,000 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,798. About 5.7% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.4% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.


The town of Presque Isle was originally called Fosterville and was created by Mr. J. J. Foster in 1905. Fosterville, located at the east end of a railroad spur, called Shea's Spur (which originated in Mercer, Wisconsin, a junction point some 18 miles to the west, which was constructed by the C&NW Railroad to serve Winchester and Fosterville lumber companies and logging operations). Around 1908, there was a change of ownership of the mill at Fosterville and the name change included the new owner's name for the "company town" which then became known as Winegar after Mr. William S. Winegar of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The lumbering operation prospered and the little town quickly grew to be the largest mill town in the Northern Highland Forest region of North Central Wisconsin. The area was cut over and the relative prosperity did not last. The population boomed to approximately 1,000 by the twenties; then retreated to approximately 250 by the time the company town's name was changed again in 1959. The moniker, Presque Isle, was chosen ("almost an island", used by early French explorers for the wild whitewater river, whose headwaters are the Presque Isle, Wisconsin waters which dump, in a series of waterfalls to the north, into Lake Superior at the western edge of the Porcupine Mountains) as a more alluring name for tourism and to match the place name of the surrounding 77 square mile township, a part of Vilas County, Wisconsin. Historically, part of Presque Isle Township, (including the lands of the Town of Presque Isle), was originally meant to be included in the set off of lands creating the Upper Peninsula as approved by Congress. A surveyor's error included a sliver of Michigan lands which were nevertheless controlled and administered by the State of Wisconsin and Wisconsin prevailed in retaining these lands and the issue was primarily settled in 1908. Among other issues, it makes a difference when researching the early history of the lakes and rivers of this area because they are often referred to as "The Waters of Marenisco". (Marenisco, the Michigan Township immediately to the north of present day Presque Isle, Wisconsin) Today, Presque Isle is primarily a tourist destination for avid outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing, hunting, waterskiing, swimming, boating of all types, hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and winter sports include premier snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and extensive snowmobiling opportunities. Presque Isle Township has over 2,100 seasonally used homes as well as a growing number of permanent residents now numbering about 615.


The town is represented by a Town Chairman and two Town Supervisors. It is located in Vilas County Supervisory District 2, Wisconsin State Assembly District 34, Wisconsin Senate District 12, and Wisconsin's Seventh Congressional District.[3] The Presque Isle Community Center, Presque Isle Community Library, and Presque Isle Fire Department are located in the village of Presque Isle.


The town is served by four Vilas County Trunk Highways and a Michigan State Highway. CTH W leads west and south through Winchester and Manitowish Waters to a connection with USH 51. CTH B runs east-west through the town and connects with M-64 about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the village of Presque Isle, to the east it connects with USH 45 and STH 32 at Land o' Lakes. CTH P serves the western part of the town and provides access to North Lakeland Elementary School. CTH M begins at a junction with CTH B near Natural Lakes Private Preserve in the eastern part of the town, and provides access to Boulder Junction and eventually USH 51.


The Town of Presque Isle is located in northwest Vilas County, Wisconsin in the Lake Superior snowbelt region. The area contains many lakes, and included the headwaters of the Presque Isle River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 74.4 square miles (192.8 km²), of which, 61.7 square miles (159.8 km²) of it is land and 12.7 square miles (33.0 km²) of it (17.10%) is water.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Accessed 2/11/2011

Coordinates: 46°14′50″N 89°43′46″W / 46.24722°N 89.72944°W / 46.24722; -89.72944