O Minocqua, where hast thy trains gone?


A trip to Minocqua, WI (Oneida Co, pop 4,859) wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the town history museum. I was thoroughly impressed by the two rooms of local lore – so much so that I donated the only remaining dollar in my wallet to the cause. I especially enjoyed some of the original maps of the area drawn and labeled by French explorers. Although the explorers documented all the local flora and fauna, I did not see anything about des blaireaux (badgers).



The town was started as a commercial hub for lumberjacks in the area after a railroad station was established. It connected the north woods to Milwaukee and the rest of the country.

The town had a horrendous fire in 1912 that required that firefighters be called up by train from Wausau.

In 1959 passenger rail service was stopped.

In 1981 the rail line was abandoned forever.

How ironic. Now, in the 21st century, we’re desperately trying to grapple with the consequences of the infrastructure we substituted for the railroads, and trying to get trains back on the agenda. Maybe one day, as an old man seeking a peaceful place to retire, I will be able to once again take a train from Chicago to Milwaukee to Minocqua.

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One Response to “O Minocqua, where hast thy trains gone?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Great post rode the line as a boy!

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