Historic and Archaeological Sites of Oconto County

Posted on: July 27th, 2014 by

HISTORIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

OF OCONTO COUNTY

 

Key: 

B = Standing building, structure, or ruins

C = Historic or archeological site

P = Private property, site partially viewable from public road

M = Historic Marker at site

N = National Register Site or District

A = Site is accessible to the public

Pk = Parking available on site or public street

 

CHASE

Krause Stone Barn, Chase (1903).  Rare stone cobble architecture, only surviving example of its type in Wisconsin.  Northeast corner of County S and Schwartz Road.  National Register of Historic Places, 2000.  B,P,N     Town of Chase     picture     map

 

GILLETT

Smith House.  Built in 1908, it has had a Smith family member living in it into the 2000s.  Bought in 2007 by the Gillett Area Historical Society, it is maintained as a museum.  110 W. Main Street, Hwy 22.  Open Saturdays and Sundays, 1 p.m.-4 p.m., May through Labor Day, or by appointment; call 920-855-6439 or 920-855-2514.  B,A,Pk     Gillett Area Historical Society     picture     map

Hauser Dental Office, City of Gillett (ca 1904).  Former Citizens State Bank.  Restored outside and updated inside keeping such amenities as the metal embossed ceiling.  National Register of Historic Places, 2002. 137 E. Main Street.  B,N,A,Pk.     picture      map

 

LAKEWOOD

Cathedral Pines. While logging left most of Lakewood spoiled and in similar condition to the rest of the midwestern rust belt, the Holt and Balcom logging company set aside one small tract of land in which they did not cut the original growth.  This area is called the “Cathedral of Pines” which was preserved by Lucy Rumsey Holt who influenced her husband, logger W. A. Holt, to leave it as virgin timber.  Mrs. Holt used this area to teach bible studies to her children and did not want the area disturbed.  This 200 to 400 old white pine and balsam old growth stand is also home to a Blue Heron rookery.  (Wikipedia)  C,A,Pk     Wisconsin DNR: Cathedral Pines     map

Holt & Balcom Logging Camp No. 1 (1880).  East of Lakewood on Co F approximately one mile at McCauslin Brook Golf Course, behind club house. Wisconsin’s oldest standing logging camp in its original location.  Maintained as a furnished museum.  National Registry of Historic Places, 1978.  Open Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m., July and August, or by appointment, call 715-276-3505.  B,M,N,A,Pk     picture     map

Smyth Road Bridge.  East of Lakewood off Co F on Smyth Road; this narrow steel bridge spans the North Branch of the Oconto River.  National Register of Historic Places, 1996.  B,N,A     map

 

LENA

Lena Museum and Log Cabin.  The museum features a variety of local history and artifacts including tools and displays of the trapping and logging industry that once dominated the area. The log home was moved to the museum site from a rural farm and gives a realistic look at the rustic living of loggers in the past. 118 W. Maple Street (one block N of Co. A on Bus. Highway 141, west on Maple St.)  Open every Sunday, 11  a.m.-4 p.m., June through August, or by appointment, call 920-829-5242 or 920-829-5944.  B,A,Pk    map

Mathey Building (1916).  126 W. Main Street; built as a grocery store.  Now remodeled into six modern apartments.  National Register of Historic Places, 1999.  B,P,N     map

 

LITTLE SUAMICO

Arndt’s Little Suamico Sawmill Complex (ca 1835).  Oconto County’s second oldest sawmill had several different owners and operators before it burned in the Peshtigo Fire of 1871.  Prior to the fire, southern Oconto County was covered in dense stands of Pine forest which led to construction of numerous water powered sawmills there during the 1830s and 1840s.  Parts of the Little Suamico mill pond levies are still visible along the floodplain of the Little Suamico River.  National Register of Historic Places, 2006.  North side of Allen road 1/8 mile west of County J.  C,P     map

Grosse Family Cemetery, (ca 1850).  Believed to be Wisconsin’s oldest active family cemetery, it was plotted by early Little Suamico pioneers Gustav and Caroline Grosse.  North side of Allen Road 1/4 mile west of County J.  C,P,A     picture     map

 

MOUNTAIN

Green Lake Picnic Ground Shelter (1937).  Off Hwy 32/64 about two miles south of Mountain, in the Nicolet National Forest.  Also known as Weber Lake.  Built by the CCCs.  National Register of Historic Places, 1996.     map

Fire Lookout Tower (1934).  Outside Mountain on old Hwy 32.  This is the last original fire tower of nineteen standing on its original location in the Nicolet National Forest.  Restored in 1994.  National Register of Historic Lookouts.  Yes, you can climb the tower.  B,N,A,Pk     map

Grade School (1908).  In Mountain south of the main highway, 14330 Hwy W West; built as a free union high school, serve elementary age pupils of the Suring School District until 2003.  National Register of Historic Places, 2000.  B,N,Pk     map

Mountain CCC Camp, Town of Mountain (1930s).  Civilian Conservation Corp forestry camp during the Great Depression.     map

Mountain Log House (ca1880).  Hand hewn log cabin built by Mountain pioneer settlers Fred and Augusta Bartz.  Operated as historic museum and information center (seasonal).  Hwy 32 at Fireman’s Park.  B,P,A,Pk       Mountain Historical Society     map

 

OAK ORCHARD

Living Oak Trail Marker Tree, Oak Orchard.  Native Americans used long lived tree species as trail signs.  Saplings were tied down at right angles so that they would point in a specific direction.  This surviving example, possibly centuries old, points East towards the Bay Shore (or across the Bay?).  County Highway S was once the major north/south trail.  County S at Windross Lane.  C,P     map

 

OCONTO

Allouez Historic Marker.  Brazeau Ave. near intersection with Highway 22.  Oconto was the site of Jesuit missionary Father Claude Allouez’s Mission of St. Francis Xavier in late 1669, which was later moved to DePere, WI.  Wisconsin Historical Marker.  C,P,M,A     picture     map

Beyer Home Museum Complex, Oconto (1868).  Includes George E. Hall Annex, Carriage House, and Log Cabin.  Open Memorial Day through Labor Day with group tours by appointment at other times.  Oconto County historical exhibits, Victorian era furnished home, Old Copper and other Indian artifacts, classic electric cars, Old Time Main Street, veteran’s exhibits, carriage house, furnished period log cabin, and gift shop.  Operated by the Oconto County Historical Society, 917 Park Avenue, Oconto.  B,P,N,A,Pk     picture     map

Copper Culture State Park, Oconto, (ca 4000 to 3000 BC).  Burial ground of North America’s earliest metal users, the Oconto Site is the oldest dated cemetery in eastern North America. Museum is open to the public summer weekends.  Foot trail leads from parking area to stone monument at location of burial ground.  Wisconsin Historical Marker, National Register of Historic Places, 1966.  Mill Street, ½ mile west of US 41. B,C,P,M,A,Pk     picture     map

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oconto (1886).  World’s first Christian Science Church building is part of the West Main Street National Historic District, on corner of Main and Chicago.  Tours are available by appointment through the OCHS.  Wisconsin Historical Marker, National Register of Historic Places, 1974.  B,P,M,N,A,Pk     picture      map

Governor Scofield Mansion (Brunquest Home, 1869).  Built by Oconto lumberman Wm Brunquest it was later acquired by Edward Scofield, governor of Wisconsin from 1897 to 1901.  Restored by Jill and Mario Tellez in 2000-2002.  610 Main St.  Part of the West Main Street National Historic District.  Private residence.  National Register of Historic Places, 1973.  B,P,N,Pk     picture     map

Holt & Balcom Lumber Company Office (1854).  106 Superior Ave; presently Brothers Three restaurant.  National Register of Historic Places, 1976.  B,Pk     map

Huff Jones House, Oconto (1851).  Possibly Oconto County’s oldest standing home, the Colonel David Jones House was built by Oconto’s early pioneer lumbering family.  1345 Main Street.  Private residence.  National Register of Historic Places, 1978.   B,P,N     picture     map

John G. Campbell House (1892).  916 Park Ave.  Private residence. National Register of Historic Places, 1980.  B,P,N     picture      map

Oconto County Courthouses, Oconto (ca 1877 & 1891).  Original Oconto County offices and jail were located at the intersection of 1st Street and Collins Avenue.  The original building became the central part of the hospital.  Additions were made but the hospital closed in 2002.  The present Courthouse (central building) at 300 Washington Street west of Park Avenue was severely damaged by fire in 1907.  Several additions have been made.  National Register of Historic Places, 1982.  B,N,A,Pk     picture of former courthouse     picture of present courthouse     map of former courthouse     map of present courthouse

Oconto Post Office (1922).  141 Congress Street.  National Register of Historic Places, 1980.  B,N,A,Pk     picture     map

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (1870).  705 Park Avenue.  Threatened by demolition the congregation joined with St. Peter’s to create Holy Trinity parish.  National Registry of Historic Places, 1980.  B     picture     map

St. Mark’s Episcopal Guild Hall & Vicarage (1866 and 1871 respectively).  408 Park Avenue.  The church was demolished in 1998 due to deteriorating condition.  The hall is the present site of local theatre group, the Machickanee Players.  National Registry of Historic Places, 1985.     picture     map

St. Peter’s Catholic Church (1899).  516 Brazeau Avenue.  Threatened with demolition the congregation closed the building in July 2000 and joined with St. Joseph’s congregation to create Holy Trinity parish.  National Register of Historic Places, 1980.     map

Stanley Toy Company.  310 Park Avenue.  Location of building used to make cast-metal toys from 1946-1949.  A fire in December 1949 destroyed the main building, leaving only the garage addition.  Wisconsin Historical Marker.  B,C,M,Pk       picture     map

Susie’s Hill and rapids, Oconto.  5000 years ago this sand and gravel ridge stood at the mouth of the ancient Oconto River when the waters of Green Bay were at higher elevation.  Used as a long term Indian settlement, it is the site of the first privately owned land, and site of the first sawmill, on the Oconto River ca. 1835.  Home site of early Oconto pioneer residents George Lurwick and Susie Mechaquette (or Mishakwut).  Mott Street/North River Road at west city limits.  Private land.  C,P     map

West Main Street National Historic District (1860-1929).  Twenty-one historic homes and one church reflect a variety of architectural designs and influences.  Many belonged to prominent Oconto business families.  A guided tour is available by appointment through the OCHS.  A self guided walking tour booklet can be obtained at the Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce.  Between Erie Avenue and Duncan Lane.  National Register of Historic Places, 1979.  B,P,A,Pk     map

 

OCONTO FALLS

Mercier Hotel (1895).  Has been a hotel since construction.   Restored in 2002.  172 N. Main.  B,P,Pk     picture     map

Oconto Falls Tissue, City of Oconto Falls (1845).  The falls in the Oconto River was the site of first sawmill in Oconto Falls built by the Volk family around which the modern city grew.  Successive lumber and paper mills have operated at this location.  Central Ave. at the Oconto River.  B,P,Pk     picture     map

Volk Family Cemetery, Town of Oconto Falls. (ca 1855).  Private family cemetery of Oconto Falls’ pioneer family.  Golden Corners Road southwest of County Highway CC.  C,P,A     picture     map

 

PENSAUKEE

Arndt’s Pensaukee Mill (1827).  Location of Wisconsin’s first documented and sustained commercial water powered sawmill and lumbering operation.  Mill was used until the 1860s.  Pensaukee, Oconto County’s first modern era community and first modern farm were established here around the Mill.  The dam levy along north bank of the Pensaukee River is only surviving structure.  North of Drolette Rd 1 mile East of US 41.  National Register of Historic Places, 2003.  B,P,M,R     map

E.A. Taylor’s Pensaukee stagecoach stop (ca 1855) and hotel (ca 1871).  The stagecoach stop building still stands and today is part of modern farm buildings, but the hotel burned in late 1871.  Both were built along a section of the Fort Howard to Menominee Road abandoned in 1875.  South of intersection of County SS with Drolette Road, 1 mile East of US 41.  B,C,P     picture     map

Fort Howard to Menominee Road, Town of Pensaukee, (1855).  Originally surveyed along ancient Indian trails, this was the first true wagon road and stage coach route built in Oconto County.  Portions of this section of the road were abandoned in 1875 can still be walked on State of Wisconsin wildlife preserve lands.  West side of County S at Pensaukee Wildlife Area.  C,A,Pk     picture     map

Gardner’s Sawmill and Grand Hotel, Pensaukee (ca 1850 and 1872).  Gardner’s steam powered sawmill was the main industry in Pensaukee in the second half of the 19th century. Sawmill buildings stood between the river and Boat House Road east of boat ramp.  His Grand Hotel was advertised as the largest and most lavish north of Milwaukee.  It was destroyed by tornado in 1877.  Fish House Road, west of boat landing.  C,P,A,Pk     map

 

SPRUCE

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and cemetery, Spruce (1892).  Architectural example of a rural church and associated cemetery.  County A two miles west of Spruce at the intersection with W. River Road.  B,A,K    map

 

TOWN OF BRAZEAU

Bedora Mound Group, Town of Brazeau. (ca 100 AD).  Woodland Mound group preserved by Oconto County consists of two large linear mounds, two smaller conical mounds, and an ovoid shaped mound with a twisting “tail”.  Possibly a ceremonial site.  Northeast side of White Potato Lake, Meyers Road.  C,A     map

White Potato Lake Garden Beds, Town of Brazeau (ca 1200-1600 AD). Remnants of geometric pattern raised field garden plots possibly associated with the Oneota tradition.  An Archeological Conservancy preserved site. National Register of Historic Places, 2005.  White Potato Lake Road.  C,P,N,A     map

 

TOWN OF LAKEWOOD

Murphy Resort, Town of Lakewood.  The Murphy Resort are ruins of three log cabins set in an old growth hemlock forest with possible dam or bridge ruins along the north branch of the Oconto River at the end of Murphy Road in the Town of Lakewood.  Once owned by the Oconto Company until about 1916, its main building may be the remains of a logging camp later converted to a private hunting resort by Murphy.  B,A     cabin     dam     map

 

TOWN OF LITTLE RIVER

Swamp Hotel, Town of Little River (originally built ca 1912).  Ruins of the foundation of one of Oconto County’s notorious prohibition era speakeasies.  Buildings burned in 1932.  Located along an abandoned length of the Fort Howard to Menominee Road. Tower Road (Old Highway 15/41 North of County A).  B,P,Pk     picture      map

Thomaston Fishing Settlement, Town of Little River (ca 1855-1871).  Early Green Bay shore commercial fishing settlement founded by the Samuel Thomas family was burned in the Peshtigo Fire then abandoned.  County Y at D. E. Hall County Park.  C,P,A,Pk     map

 

TOWN OF OCONTO

Paxkinano Village site, Town of Oconto.  Historic location of Menominee Nation Village bearing that name.  The site is situated along a peninsula at the confluence of the Little River with the Oconto River and is one of many ancient sites along this stretch of the Oconto River.  It was occupied more or less continuously for several thousand years.  Stiles Road at Funk Road.  C,P     map

 

TOWN OF STILES

Indian School and Farm, Town of Stiles (ca 1870).  This small building was built by the Stiles School District and is reported to have served as a school for Indian children as part of a Indian “resettlement” area along the Stiles Road.  Similarly the farm was reported to have been used to train Indians in Euro-American form agriculture.  Ruins of the barn foundation, possibly from the Peter Pecor farm ca. 1858, and a stand of virgin pine mark the location.  South of Stiles Road at Watercrest Road, 1 mile East of US 141.  B,C,P     barn      pines     map

Stiles Dam (ca 1925) and Iron Bridge (ca 1920), Town of Stiles.  One of Oconto County’s earliest hydro-electric facilities.  The bridge is at the crossing of Old US Highway 141.  West of US Highway 141 along Oconto River.  B,P,Pk     map

 

TOWNSEND

Archibald Lake Mound Site.  This site comprises a group of conical and linear mounds that is one of the largest Oneota/Wolf River Tradition pre-European contact mound groupings in northeastern Wisconsin, ancestral to local tribal people.  Mounds such as these probably were used for burials of important individuals and possibly for ceremonial places, between about 1000 AD and 1500 AD.  The exact location is not publicized in order to protect the delicate nature of the site.  Please respect any mounds you come across in your travels. Contact the forest archaeologist to report any that you find so that we can protect those as well.  The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest website has more information.  CNNF     National Register of Historic Places, 2012.  C     picture