Take a ride on the Roddis Line Heritage Trail and relive the days when railroad logging was the only way to get the “big” timber out of the woods.
Lake of the Falls: Lumberjacks drove white pine logs over beautiful Lake of the Falls to mills downstream until the pine was cut over in 1905. The valuable virgin hardwood timber that remained didn’t float. Find out how a new solution to moving timber from logging camps to the mill was found.
Turtle Flambeau Flowage: Called the “Crown Jewel of Northern Wisconsin” this 19,000 acre flowage was purchased by the State of Wisconsin in 1990 as a “special recreation area” to preserve its natural character and scenic value. Excellent opportunities for boating, canoeing, island camping, and wildlife viewing. Located between County Hwy. FF and State Hwy. 182 in the Mercer and Springstead areas.
Area Resorts: Recognizing that the area’s clear lakes and cool summer air could draw weary city dwellers, enterprising pioneer settlers opened resort businesses here as early as 1905. Area resorts continue to provide gracious lodging and dining cuisine that has made memorable northwoods vacations for nearly a century.
Turtle-Flambeau Hydro Dam: “The Hoover Dam” of Iron County. Built in 1926 at the junction of the Turtle and Flambeau Rivers, it created the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Picnic area and canoe put-in for the North Fork of the Flambeau River. On Turtle Flambeau Dam Road on County FF.
Timber! Follow Pinery Road back to the days when white pine was king and the immense” inexhaustible” stands of timber brought French Canadian loggers and settlers eager to make their fortunes in Iron County’s pinery.
The Legend of Emerson: Was it curse or coincidence that the Emerson Brothers established a lumbermill town here only to tragically lose their lives in a freak lightning storm and cause the town of Emerson to fade into history?
Springstead Historic District: For centuries, Native Americans bands came each spring to tap ancient maple trees on the bank of Stone Lake, French Canadian loggers built log cabins here at the turn of the century. At this site the town of Springstead grew, was abandoned, and is now being restored. Site development in progress. Open to the public. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As the white pine was depleted, the lumberman transferred their attention to establishing resorts, many of these are still in existence today.
Harbor Drive follows an old wagon trail, built in the late 1850’s, to connect the Flambeau Trail at Lake Superior to the city of Ashland. This rustic road “tunnels” through the dense hardwood canopy, passing near the graves of Chippewa Chief Oronto and his daughters.
Highway 122 parallels the Ironton Trail, blazed in 1856 to connect the city of Ironton and Lake Superior to the platted community of Springdale. Neither town was ever developed. This scenic drive winds over the top of the Penokee Mountain Range, through towering hardwood trees.
Iron County, Wisconsin has long been "Wisconsin's Vacation Paradise." Tourists discovered the natural beauty of the woods and waters around the turn of the century. Entertainment establishments found their roots in the days of lumbering and mining in the 1800's.
Iron County was a timber rich area before the lumber barons logged off the virgin timber. By the early 1900's the virgin timber had disappeared and the lumber companies looked to another source of revenue to come from the large land holdings. This land had beautiful lakes and an abundance of fish and wild game for sportsmen. Thus, the development resorts and tourism in the area began. Iron County has long been known for its recreation and tourism and the buildings have many stories to tell. Iron County represents the tale of Wisconsin's Northwoods' wilderness development into a tourist haven.