Two distinct towns that compliment each other - Woodruff and Arbor Vitae
Woodruff: Just to the north of Minocqua is Woodruff, which is also in Oneida County. The town, established in 1888, was named for the lumber baron, George Woodruff, owner of the Woodruff- Mcguire Lumber Co.
Today, tourism ranks and as the number one industry and 95 percent of the town’s land is publicly owned and not available for private sale. This phenomenon ensures an enviable longevity for its natural resources and recreational opportunities.
The area covers 38 square miles and, as of 2009, a year ‘round population of slightly more than 2,100. One of the area’s premier features is the Art Oehmcke State Fish Hatchery that was established in 1901. Still in operation today, the fish hatchery is responsible for “raising and restocking muskellunge, walleye and northern pike in lakes throughout the state,” according to the Minocqua Chamber of Commerce (MAVWACC).
Last year Woodruff celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Million Penny Parade. A project that began at the local high school to see what a million of something would look like, developed into a fundraiser for Lakeland Memorial Hospital, also referred to as Dr. Kate’s hospital. The students’ efforts caught the nation’s eye and money came in from all over the country. A total of $17,000 was raised and the hospital was built. At the 1954 parade a monument to the students’ contribution, a 10-foot by 17-inch concrete penny, the world’s largest penny replica, was presented. Today, it is on display at One Penny Place, the site of the former Arbor Vitae/Woodruff school.
A teaming hub for events all year, there are several city, county and state parks to enjoy everything from sunbathing lakeside, a fun afternoon watching a baseball game to driving a snowmobile through the forested beauty.
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Arbor Vitae: A town of 3,200 residents and encompassing 61.5 miles, it shares many of the same attributes as Woodruff and Minocqua. Arbor Vitae is one of the oldest towns in Vilas County and became a town shortly after Vilas County was established in 1893 and also has its roots in logging.
Today, it is a teaming tourist retreat offering limitless outdoor recreational activities, a wealth of dining spots, golfing and great shopping. This community is also enveloped by gorgeous forests and public lands and less than 20 percent of the land is privately owned.
With all the area offers visitors to the area, there are also the treasured qualities of Northwoods hospitality and friendliness. The pristine environment, the safe communities, all combine to draw visitors to become full-time residents.
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