Land o' Lakes - moving along with changing times



It started as a mill town back in the 1870's. The Rudolf Otto mill was one of the best single-rotary mills in Northern Wisconsin.The Mason-Donaldson mill was built in 1905 and gave its name to the town, Donaldson, about 8 miles west of the location that would be known as Stateline.

When the mill burned down in 1908, and Donaldson moved east to Stateline, a name derived from it location right on the Wisconsin/Michigan border. In 1882 it was a part of Lincoln County. Then Oneida County was divided from Lincoln County in 1885. It finally became of part of Vilas County when it was formed separately from Oneida County in 1897 and was a part of the Town of Eagle River. Stateline was not recognized as a town until 1907 when the first town meeting was held on April 1.

The area was known for exceptional tree growth and boasted about a 40-acre section of land along Highway B that produced a million board feet of lumber.

At the same time, Stateline was developing a business district and several of the town attributes tended to shuffle between Stateline, Donaldson and the Upper Peninsula. The post office, schools were part of the fluid growth.

Tourism also figured in prominently at the turn of the century. It was 1893 that Bent's Camp was established as a logging camp and became the first tourist resort camp on the Cisco Chain in 1896. Several other camps emerged at this time.

The originally the town grew in a north/south direction along the railroad corridor that ran from Eagle River through Watersmeet, Mich. With the decline of the lumber industry, the town then grew along the east/west direction of Highway B.

During 1937-1939 J.H, King built his complex that is now the present day Gateway Lodge. King made his money as a theater tycoon in Detroit and actually built a complex that consisted of King's Gateway Inn, the King's Gateway Hotel, the Gateway Golf Course, the Gateway Airport, Ski Chalet, and Riding Stables. This complex was a driving force in developing the business district along Highway B.

Land o'Lakes became the town's official name in 1926. At the insistence of the US Post Office the names was changed due to multiple towns with the name "Stateline". It was not until 1948 that the full township received the Land o'Lakes monicker.

In the 1960s the town elected Vi Becker as the state's first woman Chairman. She was responsible for building the second sod runaway at the airport, now owned by the town. King died in 1952 and his widow donated the airport to Land o'Lakes.

The construction of the airport was done free of charge by the "Euclid Earth Movers". Free lodging was provided to the construction workers by the Gateway Inn.

Land o'Lakes continues to attract not only retirees to the area, but also young families. The town prides itself on being a close knit community and its ability to sustain and provide the services of a thriving town.

"This is a town that helps itself wherever possible," the town history states. Given the challenges and adaptability to those influences, the town is fully aware it is, "critical for all who love this town to be vigilant in balancing growth with protection of the quietly beautiful natural environment that makes Land 0' Lakes such an attractive place in which to visit, work, and live."

Brought to you by:  Eliason Realty of the North, LLC 
Northern Wisconsin Real Estate with Offices in Eagle River and St Germain WI

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