"The Northern"

Where Minocqua History Begins!

The history of Minocqua begins at the site of the Hotel Northern, also known simply as The Northern or the Northern Hotel, located at the end of Northern Road and adjacent to a water thoroughfare connecting Lake Minocqua to Lake Kawaguesaga. Full View of the Northern Hotel - Nitschke's Northern Resort

It was the historic site of an Indian Village known as Nin-Oco-Qua, before the Indians moved across the lake, the first trading post, a battle between the Chippewa and the Sioux where hundred died and were buried, and the first saloons as the town of Minocqua and railroads were being built.

Gus Nolan, a government surveyor who first visited the site in May 1886, later established the Hotel Northern and opened for business in 1900. By 1924, the hotel could accommodate 100 guests and had 6 cabins, a boat house and dance hall and other buildings on 10 acres of ground.

It was known for its fine lithia spring water, fishing and good eats. Among Nolan’s first guests were presidential candidate William Jennings Bryant and his family, who came in 1900 when he brought his campaign to northern Wisconsin.

Historic Northern Resort Cottages - now Nitchke's Northern ResortGus Nolan proudly mentioned the importance of the site of The Northern during a 1932 interview for the Lakeland Times.

“It was on the west side that the first road was cut into this part of the country from Tomahawk, and the first tote roads to Flambeau and Woodruff started from here. It was on the banks of this thoroughfare that the first load of freight was unloaded. That came in by wagon."

“The west side of the lake took an active part in the origin of Minocqua. Sitting outside the Historic Northern Hotel in Minocqua - now Nitschke's Northern ResortHere was where the name Minocqua originated. It was taken from the name of the old Indian village, Nin-oco-qua, which the Indian interpreter informed me meant noon-day or mid-day, as it was half way between the Wisconsin and Flambeau Rivers and the Indians making the trip either way usually reached here by noon-day."

“It was here that the first store and first hotel were started. Here also was located the first railroad depot and from it was sent out the first telegram from this section.”

Fisherman in front of the Historic Northern Hotel in Minocqua, WIGus Nolan knew The Northern was special. Guests who visited planned to return year after year, “for they know that here, in Minocqua, at “The Northern”, they find not only tranquility, but themselves.” It will always be known as Nin-Oco-Qua, - the noon-day or halfway resting spot for many vacationers before they journey back to their homes. By all means, it is where the history of Minocqua and your vacation begins.

Compiled by William Piper