John L's Old Maps

Part 2: 1873-1920

A collection of images centering on Northwestern Wisconsin, particularly Sawyer and Washburn Counties


Old Map Collection – web version 4.2 (5/24/07):
  Part 1: c.1710-1857
  Part 2: 1873-1920 (this page)
Supplementary Pages:
•  Evolution of Northwest Territory
•  Photos:  Source of Brule & St. Croix Rivers
•  Photos:  Sources of the Mississippi River
•  Photos:  Railroads and Trails
•  Views of the Apostle Islands
•  References

Click on items in the "green column" below to view maps in separate windows.
Do not allow your browser to reduce larger images to screen size.

  • Cable
  • Namekagon / Namakagan – usually shown to the west of the main track
  • Leonard / Leonard's Spur
  • Seeley
  • Doran's Siding
  • Phipps – also known for short periods as Hubbard and Lenroot (the latter name most prominently associated with the post office)
  • Hayward
  • Stewart / Stewart's Station
  • Stinnett
  • Namekagon – renamed Springbrook (aka Spring Brook) in 1901
  • Ames / Ames Station
  • Earl
  • Veazie / Mills
    (Mills probably originated as the name of the Post Office – shown in earlier maps at Veazie's site, later moving to Superior Junction.)
  • Superior Junction / Mills / Trego
  • Chandler
  • Spooner
  • Chicago Junction

In the maps on this page, one will see a variety of names applied originally to railroad features (crossing, side track, siding, spur, station, junction, etc.), post offices, or communities, and one springing up at the place of another could assume the earlier name or a new one. Persistant, simultaneous use of different names for the same community occasionally resulted in the equivalent names being shown on the maps.

On maps dated circa 1880-1910, the names shown on the right have been noted along the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha track from the Cable area down through the Spooner area. Some of these communities formed and/or died out during this time, and mapmakers were often lax in keeping up with the times and the synonymy.

Some modern views of the railroad north of Spooner are shown here.

Map 15 (JPEG, 264K): Detail from "Gray's Atlas Map of Wisconsin" for 1873.

Map 16 (JPEG, 264K): Detail from the state map in Charles R. Tuttle's An Illustrated History of The State of Wisconsin published in 1875 by B. B. Russell, Boston.

Map 17 (JPEG, 182K): Detail from Rand McNally's Wisconsin map in the New Dollar Atlas of the United States and the Dominion of Canada which is dated 1884, although the situation looks more like pre-1882.

Map 18 (JPEG, 149K): Detail from "Railroad Map of Wisconsin prepared for the Railroad Commissioner by Allen D. Conover, C.E. The only date on this map is associated with mileage statistics – Dec. 31, 1887. Thankfully this rare map is preserved and available as a reprint from Wisconsin Trails Magazine.

Map 19 (JPEG, 248K): Detail from map by Mast, Crowell and Kirkpatrick in The Peerless Atlas of the World published in 1891. The map was actually copyrighted in 1889.

Map 20 (JPEG, 314K): Detail from a large Wisconsin map engraved by George Cram and dated 1893.

Map 21 (JPEG, 314K): Detail from map by Matthews-Northrup Co. (NY) and found in The Century Atlas, dated 1897.

Map 22 (JPEG, 50K): This map was excerpted from a 1901 map shown in The Hayward Lakes Region, a volume of articles on local history by E. M. Marple.

Map 23 (JPEG, 215K): Detail from map copyrighted 1904 by C.S. Hammond & Co. and found in various reference books including the 1906 American edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Map 24 (JPEG, 165K): Detail from a state map found in the Springbrook Church Museum's copy of the Standard Atlas of Washburn County Wisconsin, published by G.A. Ogle & Co. in 1915.

Map 25 (JPEG, 248K): Detail from the 1920 "B. F. Goodrich Road Map of Wisconsin."

By 1873, the date shown with Map 15, a road had been constructed up the Namekagon Valley, entering Bayfield from the west. What may be a remnant of this road – an extended gap in the woods along the west bank of the river north of Hayward – is shown here in Photo 24. The subsequent railroad followed the same general route and can be seen in Map 16 (dated 1875) to have reached the border of Barron County which had its name changed from Dallas County in 1869. Note the island labeled "Steamboat Island" to the west of Sand Island in Lake Superior; there is more about this on the Apostle Islands page and our special Steamboat Island page. Through the 1860s and 70s, the settlement of Springdale (near Michigan, just south of L. Superior) shows up on the old maps; a road constructed to Springdale is mentioned here. (Springdale is not to be confused with Springstead, another historical site in present-day Iron County.)

In Map 17, settlements are shown along the railroads, including the newly-finished Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railroad running diagonally between Hudson and Lake Superior. This is one of the rare maps which shows Phipps but not Hayward, the latter being established on the railroad in late 1881. Phipps has been thought to be named after either railroad employee James A. Phipps or banker and railroad executive W.H. Phipps (of Hudson, WI) – most likely the former. Phipps was a well-established logging center by the early 1880s and a moderately thriving village into the early 20th century – suffering a few name changes in its early history but enjoying the prestige of being the capital city of the Town of Lenroot for many years.

Map 18 shows Sawyer County as a rectangle, rather than a Utah-like shape as it is depicted in other maps including the later ones in the series on this page. (I have enhanced the boundary with yellow and the outer boundary of Chippewa County in blue.) Sawyer County was created on March 13, 1883 from parts of Ashland and Chippewa Counties and became "attached" to Ashland County for judicial purposes according to Wisconsin – Atlas of Historical County Boundaries (cited here) which shows Sawyer County maintaining its present boundaries throughout its history. Hayward was established as the county seat. Sawyer was made independant of Ashland County on March 9, 1885, the last Wisconsin county to be so "detached" from another. The creation of counties before they could be fully organized – thus necessitating a temporary attachment of each to a neighboring county – originated in Michigan Territory in the 1820s and was practiced to the extreme through the rest of the 19th century throughout the Territories and States of Michigan and Wisconsin.

Also in Map 18 one sees more communities being established along the railroad. Chandler was established before Spooner, and its buildings were eventually dismantled and moved into Spooner. Veazie was established around 1880 with its railroad station located one and a half miles east of Superior Junction. Just north of this site at a constriction of the Namekagon River, a dam had been built by lumberman George Veazie in 1878, raising the water level eight feet to impound logs destined for Stillwater, Minnesota. More about the now-obliterated community of Veazie is found here. Aerial photos of the Veazie site show plowed fields along both sides of the railroad. Some views of the area are shown here (in Photos 9-14) with a link to a relevant aerial photo.

Maps 19-23 show further developments as the railroads bring "civilization" to Wisconsin's last frontier, and the formation of new counties appears to be slowing down. Map 23 shows Gates County which was created from Chippewa County in 1901; four years later Gates was renamed Rusk.

The community of Namekagon – i.e., the one which is shown on Maps 20 and 21 on the track southwest of Hayward – was starting up when the railroad came through in 1880. Eventually its name was changed to Springbrook. For some years after 1900, maps were showing another "Namekagon" community somewhat south of Springbrook, off the track and farther away from the Namekagon River. It is possible that Map 22 or another important reference map was meaning to indicate "Springbrook or Namekagon" such as what is indicated to the west for "Superior Jc. or Mills P.O.," and the "or" became "o" due to a typographical error; this "o" could thusly have been thought to be a site marker for a community. Anyway, this has been an unfounded theory on my part, and the "new" Namekagon could indeed have been a discrete community. It also appears in the Encyclopedia Brittanica map shown as Map 23.

Map 24 shows a new diagonal railroad (the "Soo Line") crossing the "Omaha" tracks at Stinnett, and new communities are forming along this line. A couple views of the actual crossing are shown here in Photos 15 and 16. (The connection made between the two lines – called "Hayward Junction" – was actually not constructed until the 1990s!) On this map we also see "Lenroot P.O. or Phipps" and Seeley; the latter was established around 1909 and is still alive and well. The Chippewa Flowage and Nelson Lake have yet to appear, and it is around this time (c. 1915) that logging activity is declining (having decimated most of the usable trees), and tourism is well on its way to becoming the region's main industry. Map 25, the last of this series, shows the state highway system in 1920. Detailed historical information on all of Wisconsin's state highways – then and now – can be found here.

Who was Martin W. Torkelson? Click here.


These map pages (i.e., Parts 1 and 2) are based on my collection of original old maps – most of which were obtained with moderate expense through eBay!

James Allen's map of the St. Croix and Brule Rivers area (as presented in Map 4) was copied from an original edition of Schoolcraft's 1834 book housed in the Wisconsin Historical Society Library archives. A lower-resolution copy showing a somewhat extended area can be found here along with the relevant chapter by Schoolcraft.

Allen's original manuscript map of the St. Croix-Brule area is reported to be in the National Archives, and one would hope that his maps of the entire expedition are preserved. The original 1834 government publication of his journal ("Schoolcraft and Allen – Expedition to North-West Indians...") includes a redrawn map as noted here.

Rounding out the maps on these pages are the following:


Sawyer County Historical Society
Wisconsin GenWeb Project pages for
Sawyer and Washburn Counties
Spooner Railroad Museum
Washburn County Visitors Site

that were originally on this page have moved here.

E-mail me at:
jlindquist001 @ .

Mapsite put on web 6/29/00. This page was
last modified on 11/29/09 at 5:30 PM, CST.
John Lindquist:  homepage, complete site outline.
Department of Bacteriology, U.W.-Madison

 Return to Part 1.