Photo by Dawn Roper
Here on Boom Lake, with the churning Wisconsin River and the rapids of Pelican River at its sides, stirs the economic hub of the region.

Gracefully balanced between nature's incredible displays and the bustle of city life, Rhinelander enjoys the best of both worlds.

Behold the glorious scenery or partake of its bountiful forest and crystal clear lakes. This is a place where fantastic memories are made, the Heart of Hodag Country.


The land area of Rhinelander is 80.0 square miles in Oneida County. Latitude: 45.64 N., Longitude: 89.41 W. It is 103.5 miles N.W. of Green Bay, WI and 177.4 miles north of Madison WI. The nearest city with a population of 1,000,000+ is Chicago, IL which is 276.6 miles S.E.


Just above the convergence of the Wisconsin and Pelican Rivers is a stretch of rapids which inspired early settlers to call this area Pelican Rapids. Sometime around 1870 Anderson W. Brown, working for his father E.D. Brown, traveled up the Wisconsin River to cruise timber. While at a trading post there at the two rivers, he discovered the potential for a mill powered by the waters of the Wisconsin River. After years of subsequent expeditions Anderson Brown along with his brother Webster Brown manage to convince their father and uncle to purchase the land with the intent of building a town.

With Webster Brown as mayor they named the town after the president of the Lake Shore & Western Road, Frederic W. Rhinelander of New York, as a gesture to entice the railroad to their location. Ten years of negotiations passed when the Brown family agreed to exchanged half of their land holdings in the area for a rail line, with the hope that it would provide the town a developmental advantage. The railway from Monico to Rhinelander was completed in 1882, however it didn't fulfill the dreams of the town.

By 1896 half of the mills had closed and the fate of Rhinelander appeared to be bust as so happened with many other lumbering communities. The community founders along with other prominent citizens embarked a promotional campaign with the Oneide County Agricultural Society to attract various industries to the area. The first annual Fair and Exposition was planned however premature, due to the area's sparse agriculture produce. Faced with these circumstances the flamboyant timber cruiser and real estate broker Eugene Simeon Shepard, in an effort to expand the exhibits for fair showings, offered up his 1893 mystical yet beastly Hodag Creature which had enthralled only locals thus far. Hodag stole the show and then proceeded to tour others in the state, including the State Fair in Madison. Eventually Rhinelander became commerce central, in a region known as Hodag Country.

Fun Facts

Elevation: 1554 ft.

Population: 7,574 (as of 2009)

The annual snowfall for the Rhinelander area will range from 41 to 91 inches.

Helpful Links:
Town of Rhinelander Municipal Web Site
Rhinelander, Wisconsin information courtesy: Wikipedia

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