What do a million pennies and an elderly woman on snowshoes have to do with Oneida County? Find out with a tour of Oneida County’s fascinating local history museums. You’ll learn about the rugged loggers that harvested trees in northern Wisconsin, and you’ll discover what it was like to attend a one-room school heated by a wood stove.
In the years before there were powerful snowplows clearing Oneida County’s roads, there was a small woman called “the Angel on Snowshoes.” Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb did not have wings, but she was angelic to the residents of Oneida County who were in need of medical care during the cold winter months. Dr. Kate reached her patients on snowshoes, but she knew her patients needed more. She launched a campaign to build a hospital, and students began collecting pennies to make it possible. The dream captured the world’s imagination, and pennies began pouring in from all over the planet. The hospital was built, and in 1988, a museum was constructed to preserve Dr. Kate’s special story.
Explore Rhinelander’s logging history at this popular historical park. Take a stroll through the Rhinelander School Museum, learn about lumberjacks in the Logging Museum and check out the Soo Line Depot and the Conservation Corps Museum. You’ll also see an authentic recreation of an 1870s lumberjack camp, a wide variety of logging equipment and an outstanding collection of items and artifacts from Rhinelander’s past.
Located at the Johnson House, the oldest known home in Three Lakes, the museum has seven exhibit buildings chronicling the history of the Three Lakes area. It includes details about Native Americans who lived in the area, as well as information about the logging, farming and railroad industries. The museum also showcases Three Lakes tourism during the 1940s and 1950s and includes information on notable people and events from recent years.
This charming little museum is worth a return visit—it has exhibits that change from year to year but always include details about the Island City’s special past. Previous exhibits have focused on pioneer families, early electricity in Minocqua and waterski memorabilia. Come see what’s new—and old!