DescriptionWhether Fourth of July festivities on Madeline Island inspired Asaph Whittlesey to establish a new town is uncertain, but on July 5, 1854, he arrived on the southeast shore of Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior, built a cabin and founded Ashland. Once his cabin was complete, Whittlesey opened negotiations with the railroad in Chicago to provide an outlet for the area's timber, brownstone and iron ore.
The railroad, completed in 1877, combined with Ashland's natural harbor, soon made the community a thriving port; millions of tons of iron ore and timber were shipped annually. Legacies of this prosperous period are the distinctive facades of preserved, early 20th-century commercial buildings in the Main Street Historic District. More than 12 murals painted on historic buildings in the eight-block business district portray scenes from local history as part of the Ashland Mural Walk.
Although the area's commercial resources are important, its other resources—local parks, national forests, Lake Superior and Chequamegon Bay—have made Ashland an active recreation center. Trout, walleye, perch, salmon, northern pike and muskellunge thrive in Lake Superior and inland lakes and streams. Lake Superior charter excursions can be arranged in Ashland.
Prentice Park, 100 acres at the west edge of town, is a refuge for ducks and swans; camping, hiking and picnicking are available. Band concerts take place at the historic Mesang Bandshell, 101 Lake Shore Dr. W., Thursday and Sunday evenings in the summer.
Ashland is part of a statewide network of well-groomed snowmobile trails, which include the Tri-County Corridor Trail and the Mount Valhalla Recreation Area in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. A map outlining area snowmobile touring loops and cross-country ski trails is available from the chamber of commerce.
Visitor InfoAshland Area Chamber of Commerce 1716 W. Lake Shore Dr. ASHLAND, WI 54806. Phone:(715)682-2500 or (800)284-9484
Things to SeeNorthern Great Lakes Visitor Center