Available on Amazon
The ice cream sundae was reportedly invented in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in the late 1800s. The town still celebrates the invention of the sundae with an annual festival.
Douglas County, Wisconsin has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived, the area was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Ojibwe, Dakota, and Menominee. These tribes lived off the land and relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering for their sustenance.

In the early 17th century, French fur traders explored the region and established trading posts along the shores of Lake Superior. This led to increased contact between Europeans and Native Americans, as well as intensified competition among fur trading companies. However, it wasn't until the late 19th century that European-American settlement began in earnest.

The establishment of the Superior City Corporation in 1854 marked the official beginning of European presence in what would become Douglas County. The growth of the city was fueled by the opening of the first sawmill in 1856, which utilized the nearby forests for lumber production. The development of the shipping industry, facilitated by the construction of canals and railroads, further contributed to the region's growth.

Douglas County played a significant role in the expansion of the United States during the westward movement. It became a transportation hub and a major center for industries such as mining, shipbuilding, and manufacturing. The introduction of iron ore and copper mining spurred economic development, attracting thousands of settlers to the area. However, these industries eventually declined, leading to a shift towards a more diversified economy that includes tourism, healthcare, and education.

Today, Douglas County continues to evolve and thrive. Its beautiful natural landscapes, including Lake Superior, forests, and parks, attract nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The county is also home to vibrant communities, educational institutions, and cultural attractions, making it a desirable place to live and visit. The history of Douglas County is a testament to its resilience and adaptability in the face of changing economic circumstances, and it remains an important part of Wisconsin's heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Douglas County, Wisconsin.

  • 1854 - Douglas County is established and named after Stephen A. Douglas, a prominent political figure.
  • 1866 - The city of Superior is incorporated.
  • 1884 - The Great Northern Railway reaches Superior, boosting the city's economy.
  • 1918 - The Cloquet Fire, one of the largest wildfires in Minnesota history, also affects Douglas County.
  • 1963 - The Douglas County Historical Society is established to preserve the county's history.
  • 1967 - The construction of the Bong Bridge, connecting Superior and Duluth, is completed.
  • 1994 - The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center opens in Superior.
  • 2001 - The Husky Energy Oil Refinery is established in Superior.
  • 2018 - The Husky Energy Oil Refinery experiences a major explosion and fire, prompting evacuations.
  • 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic affects Douglas County and the entire world.