Boulder Junction, Vilas County, Wisconsin

  • Article

    About eleven miles up County Highway K from Star Lake is the town of Boulder Junction. For a few years early in the 20th century there was passenger rail service from Star Lake to Boulder Junction, but some time before WWI Boulder Junction got passenger service via Arbor Vitae. Freight service continued via Star Lake, and extended further north from Boulder Junction.

    It is a small town, home to a number of small stores, including two small grocery stores. It has the usual complement of tourist shops, and since about the 1960's has been somewhat of an arts and crafts center. A series of wood carvers knows as Grandpa, Uncle Dick, and finally Cousin Willy, produced some very handsome small woodcarvings sold in the area.

    The Boulder Junction Area Historical Society is quite active. They have produced a series of post card reproductions of pictures of the area. They have refurbished an old caboose and have a small museum, located near the caboose, completed in 2008.

    A much more detailed survey of the town and its history will eventually be provided here. In the meantime the reader is referred to several good local histories in the Bibliography at the tab above.

    Charles P. Forbes
    January 26, 2008
    Revised: 2017-11-14
  • Bibliography

    Comprehensive References

    ****. Best of the Northwoods, The. Boulder Junction, 1992. View Full Entry
    ****. Life on the Line to Buswell. [Boulder Junction Area Historical Society Newsletter, Summer, 2009] Boulder Junction, 2009. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Boulder Junction Area Historical Society. Boulder Junction Area Historical Society Summer 2007. [BJAHS [Newsletter] Summer 2007] Boulder Junction, 2007. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Boulder Junction Area Historical Society. Newsletter. Boulder Junction, 2008. View Full Entry
    BSA, Northern Wisconsin High Adventure Base. Field Guide. Boulder Junction, n.d.. View Full Entry
    Brenner, Paul. Transition from Logging Camp to Resort. [Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Forest History Assn. of WI, Oct. 3-4, 1997.] Woodruff, 1997. View Full Entry
    Dahlquist, Elmer and Jim Samrazil. Historical Notes II and III. [Boulder Junction Area Historical Society Newsletter, Winter 2008] Boulder Junction, 2008. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Hunzicker, David. Little Rice Lake Site. [Wis. Archeologist, 83:1, Jan-June 2002, pp. 45-62.] Milwaukee, 2002. View Full Entry
    Kaysen, James. Railroads of Wisconsin, 1827-1937.. Boston, MA, 1937. View Full Entry
    Laabs, Joyce. Collection of Northwoods Nostalgia, A, From the Pages of the Lakeland Times. [Vol. 2 (of 2)] Sun Prairie, WI, 1980. View Full Entry
    Laabs, Joyce. Paul Brenner: Sharing His Memories of Boulder Junction. [Lakeland Times, August 15, 2003, p. 2] Minocqua, 2002. View Full Entry
    Scrobell, Daniel. New Rail Line to Trout Lake. [Scrobell, Early Times, 1988; Orig. Minocqua Times August 3, 1905] Minocqua, 1988. View Full Entry
    Trinity Lutheran Church. Book of Favorite Recipes. Shawnee Mission, KS, 1979. View Full Entry
    Wolter, Joan, et al.. Northwoods Kitchen's. Boulder Jct, Presque Isle, Sayner, 1982. View Full Entry

    Major References

    ****. Church [Community Church of Boulder Junction, Evangelical Covenant Church] Celebrates 75th Anniversary; Boulder Junction Parish Formed in 1928.. [Vilas County News-Review, August 13, 2003, p. 5B] Eagle River, 2003. View Full Entry
    Anderson, Bob. We Rambled into Winter. [Our Wisconsin, Premiere Issue, p. 8.] Greendale, Wisconsin, 2013. View Full Entry
    Bates, John. River Life [Manitowish River]. Mercer, 2001. View Full Entry
    Beno, Mike. Mr. Mischief: Confessions of a Resort Brat. [Our Wisconsin, Vol. 5, #6, Oct/Nov 2017, p. 6.] Manitowish Waters, 2017. View Full Entry
    Boudreau, Dorothy. Boulder Junction. [Vilas County Chamer of Commerce: Vilas County Headwaters to Wisconsin, 1998, p. 3] Eagle River, 1998. View Full Entry
    Boudreau, Dorothy. Boulder Junction: The Way We Were, 1960 to 2000. Boulder Jct., 2006. View Full Entry
    Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce. Boulder Junction. Boulder Junction, n.d.. View Full Entry
    Burg and Storozuk. Route of the North Woods Hiawatha. Merrill, 2010. View Full Entry
    Crowley, Mike and Marshia. White Deer Roam in Their Backyard. [Our Wisconsin, Premiere Issue, p. 14.] Greendale, Wisconsin, 2013. View Full Entry
    Doolittle, Shirley. Boulder Junction: The Early Yares: 1880s to 1950s. Boulder Junction, 1996. View Full Entry
    Gilkey, Mrs. George. Kate Newcomb. [Chase, et al: Famous Wisconsin Women] Madison, 1971. View Full Entry
    Helminiak, Jon. Course Set for Manito-Wish The History. Boulder Jct., WI, 1994. View Full Entry
    Huhti, Thomas. Wisconsin. [Fourth Edition] Berkeley, CA, 2008. View Full Entry
    Huhti, Thomas. Wisconsin Handbook, Including Door County. [First Edition] Chico, CA, 1997. View Full Entry
    Johnson, Deborah, ed.. 2004 Local History Awards [Boulder Junction]. [Columns, Wis Historical Society's Bimonthly Newsletter, Vol. 26, #1, Jan/Feb, 2005, p. 6] Madison, 2005. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Laabs, Joyce. Collection of Northwoods Nostalgia, A, From the Pages of the Lakeland Times. [Vol. 1 (of 2)] Sun Prairie, WI, 1978. View Full Entry
    Parker, Dave. Boulder Junction Musky Jamboree. [45 rpm record, Side A.] Marshfield, 1981. View Full Entry
    Rossal, Casey. Happy Trails to You. [Our Wisconsin, Vol/ 3, #2, February-March 2015, P. 18.] Manotowish Waters, 2015. View Full Entry
    Schmidt, Floyd. Switch Lamps in the Pines. Eagle River, 2009. View Full Entry
    Scrobell, Daniel. Early Times: The Early History of the Minocqua Area as Seen Through the Pages of the "Minocqua Times" Newspaper. Minocqua, 1988. View Full Entry
    Sethness, Edward. History of Big Muskellunge Lake. Woodruff, 1978. View Full Entry
    St. Anne's Parish, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. Badger Playground, Wisconsin's Finest Vacationland. Boulder Junction, 1961. View Full Entry
    Vilas County News-Review. Vilas County News-Review's 2009 Headwaters Area Guide. [Published Annually] Eagle River, 2009. View Full Entry
    Weisheipl, Joanne. Glad to Resort to This. [Our Wisconsin, Vol. 5, #6, Aug/Sept 2017, p. 69] Manitowish Waters, 2017. View Full Entry

    Minor References

    ****. America's North Woods. [Special Feature, Country Living, V.6 #6 June 1983 p.39 ff] New York, 1983. View Full Entry
    ****. Happenings. [American Profile (Newspaper supplement), Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 2010.] Franklin, TN, 2010. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    ****. Fishing, It's Good This Year. ["A Letter from Home, 'Life's' Special Issue Is a Report on Wartime America," Life, September 25, 1944, pp. 66-67] Chiicago, 1944. View Full Entry
    ****. Atlas of Wisconsin. Milwaukee, 1878. View Full Entry
    Adventure Cycling Association. North Lakes Bicycle Route [Map]. [Northern Tier + North Lakes Route, North Lakes Section 1, Osceola to Escanaba] Missoula, MT, 2015. View Full Entry
    Allen, Terese. Wisconsin Food Festivals. Amherst, WI, 1995. View Full Entry
    Bopf, Della. Hiawatha Legend. [Wausau Regional Writers Anthology, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 145-151. [Biblio # 2089]] Stevens Point, 1974. View Full Entry
    Boyer, Dennis. Great Wisconsin Taverns. [A Trails Books Guide] Madison, 1999. View Full Entry
    Emerson, Charles. Wisconsin Scenic and Historic Trails. Madison, 1933. View Full Entry
    Mobil. Mobil Travel Guide, Great Lakes Area. [1976, 1983, 1994, 2001 editions] Chicago, 2001. View Full Entry
    Newcomb, Kate Pelham. Preventive Medicine in Camp. [Camping Magazine, November, 1945, pp. 5 ff.] Chicago, 1945. View Full Entry
    Swan, Richard. Light Tackle Fishing Guides of North America. Reno, NV, 1986. View Full Entry
  • Links
  • Images
  • Miscellany

    +++First Postmaster

    "Frances [Foster] was raised on Fish Trap Lake in Boulder Junction. Her paternal grandmother was a widow living in Minnesota when her son, Jesse [Foster], came to Star Lake to work in a lumber camp. He was just 14 years of age. He liked the ara, moved his mother and brothers, Frank [Foster] and Harold there. His mother found work cooking at the local hotel. Eventually she became postmaster at the two of Oxley, and later became the first postmaster in Boulder Junction." ##1496 Looking Back: Sonny and Frances Remember, Lakeland Times, June 20, 2008.## The local hotel would have been the Hotel Waldheim.

    +++Original Name

    Evidently the present location of the town was once a railroad stop known as Rice Lake. ##1312 See Historical Notes from the Historical Society Newsletter##