Conover, Vilas County, Wisconsin

  • Article

    Conover is the furthest upstream town on the Wisconsin River. A small town, it began in the late 19th Century and survives today. At one time it was a station on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, and a branch line extended from Conover to Phelps, Vilas County, Wisconsin.

    A long-time landmark in the town was Denton's a gift shop, which, according to an article in the Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, began as an outlet for the manufacture of cedar souviners.

    The following brief history appeared in the 2013 Conover Visitor Guide:

    "The man for whom [the] town is named is Seth H. Conover, who came from Plymouth, Wisconsin and was a prominent cheese buyer. Conoveer's hobbies were fishing and hunting. he came to the Northwoods oon the logging trains that the timber industry used to get wood to the mills of Central and Southern Wisconsin.

    "Seth Conover became quite friendly with some of the officials of the CNW Railroad and went on hunting and fishing trips with them. he was familiar with our area and felt that the location of present Conover was as close and possible to Big Twin Lake where he enjoyed fishing.

    "After stopping at the same place for several years, the railroad men began referring to it as Conover's Place and decided to build a station there. In time it was formally designated Conover on the railroad maps.

    "In 1891, seventy-three acres of land were deeded to Seth Conover on Big Twin Lake and later became Lakota Resort. Guests to the resort were met at the rail station in Conover by a team and wagon for transport. Tourists came from the city and stayed for the season.

    "On January 3, 1907, the town of Conover was formally set aside from the town of Eagle River. Conover is truly a wonderful place to visit because of its natural beauty and rich past. Visit our historical text docments on our town's website: and read the entire story of our past."

    Charles P. Forbes
    August 9, 2006
    Revised: 2020-09-30
  • Bibliography

    Comprehensive References

    ****. Conover, Wisconsin, 2013 Visitor Guide. Conover, 2013. View Full Entry
    Dobbs, George. Town of Conover: History for All Generations. [Second Printing, July, 1991] Conover, 1991. View Full Entry

    Major References

    ****. Dedication of Murals Takes Place in Conover. [Vilas County News Review, Aug. 8, 2018, p. 12B, [Conover]] Eagle River, 2018. View Full Entry
    Dobbs, George. Town of Conover: History for All Generations. [Eighth Printing, June 2007] Conover, 2007. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Draeger, Jim. Extra Tip: Timber Taverns. [Wisconsin Trails, 44:5, October 2003, pp. 64-67] Black Earth, WI, 2003. View Full Entry
    Greene, Howard. Border Country. Minneapolis, 2017. View Full Entry
    Hedberg, Jim. Conover. [Vilas County Chamber of Commerce: Vilas County Headwaters to Wisconsin, 1998, p. 6] Eagle River, 1998. 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
    Kaysen, James. Railroads of Wisconsin, 1827-1937.. Boston, MA, 1937. View Full Entry
    North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Plan Summary; Towns of Conover and Land O'Lakes Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Land O'Lakes and Conover, 2009. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Pioneer Lake Lutheran Church. Cookbook. Conover, 1990. View Full Entry
    Schmidt, Floyd. Switch Lamps in the Pines. Eagle River, 2009. View Full Entry
    Steigerwaldt, Edward. Forests: Meal Ticket for Small Communities: XVII. Conover, Vilas County. [Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 21:5, May 1956, pp. 18-19.] Madison, 1956. View Full Entry
    Van Wie et al.. Land of the Lakes. Conover, 1962. View Full Entry
    Vilas County News-Review. Vilas County News-Review's 2009 Headwaters Area Guide. [Published Annually] Eagle River, 2009. View Full Entry
    Zielke and Jefferson . History of Pioneer Lake Lutheran Church. [Pioneer Lake Lutheran Church Cookbook, pp. 1-4.] Conover, 1990. View Full Entry (Full text available)

    Minor References

    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
    Chain Skimmers. Chain Skimmers Water Ski Show Team. Eagle River, 2010. View Full Entry
    Emerson, Charles. Wisconsin Scenic and Historic Trails. Madison, 1933. View Full Entry
    Sasse, Timothy. Vilas County Logging Companies’ Railroad Operations. [Edit by Charles P. Forbes of webpage material (2000) and additional material from Mr. Sasse (2014).] Star Lake, 2020. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Swan, Richard. Light Tackle Fishing Guides of North America. Reno, NV, 1986. View Full Entry
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