• Article

    The snowmobile has radically changed the economy of the Northwoods. Bringing large numbers of recreational snowmobile drivers into the area has made it possible for many motels, restaurants, gift shops, and other service businesses to remain open in the winter. While not making the Northwoods a four-season playground, the snowmobile has extended the economic year so that the area may really claim a year-round economy

    Trails in the Star Lake and Sayner area are maintained by a Sayner Barnstormers Snowmobile Club, Inc., founded November 26, 1969. By the turn of the century they were maintaining 75 miles of groomed trails. Star Lake Tourist Brochure, 1996-1997

    Sayner, Wisconsin, has figured in the history of the snowmobile. Carl Eliason is generally credited with building the forerunner of the modern snowmobile. Early examples of his machines are on display at the No topic [186 vilas county historical museum] in Sayner and at the Eliason Building Supply in Sayner, operated by his son, John, and grandson, John Jr. For more information about the Eliason Snowmobiles click on the link below titled "Eliason Snowmobiles."

    In the late 1920's Henry Ford developed a prototype "snow tractor." I know little about this machine, though the film of it is quite impressive. It appeared on the internet (YouTube and elsewhere) in 2009. If can be viewed at the link above, titled "Snow Tractor."

    Charles P. Forbes
    July 22, 2008
  • Bibliography

    Major References

    ****. Action Tracks. [Annual Winter publication, newspaper format] Eagle River, 1992. View Full Entry
    Bie, Michael. It Happened in Wisconsin. [It Happened in Series] Guilford, CT, 2007. View Full Entry
    Carl Eliason & Co., Inc.. Eliason Motor Toboggan, The. Sayner, WI, 1998. View Full Entry
    Deer, Dorothy. Tale of 2 Festivals. [Snow Goer [Magazine], September, 1983, pp. 28-35] St. Paul, MN, 1983. View Full Entry
    Eliason, John Jr.. Eliason Motor Toboggan, The; The History of Eliason Snowmobiles--1924-1963.. Sayner, WI, 1998. View Full Entry
    Feldman and Cook. Wisconsin Curiosities. [Second Edition] Guilford, CT, 2004. View Full Entry
    Kahler, Kathryn. Wisconsin's Deep-freeze Winters Are Perfect for Sports. [Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, Vol. 39. #1, February, 2015. P. 2.] Madison, 2015. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Pohlen, Jerome. Oddball Wisconsin. Chicago, 2001. View Full Entry
    Reimann, George. World Championship Snowmobile Derby. Where It All Started [Eliason Snowmobiles]. Northwoods is the Perfect Host.. [Wisconsin Escape, Jan 1981 p.17 ff] Green Lake, WI, 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
    Sayner-Star Lake Chamber of Commerce. History of Carl Eliason & Co., Inc.. [In: Star Lake, Wisconsin, Annual Tourist Brochure, 1982] Sayner, 1982. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Shapiro, Aaron. Lure of the North Woods. Minneapolis, 2013. View Full Entry
    Swenson and Johnson. Resorts of Wisconsin. Hibbing, MN, 2012. View Full Entry
    Ultimate Sports, Inc. [USI]. New Race Takes Flight, A, The USI Select, Sno-Cross World Championship December 18, 19, 20, 1998.. West Lafayette, IN, 1998. View Full Entry

    Minor References

    Knowles, Gary. Great Wisconsin Touring Book. [A Trails Books Guide] Black Earth, WI, 2000. View Full Entry
    M. Russ Lowthian. Road Biking in Wisconsin. [A Falcon Guide] Guilford, CT, 2008. View Full Entry
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