St. Germain, Vilas County, Wisconsin

  • Article

    The history of the community of St. Germain dates back to the 17th century, when fur traders were regulated by the French government. Soldier Jean Francois St. Germaine married a Native American woman, and rather than return to New France, he deserted and settled with his wife's tribe.

    A towering statue of chief St. Germaine is located at the junction of Highways 70 and 155. The name "St. Germain" has appeared many times in area records listing tribal leaders among the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe. Beyond honoring these leaders, the statue is meant to commemorate all the Native Americans who considered the St. Germain area one of their favorite hunting and fishing grounds.

    The first European settlers arrived in 1903, sustaining themselves by logging, trapping and working inlumber mills. After the land had been logged, farming and agriculture followed. Because of the short growing season, most of the early settlers abandoned farming. Some residents built resorts or accommodate the fishermen from the cities, and St. Germain quickly became a popular vacation destination.

    --from "St. Germain 'In the Center of It All' Wisconsin," Tourist Brochure of the St. Germain Area Chamber of Commerce, Loren R. Anderson, President. 2009. P. 3.

    Charles P. Forbes
    August 25, 2009
  • Bibliography

    Major References

    ****. Best of the Northwoods, The. Boulder Junction, 1992. View Full Entry
    ****. Golden Pines in St. Germain Offers Weekly Dining Specials. [Vilas County News-Review, North Woods Trader, July 5, 2017, p. 3.] Eagle River, 2017. View Full Entry
    70-155 Advancement Association, Information Bureau. Lake Region, The; State Highways 70 and 155, Eagle River, Sayner, Star Lake. Eagle River, 193?. View Full Entry
    Anderson, Buckshot. Growing Up Isn't All Fishing and Hunting. Bloomington, IN, 2003. View Full Entry
    Draeger, Jim. Extra Tip: Timber Taverns. [Wisconsin Trails, 44:5, October 2003, pp. 64-67] Black Earth, WI, 2003. View Full Entry
    Hiller, Don. A Sayner Legend [Neal Long]. [Vilas County Historical Museum Newsletter, Vol. 11, #2, Summer, 2009.] Sayner, 2009. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    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
    Komassa, Ruth. St. Germain, A Message from the Past. n.d.. View Full Entry
    Komassa, Ruth. St. Germain, Another Message from the Past.. n.d.. View Full Entry
    Ostergren, Robert C. and Thomas R. Vale, eds.. Wisconsin Land and Life. Madison, 1997. View Full Entry
    Powell, Jane. St. Germain. [Vilas County Chamer of Commerce: Vilas County Headwaters to Wisconsin, 1998, p. 35] Eagle River, 1998. View Full Entry
    St. Germain Firefighters Association, Inc.. St. Germain Flea Market & Craft Show. [Brochure, 1 page] St. Germain, 2005. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    St. Germain Lionesses. Flea Market Desserts, A Collection of Recipes from the Files of the St. Germain Lionesses. St. Germain, WI, 1998. View Full Entry
    Strutz, Patricia. Musky Hunter [magazine] Celebrates 15th Year. [Vilas County News-Review, February 4, 2004, p. 11A.] Eagle River, . View Full Entry
    Vilas County News-Review. Vilas County News-Review's 2009 Headwaters Area Guide. [Published Annually] Eagle River, 2009. View Full Entry
    Welsh, S. W.. Wisconsin's Thirteenth Industrial Forest. [Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 20:9, Sept. 1955, pp. 18-19.] Madison, 1955. 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
    Wisconsin Tourism Development. Wisconsin Auto Tours. [1990 & 1991 editions] Madison, 1991. View Full Entry
    kfkf. kfkf. . View Full Entry
  • Links
  • Images
  • Miscellany

    +++Carving of Indian Chief

    Neal Long "also carved the first Indian Chief, which stands in front of the St. Germain Chamber of Commerce. He still has the small carving that he used as a model. His friend, Bill Maines, posed for the statue." ##1473 Hiller, "A Sayner Legend"##

    +++St. Germain Flea Market

    The St. Germain Flea Market is thirty years old (2011) and the largest weekly flea market in Wisconsin, with an average of 325 spaces filled. It's history is told in the brochure: St. Germain Flea Market & Craft Show--see the "Documents" tab where the full text is available.


    The Peacock Inn (Builder Joseph C. Sellner; Date of Construction: 1930) was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2016. Columns (38:1, Feb-Apr 2017) contain this information: "The Peacock Inn is an intact example of a Rustic-style, resort-era restaurant that served tourists traveling to the north woods of Wisconsin. The rising popularity of the automobile impacted the way people vacatiooned at resorts. Resort plans had been all-inclusive, including meals in a large lodge dining room (the American plan resort), but in the later era vacationers simply rented a cottage and meals were arranged separately (the housekeeping resort, beginning in the 1920s). The change meant that vacationers sought out restaurants or taverns such as the Peacock Inn for many of their meals. Hundreds of tourists journeyed to the Wisconsin north woods to fish and relax away from the stresses of America's cities. The Peacock Inn is a unique property and a nostalgic reminder of the early-20-century north woods Wisconsin vacation era, and it remains an enduring contributor to the 21st-century tourist industry as well."