"Gateway to the Apostle Islands" Ashland by yooperprof

Ashland Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 30 photos

Traditions on the Lake

Ashland is a pleasant small town on US 2 about halfway through Wisconsin. Once an important port, Ashland now serves as a center for travel and tourism in northeastern Wisconsin. It's a gateway to Bayfield and the nearby Apostle Islands, and the impressive Hotel Chequamegon stands guard overlooking its marina.

The gazebo at Ashland's marina overlooks Chequamegon Bay, and beyond that the Bayfield peninsula.

pocket dock

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Ashland was one of the most important ports on Lake Superior. It served the valuable Gogebic Iron Range, which straddled the border between Wisconsin and Michigan. At one time, there were five ore docks in Ashland, and the harbor bustled with freighters. Nowadays, the mines are closed, and the freighters are gone. This remarkable structure still stands as a reminder of Ashland's industrial past. It was apparently the longest "pocket dock" of its kind in the United States, its concrete superstructure reaching 1800 feet out into the Lake (and that was at the end of a long trestle approach leading up to it.)

Railway cars filled with iron ore would be driven out to the end of the ore dock. The cars would be "tipped," the iron ore then falling through chutes into an awaiting freighter. Pocket docks similar to this one are still being operated Superior WI and Marquette MI.

  • Last visit to Ashland: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Jun 23, 2005
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  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2004 at 1:04 PM

    Chet, I always enjoy reading your text concerning small towns with a touch of history and sprinkle of architecture. Great introduction and since I love the architecture, I feel I'm receiving a great education by reading your pages. Thanks.

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