Help Us Redesign Our Website! We could really use your feedback, please take our survey

Lac Vieux Desert Park | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Lac Vieux Desert Park

Lac Vieux Desert Park | Wisconsin Historical Society

Lac Vieux Desert Park, West Shore Dr., 0.5 mi. N of Hwy E, near Land 0' Lakes, Vilas County

Here rises the Wisconsin River. Many feet have trod this spot in many kinds of shoes from moccasins to French traders and Indians, boots of loggers, early settlers and the Army to sport shoes of today's tourists. This procession began before the first map of this lake was published in Paris in 1718. Jean Baptiste Perrault win­tered here in 1791. Capt. Thomas Cram, surveyor, parleyed with Chief Ca-sha-o-sha in 1840. In the 1850's the Drapers built the first white settler cabin. Leonard Thomas married Draper's daughter and in 1884 built the first summer resort. In 1860 the Wausau Ontonagon road crossed here, joined later by the military road from Green Bay. Indian trails, canoe and mail routes, log drives and oxen hooves marked this spot as the hub of pioneer activity. Known as Kat-ik-it-i-gon and Old Planting Ground, the French name of Lac Vieux Desert is accepted for this beauti­ful body of water.

Learn More

Explore more than 1,600 people, places and events in Wisconsin history.

[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]