Wisconsin Counties
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Wisconsin Counties

There are seventy-two counties in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin became part of the Territory of Michigan and divided into two counties: Brown County in the northeast along Lake Michigan and Crawford County in the southwest along the Mississippi River. The state of Wisconsin was created from Wisconsin Territory on May 29, 1848, with 28 counties.

Forest County, Wisconsin

Forest County Education, Geography, and History

Forest County, Wisconsin Courthouse

Forest County is a county in the state of Wisconsin. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 9,304. Its county seat is Crandon.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community and the Sokaogon Chippewa Community have reservations in Forest County.

Etymology - Origin of Forest County Name

Forest County was named for the dense forest with which it was covered when erected - Gannett, Place Names, p. 112.

[Source: Kellogg, Louise Phelps. "Derivation of County Names" in Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin for 1909, pages 219-231.]


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Forest County History

Forest County was created by the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1885 from portions of neighboring Langlade and Oconto counties. The county was named for the forests contained within its limits

The Forest County Potawatomi Community and the Sokaogon Chippewa Community have reservations in Forest County.

A Capsule of Forest County History

Before the Civil War, Forest County was primarily inhabited by the Chippewa and other Native Americans, and was visited by traveling fur traders and trappers, most of whom were of French descent or mixed French and Indian heritage.

During the 1860's, the federal government started construction of what is known as the Military Road. This road connected Green Bay and Fort Wilkins at Copper Harbor on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Previously, rivers had served as the highways to this section of northeastern Wisconsin. Military Road made travel through Forest County easier, but marketing of its principal resource, hardwood timber, had to wait for improved markets for hardwood lumber and rail service to transport the lumber. Unlike the pine that was logged elsewhere, the heavier hardwood logs would not float in the rivers to sawmills downstate.

The Soo Line Railroad bisected Forest County in 1887, and provided rail service to areas adjacent to Argonne, Cavour, and Armstrong Creek, but it was still not profitable to move logs by horse-drawn sleigh for any distance to a railhead. Eventually, the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, lured by land holdings given to them by the government, pushed rail service into the county. It created a north-south line on the eastern side of the county in the 1890s with a spur into Crandon just after the turn of the century. Sawmills sprang up like mushrooms after a rain and lumber was shipped to build America's cities. By the 1930s, the timber supply waned and the Great Depression shut down most of the big mills. It was then that residents of what came to be called the "cutover lands"realized the value of the many lakes and miles of streams located in Forest County. The tourist trade joined logging and saw milling as part of the economic mainstay of the North, and it remains so today.

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Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,046 square miles (2,710 km2), of which, 1,014 square miles (2,626 km2) of it is land and 32 square miles (84 km2) of it (3.09%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Florence County - northeast
  • Marinette County - east
  • Oconto County - southeast
  • Langlade County - southwest
  • Oneida County - west
  • Vilas County - northwest
  • Iron County, Michigan - north


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