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History of Turtle Lake

The Village of Turtle Lake's history dates back to 1875 with its first settlers of European descent. Stephen Richardson was attracted to the area because of the vast hardwoods and pine forests.  Mr. Richardson named the area Skowhagen after his hometown in Maine. During the first years that the Richardson family was here the settlement consisted of Native Americans by about half. 

By 1879, Richardson erected a saw mill, Turtle Lake's first and principal industry for a number of years, and its first business, a general store that was later sold to L.M. Richardson. A post office was also established in 1879 with Stephen Richardson as postmaster.

Before Turtle Lake was established, Knapp Stout Lumber Company had several logging camps on both shores of Upper and Lower Turtle Lake. The lakes were named by government surveyors because of all the turtle that were depositing their eggs on the shores while they were surveying.

After the Chicago, Northwestern railroad was extended about five miles north of Turtle Lake, the Knapp Stout Lumber Company began to ship their supplies to be unloaded at Turtle Lake, referring to the lakes and not the town. When the post office was established it was natural to continue the use of Turtle Lake rather than Skowhagen; thus, the change was made. On February 12, 1898, the Village of Turtle Lake was platted on land belonging to Joel Richardson, nephew of Stephen Richardson.

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Unique Turtle Lake Facts

1882 First Doctor Dr. Brown, also was the Operator of First Drug Store and of no relation to the Charles Brown family.
  First Blacksmith Joseph Poularde, a Frenchman, who quit blacksmithing in 1897, leaving to the Klondike in prospects of gold.
1884 Railroad Addition Platted By the Sault St. Marie Land & Improvement Company.
1895 Decision to be Incorporated All necessary papers, survey of the area, a census, proper postings of all legal documents were processed.
1898 Officially Incorporated Unknown reason for the three year delay, but after a second application was submitted, the incorporation finally went into effect on May 17, 1898.
  February 17th Census Consisted of 331 residents.
  First Ordinances Mid-June through early July, the newly appointed Village Board adopted the first seventeen ordinances for the Village of Turtle Lake, with J.H. Bunker as President.
1914 Real Estate Tax Roll Highest Taxes:  H.C. Michaelson - $242.25; Lowest:  A.O. Blix - $1.82
  Personal Property Tax Highest Taxes:  Dusel Merc Co. - $239.37; Lowest:  Mary Ingham - $.68
1938 Sewer System Proposed A State Board of Health survey made public in August that only three communities of Barron Co. had municipal sewage treatment facilities.  Barron, Chetek and Cumberland had them while Rice Lake, Cameron and Turtle Lake did not.  Joint meeting of the Village Board and Board of Directors of the Turtle Lake Creamery came together to consider a sewer treatment facility in September.