Madeline Island

Though Madeline is small in size, its charm and abundant natural beauty make it the perfect spot for the vacationer who wants to get away from it all. Walk along beautiful wooded trails and focus your camera on breathtaking views.  Bask in the relaxing beauty of our clean, sandy beaches, and browse through our gift and specialty shops in our historic downtown.

The Walking Tour Public and private buildings will give you just a small peek at island life of the past. There are a number of other historic sites on the island, many of them private homes and others which are located on the ferry brochure, on the Madeline Island Bus Tour, and the Chamber of Commerce brochure. Please note that ONLY stops #1,#2,#3,#6,#7,#8 and #9 are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Please respect the nature and privacy of the other stops on the tour. 1. Post Office: Main Street & Ferry Dock - The present post office is half of the original Old Mission dining room, added to the Old Mission Inn in 1900, when it became a hotel. The "Mission 1832" sign hung for many years in from of the Mission Inn building. The Old Mission, 1832, was the Protestant mission to the Native Americans of Madeline Island. By 1898, the mission was roofless and the Rev. E.P. Salmon of Beloit, WI, undertook to restore it and open it as a retreat for congregational ministers. It ran like this for eight years. In 1906, visitors from the Twin Cities came to Mr. Salmon and asked him to build cottages and they would dine with him. This was done and it became the Old Mission Inn. Mr. Salmon gave the whole operation to Beloit College in 1941, and by 1945 the college sold the property. 2. Madeline Island Museum: (Old Part), Colonel Woods Avenue - The museum began in 1955 as the result of Leo and Bella Casper's inspiration and hard work. It consists of the only remaining American Fur Company building, local farmer Gust Dahlin's barn, the old village jail, and the old Sailor's Home. The Museum opened in 1958. In 1969, the Capsers donated the Museum to the Wisconsin Historical Society. It is now a Wisconsin State Historic Site run by the Wisconsin Historical Society and has been incorporated with the large new section you now see. Take time to go in - you will find it fascinating. 3. Waterfront Gallery: Main Street & County H - Simply designed commercial building of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Details include large retail show windows, simple entry, a decorative cornice and definition between first and second stories. This building also has a parapet wall flanking the gable roof. It was an early grocery store on the Island and still serves a retail function. 4. Town Hall: 240 Ojibwa Road - Significant in the area of town government. It is the only standing structure on Madeline Island built solely to house local government. Also, it is an example of a local expression of the "Neo Classical" style, and significant for its concrete block construction. Although there have been town board meetings here since 1860, this was their first official building. It was designed in 1909 by the Iron River Concrete Building Co. for $2,000. 5. St. Joseph's Catholic Church: East 266 Ojibwa Road - Significant in religion with the Jesuits and the Catholic Church. In 1835, the Austrian priest, Father Frederic Baraga, founded a church on Madeline Island to minister to the Native Americans. In two weeks, the Catholics on the island helped construct a log church just south of the Indian Cemetery. By 1841 they needed a larger building and built on the present site. This building burned down in 1901 and was replaced with the present structure. 6. Madeline Island Library: East 249 Library Street - Locally significant in the area of education. Originally built as "Bay View School" in 1872-73, and located at the intersection of Main Street and Big Bay Road. This two-story, gable front building with cornice and gable-end returns is a fine example of the "Greek Revival" style. It was moved in 1903, the porch was added in 1912, and classes were last held here in 1926-27. It was then moved to its present location and renamed "Memorial Hall", where it served as a community center until 1960 when it became the home of the Library. The two entrances at the front were separate doors for boys and girls during its use as a school. The new 2-story addition you see has doubled the size of our library and made it handicapped accessible, complete with elevator. Madeline Island Heritage Center - Colonel Woods Avenue and Island Road 7. Lakeview School: This school building is locally significant as the embodiment of the importance which residents placed on education on Madeline Island. It was originally built on the rural north end of the Island. Built in 1905, the builders were two local men, Olaf Dahlin and Victor Hultquist. In 1938 this school closed and the building was used as a residence for many years. It was acquired by gift to MIHPA in 1987 and moved to its present location and restored. It is open as an interpretive site during the summer season. Please go in and see what life in school was like in 1905. 8. Parsonage: The Island's first Protestant parsonage, built early in the 20th century. It has been moved several times, used for office and storage space and finally donated to the Madeline Island Historic Preservation Association. 9. Angus Building: This little building first came to life as a logger's shack, then was later moved and used by a member of the Angus family as the "Cheese House", a wonderful stop on your trip around the island. It was then donated to MIHPA and is going to be used to house Angus family memorabilia, as this family has long been on the island as sailors and other major contributors to island life. 10. St. John's United Church of Christ: 706 Main Street - This is the only Protestant Church on Madeline Island. It is significant in the area of religion, and is a local example of "Tudor-Revival" details in the arch. It was built in 1925 for the Evangelical and Reform Church, which began a mission to the Native Americans in 1922. A merger with the Congregational Church in 1957 formed the current U.C.C. now occupying this building. The addition of a handicapped entrance done 1996 has altered the original façade. 11. St. John's Parsonage: Main Street by the Church - Tudor Revival style, this house was completed in 1935. It is representative of simply suburban homes of the 1920's. A cross, indicating the building's use as parsonage, is located in the peak of the gable of the entrance bay. This house is also an example of a prefabricated house, ordered from the Gordon-VanTine Company.
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Last Updated: 5/21/2015