Three Lakes – A Short History
Fathered by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in 1881, Three Lakes has become a welcome stop on this historic track. The railroad brought various industries to Three Lakes including logging, farming, and finally tourism. Three Lakes, like other Northwoods communities, formed because of the natural resources, which greeted early settlers over 100 years ago.
The town received it name after railroad surveyors attempted to run a straight line north through the timbered highlands. Instead, they came across a beautiful lake surrounded by virgin maple, and appropriately named it Maple Lake. The next lake encountered was bisected by the surveyed town line and hence was dubbed Town Line Lake. The final lake they encountered had a range line running along the west side so they named it Range Line Lake. As a result, the supply station born on the frustration of these surveyors was marked “3 Lakes”. “3 Lakes” became a hub of activity as loggers came seeking the pine and hardwood forests, to be followed in time by pioneer farmers.
On July 15, 1881, the Lake Shore Traffic Company purchased the first 120 acres in the area. The community of Three Lakes, which included loggers, merchants, and other settlers, began to thrive in October of 1881, when Mr. Cahman built a combination store and post office.