Bayfield County Press

Compiler's Note: Currie G. Bell, my great-grandfather, became the editor and publisher of the Bayfield, Wisconsin weekly newspaper, the BAYFIELD COUNTY PRESS, in the fall of 1882. The paper remained in the Bell family until July 1927. In addition to the usual birth, marriage and death announcements, THE PRESS printed local "chit-chat" columns that provided snippets of information on the residents of Bayfield and the surrounding towns. On a time-available and experimental basis, we have decided to post some of this data in the hopes it may be of use to family historians researching their Bayfield county ancestors. --John Griener


[The following was taken from the February 26, 1885 issue of the BAYFIELD COUNTY PRESS]

Frank I. PHELPS, assistant editor of the Minneapolis LUMBERMAN, who spent several days in the village last week, contributed under the nom de plume of F. X. a very interesting account of his visit here, which will be found in this issue of the PRESS.

As Others See Us
Bayfield, Wis. February 16 [1885]


I reached the old bay town yesterday evening and today find it looking much the same as of old, although many improvements have been made since I was here last. The most noticable one is the new court house, finished last fall and I must say it is the finest one I have seen in the Northwest and does infinite credit to the town and county. Perhaps a short description of it may not be amiss. It was built in the higher portion of the town, of the Bayfield brown sandstone, and from the tower overlooks the whole bay and all of the islands and lake as far as the eye can reach, as well as the opposite shore with Ashland in plain view. It is square and massive in structure, and is surrounded by a plateau which will be very handsome in summer. The lower portion is an English basement in which is located the jail, and living rooms for the jailer and family , as also the boilers for heating the building with steam; this whole apparatus is of the most approved kind and automatic. The first floor is occupied by county officers, the third by the officers not accommodated on the first floor, the judges room, room for prisoners, the sheriffs office, jury rooms and the court room which is large and finished in good taste. Above this are two large rooms used for storage. The total cost was something over $31,000.

I am stopping here at the Island View hotel kept in prime shape by Messrs WILLEY & Son (by the way, if you are fond of fresh white fish broiled to a turn stop here sometime.)

Bayfield has been very quiet this winter, rather more so than usual owing in a great measure to the extreme cold weather which has prevented the usual amount of fishing which is a large industry in winter.

This is the terminus of the Omaha R. R. in this direction, although they only run one train each way a day which arrives here at 6:30 pm and leaves in the morning at 7:15. This makes it very inconvenient for parties wishing to visit Bayfield from the outside. The citizens are in hopes that the road will as soon as navigation opens, put on a night train which will put them on the same footing as Ashland. I understand that there will be built here during the coming season, a large hotel for a summer resort. There is certainly no finer place on the lakes anywhere for an enterprise of that kind. It is beautifully located, with many islands in close vicinity, unexcelled lake fishing, fine trout streams close at hand and the higher part of the town commanding a view of the islands, lake and whole bay. The town is supplied with perfectly pure spring water from springs on the bluff at least 125 feet above, as pure, soft, and cold as snow. With a hotel of the requisite size, Bayfield would be one of the most popular summer resorts in the whole Northwest, and as it is, it is crowded every summer.

R. D. PIKE's saw mill here will undergo some few repairs and will be ready for business as soon as the ice goes out in the spring. Through the kindness of Mr. C. G. BELL, editor and proprietor of the BAYFIELD COUNTY PRESS, I am enabled to give you the correct reports of the log cut as well as old logs, and the capacity of the mills in Ashland, Washburn and Bayfield. You will notice that the Ashland Lumber Co., are putting in no logs at all. {Here was inserted table lately published in the PRESS -- Ed.}

In addition to the above there are parties here looking over the location for a large brick yard, and I understand that it is not at all certain that Bayfield will not before another season have erected a large elevator and also a coal dock, while there will be several quarries (opened and worked) of the fine brown sandstone, which is handsome and easier worked than the celebrated Marquette stone. I look to see Bayfield some day one of the important towns on the lake.

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