Brief History of Hiles

Hello Forest County Residents!

This blog post goes out to Jill Krueger, who is very proud of her Hiles heritage. This week’s post is an excerpt from a Forest Republican article written by Bonnie Roberts in 1957.

“In 1860, an old woodsman, Dan Gagen, established a trading post and inn on the banks of the Pine Lake. This log cabin was the only place that provided lodging for many trappers and traders. It was located on the Old Military Road which served as a mail route as far as Superior. This place was sold to J.B. Thompson of Wausau in 1863. H.B. Fessenden of Argonne moved to the post and was the only actual settler. He became the owner in 1895 holding it until 1902 when he sold the property to Franklin P. Hiles of Milwaukee. Mr. Hiles not only bought the trading post but also created the village of Hiles. He was instrumental in getting a branch railroad built from the main Chicago Northwestern line and in erecting a saw mill, store, and hotel. At this time land was taken from the towns of Crandon and Argonne to organize the Town of Hiles. A few years later Mr. Hiles sold his holdings both real estate and personal to the Foster Mueller Lumber Company of Milwaukee. This firm made considerable improvements and built more homes for their employees. Mr. C.W. Fish of Elcho bought the property in 1919 and under the successful management of Mr. O.A. Miller, Hiles cleaned up the streets, put in sidewalk, and planted trees. During the summer of 1924, a new Union Church and a very modern school building were erected and the old village park was beautified by the addition of a fountain. In 1924, there were eighty four families in Hiles. Some of the organizations in the town were: Woman’s Club, Protestant Ladies’ Aid, Catholic Ladies Aid, Royal Neighbors, M.W. of A, and Parent Teachers Association. In 1943, the Catholic and Lutheran churches burned down and later a new Lutheran church was constructed. One of the main attractions in Hiles is Pine Lake. It has helped to make Hiles a tourist resort. Most of the people living in Hiles (in1957) work in the woods or mills in other cities” (Forest Republican 1957).

Hiles boarding house in 1910
Hiles boardinghouse in 1910

One thought on “Brief History of Hiles”

  1. Thanks Amanda
    I wish I could step back in time just for even a few moments. When we were very small kids we used to go through my parents old photos and try to imagine what it was like back then.

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