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Updated weekly by Marinette County Tourism office

The history of the Marinette, Menominee, and Oconto area is strongly tied to its natural resources - fur and lumbering. The first permanent settlement in Menominee was in 1796 by Chappee, an Indian trader and agent for a fur company.

Marinette was founded in the late 18th century as well by French Canadian voyageurs and fur traders. Many historians believe that French Jesuit Priest Claude Allouez first established his mission of St. Francis Xavier among local Indian groups in 1669 along the banks of the lower Oconto River. Following the first French contact, fur trading became the most important industry in Oconto until around 1830.

Marinette is the home of Queen Marinette. For more information about Queen Marinette, please visit the Wisconsin Historical Society website.  They have preserved a Tourist Brochure For Marinette County published ca 1923 by the Marinette Chamber of Commerce - "
Come to The Land of Queen Marinette." Once at the website, click on "View the document." then click on page 3 on the left side of the page to view the page "The Land of Queen Marinette."

In the mid 1800's, the lumber industry saw its start with the introduction of water-powered saw mills. By the 1870's, the Tri-County area was a worldwide shipping point for white pine. In 1871, the town of Peshtigo was leveled by the worst forest fire in America's history. Over 800 people lost their lives in the October blaze. This fire occurred at the same time as the famous Chicago Fire. The history of the Tri County area is well preserved in museums open to the public.


Just name a winter or summer sport and you will no doubt be able to enjoy it here in the Tri-County area. The weather, with its changing seasons, brings a constant rotation of interesting things to do or see.

The scenery is unsurpassed at any time of the year. There are lovely wooded areas, plenty of lakes, rivers, and streams, and the long sandy shoreline of the bay of Green Bay. The area also offers several excellent golf courses. Our fishing is some of the best in the country, and hunting opportunities attract hunters from near or far. There is an abundance of parks with beaches, picnic areas, campgrounds, and natural beauty. Waterfalls abound.

Water activities are available, as well as cross country ski trails, ice fishing, ice rinks, snowmobiling, indoor youth hockey, indoor tennis, and indoor sports facilities. The three counties hold a variety of festivals throughout the year including Marinette/Menominee's Waterfront Festival, Peshtigo's Historical Days and Oconto's Copper Culture Festival.

One of the area's real strengths is in the educational opportunities available to area residents. All three counties have private and public grade schools and high schools, with nursery schools available as well. The public school systems also offer complete programs for exceptional students. The Menominee School's Community Program offers a wide range of adult education classes and GED classes.

The Northeast Wisconsin Technical College - Marinette campus, is part of a regional technical and trades college that provides one-year and two-year certificates & degrees in a wide variety of skill areas. And the University of Wisconsin - Marinette County Campus is a two-year campus that offers two-year associate degrees. Both schools allow Menominee County Michigan residents to attend at regular in-state tuition rates.

Although all three counties have their roots in the lumber industry, each has successfully made the transition to a more diversified economic base.

Major employers manufacture a wide variety of products including aircraft seating and interiors, boats, helicopters, ships, wax paper, computer paper, fire extinguishers, automotive parts, specialty chemicals, pressure vessels and paper products. This diversity has made for a relatively stable employment picture.

 Work Ethic
One reason for this successful industrial base is the employees of the area - they are known as industrious, and hard working, believing in the old axiom of an honest day's work for an honest days wage.