Welcome to "Wisconsin's Great Northwoods"
Founded in 1878 by Civil War veterans Francis Deleglise and George Eckart, Antigo was known to local native Americans as “wild woods”, a term still applicable today given the area’s bountiful wild areas. Though the pristine wilderness remains, Antigo embarks on the 21st century replete with resources that situate it on the cutting edge of technology, manufacturing and growth.
Vast expanses of timber spawned the region’s first major industry for German, Czech, Polish, and Scandinavian immigrants. Oxen needed to transport logs helped generate a second industry, farming, that became a staple of the area and drew upon surrounding soils rich in silt loam, Wisconsin’s state soil.
With the burgeoning timber industry and advent of the railroad, Antigo’s population quickly grew from 645 in 1880 to 9,465 in 1890. The city became a hub of the Chicago, Lakeshore & Western Railroad, later the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, which served as a key element in transporting timber and crops. Though the railroad was eventually closed, its historic depot was renovated and currently serves as an appealing office complex in downtown Antigo.
As the timber industry declined, farmers turned to dairying to provide sustenance and under the direction of agricultural agent E.G. Swovadam, established several breeder organizations. With that impetus, Antigo became Wisconsin’s leading producer of Italian cheese, a distinction it maintains with operation of the noted Satori Cheese Company, an internationally recognized producer of several varieties of excellent cheese.
Antigo capitalized on the need for manufacturing to become home to countless businesses that supplied needs of the railroad and farming industries and presently hosts manufacturing concerns involved in packaging supplies, wood products, gears and bearings, electronic supplies, cargo haulers, ergonometric equipment, flooring, and steel planks to name just a few.
From the 1880s until today, Antigo has utilized its resources and adapted to changes in a manner that has rendered it a vibrant, progressive and welcoming community to visitor and resident alike.