Mercer Area History Amazing times with Colorful Characters

Fur trade, mineral exploration, logging, railroads, and resorts each, in succession, played a large part in shaping Mercer into what it is today - a beautiful vacation area that attracts visitors from all over the world throughout the four seasons.

In 1894, the first train arrived in Mercer. With much of the timber logged by the turn of the century, the local economy turned to tourism. Some of the first resorts were little more than updated logging camps.

By the 1920's, train travel allowed Mercer resorts to blossom as southern Wisconsin and Chicago area families sought the quiet lifestyle and cool breezes of pristine lakes offered here during the hot summers and the bounty of fishing and hunting opportunities year round.

Notable Visitors

Mercer also became a destination in the early 1930's for some of Chicago's more notorious individuals including the Capone brothers and John Dillinger.

Ralph Capone (brother to Al Capone) enjoyed northern Wisconsin so much that he made it his home. He settled in Mercer and operated The Rex Bar for many years.

Visit the Depot Museum

Take a walk back in time with a visit to the Mercer Depot Museum, the only remaining wooden rail depot in Iron County. The Depot has been restored to its turn of the century charm and visitors continue to be fascinated by the many reminders of the past. The Mercer Area Historical Society has restored a Soo Line caboose, the original jailhouse, the one-room schoolhouse and the barbershop.

The photos below were given to the chamber by Linda Steber. Her parents have roots in Mercer and met when it was "The New North" in 1954. Her dad's aunt, Irene Neufuss, ran the restaurant for many years and her father worked at the restaurant for a few years.