Pioneer Park Historical Comes is made up of 7 Museum Buildings, and a number of outdoor and indoor exhibits.
The Logging Museum
The Rhinelander Logging Museum is the anchor to the complex, and the first museum seen when you enter the main gate. Founded in 1932 it is the oldest Logging Museum of it’s kind in the country. Housed in an authentic replica logging camp building including a Bunkhouse, Cookshack, and Blacksmith Shop. It includes one of the most complete collections of mid-1800s to early 1900s logging exhibits in the nation with artifacts, photos tools, and more, from all over Northern Wisconsin, highlighting the golden era of logging in the Northwoods.
Reds Sawmill Museum
Reds features a genuine antique Sawmill used by a mill from Enterprise, Wisconsin, and the Marquardt Family. It is indicitove of the hundreds of sawmills that operated in Northern Wisconsin during it’s early logging heyday.
Rhinelander Rural Schoolhouse Museum
A 100+ year old One Room Schoolhouse was moved to Pioneer Park in 1976, to become the Rhinelander Rural Schoolhouse Museum. This charming one room school house building has been painstakingly restored to it’s pre-1950 condition and is full of information and artifacts used to teach visitors about early American rural schools back when chalk boards, well pumps, and walking to school uphill both ways was the order of the day.
Wisconsin Civilian Conservation Corps Museum
This replica CCC camp building complete with tar paper siding, shows visitors what it was like at a 1930s CCC Camp. The CCC is one of the best thought of federal programs in American history. The work of Wisconsin’s 128 CCC camps can be learned about I great detail with this wonderful collection of CCC photos, documents, artifacts, and memorabilia.
Rhinelander Fire Equipment Museum
This building houses so e of Rhinelander’s earliest fire fighting apparatuses including two trucks and a horse drawn fire wagon. This building also includes an exhibit dedicated to Rhinelander’s famous all girls Drum and Bugle Corps, the Belles of Saint Mary’s
Dukes Outboard Motor and Boat Museum
This building is the home of a very large collection of some of the earliest antique outboard boat motors found anywhere on display. The private collection of Duke Montgomery, famous Rhinelander motor repairman, as well as dozens of antique boat motors on loan. Visit this museum to learn about northern Wisconsin history on it’s thousands of lakes.
Rhinelander Railroad Museum
The Rhinelander Railroad Museum features an authentic Soo Line Depot painted in classic Soo yellow. Originally located in downtown Rhinelander, it was moved to Pioneer Park I the 1990s and now features an excellent collection of Wisconsin Railroad history. The basement of the building showcases a model railroad layout showing 1950s Rhinelander at the peak of rail service to the Northwoods. The layout shows the three rail lines that operated in and out of Rhinelander including the Soo, Chicago Northwood Western, and the Thunder Lake Lumber Company narrow gauge line. Pop a few quarters into the display to see it run!
A very special narrow-gauge locomotive, The “5 Spot”, can be seen in front of the Depot. This little locomotive worked in the woods outside Rhinelander, hauling logs into the city’s many sawmills. After it retired as a log hauler, it spent time working on the desert of Chihuahua, Mexico as an ore hauler before returning to Rhinelander for static display in 1976.
Outdoors Displays, and More!
The complex features a number of outdoor displays from logging equipment, dugout canoes, a Phoenix steam powered log hauler, and more. Throughout the complex and museum buildings, you will find interesting exhibits and displays that help complete the story of Northwoods hisotry. Enjoy your time exploring the grounds, and buildings to find these extra displays!
The Rhinelander Logging Museum is home to the city’s official Hodag Exhibit. Given the Hodags connection to the Northwoods rich logging history, you can find any number of Hodags on display in the center of the Logging Museum where you can learn all about the origin of Hodags, and Rhinelander’s love for “the great pine beast”. Want to earn more about Hodag? Follow this link!