Wisconsin Towns and Places

Ashland - Mural Capital of Wisconsin

Ashland is a Mural Capital of the state, with over 20 murals depicting its heritage. They depict subjects like lumberjacks, military veterans, railroads, storefronts, and mining.  

Its downtown area is historic, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of its downtown businesses are locally owned and operated. Its waterfront on Lake Superior is quite a place. There is a waterfront trail.

The city is on Chequamegon Bay, a favorite place for fishing, swimming, boating, and the whole nine yards. I apologize. I took this photo in the dead of winter. 

This is a photo of the Ashland Breaker Lighthouse, which opened in 1915. It is still operational. 

As a point of history, the Iron Ore trade became the dominant trade of the Great Lakes in 1888. Soon after it started, the United States became the world's top source of iron and steel. The Lake Superior region was at the center of this trade, with its plentiful ores and low-cost transportation. The development of the iron ore trade was not easy. 

Ashland was in the thick of it. It was one of Wisconsin’s largest cities and a major Lake Superior port. I’ve done a story on the Ashland Ore Dock. I first viewed the last one standing in 2007. I returned in 2012-2013 to watch it being destroyed. I commend the story to you. It’s sad, in my opinion.  

Ashland has a small but interesting historical museum.

I love boats and ships. I grew up on Lake Erie and have enormous respect for the men and women who ply the seas of the Great Lakes. Lake Superior, of course, is the Big Daddy of them all. 

And, of course, all little boys like me love displays of railroads and love even more watching the train go by.


I’d now like to give you a good sampling of the murals beautifying the city. They’ll give you a good idea of the history of this region. All you need to do is walk around the city to view and study them.