The Bayfield County Historical Society (BCHS) is an affiliate of the Wisconsin Historical Society. There are 10 Chapters that make up the umbrella organization of the BCHS. The Chapters are Barnes Area Historical Assn., Cable/Namakagon Historical Soc., Cornucopia Historic Green Shed Museum, Drummond Historical Soc., Eileen Area Historical Soc., Mason Area Historical Soc., Oulu Historical Soc., Port Wing Historical Soc., Washburn Area Historical Soc., and Western Bayfield County Historical Soc.  Chapter memberships include membership in the Bayfield County Historical Society and receipt of the organization’s newsletter, “Historical Happenings.”  

 A book of the first 10 years of our "Historical Happenings" newsletters is now available. This book is a compilation of published newsletters from 1980 through 1989.  It includes many stories, maps, and photos that capture the local history of Bayfield County, Wisconsin.

To order a book, please print and use the order form.

This Day in Wisconsin History

  • May 31, 1908 - Actor Don Ameche Born
    On this date Dominic Amici was born in Kenosha. Ameche attended Marquette University and the UW. He made his stage debut with Al Jackson Stock Company in Madison in 1928. A well-known film actor during the 1930s and 40s, Ameche won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor in the film in 1986. Other notable roles include (1936), (both 1938), (1939), (both 1939), (1940), (1941), (1943), and (1944). Ameche died of prostate cancer on December 6, 1993 in Scottsdale, Arizona. [Source: ]
  • May 31, 1862 - (Civil War) Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia, Opens
    This battle was part of the Peninsula Campaign and was the largest conflict seen in the Eastern Theater up to this point. The 4th Wisconsin Light Artillery and 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments took part in this assault.
  • May 31, 1899 - The Gideons International Founded
    On this night two salesmen, John H. Nicholson and Samuel E. Hill, crossed paths a second time, in Beaver Dam. The pair had first met eight months before in the Central Hotel in Boscobel and discussed the need for some way to provide Christian support to traveling businessmen. During this second meeting in Beaver Dam the two decided to "get right at it. Start the ball rolling and follow it up." They invited their professional contacts to an organizational meeting to be held in Janesville on July 1, 1899, at which the organization was formally named and chartered. By 1948, The Gideons had distributed over 15 million bibles world-wide. View more information about the .
  • May 31, 1988 - UW-Madison Honored for Research
    On this date UW-Madison was named a Sematech Center of Excellence, "a SEMATECH-funded research center that conducts basic and applied research in science and technology areas that are beneficial to the semiconductor industry." The designation stemmed from the UW's research on x-ray lithography. [Source: ]



Originally named La Pointe County in 1848, Bayfield County was renamed on April 12, 1866 in honor of Henry Wolsey Bayfield, a British Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy who surveyed Lake Superior in 1823-24.


Bayfield County Historical Society - PO Box 581 - Washburn, WI 54891