Hurley, Wisconsin - "The Snow Capital of Wisconsin"


Located on the Montreal River, Hurley, Wisconsin was built by hard working people from many different areas of the world to mine the vast amounts of newly discovered iron ore, harvest timber from the area’s forests, and establish farms in some of the harshest environments there was in America.  The towns of Hurley, Pence & Kimball because known predominantly for logging while the Montreal & Iron Belt areas were predominantly known for mining.

Original settlers (men from the Lake Superior Ship Canal Railroad Company) of the Hurley area were searching the Montreal River and areas to the west for what later turned out to be a proverbial goldmine of iron ore.  The iron ore was originally discovered in the late 1850’s but went untouched for many years because of the start of the Civil War.

Soon the area’s vast forest became a hot commodity as well, as there were millions of tons of lumber to be had.  In came mill workers & lumberjacks and area’s population jumped to around 7,000 people.  It was a boom town, as businesses and homes seemed to pop up overnight.  In 1886 the famous Burton House, known as the hotel with a thousand windows, by mining speculator John E. Burton.

Around the time the iron stocks started to fall, Hurley’s business development took a massive blow as two separate fires struck Silver Street and completely destroyed the main drag.  With no insurance reimbursement at the time the town still managed to rebuild and constructed everything this time out of brick.

Many of the business at the time were saloons, as Hurley became known for entertaining the area loggers & miners.  Bragging that there is no shortage of beer, during its most popular times, Hurley was home to over 120 different places to buy and drink alcohol.  During prohibition in the 1920’s, Silver Street establishments were warned by federal officers and later 23 drinking establishments were shut down as they ignored the new prohibition law at the time.


The area continues to be a haven for wintertime activities, but since the mines shut down in 1993 it has had its struggles as well.  The miners & loggers have been replaced by UTV’s & snowmobiles as tourism has taken over as the main source for the area’s economy.

Visitors are drawn to many area attractions:

  • +500 Miles of snowmobile trails
  • Averages +200 inches of snow per year - Part of the infamous "snow belt" Hurley boasts to have snow even when your town doesn't
  • +200 Miles of ATV/UTV trails
  • Golf - 2 golf courses
  • Little Finland - The National Finnish American Festival Cultural Center keeping the area's Finnish culture & heritage alive
  • Plummer Mine Head Frame Interpretive Peak - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Cary Mine Building - The building once housed a working iron mine
  • B-47 Crash Site - Built in 1921, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Events throughout the year to entertain the whole family
    • Paavo Nurmi Marathon - Wisconsin's oldest marathon held since 1969 (2nd Saturday in August)
    • Festivale Italiano - Celebration of the area’s Italian heritage (Labor Day Weekend)
    • Saturday in the Park - Music & unique shopping at Heritage Park (Select Saturday's in the Summer)