Native American occupancy

The Lake Superior Chippewa Indians were the first people to have an impact on this beautiful area. Establishing a camp on the east shore of Manitowish Lake, they made sugar, fished, raised corn, picked berries and buried their dead in the area.


In 1860, government officials established township boundaries and noticed the valuable timber resources and chain of lakes convenient for floating logs to sawmills. By 1884, canoe flotillas looking for timber had established the first white settlements in what is now Manitowish Waters, and in 1887-1888 the dam was built to hold chain waters for logging and river driving.

20th Century

In 1927, the Town of Spider Lake was officially established; it was renamed Manitowish Waters in 1940. Then, in 1946, cranberry farming began around Wild Rice Lake, establishing what is now a significant business in Manitowish Waters. Five cranberry marshes operate along Alder Lake Road and Cranberry Boulevard.