Mainland Sea Caves - Winter Conditions
Follow this link for information on winter conditions at the mainland sea caves: what to wear, what to bring, how to get there, and things you should know. More »
There are current closures of areas within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Click for more information and see if these closures will affect your trip. More »
Farming in the Apostles
A four-foot cucumber... a 70-pound squash... potatoes eight inches around!
Early advocates for farming in the Apostle Islands were enthusiastic. The soil of the islands, they said, was suitable for fruits, vegetables, small grains, and dairy farming. Even more important, the moderating effect of Lake Superior upon the islands' climate meant that the growing season in the Apostles was some 40 days longer than nearby locations just a short distance inland.
But the expected agricultural boom never took place, and the last island farm was gone before the end of World War II. With their isolation and limited accessibility, farms on the islands could never compete economically with those on the mainland. Today, all that remains of these farms are ruined buildings, the outlines of fields, and a few hardy fruit trees.
The Early Years
The Farms of Basswood Island
Roswell Pendergast and Michigan Island
The Sand Island Community
Visiting the Farm Sites
Visitors should use extreme caution when visiting abandoned farmsteads. Potential hazards include broken glass, rusting farm equipment, and open wells where long-ago settlers drew their water.
Did You Know?
Brownstone (sandstone) was shipped from quarries in the Apostle Islands at the end of the 19th century to midwestern cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Paul where it was used to build some of the cities' most distinctive landmarks.