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Gronk’s Grill & Bar

The southern Gateway to the city of Superior, Wisconsin!

The City of Superior sits at the junction of U.S. Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 53, and is the county seat of Douglas County, Wisconsin. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 27,368. The city is located just north of and adjacent to both the Village of Superior and the Town of Superior.

Incorporated as a city on September 6, 1854 , Superior is located at the western end of Lake Superior in northwestern Wisconsin. Bordered by St. Louis Bay, Superior Bay, and Allouez Bay. It is also framed by two rivers: the Nemadji and the St. Louis. Superior and the neighboring city across the bay, Duluth, Minnesota, form a single metropolitan area called the Twin Ports and share a harbor that is one of the most important ports on the Great Lakes.


The early history of Superior and Douglas County is a story of the Native Americans. The first known inhabitants of what is now Douglas County were Mound Builders. These were an advanced group of people that appeared on the shores of Lake Superior sometime after the last glacier receded. They mined copper in the Minong Range and at Manitou Falls on the Black River. They pounded this metal into weapons, implements, and ornaments, which were later found buried in mounds with their dead. Their civilization was eventually overrun by other tribes, mainly of Muskhogean and Iroquois stock, and disappeared as a distinct culture in late prehistoric American times.

The first-known white men to visit the area were the French. In 1618, Stephen Brule, a voyager for Champlain, coasted along the South shore of Lake Superior where he met the Ojibwa. Upon returning to Quebec, he carried back some copper specimens and a glowing account of the region. In 1632, Champlain’s map appeared showing “Lac Superior de Tracy” as Lake Superior and the lower end shore as “Fond du Lac”. Soon after, fur trading companies established settlements, while missionaries came bringing the first touches of civilization. 

For more than a century, the Hudson Bay Company, followed by the Northwestern Fur Company in 1787 and later, the Jacob Aster Fur company, maintained trading posts with the Native Americans. With the coming of settlement, however, the voyager and fur trader faded into the misty twilight of a romantic and historic past.

Douglas County lies on one of the major water highways used by early travelers and voyagers of inland America. This water trail, The Bois Brule-St/ Croix River Portage Trail, was the most convenient connecting link between Lake Superior and the Mississippi River. The Bois Brule and the ST. Croix River systems were only separated by a short portage over the Continental Divide near Solon Springs, Wisconsin. The northward traveler used this water trail to take him to Lake Superior, while the downstream traveler could use it to go southwest to the Gulf of Mexico, unhindered by portages, by using the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. This waterway was also an important route in the Wisconsin fur trade, particularly when the French War with the Fox Indians closed the more southern routes. Spurred by the prospect of lucrative shipping and iron ore industry, businessmen from Chicago and St. Paul laid claim to the site which became the city of Superior, and plans began for the plotting of a great city.

The first log cabin in Superior was erected in September of 1853 on the banks of the Nemadji River, paralleling the breaking of ground for the locks and the ship canal at Sault St. Marie, Michigan. This brought the dawning of a new age for the infant city, Superior. Immediately there was eagerness for a railroad from Lake Superior to the Pacific coast. This was later realized with construction of the Northern Pacific, and the dream of a rail and water highway from coast to coast was born. In 1889, the booming settlement at the Head of the Lakes would soon be named the county seat for Wisconsin’s 4th largest city and county seat, Superior, would be located, and money was pumped into the city’s shipping and railway industries.


The city has a total area of 55.4 square miles, 18.5 sq miles is water.

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