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Hokenson Fishing Dock

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1927–1931. North of Park Rd. on Little Sand Bay, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • (Photograph by Mark Fay, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

Booth Fisheries in Bayfield (see BA3) once dominated the area’s commercial fishing industry. But the smaller Hokenson Brothers Fishery, owned by three sons of Swedish immigrants, prospered for more than thirty years, demonstrating the continued buoyancy of independent entrepreneurs in an increasingly corporate world. They started their herring fishing and packing operation at Little Sand Bay, an isolated locale a few miles from their father’s farm, setting their nets, collecting the herring each day, and packing them in ice at the dock. To distribute their catch, they relied on brokers in nearby Cornucopia and Bayfield.

A collection of utilitarian structures represents the Hokenson enterprise. They built the icehouse in 1927, and the L-shaped dock was completed three years later. It is constructed of wooden piles driven into the lakebed, supporting a log and stone structure, or “crib,” covered by a deck of wide wooden planks. The crib acts in part as a breakwater, enabling boats to tie up within the ell for protection from wind and waves. A long shed for storing equipment rests on the dock near the shore. Completed around 1931, it has walls of tongue-and-groove wooden siding, laid horizontally. The side-gabled roof cantilevers over the dock, creating a sheltered walkway. The wood-sided icehouse stands on the shore along with a two-story, gambrel-roofed storage building and workshop, completed in 1931.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Hokenson Fishing Dock", [Bayfield, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 294-295.

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