The Chequamegon Bay area had a long and colorful history well before the settlement of Bayfield. Before the time of written records, Ojibwe (Chippewa) legends have placed this group and others, including the Huron, Ottawa and Sioux, here sometime prior to European discovery.
The 1850s were a turning point for the Chequamegon Bay region. In 1855, the “Soo” locks at Sault St. Marie opened, allowing for the first large ships to enter Lake Superior. In addition, these years were a time of optimism and available credit. Men began to dream of great inland harbor cities that would rival Chicago as port terminals for Midwest grain and lumber.