The History of Deer Park
There follows a history of the village of Deer Park, recorded according to the best of our knowledge and the research of a few interested individuals.
The first settler with a family in this part of St. Croix County was Otto Neitge, far better known as "the Dutch Hunter", who with his brother Reinhardt built a cabin in 1853 on the east side of what is now the Village of Deer Park (a little south of where William Thompson's buildings now stand).
A few years later, he settled in this vicinity (1858). Otto Neitge built a genuine "deer park" enclosing 160 acres with a fence nine feet high which was built by settling rows of twelve foot oak posts as close together as they could be placed in a trench 3 feet deep. Along the outside of this fence there were several "jumping off places" where deer could jump into the stockade from the outside but those deer that were inside could not jump out. There had been as many as 400 deer in the enclosure at one time, and although Mr. Neitge shot many of them and sold the meat in St. Paul (at that time a small military post) there were always many deer in the park because of the great number, in the nearby forests of those animals of which a considerable number were constantly caught in this giant deer trap. There was an abundance of water and pasture in the park thus allowing the deer to live very well.
Before the old North Wisonsin Railroad was built through this region (in 1874), there was no Village of Deer Park. There was, however, a community of farmers in this vicinity, and WEllington Gregory had a general store about three miles south of where the Village of Deer Park now stands. Mr. Gregory came to this community and began his store business about 1860. With the coming of the railroad, a village naturally arose in this comparatively well-settled community.
Deer Park has a population of 294. It has German Lutheran and Norwegian Methodist churches, a creamery, a meat market, and a variety of other local businesses.