Rusk County, WI City, Town, & Village Detail

Rusk County, WI

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Incorporation of the Chippewa River and Menomonie Railway in 1884 was the genesis of what later was to become the most thriving community in the county in the 1890's. Originally called VERONA JUNCTION, the settlement grew where the C.R.& M. crossed the Soo Line Railway. Here the roundhouse, machine shop, boarding house and general office of the C.R.& M. were located.

The name of the village was changed to APOLLONIA in 1893, in honor of Frederick Weyerhaeuser's daughter. (Mail addressed to VERONA JUNCTION ended up in Verona, and vice versa, so the name change was welcome.)

The Weekly Budget, the county's first newspaper, was started here in April of 1895, when the community had a population of 300. There were two large stores, the church, two hotels, and opera house, saloon, school, a drug store, a creamery, and a practicing physician. When the pine (trees) were gone, (Frederick) Weyerhaeuser left, and the settlement declined.

The only significant reminder of the village of APOLLONIA is the white frame Congregational Church, located along U.S. Highway 8, which was dedicated in 1895. In January 1978, the remaining congregation of the Church donated the building to the Rusk County Historical Society with the expressed desire that it remain as a historical site in APOLLONIA.
---Taken from a "History of Rusk County Wisconsin - 1983"


This town was started twelve years ago, and was named for a daughter of the great lumberman, Frederick Weyerhaeuser. It is located on the Soo railway at the southern terminus of the Chippewa River & Menomonie railway, which extends thirty miles north, tapping a very rich country.

APOLLONIA is one of the best towns in the county, with the most enterprising business men and very bright prospects. It has two churches, a good graded school, a $3,500.00 opera house and the largest Odd Fellows Lodge in this part of the state. There are three general stores, three saw mills, shingle mill, lumber yard, livery stable, blacksmith shop, hardware and furniture store, drug store, physician, two fuel dealers, jeweler, two farm machinery dealers, two good hotels, a cheese factory (the oldest in Gates county), a newspaper, millinery store, dray line, local and long distance telephone systems, a brass band, free library, most excellent drainage, and an abundance of the purest water.

There are numerous lakes and streams in the vicinity, affording the best fishing and hunting. The roads in this vicinity are the best in this part of the state, and soil offers the greatest encouragement to the farmer. Grain produce, lumber (products), and wood products comprise the principal shipments. The population is about 350.
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

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ATLANTA (Town of)

Atlanta Town Hall

Located around Arpin's saw mill on Devil's Creek north of BRUCE grew the settlement of ATLANTA. ATLANTA now has a post office and its population is increasing very rapidly, and it will not be long before it is one of the promising villages on the Soo Line. It has several fine residences. The town is making preparations to build even more roads than were built last year.

Taking acre for acre the town of ATLANTA contains more available and desirable acreage than is found in any other town along the Soo Line. The land is well drained by numerous creeks, so that there is not much of low marshland that cannot be utilized. Eight thousand one hundred and sixty acres of this land was sold by the Arpin Hardwood Lumber Company alone to actual settlers, and they are now locating on these lands. These sales do not include those made by other parties.

The Chippewa Valley & Northern Railway Company is now extending the line north and will go through some of the best land in this town. (This will) �make the land more desirable to would-be purchasers, in that they will have a market for their logs, ties and cord wood and thereby be able to get an income from their timber that is on the land that they may buy.

The Arpin Mill's dynamo furnished electricity for lights. Nothing, but a few houses remain at this time. (1997)
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

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BELDENVILLE was located between LADYSMITH and BRUCE, south of (U.S.) highway 8, across the Chippewa River (at) BRUCE. The Beldenville Lumber and Veneer Company's mill was reached by a spur from the Soo Line (railroad).

Logs were hauled to the mills by rail. Several hundred people were employed in the operations, which began in the early 1900's. (BELDENVILLE) had three mills owned by CF. Coon and Chauncey Pierpoint. There was a sawmill on the bank of the Chippewa River-a planing mill and a veneer mill. The shavings from the planing mill were blown through a long tube to the veneer mill where they were burned to heat the dry kilns for the veneer mill.

There was a boarding house and about 20 private homes. The men that worked at the mills lived in the company owned houses. Mr. Coon had an extensive logging operation and a large horse barn. The Sawdust Road, southeast of BRUCE, was built from shavings from this mill. The mill had declined by 1912 and it was destroyed by fire.

The horse barn is still standing (in 1997) and can be seen from U.S. Highway 8.
---Unknown source.

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BIG FALLS (Town of)
The Town of BIG FALLS is located mostly on the west side of the FLAMBEAU River, north of LADYSMITH and TONY. A small part of BIG FALLS lies east of the river by the Big Falls Dam.

Dairy Center is a name linked to BIG FALLS. A lumber company stripped the land and sold it to a Colonization Company. The company paid men $100 to build colony houses on the land, and then the company advertised to sell the land and houses. There are still a few of these colony houses left.

The 8 Mile Corner School was later constructed in the town. The 8 Mile Corner School was located on Joe Proden's corner and the Dairy Center School was located on Matt Zimmer's corner. After the closing of the schools, the town became a part of the TONY (school) district. With the building of the Matlack bridge across the FLAMBEAU in 1922, closer ties were made with TONY churches and business.

The BIG FALLS Dam was built in 1920 and Boyer's Lodge and the Flambeau Lodge were built on the flowage, as well as a few homes. Boyer's Lodge burned down and was not rebuilt. The Flambeau Lodge is a stopping place for people making canoe trips down the river. The Lodge, along with the school buildings, were hosts for dances for people for miles around.

In 1920, when the BIG FALLS Dam was built, the supplies were hauled in by rail. John Hein owned the lumber company and the railroad ran northeast from TONY to the north.

Due to deterioration from bad building materials, in 1933 the Dam was partially rebuilt and finished in 1934. It provided many jobs for men during the depression. Gravel was shipped in by rail to TONY and hauled by trucks to the dam.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

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This town was established in 1884, and was named for A.C. Bruce, who was at the time a large land owner in the vicinity. It was incorporated as village in September 1901, and now has a population of about 700. The principal industries are the Arpin Hardwood Lumber Co.'s saw and planing mill, and the Beldenville Lumber and Veneer Co.'s mill, the two giving employment to an average of 200 men and furnishing an excellent market for the logs and wood cut in clearing a farm. (BRUCE) is located on the Chippewa River, on the Soo (Line) railway, and it is on the southern terminus of the Chippewa Valley & Northern railway.

It has an excellent grade school, two church organizations and several societies. Among the enterprises established are four general stores, drug store, hardware, furniture, farm implements, three hotels, meat market, millinery store, bakery, two blacksmith shops, two liveries two banks, a lawyer, two doctors, a newspaper, a tailor, shoemaker, real estate office, and photographer.

W. J. Stahmann has demonstrated that bees can be profitably raised here. He has about 400 colonies on his farm adjoining the village, and last year shipped about 25,000 pounds of honey. The lands about Bruce are of the best and a number of farms are already developed. The business men of BRUCE are progressive and wide awake, and with the natural advantages will make a good city here.

Among the older buildings remaining are the McArthur Hotel (still in use in 2000), the former Blackburn Hotel, the former opera house (1904), and the Bruce News letter office. (1997)
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

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The Pioneer School in CEDAR RAPIDS township was built in 1916. A few years later another school was built, the Maple Crest School, on the western part of the township to accommodate the children from that area. In 1930 the school was discontinued, as many of the people had moved out to find other employment. Then it was torn down and sold.

Shortly after the Pioneer School was built, a town hall was constructed about a mile and a half west of there where the people had their town meetings. It also served as a gathering place for dances and parties every month or so.

The Pioneer School was discontinued in 1947-48 when there were only five students left. From then on they were transported by bus to GLEN FLORA to the consolidated school there. The Pioneer School is now known as the Cedar Rapids Town Hall.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

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The five Conrath brothers--Frank, Charles, John, Felix and Joe--came to what was then Gates County in 1904. The Wisconsin Central Railroad was in the process of building its line from Owen, Wisconsin, to Duluth (Minnesota) and Superior. This line went through what later was to become the Village of CONRATH. This place was first called MAIN CREEK SIDING in 1904.

The next year, in 1905, Frank Conrath was asked to send in ten names to the railroad general passenger agent for the naming of the village, which he did. The general passenger agent wrote back and said they would name the village "CONRATH." Mrs. Conrath became post mistress in 1905.
---Taken from "Conrath Remembered by Anthony F. Conrath"

The Ben F. Faast Land and Colonization Co. was organized in 1907 and was located at CONRATH, Wisconsin. Some 30,000 acres of cut over land were purchased around CONRATH, SHELDON and south of WEYERHAEUSER for resale to the first settlers. Promotional efforts on farming potential were generally directed at the newly arrived immigrants from Europe.

Prospective land buyers from the Chicago area were transported to CONRATH by a train called the "Velvet Special." It arrived early in the morning and, as part of the promotional activities, was greeted by an eight-piece band.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

Historical buildings...include the N. H. Spooner house, which was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, and Holy Trinity Catholic Church (1915). The town never had more than 150 residents.

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CRANE is only a name now...The ring of the lumberjack's axe in crisp winter air is gone. But in 1983 there were a few left who remember that the brothers Lou, Ed and Bill Crane founded a thriving village near their logging operations in 1908: there were those who saw it perish in the great fire of 1926. Only two of the original buildings (were left in 1983.)
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" -1983

Platted in 1910 by W. W. Crane, this community was at the junction of the Wisconsin Central (Soo Line) and the Fountain-Campbell (later Bissell) Lumber Co. Railroad. The old school and several houses still stand, but only memories remain of its once thriving status.

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DEWEY (Town of)

Dewey Town Hall

The Town of DEWEY was formed April 4, 1899, on order of Chippewa County. TONY (unincorporated) was part of DEWEY until 1913. Gates County was formed, 1902, from Chippewa County, the name changing to Rusk in 1905. The south border was GRANT until 1905, when it changed to GROW. BIG FALLS was probably a part of DEWEY then. Minutes record a settlement with BIG FALLS, dividing assets in 1916. The east border, as now, was TRUE, and the west line neighbor, FLAMBEAU.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

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Land sold by the Ben Faast Land and Colonization Co. to immigrants from central Europe in about 1905 was the beginning of the community known as WILSON CENTER. The community was located on what is now Blueberry Road and County Trunk Highway I in the Town of WILLARD.

The nickname "DOGVILLE" was used somewhat decisively by some, but soon denoted respect. The one-room Dogville School (formerly Wilson) was started about 1908 and was changed to a two room state graded school in 1910. It remained so until 1945, when it was consolidated into the Holcombe School District.

The Polish National Church organization here in 1925, was served by a priest from Gilman. The building was razed for salvage lumber during World War II. A store and cream buying station was operated just west of the church. There was a post office in DOGVILLE, also know as STAREZ. It was named after Stefan S. Stacneck. S. S. Stacneck owned a grocery store and was the Inventor and Manufacturer of The Supreme Sanitary Filtering Milk Pail. This pail strained the milk as the cow was milked. The Rusk County Historical Society has one on display in their museum.
---Unknown source.

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EGYPT was a (Town of) BIG BEND settlement. It was located south and west of the old North Lima school.

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The Town of FLAMBEAU was located in Chippewa County, the largest county in Wisconsin at that time - 1870 to 1901. In addition to its original territory, some land was added to the Town of FLAMBEAU when it was created in 1875 and boundaries established in 1901. FLAMBEAU was one of the largest townships in the state, encompassing the land which now comprises the Towns of GRANT, MARSHALL, GROW, WILLARD, WASHINGTON, THORNAPPLE, and HUBBARD.

Many of these townships were created in 1902. An area, in order to petition the county board to form a new township, had to have a population of 125 settlers, 25 of which had resided in proposed township for six months.

In the early days, the township had a constable, weed commissioner, Justice of Peace who could marry, bury, and settle disputes (John Lindoo was the first Justice), in addition to our present officers of chairman, supervisors (formerly called sideboard), clerk, treasurer, assessor, and health.

The present Town Hall was built in 1889 in the area of the present water tower. It served as an early schoolhouse for FLAMBEAU Falls (later WARNER). In 1932, it was moved back from the street to its present location. The old city hall in the water tower area also served as a schoolhouse and jail.

At one time there was an "upper" and "lower" ferry. Prices set by the Town Board were: footman 5 cents; horse and rider, 15 cents; single team, 25 cents; double team, 50 cents. The fee was doubled for non-residents. In 1884, a ferry operated across the Chippewa River near St. Francis Church. The pay of the operator was to be his earnings provided that he made two trips across the river each day of church, free of charge.

Travelers in 1888 could take the road going north from FLAMBEAU FALLS, now LADYSMITH, then east to a spot by the pond on the present County J. The road ended there. A ferry would then taken them across the FLAMBEAU River to a road which angled off east through a corner of Ludger LaBarge's farm. Bruno Vinette owned land on both sides of the river and had established a stopping place on the south side. A steel bridge was later built at this ferry site. This bridge was later swept away by a log and ice jam in 1906. Before 1898, residents of Maple Center also used a ferry or boat to cross the river to the village; some forded it.

The first burials of the village were made on FLAMBEAU land near the old city hall next to the present library. Three bodies buried there were later interred in two acres of land purchased in 1900. This cemetery was located east of the present hospital and Highway 27.

In 1904, forty acres located in the Town of FLAMBEAU were purchased by the village from Bischel and wife, and William Dodson. It is now the Riverside Cemetery. Bodies from the first mentioned cemetery have been re-interred at Riverside.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

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GLEN FLORA is in the area once inhabited by the Chippewa Indian tribe. It appears that this area was thinly populated; other than arrow-heads, little evidence of their presence has been found.

The French from Quebec were the first white men to come to GLEN FLORA. In the 1700's trappers and fur traders came into the region. No permanent settlement took place in Rusk County until the time of the Civil War. At that time there was no Rusk County. This was a part of Chippewa County and comprised all the areas of the present counties of Chippewa, Rusk, Sawyer, and part of Taylor and Price.

There were no settlers in the GLEN FLORA area until twenty years after the end of the Civil War. Loggers were here in the late 1870's, but they were not settlers---they never considered this their home.

GLEN FLORA was originally known as MILLER'S SIDING (named after Frank Miller). The 1887 Wisconsin Railroad Map shows it as MILLER'S SIDING. The same map for 1888 has it as GLEN FLORA. The post office was established on Dec 9, 1887, with the name GLEN FLORA.

The first official document pertaining to what is now GLEN FLORA is a record of a transaction in which the government issued a patent to John Michel and Charles Michel on E 1/2 SW and NW SE 20-35-4. It is dated September 25, 1871. The next day, September 26, a patent was issued to the same two men on E 1/2 SE and SW SE 20-35-4. A map will show that all the village is within those forties, covering only small fractions of some of the forties.

GLEN FLORA was platted on July 25, 1888. The land was owned by a firm with the name Glen Flora Manufacturing Company, headed by W.R. Ingalls, President.

From its beginning until 1902, the village of GLEN FLORA was part of the Township of LAWRENCE. The Town of TRUE was created in 1902. From June 1902 until December 1914, the village was a part of the Town of TRUE. GLEN FLORA was incorporated, to have its own government, on December 23, 1914.

In 1905, the village of GLEN FLORA had a population of 350, according to a 1905 book on the Upper Lakes Region. That possibly was its peak, though it may have gone higher during the next ten or fifteen years. It appears now that within a cycle of a hundred years, GLEN FLORA may have had its day.

GLEN FLORA was the smallest incorporated village in Wisconsin. In 1960 the population was 28.
---Taken from "Glen Flora Pioneers" by Walter Gustafson - 1971

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GROW (Town of)
By 1905, the newly developed country had attracted enough landowners to warrant secession from the township of GRANT. On March 25, 1905 a formal break was made with the first caucus held April 1, 1905. The meeting was held in the Krol schoolhouse. The school was later known as the Oak Grove School, but not before it was also know as the Grottier School.

The population of the town in its infancy was confined primarily to the northern on third of the town. The name "GROW" was the name of the township Frank Coggins and Howard Woodbury had come from Anoka County.

In 1909,three schools were in operation. They were the Cloverland, Oak Grove, and Crabb schools. The Crabb school was located in section five, about a half mile from the town line that separated GROW from DEWEY, which provided about half of the enrollment.

For many years residents of the area have crossed over a small stream of water that drains from a swamp in DEWEY, crosses under County P and around under a bridge north of a Deertail Creek Bridge before cutting through a swamp...and on into the Deertail. The seemingly nameless stream was known by the name"Little Jordan" in 1907.

Until 1915, the village of CONRATH was unincorporated and thus a part of the town as the entire village lay within Section 31.

In addition to the three schools mentioned earlier, there was the Progressive School, which was located on the southeast corner of Section 2 along what is now County Highway P. The other school was the East Grow School, located in Section 22. This was the first of the town's schools to close. The school consolidated with CONRATH in the late 1930's.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

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In the eastern part of the county on the Soo railway is situated the town of HAWKINS. There is here located a large saw mill and boarding house. There is a vast amount of hard wood timber in the vicinity and several farms have been opened up.
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

This Main Creek settlement has its origin in the logging industry. It was later renamed in honor of the secretary of the Soo Line, M.P. Hawkins.

In the waning days of white pine logging, the late 1890's, a sawmill was started. A stand of pine in southern Sawyer County was cut in the late 1930's and early 1940's by the Bissell Lumber Co. A log from this cut, with legend and dedication is on display at the corner of U.S.8 and Main Street. The log is the third 16-foot section of a 172 foot tree. Driving 16 miles north on County M in the FLAMBEAU State Forest area, are signs directing to the Big Block Road. Big Block is a stand of timber (especially hemlocks) untouched by man.
---Taken from "Cemetery Burial Records of Rusk County" - 1981

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There was an early logging community that probably was connected with (Frederick) Weyerhaeuser's logging operation. It acquired a post office later and is shown on a 1914 map of Rusk County. A sawmill may have been located here at one time. Some maps from the 1890's show a settlement called VARNER located in this vicinity.

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INGRAM village was established in 1885, the year the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Railroad was built east from Bruce to that point. The Lawrence Lumber Co. built a mill there soon afterwards.

The town was named after 0. H. Ingram, an early pine logger and partner in the Chippewa Logging. Co. The village's heyday was in the logging era, and no industries have taken the place of logging in this and other lumber towns.
---Taken from "Cemetery Burial Records of Rusk County" - 1981

The Village of INGRAM, on the Soo Line, is a booming place of about 400 people and is increasing steadily in size. Here is located H. A. Ostrander & Co., manufacturers of lumber and dealers in general merchandise. They furnish a market for the wood and bolts of the settler and furnish employment both winter and summer for those that desire employment while not working on (their) own lands. They carry all kinds of supplies, and the settler can obtain these with having to carry his supplies a long distance.

INGRAM has three good hotels, a school, two churches, two stores, post office, two blacksmith shops, and a number of fine residences. John B. Heimick has a sawmill about a half mile north of the village, and he also furnishes employment for a number of men.

Large charcoal kilns are being erected, which will furnish a market for all kinds of wood.

The town was established in 1885 when the Lawrence Lumber Company built a mill, which they afterwards sold to the French Lumber Company, which in turn sold to ILA. Ostrander and Company in 1901. This company owns about 6,000 acres of hardwood timberland in this vicinity. J.W. Byers, a partner in the firm, is manager of the mercantile department, and C. D. Van Etten is manager of the lumber business. Settlers are flocking in. and since last fall, 20 new building have been erected. A large church and a commodious public hall are to be built this season.

The Ingram Land Company, of which E. D. Van Ellen, J. W. Byers, and R. J. Buckmaster are partners, control a tract of 60,000 acres of excellent hardwood lands. These lands are located in the Town of LAWRENCE, Gates County (note: currently Rusk County in 2000), and lie tributary to the Village of INGRAM, on the Soo railway. The surface of the country is slightly rolling, is dotted with springs, and has a generous number of small streams which are of unexcelled clearness and purity.

These lands can be purchased by the settler in tracts from 40 to 600 acres, at prices ranging form $6.00 per acre upwards on easy payments. Many of these tracts are still covered with valuable timber, while others have been cut over.

To give the reader an idea of what these lands produce, we will state that the Ostrander Company upon 2 1/2 acres last year raised over 900 bushels of excellent potatoes, besides several hundred heads of cabbage, and also onions, carrots, beets, tomatoes, etc., sufficient to supply their boarding house.
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

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Elija Swift, who was logging near the Chippewa in the 1860's, established his headquarters at ISLAND LAKE, with Lark Burpee in charge. This became a stopping place on a later route of the Chippewa Tote Road, and was know as "Burpee's Place".

Walter Alpin and Jack Plummer were part of the original crew that cleared the land and built what is now Plummer Rd. along Mc Cann Lake. Walter Alpin established Wildwood Resort on McCann Lake in the 1920's (? on date). It was one of the first "Full Service" Resorts on that side of the lake.

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North of Ladysmith on the Soo Line was a siding at JEROME. A road crossed the tracks here, and there were several farms nearby. Early Soo Line timetables list JEROME as a flag stop.

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The county seat and principal town of Gates County was established in 1886, when R. Corbett came here and started a sawmill and several business establishments soon after being started. It was originally called WARNER, and in May 1900 was changed to LADYSMITH, in honor of the wife of C. R. Smith of Neenah, WI. J.W. Fritz was the first general merchant, establishing his business in 1888.

The town is located on the Soo railway and the FLAMBEAU river, which at this point furnishes a very large water power. LADYSMITH has a population of about 1,000 people, nearly everyone of which is a hustler. It was made the county seat at Gates County in April, 1891, and was incorporated as a village in July, 1901.

A courthouse of pressed brick is nearing completion, and a pressed brick schoolhouse will be ready for occupancy when the fall term of school begins. There is an excellent grade school, several church organizations and societies. There are local and long distance telephone systems and an electric light plant will be put in this season. There are assurances that one and probably two railroads, running north and south, will build to LADYSMITH within two years.

The principal industries established, and a certainty, are the Menasha Stave and Heading mill, employing 150 men; the Menasha Paper Co.'s pulp mill, employing 50 men under the local management of A. W. Byrns, a paper mill to be built and to employ from 300 to 500 men; two hardwood saw mills employing 60 men, a plow factory will be established this season that will employ about 75 men.

There is a national bank, a live local newspaper, several hotels, merchandizing establishments, (and)representatives of the various profession. (I)n fact nearly every business, profession and trade is well represented at present.

The country surrounding the town is capable of the greatest development. The river at this place can be made to develop fully 5,000-horse power, and these with a lot of business men who would make any town successful, will put LADYSMITH among the very best towns in Northern Wisconsin within a very short period.
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

LADYSMITH was originally a settlement called FLAMBEAU FALLS. Robert Corbett came to FLAMBEAU Falls in 1885, soon after the Soo Line's east-west railroad reached the settlement. There was almost nothing there at the time. After FLAMBEAU Falls, the community was known for a time as CORBETT, the name Mr. Corbett had given the site of his mill.

Among the old buildings in LADYSMITH are the Gerald Hotel (1901), the Soo Line Depot (early 1900's), and the former Pioneer National Bank (1912), which has been nominated for the registry of historic buildings.

Old Smokey, a Class L-2 (2-8-2) steam locomotive, was donated to the City of LADYSMITH by the Soo Line Railroad. Built in 1920 by the American Locomotive Works at Dunkirk, the locomotive logged 1.4 million miles in freight service. The last steam run on the Soo Line was from Minneapolis, MN to LADYSMITH on June 21, 1959.

The Rusk County Courthouse building (1912) was demolished in 1997. Artifacts from that building are going to be placed in a new building at the Rusk County Museum.

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This was one of the very earliest settlements in Rusk County, located on the FLAMBEAU River near the 101 Trail. Its exact location is uncertain, but it may have been near LITTLE FALLS.

The FLAMBEAU River appears as the MANDOWISH River on some maps in the 1860's and 1870's, which also show this settlement as MANEDOWISH. It may have been a trading post.

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MURRY (Town of)
About 10 miles north of BRUCE on Hwy 40 is MURRY. A stopping place was operated at this site by 1878 and in 1880 Sever Serley, an early settler, bought the three-story building and operated it as a stopping place until 1890. The settlement was named MURRY after John Murry, who lived across the Chippewa River. Jim Murry, who lived at the mouth of the Weirgor River near here, was supposed to have operated a water powered saw mill. Other early settlers came in the later 1880's, and many were of French Canadian heritage.
---Taken from "WSGS Newsletter Vol. 28 No. 3" - January 1982

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This was a very small settlement east of BRUCE that pre-dated BELDENVILLE. It was listed on maps in the 1880's and 1890's. There may have been a mill there, as a railroad spur is shown on one of the early maps.

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This was a community in Wilson Township, Rusk County, Wisconsin, and was settled by a group of people from Czechoslovakia, who came and bought the land (1912) cleared by the loggers of the Knap-Stout Logging Company..

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RUSK (Town of)
Township 33 North, Range 9 West, which is the Town of RUSK, is situated in the southwest corner of Rusk County. Before Gates County was set off from Chippewa County in 1901, this area was part of Bloomer Township. Then in 1898 the name was changed to STRICKLAND Township, and again in 1900 the name was changed to SAMPSON.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

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SHELDON is in southeastern Rusk Co. (It was) originally known as FERN. In the late 1880's its inhabitants included a few pioneers by name of Stassel, Sergeant, Cox, Fink, and Carmen.

An early postal station was located in the Marshall Sergeant home with Anton Corbine delivering the mail from FLAMBEAU on horseback. Rivers with roads built along their banks, along with some logging roads and tote trails provided the only means of transportation. Wild game along with timber products and a few cattle provided the pioneers with subsistence.

In the early 1900's new settlers came. Max Dietz build a general store in FERN while Byron Pickering and son David set up a sawmill along the Little Jump River.

Wagon trips were made to Chippewa and FLAMBEAU to supply the store with sugar, salt, flour, kerosene, vinegar, salt pork, canned goods, and fence wire. Snarling wolf packs following the team at night would be kept at bay with lanterns and rifle fare.

In 1903, the Woodlawn Cemetery was established. In 1906 the Wisconsin Central Railroad was carved through the wilderness. FERN was relocated nearer the railroad and renamed SHELDON in honor of a railroad official. Rail transportation brought new settlers, missionaries arrived and ministered to the settlers' spiritual needs and began the building of churches.

Most of the virgin timberland near SHELDON was owned by large lumber companies. After the pine was logged much of the land was sold to immigrants. This made the SHELDON area quite cosmopolitan, mostly of European extraction. In the 1920"s school children could speak over 10 different languages collectively.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

What is now the Village of SHELDON had its beginnings at a location to the east of the present village. The settlement, called FERN, began in the 1880's and grew slowly. Herb Duel operated a small sawmill to cut lumber for the settlers in the early 1900's.

In 1906, David Pickering and his father, Byron, established a sawmill on the banks of the Little Jump River. It produced 150,000 feet of board feet the first year of operation, in 1907.

The present SHELDON site was established in 1906 when the Wisconsin Central Railroad was building north from Owen. It was named after a Wisconsin central official. Ed Lacy established a sawmill there in 1907. Some businessmen from FERN moved to SHELDON, and the former settlement declined. The town of SHELDON was platted in 1908.
---Taken from "WSGS Newsletter Vol. 32 No. 1" - June 1985

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SOUTH FORK (Town of)
North of Hawkins is an area known as the town of South Fork, named for the SOUTH FORK of the FLAMBEAU River. It has been known as the TOWNSHIP OF LAWRENCE, HAWKINS TOWNSHIP, CZESTOCHOWA and since 1917.

Polish immigrants settled here in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Known as the SOUTH FORK Community, its bonds were as much ethnic as geographic. Most of the settlers cleared land and farmed. They worshiped together in a Catholic Church they built.

A store and post office were operated at a crossroads. The settlement retained its independence from HAWKINS, which had many residents of Scandinavian background.

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West of WEYERHAEUSER is the settlement of STRICKLAND, named for S. P. Strickland. He and Frederick Weyerhaeuser were involved in the operation of a mill on what is now Packer Lake. The Township of STRICKLAND was organized in 1897, but the STRICKLAND settlement traces its origin back to the 1880's.

Settlers of Polish origin came to STRICKLAND and neighboring WEYERHAEUSER from Europe and from the coal fields of Pennsylvania. Settlers at STRICKLAND erected the Assumption BVM Catholic Church. It never was an incorporated village, and the only real industry in 1978 was raising cranberries.
---Taken from "Cemetery Burial Records of Rusk County" - 1981

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Four miles southeast of LADYSMITHD on Deer Tail Creek is the site of the logging settlement of TERESITA. A sawmill, shingle mill, dam, and store flourished during the short life of TERESITA (1898-1907). The Teresita Mill was started by Miles Davis.

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This tract, platted by Samuel B. Tibbets on January 12, 1885, never materialized as a settlement. It was platted after the Minneapolis, Sault St. Marie and Atlantic Railway built through Rusk County. Among the streets in the plat were Mill St., Rich St., Furnace, and Commercial Ave. The names make it sound like TIBBETS was a thriving place, but it never was.

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Thornapple Town Hall

If you are looking for the community called THORNAPPLE, it will be easy to find. When you are on Highway 8 between BRUCE and LADYMITH, you will see a country road near the railroad crossing that leads to the north. Just drive in on this road and you will be in the friendly neighborhood called THORNAPPLE."

The scenery is all one could wish for with the clear waters of the THORNAPPLE and Chippewa Rivers reflecting the beauty of the trees along their shores, and the view of the Blue Hills on the western horizon.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County, Wisconsin" - 1983

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This is one of the best towns in the county of Gates. It is located on the Soo railway and the Deertail River, and the very richest part of the county. There is no poor or waste land in the vicinity of TONY. Much of the land is covered with a heavy grown of hardwood timber.

The town was originally called DEER TAIL, which was later changed to TONY, in honor of Anthony Hem, manager of the John Hem Company.The town began to assume importance in 1897, and now boasts a population of about 400 people.

The stave, heading, and saw mills gave employment to more than 150 men steadily, and the conditions and advantages were such that kindred industries are sure to multiply and give lucrative employment to many people. Then, too, there are more settlers about TONY than in any other part of eastern Gates county, so the town is supported by both manufacturing and diversified farming. This combination insures a thrifty growth of TONY, now one of the best towns of Gates county. The present and prospective manufacturing industries of the town will give to a large number of settlers of the surrounding country, employment at times when they are not pressed with farm work.

TONY has a large general store; a first class hotel; a physician; a newspaper: The Enterprise, founded in 1898; a blacksmith shop and wagon factory; a grade school, attended by 140 pupils, and under the direction of competent Normal School graduates as teachers; a branch house of the Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls; two churches; Catholic and Union. Father Ludwig being the resident priest of the Catholic Church.

In addition to all this, TONY has the best opera house in Gates county, the seating capacity of which is 500. The hall is well appointed and electric lighted. TONY has electric lights, long distance telephone connections, and all the social features of a prosperous and ambitious little city.

James Kral has a fine orchestra of six members and band of sixteen instruments. There is a barber shop, a meat market, a harness shop, and other like industries, and in addition there are several land agencies in the place. A. D. Campbell has a saw mill three miles west of town - a TONY enterprise in effect. BIG FALLS, five miles north of town on the FLAMBEAU, has a water power, estimated when developed at 4,000 horse power.

Frank Burgess, one of the most extensive real estate dealers of Gates county, has upon his lists 100,000 acres of first-class hardwood lands in the vicinity of TONY, all tributary to the Soo railroad. These are probably the best general purpose lands in the county and are unexcelled in northern Wisconsin. Mr. Burgess will procure special home seekers' rates over the Soo Line for those desiring to come here for settlement.
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

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Walrath School was in the Town of LAWRENCE at WALRATH. For about two decades, beginning around 1915, WALRATH was a little village with a store, hotel, post office, and several dwellings. It was served by the railroad -- the Stanley, Merrill, and Phillips, which connected with the Chicago Division of the Soo Line.
---Taken from "Glen Flora Pioneers" by Walter Gustafson - 1971

There once was a village in the Town of LAWRENCE called VALLEE VIEW. In the 1920's the name was changed to WALRATH after A.E. Walrath who started the village.

All the buildings were built by Mr. Walrath, who owned most of the land around there. He also built a mill south of the village where they made chair rounds from logs cut in the surrounding woods. Later a box factory was run by Higby Lumber Co. Still later Joe Reigle had a lath mill there. The village was located on a road that runs east and west and is now called WALRATH Road. The Stanley, Merrill and Phillips Railway ran south of the village. The train was backed up to WALRATH from Jump River. It hauled the products from the mill and brought in supplies to the village. In later years some of the settlers shipped ties and bolts out on the train. There was depot by the end of the tracks.
---Taken from "History of Rusk County Wisconsin" - 1983

In 1997, all that was left of WALRATH were a few homes and the school. The school was built in 1919, and is used as a town hall. There is no evidence of the bustling town that once was.

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This town is situated in the western portion of Gates County on the Soo Line railway. It dates its beginning to 1884, and is named in honor of the lumber king, Frederick Weyerhaeuser.

It now contains four general stores, two hardwood saw mills, a large brick yard, the only in the county, a creamery, a live land agency, two blacksmith shops, two hotels, a physician, a restaurant, butcher shop and a livery stable, two churches, a good graded school, and K.P.M.W.A. & K.O.T.M. lodges.

It is a freight division point on the Soo Line. The shipments are principally lumber, wood, bolts, ties, pilling, poles, grain, vegetables and live stock.

The country surrounding this town is particularly adapted to dairying and stock raising. A Montana sheep grower has just purchased a tract of 1,080 acres of land near this place for a sheep ranch. The business men of this place are live and up-to-date. The population is about 300.
---Taken from "A Souvenir Gates County" booklet - 1903

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