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Wisconsin Rapids in Wood County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River

 
 
Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, May 17, 2007
1. Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River Marker
Inscription. Indians called this section of the river “Ahdawagam”—the two sided rapids, while lumbermen knew it as “Grand Rapids”—the most treacherous stretch of the river, accentuated by perilous Sherman Rock. Bloomer, Sampson and Strong harnessed the waterpower in 1838 for sawing lumber. The abundant waterpower resulted in other mills being built and communities developed on each bank of the river. Centralia on the west bank and Grand Rapids on the east side were united in 1900 as Grand Rapids and later renamed Wisconsin Rapids.

Ferries spanned the river until a wooden toll bridge was built in 1867, only to be washed out in 1888. On several occasions, the Grand Rapids have been unable to cope with the ice and flood waters with devastating floods resulting; the worst of these being in 1880 and 1935. The flow of water in 1935 reached a record half million gallons per second, accompanied by the cry, “The Biron Dam has gone out.”

The last lumber raft passed over the rapids in 1887. In 1901 the numerous waterpower developments on both sides of the river were combined into one company known as Consolidated Water Power Company, a parent company of the present paper mill on the opposite bank of the river. Thus lumbering gave way to papermaking.
 
Erected
Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, May 17, 2007
2. Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River Marker
Paper mill downriver from dam.
1964. (Marker Number 25.)
 
Location. 44° 23.568′ N, 89° 49.445′ W. Marker is in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, in Wood County. Marker is at the intersection of North 1st Street and East Jackson Street, on the left when traveling north on North 1st Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wisconsin Rapids WI 54494, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Winnebago Indians (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wood County Veterans Memorial (about 600 feet away); “The Iron Horse in Grand Rapids” (approx. 0.2 miles away); Corenso North America (approx. 0.2 miles away); Elizabeth Daly House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wisconsin Rapids.
 
More about this marker. This is a Wisconsin Registered Landmark – Number 25.
 
Also see . . .  Grand Rapids. 64 page illustrated 1907 book by A. Decker. (Submitted on May 18, 2007.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNatural Features
 
Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 25, 2010
3. Grand Rapids of the Wisconsin River Marker
Swift-flowing flood waters are in the background.
Mill Upriver from Dam image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, May 20, 2007
4. Mill Upriver from Dam
Nearby Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 24, 2010
5. Nearby Plaque
1992
Wis. Rapids & vicinity Central Labor Council dedicates this living memorial to all workers who have lost their lives in their work place.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 18, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,224 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 18, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   3. submitted on September 25, 2010, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   4. submitted on May 20, 2007, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   5. submitted on September 25, 2010, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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