Search billions of records on

Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
Collected and posted by RITA
This site is exclusively for the free access of individual researchers.
* No profit may be made by any person, business or organization through publication, reproduction, presentation or links to this site.

Oconto County

Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Hand tinted original photograph of the first bridge over the Oconto River, built in 1872 at the settlement of Oconto Falls. This is one of very few photographs showing the falls in the natural state. The dark building just behind the center of the bridge is the first schoolhouse. Behind the bridge on the left is the white painted Volk home, store and post office. Over the protests of many local residents, the falls were later dynamited to allow better flowage of logs to the mills downstream.  As seen in the frozen photo below, there was significant change made to the original falls and river structure in the late 1800's. 

Oconto Falls old and new bridge.
contributed by:  John Larsen

Photo contributed by Richard LaBrosse

Faded tin-type photographs of Almira Ketchum and her husband John Volk, estimated to be taken in Chicago around 1860. 

They are recorded as the first permanent  white settlers of Oconto Falls. John's wander lust took this family over the entire expanse of what was then the United States, from their original home in New York, down the then 10 year old Erie Canal in 1835. John often sold his lucrative business ventures suddenly and moved the family just as unexpectedly to distant and often undeveloped places. Their travels and homes included Detroit, Chicago, Kewaunee (WI), Oconto Falls (1847), then back to Kewaunee, Chicago, and on to Kansas during the very bloody and dangerous Civil War gorilla border raids between Kansas and Missouri, then to Iowa, and finally back to the settlement of Oconto Falls in 1863. The family rarely traveled together, with John going ahead by boat or stage and Almira following overland hundreds of miles through unknown and often totally  unsettled areas, soley responsible for their large young family, household items, wagon, food provisions, and a herd of cattle.  Almira often secretly carried most of the family money in gold  on her person while walking beside the horses during moves.

Alvira c 1900 and John Volk c 1890

Original Dam Permit for Oconto Falls - 1857


contributed by: Seth Neuber
Oconto Falls - 1908

Main Street Oconto Falls

Oconto Falls Creamery

Volk Lumbermill, Oconto Falls

Falls Manufacturing Company Mill 

View of Oconto River From Upper Mill Dam 
Oconto Falls, Wisconsin

Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Hotel Saunders built in 1895 

Furniture Store

Oconto Falls Railroad Passenger Depot

Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Oconto Falls Main Street 

Dam and Pulp Mill 1916

Hardware Store c: 1900

Contributed By: Richard La Brosse
Oconto Electric Cooperative's first office in Oconto Falls 

1906 Collapsed Footbridge over falls - Injuring Oconto high school freshmen and professor; at least one dead.
25 people on footbridge when it went down. 
See: Flash From The Past - 1906

Paper Mill

Oconto Falls Lower Main Street 1908

Oconto Falls Upper Main Street 1909

Oconto Falls Airport
Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Oconto Falls Peterson's Hardware 
New line of wringer clothes washers and delivery truck.
Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Oconto Falls Hotel Saunders
Ford models A and T, fancy touring car, horses with buggy and wagon, the horse drawn station wagon service car for train connections.
Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse


Oconto Falls - St. Anthony Church
Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Wadams Gas Station
Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Oconto Falls - Company Hill in the snow, looking East with children riding sleds across the railroad tracks in front of the stopped engine.
Photo donated by Richard LaBrosse

Back to the Towns & Villages Home Page
Back to the Oconto County Home Page