Located on the Flambeau
River in north-central Wisconsin, Park
Falls was first mapped
by government surveyors in 1865.
The land that had previously belonged to the Anishinabe (Ojibwe) had only
been know to hunters and trappers up until 1876 when
two Frenchmen settled the first homesteads. Albert Lacqueoix
and Frederic Neadeau built their homesteads along
the north fork of the Flambeau River that later became known as Muskellunge Falls.
In the summer of 1877, the Wisconsin Central
Railroad’s line between Milwaukee and Ashland opened providing
transportation that brought more people to the area. With families settling
in, the area required additional resources and the first school was
established on the south end of town.
The first band-saw mill was built by Henry Sherry in 1885
giving Park Falls the impetus to expand. The first
post office opened in the company store in 1889. According to one source, Muskellunge Falls
was renamed to Park
Falls because the pines
near the falls gave the area the feeling of being in a park.
By 1890, Henry Sherry was manufacturing pulp and the town
included a company store, two boarding houses and nearly twenty homes. The
town grew quickly with new settlers to the area and by 1900 Park Falls
had its own newspaper office, a church and several stores. Sherry’s
pulp mill expanded into the Flambeau Paper Company, producing its first paper
in the late 1890’s.
By 1901, Park
Falls had 750 people
and was incorporated as a village. Although most of the big trees had been
clear-cut by 1906, Park
Falls continued to
prosper on the paper mill industry that attracted even more settlers to the
area. In 1912, with approximately 2,000 residents, the village of Park
Falls became a city.
For additional information on the history of Park Falls
and Butternut, visit the following website which includes a wonderful photo
slideshow of the area: http://www.russscott.com/~rscott/butternut/
The city’s population has waxed and waned over the
past 100 years, with its population reaching over 4,000 at one point and down
to 2,793 at the 2000 census.
look at Park Falls
and the surrounding areas of Lake and Eisenstein, advertised as including
over 250 local families, can be found in the book 100 Years on the Flambeau (1989) by Michael J. Goc, Weber Publishing Company, Park Falls, WI.
Available for purchase at the Price County Historical Society.
If you have any
information you would like to contribute, please contact the County Coordinator.
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