|Current NWCHS Officers|
Upham House open for tours, Wednesdays & Saturdays 1:30-4pm or by appointment
The North Wood County Historical Society, a not-for-profit, membership driven organization, is dedicated to preserving the history of North Wood County so that the past remains accessible for present and future generations. Our vision is to connect people to the History of North Wood County through research, exhibits, and learning, to develop a connection to Marshfield and the surrounding area.
History of North Wood County Historical Society In a Nutshell
The North Wood County Historical Society had its first meeting September 19, 1952 at the Marshfield free library. It was a small group of determined individuals that within a few months had created Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
Toward the end of 1975, the Society was able to purchase the William H. Upham home located at 212 West Third Street. In January of 1976, the Governor William H. Upham House was placed on the National Registry of Houses. The next couple of years were spent restoring and putting in order the house and yard. On Sunday, June 25, 1978 the new home of the North Wood County Historical Society was officially opened to the public.
The Heritage Rose Garden and attendant landscaping was the culmination of teh dream of past Soceity president Maybelle Nardin. In July of 1989 it was suggested to use some of the proceeds from the Ice Cream Social for this purpose, and a Garden Committee decided on a five-year plan for this project. Designed by Linda and Steve Schulte, and our Rosarian Tom Ptak, a special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held by President Roger Pittsley in June of 1993. The garden is a never-ending source of pleasure to our visitors and members.
O Jones, George; McVean, Norman S. "History of Wood County, WI." H.C. Cooper, Jr & Co. Minneapolis-Winona Minnesota pp. 187, 188
William Henry Upham
In 1879 Major William Henry Upham, a Civil War veteran and future governor of Wisconsin, came to Marshfield.
The Wisconsin Central Railroad opened up the wilderness area of pine timber and got as far as Marshfield in 1872.
Six years later, Charles Upham and his brother William H. Upham—looking for just such a location—settled in the area.
In 1878 the Uphams added a planing mill and general store to their lumber enterprise. The Upham Manufacuturing Company became a complex system of lumber operations including a sawmill, shingle mill, power plant, grist mill and a furniture factory. Due to his foresight, good judgement, and organization, William Upham was very successful. He was also a leader in rebuilding Marshfield's industries after the great fire of 1887.
Upham served as alderman, mayor for two terms, and clerk of the School Board for 13 years. In 1894, he received the State Republican Convention’s nomination, won the election and served as Wisconsin’s 18th Governor for one term, 1895-1897. He then returned to Marshfield to resume his enterprises and remained a prominent business leader until his death in 1924.
In 1976, the North Wood County Historical Society purchased the house after Upham’s second wife, Grace, passed away. It was her desire that the house would be preserved in memory of Governor Upham.
Born: May 3, 1841
Died: July 2, 1924
Upham Manufacturing Company
- 1878 The first saw mill built by C.M. Upham and Brother
- 1881 A furniture factory and veneer works were added and operated under two distinct company names-the Marshfield Furniture Co. and the Marshfield Veneer Works.
- 1883 The Upham Manufacturing Company was incorporated
- 1884 The saw mill was destroyed by fire
- 1887 The entire plant was burned to the ground. It was immediately rebuilt on a larger and more expensive scale
- 1890 Ten years after its founding, this business included the following departments:
- The lumber interests - the saw mill having a capacity of 22,000,000 feet per annum, both hardwood and pine lumber being manufactured
- The furniture department - the shipments amounting to 30 cars a month
- The flour mill - with a capacity of 225 barrels a day
- The grain elevator - with a capacity of 40,000 bushels
- The general store - occupying one of the finest and most expensive buildings in the city
- The Marshfield and Southern Railway - ten miles long, built by the company for the purpose of reaching their timber land
- The land and timber interests - the company owning 40,000 acres of timber land tributary to Marshfield, supplying various sorts of timber
- The water works - eventually sold to the city
- The electric light plant - eventually sold to the city.