Historic Marshfield
Things To Do / Attractions

Historic Marshfield

Open the door to Marshfield's history.

Marshfield Historic District Walking Tour:

Historic Marshfield

Standing as a sentinel over Main Street Marshfield's Historic District is "Old City Hall," built as a Queen Ann public building by famous architects, Van Ryn and DeGelke. Historic and preserved buildings encompass much of Downtown Marshfield. A Historic Marker commemorating the founding of Marshfield is at Chestnut and Depot. To the east, is the Pleasant Hill Historic District. There are 75 homes of mixed styles which were built between 1880 and 1955. The home at 208 South Cherry was the home of Marshfield's famous Mel Laird. To the southwest, is the Park Street Historic District which includes 13 homes. This neighborhood's biggest charm is ambiance.

At the entrance to Wildwood Park, is the restored 2442 Soo Line Engine. The engine was built in 1911 and was the biggest around at that time. It was donated to the city in 1956 and restored in 1997. Among other Marshfield attractions are the Sears home at 611 West Blodgett and the E.F. Mechler House at 305 South Maple, which is now a "painted lady."

At East Fourth and South Palmetto Avenue stands the Junior High School with its landmark tower feature. The school was designed by famous architects Eschweiler and Eschweiler and completed in the spring of 1940 as the Senior High.

On October 13, 2005 Marshfield Senior High School now Marshfield Middle School joined more than 100 buildings in Wisconsin recognized for their place in education history when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

History Of Marshfield

Marshfield was named after John J. Marsh of Haverhill, Mass., one of the original proprietors of the town site. About 1865 the Fox & Wisconsin Improvement Co. was organized and entered into a contract with the State of Wisconsin to complete waterways improvements on the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to make navigation possible between Green Bay and the Mississippi.

When the work was not completed by 1866, a new company known as the Green Bay & Mississippi Improvement Co. was formed to take over the work. When the company dissolved, the site of Marshfield became the property of John Magee and Samuel Marsh.

In 1886 Louis and Frank Rivers settled here, and in April 1871 purchased a tract of land from Samuel Marsh on which they built a log house, which was used as a dwelling, store and tavern, and a little later as a post office.

In 1871 Peter McGuigan arrived and opened a small store and saloon. That same year many other settlers also arrived. The Wisconsin Central Railroad came through with the first trail on July 4, 1872.

The first post office was established in 1872 and Louis Rivers was the Postmaster until June 1887. E. S. Renne, proprietor of the first drug store, succeeded him.

The first school was started in the summer of 1873 with Clara Davis, Fanny Baker and Ella Kelly being the first teachers. In 1874, Jerry Couture built the first frame house in the village on South Depot Street, and by 1875 Marshfield had 22 frame buildings.

J.P. Buck and J.J. Marsh had the plat for Marshfield surveyed in December 1874 and it was recorded on Sept. 9, 1875. The first doctor in town was Dr. W.T. Shaw. Frank Kirkland was the first lawyer and A.E. Deming the second.

The first Sunday school met in November 1878 and on Nov. 27, 1878, Rev. Jacob Patch organized the First Presbyterian Church. Prior to 1878, Catholic meetings were held in the River's home. Later they were held in the schoolhouse until the building of the Catholic Church in 1880. The Methodist Church was built in 1883. The same year the city election returned L.A. Arnold as the first mayor of the city.

The first newspaper was the Marshfield Times, started in 1879. On June 27, 1887, the City of Marshfield was nearly destroyed by a fire that started in the lumberyards of the Upham Manufacturing Co. The electric lights and waterworks were installed in 1889.

William Roddis established the Roddis Lumber & Veneer Co. in 1894. Felker Brothers Manufacturing Co. was organized in Kendall, WI in 1903, and came to Marshfield in December 1908.

St. Joseph's Hospital was established in 1890, and was incorporated in 1891 by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, and the first building was erected during 1891. Marshfield Clinic was organized in 1916 and began business in January 1917.

Marshfield today is a regional center with a population of approximately 20,000.

The City is located near the geographic center of the state and is part of a cluster of central Wisconsin cities with an urban population of more than 120,000 and regional trade area of 30,000.

The community is a regional medical center. Marshfield Clinic is the largest health care provider in the northern part of the state.

The Clinic serves more than 4,000 patients daily through its main campus in Marshfield and its 38 regional centers and single specialty sites located throughout the state. Historically, Marshfield grew and developed as a railroad community.

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