explore our long, rich

In many ways, Thorp is like other small Wisconsin towns. Our uniqueness lies in the people who came before us and the stories they've created over the years.

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Local History

A Wild Frontier Full of wonder

Like many small Midwestern small towns, Thorp was founded and developed in land that was owned and occupied by Native Americans. We honor the proud tribes that resided in the Chippewa Valley.

The Winnebago’s, Chippewa’s, Sioux, and Menomonie’s were the four tribes claiming territory along Black River within the present boundaries of Clark Co.

While there was relative peace between white settlers and local tribes, there were conflicts, as well. Multiple attempts to deport the natives failed until there was money to made. Then, all bets were off.

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a town is born

Established in 1876

The history of Thorp is one of American expansion during the 1800s and weaves its way through multiple changes in economic and population shifts that echos the growing nation.

Learn about the earliest known settlers, key landmarks that dot the area, and how the demographics of our city came to be. All information is provided by the diligent work of the Thorp Area Historical Society.

come see Our Past Today

historical society website

Timeline

Our history began in the late 1800s and evolved over the next 150 years. During war, pandemics, booms, and busts, Thorp has endured while leaving its mark on the region and the state of Wisconsin.

The Beginning (1870-1879)

1870  James Seneca Boardman moved into the area, along with several other families

1873  
More settlers arrive and the first non-Native American child is born; Mabel Boardman. First school, store, and post office are established.

1876  
Town of Thorp established; officers elected (January 21)

1878
First 4th of July celebrated; first marriage

1879  
Surveying of the railroad begins

Booming Years (1880-1899)

1881  First turnpike road built. Logging was the main industry. First sawmill builtRailroad tracks completed  Wisconsin Central RailroadTelegraph office opened.

1882  Baptist church and hardware store built.

1883  Newspaper “pioneer” was published.

1885  St. Bernard Catholic Church built.

1886  Methodist Church built

1889  Diptheria epidemic

Early 20th Century (1900-1913)

1900  Lutheran Church builtb.

1903  Boston Store in Thorp gets electric lights. Organized clubs and lodges, by menfolk. Church societies for the ladies. High school students had a Literary Society

1905  First Polish settlers; St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church was built

1912  High School built

World War 1 to Mid-Century


1915  Farming and dairy industry became successful. Lumber industry began to fade. Thorp Dairy Company appears.

1925  First public library built

Great Depression All residents suffer through the late 1920’s and 1930’s.

1940  Population grew because of Blue Moon’s offer of work. Farmers begin to prosper once again. New businesses begin to appear along Highway 29.

1948  Thorp became a city.

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You've only scratched the surface here

Continue Your Journey

At The Thorp Historical Society Museum

Thorp is home to families that still have the original roots of the immigrants that came to America over a hundred years ago. Through the years, these families have committed themselves to a prosperous future for their kids.

By moving here, you will reap the benefits of this hard work and loving nature which makes Thorp feel just like home or at least how you wish it would be. 

historical society website