Big Bull Falls · Birthplace of Wausau

Big Bull Falls · Birthplace of Wausau (HMTRA)

Location: Wausau, WI 54403 Marathon County
Country: United States of America

N 44° 57.675', W 89° 38.03'

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In the early 1800s, timber supplies were coming to an end in the eastern United States. The Westward Expansion—the settlement of the prairies and mountainous regions west of the Mississippi—was driving the hunger for more timber with which to build homes, barns, towns and railroads.

Stories spread quickly of mammoth-sized pines at a place called Big Bull Falls in the Wisconsin Territory.

[photo captions]
The first American to build a sawmill at Big Bull Falls in 1839 was George Stevens, a lumberman from New York.
Courtesy of the Marathon County Historical Society, Wausau, Wisconsin.

← Virgin pines, such as these photographed in Marathon County in 1865, drew lumbermen here, just as gold lured miners to California during the Gold Rush.
Courtesy of Marathon County Historical Society, Wausau, Wisconsin.

George Stevens was ecstatic about Big Bull Falls. He wrote to his partners in St. Louis, "It is decidedly the best Mill Site I ever Saw or heard of in the Union & being the head of navigation & the timber much better above than below & 30 miles of handsome river to float loggs down & the timber in many places standing on the bank can be felled and rolled in without a team."
Joshua Hathaway's survey map of Big Bull Falls, 1839.
Courtesy of Marathon County Historical Society, Wausau, Wisconsin.

In this letter to his partners in St. Louis, Stevens describes the difficulties in getting to Big Bull Falls, the hardships in trying to live and build a mill here, as well as his joy in the fabulous rivers and pines.
Courtesy of Marathon County Historical Society, Wausau, Wisconsin.

[logos of] River Edge Parkway · Welcome Home Wausau
Placed ByRiver Edge Parkway, Welcome Home Wausau
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 8:50am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 292273 N 4982020
Decimal Degrees44.96125000, -89.63383333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 57.675', W 89° 38.03'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 57' 40.50" N, 89° 38' 1.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)715
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4 Scott St, Wausau WI 54403, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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