Wisconsin Rapids & Wood County History


Much of the Library's online collection is hosted by Recollection Wisconsin and some links will open there.  The South Wood Historical Museum also has an extensive collection of digital resources, available via their Collections and Publications drop-down menus.

Top Resources

The Tom Taylor Book, also known as 100 Years of Pictorial & Descriptive History of Wisconsin Rapids by T.A. Tayor [1934-1939]. Taylor gathered over 400 photographs and then wrote a book providing details about them. He also included a history of the city  and a timeline of events through 1939.

  • Taylor images - Images from the book are housed at Recollection Wisconsin, fully described and accompanied by the text from the Taylor Book.
  • Taylor Portraits - Many of the Taylor Book portraits are posted on Flickr.
  • Taylor Street Scenes and Buildings - Many of the Taylor photographs depicting street scenes and buildings are also available on Flickr.

Lumber Rafting - The rafting of sawn lumber to market was once a common practice, especially on the Wisconsin River. We have gathered a variety of resources about this forgotten chapter in Wisconsin's history.

Malcolm Rosholt Collection. Malcolm Rosholt was a journalist in pre-WWII China, an intelligence officer for the Flying Tigers and the author of works on lumbering, railroads and pioneer times, focused on central Wisconsin. With his family's permission, eleven of his books about Wisconsin history, long out of print, have been digitized.

Rural Schools - A map of all the rural schools in Wood County, compiled from plat books and school histories.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Wisconsin Collection - Full scans of historical newspapers from Wisconsin, including the Rapids Tribune (under various names) from 1890 until almost the present day, accessible with your McMillan library card.

City Directories


Library History

Local Authors - Located on its own page

Local Genealogy - Located on its own page

  • AncestryPlus provides access to more than 4,000 databases, including census data, passenger lists, the Social Security Death Index, and much more. Only available in-library.

Maps, Plat Books & Farm Directories - Located on its own page

On-Line Books

Wisconsin Rapids

  • Consolidated Water Power Company [1994]. History of the people, places and events that made up the consolidation of the water powers at Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
  • Grand Rapids [1907]. A promotional look at the community of Grand (later Wisconsin) Rapids.
  • The Twin cities (pre-1920). A pictorial souvenir of Grand Rapids and Centralia. 
  • Who's who in Wisconsin Rapids. A series of biographies published in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune 1920-1922.

Wood County / Central Wisconsin

Other On-Line Books

Pamphlets, Articles and Lists

Photographs & Postcards

About McMillan's Digital Collections

  • Our adventures in digitization - A panel presentation prepared for Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries conference 2011. It discusses a public library's transition from early digitization efforts to using ContentDM at Wisconsin Heritage Online. Downloaded version includes speakers notes.

  • Re-use, Re-purpose and Re-mix - A presentation to the WISCNET Future Technologies Conference 2009 on using GoogleMap, Flickr and Print on Demand options to re-purpose and remix local history materials in a public library.

  • Local History in E-Books and on the Web : One library's experience as example and model by Don Litzer and Andy Barnett. (from the Spring 2004 Reference and Users Services Quarterly). A peer reviewed article analyzing the value and impact of digitized local historical documents.


Unless otherwise noted, our on-line collections are licensed under  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0.  This allows private, educational and non-commercial use with attribution. Contact the Library to obtain permission for other uses.