Merrill, Wisconsin

  • Article

    This history of Merrill is taken from the Merrill Area Guide, 2013:

    "The City of Merrill was incorporated in 1883. The city was named after Sherburn S. Merrill, the general manager of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Co., which had been extended to the community in 1880.

    "Before incorporation, the area was the village of Jenny, a logging community along the Wisconsin River. The village was built on the lumber industry and the timber boom of the 1800s. Several sawmills were constructed in the latter half of the 19th century. With the mills came workers and families, and commerce sprang up to serve them. The importance of the railroad, which connected Merrill's lumber industry to distant markets, could not be understated.

    "By 1885, the city had 7,000 inhabitants. In 1889 Merrill's original City Hall--now an apartment building--was constructed at a cost of $16,375. That building served city government until 1977, when City Hall moved to its current location.

    "A police department was established when the city was incorporated with officers appointed by Merrill's first mayor, T. B. Scott. The fire department was officially oprganized in 1888.

    "Upon T. B. Scott's death, he bequeathed money to start of public library, which opened in City Hall in 1891. With funding from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, the original T. B. Scott Free Library was constructed in 1911.

    "The community's first school was build in 1873. The first class of seven students graduated from Merrill High School in 1883. A new high school, now part of Prairie River Middle School, was built in 1902. Construction of the current middle school and high school was undertaken in 1998.

    "Health care in Merrill received a boost with the coming of the Holy Cross Sisters in 1923. The Sisters established Holy Cross Hospital in 1926. Now known as Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center, the hospital continues to serve the Merrill community.

    "Over the years, Merrill has come to be known as the City of Parks, with a Park Commission establishing in 1903. The first park purchased was Riverside Park in 1903, followed by Stange's Park, Centotaph Park, Athletic Park, Streeter Square, Ott's Park, Lion's Park, Gebert Park, the Merrill Area Recreation Complex and Prairie Trails Park."

    Merrill Area Guide, 2013 also says (p. 3) the community has "four historic public buildings, a rare three-arch stone bridge and a historic district that includes 19 homes on the National Register of Historic Places and three additional National Register eligible districts comprised of numerous significant historical and register eligible homes. In addition, our business corridors are lined with historic and architecturally significant buildings and facades throughout. We also have an active Historical Society and museum...."

    Charles P. Forbes
    May 23, 2016
  • Bibliography

    Major References

    ****. Journey Journal, Official Guide to Exploring Highway 51. [Brochure, 2012 and 2015] 2012. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Burg and Storozuk. Route of the North Woods Hiawatha. Merrill, 2010. View Full Entry
    Jensen, Joan. World of Theta Mead, County Nurse. [Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 92, #3, Spring 2009, pp. 2-15.] Madison, 2009. View Full Entry
    Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce & Information Center. Merrill Area Guide 2013. Merrill, 2013. View Full Entry

    Minor References

    ****. C. F. Dunbar, a large real estate dealer in Wausau.... [American Lumberman, October 19th, 1907 Pg 57] Chicago, 1907. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    ****. The A. H. Stange Co. expects to receive Its first logs.... [American Lumberman July 15th 1922 pg 74] Chicago, 1922. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    ****. The A. H. Stange Co. has announced that.... [American Lumberman, January 21st, 1922, pg 79] Chicago, 1922. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    ****. The A. H. Stange Co.'s mill will begin operations April 10. [American Lumberman March 8th 1922 pg 74] Chicago, 1922. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Dentice, Dana. DNR Awards Forty-eight Urban Forestry Grants. [Wisconsin Urban and Community Forests, Vol. 20, #1, Spring/Summer 2012] Madison, 2012. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Dentice, Dana. Tree City USA Communities, 2011. [Wisconsin Urban and Community Forests, Vol. 20, #1, Spring/Summer 2012] Madison, 2012. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Greene, Howard. Border Country. Minneapolis, 2017. View Full Entry
    Hollatz, Tom. Haunted Northwoods. St. Cloud, MN, 2000. View Full Entry
    Sasse, Timothy. Vilas County Logging Companies’ Railroad Operations. [Edit by Charles P. Forbes of webpage material (2000) and additional material from Mr. Sasse (2014).] Star Lake, 2020. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Talbot, Alta, Ed.. Mah-Wah. Merrill, 1927. View Full Entry
  • Links
  • Images
  • Miscellany


    Merrill continues to be a Tree City in 2011 [since 1975]. DNR.


    Merrill received an Urban Forestry Grant of $4291 from the DNR in 2012 for Tree replacement and inventory; as well as inventory conversion to GIS. DNR.