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American Towns - Fun Facts About Wisconsin Rapids, Wi Cranberries, Ligonberry and More

Updated on August 4, 2017
photo by dahoglund
photo by dahoglund

Grand Rapids plaque in Wisconsin Rapids

photo by dahoglund
photo by dahoglund

Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Rapids is a city of a bit less than 20,000 population with a history of papermaking and currently an important location for cranberries. It is also an attractive place for Winter sports, fishing and water sports.

To people in the southern part of the state and elsewhere the city is part off the northwoods, which seems to apply to anything north of Madison, Wisconsin. It is, in fact, in Central Wisconsin. Local industries include paper mills, and Cranberry industry. It also houses a Paper Making Museum. And is the home of Renaissance. Learning, Inc. McMillan Public Library is very good resource for the size of the city.

Wisconsin Rapids has been my home for the last several years since retiring. It’s the county seat of Wood County and has a population of a little over 18,000.

The area was called “Adahwahgam”, which meant “Two-sided Rapids.” by the American Indians the area is divided by the Wisconsin River. Originally the west side was incorporated as Centralia and the east side as Grand Rapids. In 1900 the two cities merged and kept the name Grand Rapids. In 1920 the name was changed to avoid confusion with Grand Rapids, Michigan.

There is still a Grand Rapids, which is the home to 8,000 residents. It is the third largest community i


The area has a history of lumbering and paper mills. However, the industry does not employ as many people as it once Wood County.

Cranberry bog near Wisconsin Rapids

Public domain from Wikimedia commons
Public domain from Wikimedia commons

Harvesting cranberrys

GNU free documentation license
GNU free documentation license

Ligonberry (cranberry

crative commons share alike licens author Armstein Ronning
crative commons share alike licens author Armstein Ronning


I was rather surprised when I moved here and found that cranberries were so important. Truthfully, I had never been a big fan of the fruit. I had always thought of it as a condiment to use once a year at Thanksgiving to go with turkey. However, I am learning to appreciate the fruit in various juice products now getting more popular.

To my surprise I find that it is a major commercial crop in several American states and Canada. Wisconsin, I find, produces more cranberries than other states and Wood County where Wisconsin Rapids resides, grows the majority of them. Wisconsin Rapids produces 30 percent of the world’s cranberries.

Cranberry Highway

Cranberry Highway is a 49-mile self-guided scenic driving route that highlights Wisconsin's cranberry growing region.

The Cranberry trail is a 24-mile biking trail through the marshes and the Cranberry beds.

The area hosts an abundance of wildlife, including trumpeter swans, White-tail deer, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, ducks, geese, fox raccoons, and others wildlife. There is also an abundance of colorful trees and plants in the fall.


Water Recreation

The Wisconsin River, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Camelot, Lake Dexter, Lake Nepco, Lake Petenwell, Lake Sherwood and Lake Wazeecha are in the area. The fish available include, Bluegill, Black crappie, Yellow Perch, Smallmouth bass, Largemouth Bass, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Channel Catfish, Walleye, Northern Pike and Muskellunge.


Winter sports available are Snowmobiling, Ice fishing, Cross-county skiing,

There are also State and county parks.


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    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids


      Thanks for coming by and commenting. I hope you enjoy Wisconsin RApids when you come.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids


      I haven't taken the trail although I have driven through some of the bog area.

    • Springboard profile image


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Not that far from my current neck of the woods, and definitely a place I now want to take a little look-see around. Will definitely check it out in the near future.

      My wife and I usually are in the Dellwood area once or twice a year, the Dells at least once, and Mercer is a spot we usually hit once too.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image


      9 years ago from Texas, USA

      Nicely done, I enjoy your series on American towns. I never heard of the cranberry highway or trail sounds like the makings of a nice drive or a bike ride.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Peggy W

      Thanks for the first comment. I haven't heard any bog forecasts. I have noticed Christmas tree farms outside of town. I have not kept up with the paper industry but my understanding is that it was sold to a Norwegian firm at the cost of American jobs.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Since we lived there for four years (my husband used to be in the paper industry) I found this of much interest. When giving the weather forecasts they always also used to give the bog forecast. Christmas tree farming also used to be big. Nice job!


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