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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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William Upham House (T. Heggland photo, 2006)

Frank Upham House (T. Heggland photo, 2006)

First Presbyterian Church (T. Heggland photo, 2006)

Upham House Historic District
Roughly bounded by West Third Street, South Walnut Avenue, West Fourth Street, and South Chestnut Avenue, Marshfield, Wood County
Dates of contributing buildings: 1880-1936

What was to become the city of Marshfield began in 1872 when Louis and Frank Rivers built a hotel to serve the Wisconsin Central Railroad, which was pushing a line through this location to serve the exploding north woods lumber industry. Thereafter, transportation and lumber would be the principal ingredients in the early growth of the community. One of the first to take advantage of this mix was William H. Upham, a Civil War veteran and lumberman who, in 1878, built the first sawmill in the new hamlet. Not surprisingly, the combination of a sawmill and a railroad proved to be a potent one and, by 1884, Marshfield's population had jumped to 2000, it had become a city, and Upham, who would later be elected Governor of Wisconsin, was the owner of one of the biggest industrial enterprises in this part of the state.

The Upham House Historic District includes the three oldest houses in the city. The oldest of these is the Gov. William H. Upham house (212 W. Third St.), built in 1880. This excellent Italianate style house was listed individually in the NRHP in 1976 and it is now a house museum operated by the North Wood County Historical Society. Nearly as old is the Italianate style home of Upham's nephew, Frank R. Upham (201 W. Fourth St.), built in 1882. Other Upham family houses in the district include the first and second Merrill H. Wheeler houses, located back-to-back at 206 W. Third St. and 207 W. Fourth St., and built in 1880 and 1895-1900, respectively, for William Upham's brother-in-law. Yet another associated house is the American Foursquare Charles J. Sparr House at 215 W. Fourth St., built for William Upham's accountant. Still another district building with Upham family associations is the former First Presbyterian Church (208 S. Chestnut Ave.) This fine Neo-Gothic Revival style brick and stone church was built in 1924 to a design by Indianapolis, Indiana, architect A. A. Honeywell, and it is this congregation's third church to occupy this site. The first church was built in 1878 and the Upham family, who were members, bore most of its cost. Today, the building houses the Chestnut Avenue Center for the Arts.

Most of the properties in the district are private homes. Please respect the rights and privacy of the residents.


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