Weston & Co. Saw Mill built in 1848-1849. The town of Necedah
was built around the mill.
Necedah, Wisconsin is
situated at the base of a high cliff on the Yellow River, a few
miles from its mouth, and is opposite the famous Petenwell Rock.
It was one of the most important lumbering towns of this region
and was the first place in
to have manufacturing interests.
"Necedah" comes from the Ho Chunk peoples who inhabited the area
before the arrival of european settlers and means "Land of the
Yellow Waters", a reference to the Yellow River.
Settlers began to
explore the area in the early 1840's. In 1848 the land was
"ceded" to the U.S. government and Thomas Weston and J.T.
Kingston arrived in the area and, as was the custom, staked
claims by "blazing" a tree on either side of the river and
carving their names and date on them.
After building a
rough log hut, they returned to their homes in Grand Rapids (now
Wisconsin Rapids) and formed a saw mill company.
Street Scene Necedah--1910
Settlement soon began and the
Weston's crew drove 700,000 feet of logs from Wisconsin Rapids
down to the proposed mill in Necedah. By 1849 they had cleared
six acres of land, from the base of the bluff in what is now
Necedah to the waters edge near the present Necedah dam.
The town became an important
lumber center in its early years. Sixty-five million feet of
logs were sawed annually and then shipped down the Yellow River
and into the Wisconsin River before finally arriving in Galena,
Illinois where most of it was sold for $11 to $12 per thousand
Memorial Day Parade--Main St. Necedah,
In 1881 when one of the first
railroads came to town, the Necedah Lumber Company shipped out
900 cars of lumber in the first nine months. Trains were loaded
with red and white oak, elm, ash, basswood and birch.
In 1852, by an order of the Board
of Supervisors, the election precinct was established. The first
school was also opened at this time by T. Weston and the first
teacher was a Miss M. C. Kay.
In 1853 the mail route was
extended to Necedah and an E. S. Minor was appointed the first
postmaster. In April of the same year the territory was
organized as a town.
The village was laid out and
platted in 1856 by T. Weston and incorporated as a village in
1870. Businesses such as a jewlery store, physician services,
lumber, cranberries, mills, livery service and a hardware store
Payday for construction
workers of the C & NW Railroad in Necedah in the 1910's
In 1915 the village had the
misfortune of having part of the business district destroyed by
fire but the buildings were almost all rebuilt.
Close to Necedah is the
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge,
established in 1939 in what is called the Great Central
Wisconsin Swamp (the largest wetland-bog in the state--7,800
square miles), a 43,696 acre area permanent wildlife refuge.
Receiving some 145,000 visitors annually, the Necedah National
Wildlife Refuge provides home for trees, coyote, deer, beaver,
turkey and for endangered species of Karner Blue Butterfly,
massasauga rattlesnake and Blanding's turtle. In the early
spring and fall visitors can observe the 10,000 geese and ducks
which migrate to this safe place annually.
From the Juneau County Economic Development
Corportations Whooping Crane Festival Page:
September 21st and 22nd
"For the first time in more than 100 years, wild
whooping cranes have arrived in Necedah. Early in July of 2001,
ten flightless chicks, then only about 8 weeks old, arrived by
private plane (provided by Windway Corporation) from Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center (Maryland), and quickly settled into
their new surroundings in a remote area located in the Necedah
Wildlife Refuge. Under the direction of Operation Migration
(Canada) the young birds underwent rigorous flight training in
preparation for their "first historic flight" to a wintering
site in Chassahowizka National Wildlife Refuge on the gulf coast
of Florida. As we know now, after many hurdles, the historic
event was a success and the birds are enjoying their winter
Whooping cranes have been brought to the Necedah
Wildlife Refuge for the specific purpose of developing a
secondary migratory flock in the eastern half of the United
States. The existing, primary flock migrates between Canada and
Texas with various stops along the way. Listed as "endangered,"
in 1941 there were only 15 of the species to be found in the
world. Since that time their numbers have steadily risen to
approximately 176 (2001)."
To learn more about the Whooping Crane Festival
Here for the Juneau County Economic Development Corporations
Whooping Crane Festival page. And
for more information about Crane Restoration in Wisconsin (from
Photos from "Juneau County, Wisconsin: Post
Cards and Photos--1854-2000" by William A. Schriver"
Information Compiled & Provided by:
West Central Wisconsin