The Rusk County area really is a great place to eat, play, shop, and live! Whether you are looking to visit for the day, take a vacation, move to the area, or start a business in one of our communities like Ladysmith, Bruce, Conrath, Glen Flora, Hawkins, Lake Holcombe, Sheldon, Tony, or Weyerhaeuser we have something for everyone. Take a look around and see what we have to offer!
Rusk County Historical Society Museum
The Rusk County Historical Society was organized in 1951 by O.J. Falge and a small group of volunteers. In 1974 the Museum we know today began with its very first building, the Little Red School House, followed later by a Teachers Cabin that sits alongside. Both buildings are fully furnished as they would have been back in the one room schoolhouse days. Since its dedication in 1976 of the Schoolhouse, the museum has blossomed because of the donations of thousands of artifacts and has grown to 20 buildings or structures that house these important pieces of Rusk County History.
As the Museum’s collections grew new buildings are built to house them. Each building has a specific collection. The Vintage building holds many of the donations made by well-known pioneers in business and industry and the founders of our community. Inside are wonderful displays of vintage photography equipment from the glass plate era, beloved doctors, barbers, schools and churches, local bands and store displays that bring back the era of old downtown Ladysmith.
The people that built Rusk County first were the Loggers, Railroad men, and Farmers. The Loggers logged off large tracts of land for the Lumber Companies and the Farmers who followed them pulled out stumps cleared the land and turned it into fields of grain and pastures for cattle and sheep. Many facets of the life back then including displays from logging camps and bunkhouses, log stamps blacksmith shop and the tools that they used tell their story. These can all be found in the Farm and Logging building along with more in the machinery building.
The story of the Railroad is important because it helped bring people to our area that worked in those logging camps, and lumbermills, that built those farms and the businessmen who built the general stores and barrel making businesses.
Our Veterans are honored in the Jones-LeCount Veterans building which is filled with their stories, uniforms, and field gear of Rusk County Veterans from WWI and 2, Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Outside is a NATO Army Tank from Fort McCoy.
Other Wonderful displays include our authentic Log Cabin, built onsite to showcase the way pioneers to our area built their first homes. The Twenties House which brings you into the era of your grandparents or great grandparents’ day before electricity where you cooked on a cast iron wood burning stove. A wonderful Windmill that used to pump water for farm animals casts its towering shadow over the Wisconsin Plow Museum that is full of the machine that really turned forest land into farmland. The Gates Courthouse and the research building houses many types of records that can help a person when trying to track the story of their families, or just life in general in the past.
In the last few years three new building have been added, The Wisconsin Plow Museum, the Kennecott Copper Mine Visitor Center and the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) People Geodesic Dome which houses an authentic wigwam, canoe and Native American Exhibits and displays.
The Board of Directors of the Historical Society and its Volunteers organize projects, annual programs and work hard raising money to improve and maintain the Museum buildings, grounds, and exhibits. The Rusk County Historical Society operates with Volunteerism, no member of our Society is paid. The work is done by our Curator and many community people who may not be a member but put in many hours of work making our museum the beautiful tribute and honor to the History of Rusk it has become.