Wood County, Wisconsin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wood County, Wisconsin
Wood County Courthouse, Wisconsin.jpg
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Wood County
Location in the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Map of the United States highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location in the U.S.
Founded 1856
Seat Wisconsin Rapids
Largest city Marshfield
 • Total 809 sq mi (2,095 km2)
 • Land 793 sq mi (2,054 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 2.0%
 • (2010) 74,749
 • Density 94/sq mi (36/km²)
Congressional districts 3rd, 7th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.co.wood.wi.us

Wood County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 74,749.[1] Its county seat is Wisconsin Rapids.[2] The county is named after Joseph Wood, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.[3]

Wood County comprises the Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield, WI Micropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Wausau-Stevens Point-Wisconsin Rapids, WI Combined Statistical Area.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 809 square miles (2,100 km2), of which 793 square miles (2,050 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (2.0%) is water.[4] The geographic center of Wisconsin is in Wood county, nine miles southeast of Marshfield.[5]

Wood County spans two of Wisconsin's five geographical regions. The northern part of the county is in the Northern Highlands, with mostly rich cropland with heavy clay soil, used for corn, soybeans, hay and dairy.[6] In the northwest corner the Marshfield moraine runs from Marathon County through Marshfield, Bakerville and Nasonville into Clark County.[7] The south and central areas from Babcock through Cranmoor and Wisconsin Rapids are in the Central Plain, flat and marshy - one of the major cranberry-producing centers of the United States.[6] The Wisconsin River cuts across the southeast corner, a corridor of sand flats, islands and oxbows. The river falls about 120 feet as it flows through the county,[8][9] driving several power dams. The remainder of the county is drained by smaller streams and rivers, punctuated by isolated hills like Powers Bluff.

The flat, sandy southern third of the county was largely shaped by the last glacial advance. The ice didn't reach Wood County, but it approached from the east into Portage County and butted up against the Baraboo Hills to the south. This blocked the Wisconsin River, damming it so that it backed up, forming Glacial Lake Wisconsin, a frigid lake that stretched from the Baraboo Hills north to the sites of Babcock and Wisconsin Rapids, submerging that part of the county. This area is generally flat and marshy now because meltwater rivers from the glacier and streams from land to the north carried sand and silt out into the glacial lake, where the sediment settled beneath its still waters. After the glacial dam melted enough to drain Glacial Lake Wisconsin around 13,000 years ago, the Wisconsin River cut new channels through the lake-bottom sands in the southeast corner of the county. In a later dry period, wind blew the sand into dunes. One dune in the town of Saratoga is eight meters thick. Later still, the area became wet and peat formed in places on top of the sand.[7] The first surveyors in 1852 found a great marsh, like a Wisconsin Everglades. Here is their description of what is now Cranmoor:

This Township is very nearly all covered either with Marsh or swamp there is not to exceed in the Township two Sections of land that would admit of cultivation... Timber on Swamp Tamarack & small Spruce(?) very thick. water from 6 to 20 inches deep, the marsh is covered with a light crop of grass, water from 12 to 40 inches deep, innumerable small Islands(?) interspered over this Town, the margins of which abound with Cranberries.[10]

Looking southeast across Wood County from the Marshfield moraine at Nasonville, with Powers Bluff in the middle and a plume from a paper mill at Rapids or Nekoosa on the right, almost at the far end of the county.

The north of the county was shaped by earlier glaciers, which deposited glacial till, the basis for the heavy soil there. The Marshfield moraine in the northwest corner is probably a terminal moraine from one of these earlier glaciers, or from a series of them. Its age is unclear, but its relatively smooth surface indicates that it has eroded for a much longer time than the choppy terminal moraines left 13,000 years ago,[7] like the Perkinstown moraine near Medford.

Much of the county except for the northeast corner is underlain by a layer of Cambrian sandstone, formed long before the last ice age.[11] Most of the original sandstone layer has been eroded away and the remainder is usually buried under glacial till, but it can be seen in gravel pits and a few bluffs. The Lindsey bluffs (a.k.a. the Marshfield School Forest) and Birch Bluff and South Bluff in the Town of Remington are hard spots in this sandstone which have resisted erosion.[7]

Powers Bluff is different from the sandstone bluffs, much older, with a hard core of Precambrian quartzite and a peak of chert.[7] A marker on the bluff says it is a "worn down peak of an ancient mountain range which once covered northern Wisconsin."[12]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Natural wildlife refuges[edit]


2000 Census Age Pyramid for Wood County
Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,425
1870 3,912 61.3%
1880 8,981 129.6%
1890 18,127 101.8%
1900 25,865 42.7%
1910 30,583 18.2%
1920 34,643 13.3%
1930 37,865 9.3%
1940 44,465 17.4%
1950 50,500 13.6%
1960 59,105 17.0%
1970 65,362 10.6%
1980 72,799 11.4%
1990 73,605 1.1%
2000 75,555 2.6%
2010 74,749 −1.1%
Est. 2016 73,107 [13] −2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1790–1960[15] 1900–1990[16]
1990–2000[17] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 75,555 people, 30,135 households, and 20,491 families residing in the county. The population density was 95 people per square mile (37/km²). There were 31,691 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.43% White, 0.27% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 1.61% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 0.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 50.8% were of German, 8.5% Polish, 6.2% Norwegian, 5.2% American and 5.1% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 30,135 households out of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 8.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.00% were non-families. 27.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.


Major highways[edit]



County Board of Supervisors[edit]

Wood County has a 19-member board of supervisors, each member representing a district.[19]


County line sign along the Wisconsin River




Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]


Wood County is historically a Republican-leaning county, voting straight Republican from 1940 to 1992, the only exception being Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. In 1996, Bill Clinton snapped a 28-year Republican streak in the county, winning 45.1% of the vote compared to Bob Dole's 39 percent. The county became a swing county during the 2000s, giving 49 and 51 percent of the vote to George W. Bush in both elections, and gave 55 percent of the vote to Obama in 2008. Donald Trump won 56 percent of the vote in Wood County in 2016.

Wood County vote
in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2016 56.8% 21,498 37.6% 14,225
2012 50.7% 19,704 47.8% 18,581
2008 42.5% 16,581 55.6% 21,710
2004 51.4% 20,592 47.3% 18,950
2000 49.8% 17,803 44.6% 15,936
1996 39.0% 12,666 45.1% 14,650
1992 38.0% 13,843 36.2% 13,208
1988 50.4% 16,549 48.9% 16,074
1984 62.4% 20,525 36.9% 12,118
1980 52.2% 17,987 40.0% 13,804
1976 50.0% 15,479 47.6% 14,728
1972 54.9% 14,806 38.6% 10,415
1968 48.3% 11,795 44.7% 10,921
1964 35.3% 8,388 64.6% 15,378
1960 57.8% 14,414 42.0% 10,483

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Here's How Iron Got Its Name". The Rhinelander Daily News. June 16, 1932. p. 2. Retrieved August 24, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office. "Wisconsin Geography Statistics". Accessed July 25, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Batten, W. G. "Hydrogeology of Wood County, Wisconsin" (PDF). Information Circular 60. U.S. Department of the Interior Geological Survey and. p. 2. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Clayton, Lee (1991). "Pleistocene Geology of Wood County, Wisconsin". Information Circular 68. Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey. ISSN 0512-0640. 
  8. ^ "Biron Flowage". SatelliteView.co. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  9. ^ "Petenwell Flowage". SatelliteView.co. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  10. ^ Sterling, Levi. "Interior Field Notes (Jan. 1852)". Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  11. ^ Brown, B. A.; J.K. Greenberg (1986). "Bedrock Geology of Wood County, Wisconsin". Information Circular 54-DI. UW-Extension, Geographical and Natural History Survey. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  12. ^ "Geological History of Powers Bluff". marker on the bluff. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  19. ^ Wood County Board Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  20. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°27′N 90°02′W / 44.45°N 90.04°W / 44.45; -90.04