WAUSAU – You can learn more about Marathon County’s history in the January History Speaks and History Chats programs, hosted by the Marathon County Historical Society.

The History Speaks program will be presented by Jonathan “Jay” Dick, a technology and lands specialist at the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Co. The WVIC has been the caretaker of water in 21 reservoirs focusing on conservation, flood control, low flow augmentation and regulation of a uniform flow in the Wisconsin River.

Meanwhile, the History Chats program will focus on the history of notable bridges in the county, namely the Snake bridges, the Tannery and Thomas street bridges, crossing at the Little Bull Falls, and Wausau’s falls bridges.

History Speaks

Born at the turn of the 19th century, WVIC traces its roots from the heart of the Northwoods, through the boom of the paper and power industry, to the river valley we know today. You’ll hear a bit of the WVIC history and what it takes to “run” the Wisconsin River system.

This History Speaks program is presented live at 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Woodson History Center, 410 McIndoe St., Wausau, in conjunction with the Marathon County Public Library. The presentation will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube Live, and a recording of the program will be available on the Historical Society’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

History Chats

All History Chats programs are at 12:30 p.m. every Thursday and are livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook Live. They will also be available to view afterward as recorded programs on the historical society’s YouTube channel, Facebook page and on Wausau’s public access channel 980. These programs are presented in cooperation with the Marathon County Public Library.

The Snake bridges, Ben Clark

Jan. 5

A number of bridges have allowed locals to cross from Wausau to Rib Mountain. Ben Clark will look at the bridges that have snaked across the Big Rib River.

The Tannery and Thomas street bridges, Gary Gisselman

Jan. 12  

From the early Strollers’ Lane Bridge to the modern Thomas Street Bridge, Gary Gisselman shares the history of the river crossing on Wausau’s southern side.

Crossing at the Little Bull Falls, Ben Clark

Jan. 19         

As one of the few communities that developed on the west bank of the Wisconsin River, the early settlers of Mosinee needed a way to cross one of the most dangerous rapids in Wisconsin. Ben Clark looks at the history of the bridges of Mosinee.

Wausau’s Falls bridges, Erick Konop

Jan. 26

One of the first places in Wausau where early residents needed to cross was near Big Bull Falls. Erick Konop talks about the history of Wausau’s falls bridges, and why one of the early iterations sits on the grassy plains outside Lake Elwell, Montana.

MCHS is in the Woodson History Center at 410 McIndoe St., Wausau. Exhibit and office hours are Tuesday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. The research library is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday – Friday. Tours of the Yawkey House Museum are available Tuesday – Sunday. Call for times and prices.

For more information, call MCHS at 715-842-5750, email info@marathoncountyhistory.org or visit www.marathoncountyhistory.org.