River Road Ramble This Saturday

Annual tour of historic area includes open houses, sales, and more.




10 minute read

Via the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society:

Wolf Creek Dam historic photoThe 9th Annual River Road – Hwy 87 Ramble will be Saturday September 27th 9-5.  The loop tour of the oldest road in NW Wisconsin covers the area between St Croix Falls and Grantsburg.   There are several historic stops; markets, sales, open houses and more.

The rural local folks invite you to celebrate with them the fall color in a community that began with the logging era in the 1830s followed by farmers, small towns with the St. Croix River connecting them all.

For a tour guide and map see  http://rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wiselhs/ramble.htm. Website updated as information is available.

Official stops:

A.) Spangler’s Landing -located on the River Road; watch for Nat’l Riverway signs
The Spangler family settled right on the river and provided a stopping place for travelers heading north on the River Road from St. Croix Falls, It is said the there was a pause in the rapids on the river at this spot, so boats trying to run the rapids could rest too. The rapids have been gone for 100 years since the power dam in St. Croix Falls flooded them all the way to Wolf Creek.

B.) Nevers Dam -located on the River Road; watch for National Riverway signs
There is access to the wild river at this spot. You may be able to see some remaining parts of the Nevers Dam that once stood here.  In 1890, Charlie Nevers had a stopping place along the river.  Loggers sent millions of logs down the St. Croix and found them getting jammed on the rapids, especially at St. Croix Falls.  To solve the problem, they build a huge wooden dam where Charlie had lived.  They stopped the logs there, built up a great head of water and then let them go with a rush that took them all the way through St. Croix Falls, and sped them on their way to the sawmills at Stillwater.

C.) Wolf Creek Methodist Church and Cemetery -2417  River Road
This is the site of the first  Wolf Creek School that was built in 1882.  The school burned down in 1922 and was replaced by the current building that is now used as the Methodist Church.  Wolf Creek was an early Indian trading post by 1831, and as loggers moved through, farmers and other settlers followed them and Wolf Creek became a “blooming community.”  By 1860 there was a dam and mill on Wolf Creek, a Post Office, General Store [the proprietor’s records are at the SEL HS Memory Room] Doctors office, a school and church congregation.  With the Homestead Law of 1862 allowing people to claim up to 160 acres of US land and get it for free after 5 years of improving it, settlers rushed in.  Take a walk through the cemetery, there are family graves dating back to 1859 or earlier.

D.) Ivers Stopping Place/Pioneer Cemetery -a few miles North of Wolf Creek
Site of one of many stopping places used by the early settlers who traveled along the “road to the pineries.”  The oxen in the woods at the logging camps could live on wild hay, but the horses used by the settlers traveling up the River Road, needed better food.  Creating the necessity for stopping places along the way.

E.) Bush Bakke/Settlers Cemetery -Evergreen Ave. west of the River Road
This cemetery was used 1880-1920.  There are many families that settled in the 400 acres of Sterling Township forest on the barrens that are buried here.  The church built in 1879 was constructed of logs with white pine boards covering it. Today a memorial church stands on the original site.  Some of the grave sites have raised rectangles of dirt around them, some grave markers are partially hidden, and there are also depressions where the pine boxes have given way.  This past spring new landscaping was done around the flag pole and the Memorial Chapel by a handful of Sterling Homemakers [HCE] and one male volunteer. [not really sure if he volunteered]  Plants purchased at Sunshine Gardens.

F.) Trade River -you will cross this river several times while traveling the “loop”
This river was used by the logging camps in the 1850’s.  Huge white pine floated down river to the St. Croix.  The Trade, however, was much too small to get logs all the way, so a series of dams were built. In the spring the logs and water built up behind one dam, which  was then released, and the logs roared on to the next, until they reached the St. Croix.

G.) Grettum Flowage -cross over the Trade River and Head north into Burnett Co.
Hwy 87 and the River Road both cross the Trade River.  At one time two roads joined together at the river and headed north as one.  Take the River Road  north until it seems to dead end in a lake.  This is the Grettum Flowage.

H & I.) Trade River and Trade River School –a town located on one of the dam sites.
Turn east off Hwy 87 at the new Trade River Evangelical Church, and you will enter what was once the thriving community of Trade River.  Stores, mill, telephone and electrical company, old church, sawmill, furniture factory…all that remains is the cemetery and a few houses.  The Trade River School, with a merry-go-round in the yard, was closed in the 1940’s.

J.) Orr School -another “county School” along Hwy 87 located at 285th
This is the 4th Orr School, it was closed in 1950 and remodeled into a home

K.) Bass Lake School -near Wolf Lake on the east and the beginning of Wolf Creek.
Just west of Hwy 87.  This stone school house was closed in the 1940’s.  A large collection of photographs, school records, class pictures and lots of  information about all the Country Schools are on display in the SEL HS Memory Room in Cushing, located in the Community Center.

K.) Bass Lake School
Near Wolf Lake on the east and the beginning of Wolf Creek.  Just west of Hwy 87 this stone school, now a residence, was closed in the 1940′.   It is being restored and is open for a sale and visit in 2014

L.) Cushing
Cushing was named after an eastern speculator, Caleb Cushing, who bought thousands of acres of land nearby and then sold it to the settlers. The Cushing area was settled by Danes to the East, Swedes to the

West, Norwegians to the North and  Yankees to the South.  Cushing had a church and a Post Office in the 1870’s but did not have a store or other businesses until 1890.  Then it rapidly grew and thrived through the 60’s.

Check out the stories of Dr. Squirt and pick-up an old fashion post card when you  stop at  the SEL HS Memory Room, located on the 2nd floor of the Community Center, former school that was built when the one room school west of town was closed  in the 50’s. There you will find many pictures and memorabilia from Cushing and the surrounding area on display.  Relax, read, share your memories and stories.

M.) Brenholt Memorial Park-Cty Rd N East side of Cushing
Located across the street from the First Lutheran Church, Brenholt Park has a shelter with 12 picnic tables, a refrigerator and water.  A shuffle board court is available and lots of lawn for other games.  The park can be reserved for family reunions or other group events. Call Mark Johnson 715-648-5213

N.) Cushing Cemetery – Cty Rd N East  side of Cushing
Located across the street from the First Lutheran Church, the Cemetery sits on the hill on the southeast corner of Cushing adjacent to the Park.  It was started in the 1870’s by  Danish immigrants who built their first Church there, a small log building, in1881.  There are over 750 burials there.

O.) Eureka Center -Hwy and 210th
Eureka Center has almost disappeared.  In the early 1900’s there was a population to support and enjoy a grocery mercantile, a barbershop and blacksmith, two service garages, four gas stations, a creamery and a church.  When Hwy 87 was widened many years ago, it took out several  businesses at the crossroads.

P.) New Home Cemetery -2252 220th Ave.
The cemetery was established on Dec. 4th  1877 and the first burial was in 1879.  This cemetery was founded as a community Cemetery by members of the surrounding churches. Recent information on the cemetery will be available on sight.  Go 1 mile East of Eureka on 210th  then left on 230th  and right on 220

Q.) Pleasant Hill Cemetery/Harper Methodist Church
Also known as Harper’s Cemetery because of its close proximity to the Harper’s Methodist Church[now a home] to the south of the cemetery. Besides services school as also held there known as Harper School #1.  Sites go back to a Tuttle in 1849 and Mary E.Thomas in 1858. The Cemetery Association was founded in 1877, there were 25 lot owner at a cost of $5 per lot with a $1 a year upkeep fee.

R.) Lone Maple School – 235th St.
This country school was built in 1912 and was closed in 1942 and celebrating 100 years.  It was purchased for $1.00 from the school district in the early 50’s by a Community Club until 2011 and is currently owned by Elroy and Arlys Petzel.

S.) St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Visitor Center – 401 Hamilton St. Croix Falls
The St. Croix scenic riverway is150 miles. Flowing from Gordon WI to its confluence with the Mississippi River System.  It is one of the last undisturbed, large floodplain rivers in the upper Midwest.  The river is an unrivaled combination of exceptional natural and cultural recourses and scenic, aesthetic and recreational value.  The Visitors Center is open daily from 8am to 4:30pm. A large variety of brochures and maps are available.

T.) Festival Theatre – 210 Washington Street, St. Croix Falls
In the late 1880’s St. Croix Falls was a bustling river town, and as it continued to grow, citizens interested in cultural endeavors wanted to build an auditorium.  Construction began in 1916 and continued throughout the year and in 1917 , while WWI raged overseas, citizens of St. Croix Falls gathered to the silent film – The Battle Cry of Peace.  The history of the building is very interesting.  Originally designed to have a civic community center on the first floor and auditorium on the second floor, which was changed to a movie theater.  Read all about the changed and growth of this remarkable building and the people who have kept theatre in the valley for over 90 years. www.festivaltheatre.org

Treasure Hunt Sale 235th St.

Stop in and check out the Old One Room School and Pick-up a Treasure or two at this GREAT Sale. Items are to numerous to list.

Eureka Center – Hwy 87    MAP PICK-UP SITE



TOWNHALL -SCHOOL- Open house at this beautifully restored school house.  Interesting display of Eureka History, picture, aritfacts, stories and farm memorabilia including antique tractors.  Hosted by  the Anderson and Swanson families.

RAMBLE FARMERS/FLEA MARKET – located at the townhall grounds.

Penny Lane- odds ‘n’ ends-bites ‘n’ pieces – bric ‘a’ brac  and PUMPKINS

Ron  & Christine Wilson – Honey – Bee’s Wax candles

June Dagestad – AVON

Shirley Ziefiner –  Great Home Baked Goods- Breads. Pies, rolls, etc.

Deb Anderson & Cindy Chilson – Avon-31 Bags- Jewelry- Hats- and more

Hanson Family – Maple Syrup and apples

Cushing- 240th Ave, Cty Rd N  Choose any of the three exits.

“The Small Town With a Big Heart” MAP SITE PICK-UP

SEL HS Historical “Memory Room” and Museum- Located at the Cushing Community Center 2nd floor  on east side of the building {follow Yellow signs}. Large collection of area photos and info.  Displays include Post Office items,church and school materials, farming items, everyday living items. SELHS PUBLICATIONS OF RURAL HISTORY ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE HERE!

Whats in Cushing?

US Post Office, US Bank, Cushing Cooperative,Cushing Laundry & Car Wash, First Lutheran Church, Jensens Garage, Holiday Station, It’s a Blast Fireworks & Cushing Heating and Air Conditioning, Suzy Q’s Snowshoe Tavern, Dugout Bar & Grill, Street Creations & Auto, Gene’s Jump Start Day Care, Porky’s Pooper Pumper, Hot Rod Graphics, Rachel’s Hair & Nail Studio, Talmadge Auto and Light Truck Repair and Paulson Auto Repair.

Multi Family Sale. Take Cty Road N East – 2505 Pickerel Lane

Furniture, Household Antiques, wall furance, lawnmowers for parts, Bikes, Kittens, Bunnies, Ponys.  PRICED TO SELL MOST ITEMS 25cents.

Garage Sale – 2494 250th Ave.

Battery powered InvaCare Wheelchair-Everest Jennings Shower Chair- Bed Trapeze- Bathroom Shelves- Wicker lamp tables-Glassware/ Household and misc..

Open House and Sale!!  2509 270th St.

Where you a student at Bass Lake School or just always wondered what it was like inside? The school is being restored.  Stop by the Open House during the RRR and come inside. We want to hear your stories and memories!!  Also having a sale, antiques, household goods, dishes, construction items, retro clothes and misc.  COME LOOK!!

Holmes Lake Orchard 20338 Range Line Rd.

U-Pick/self serve apple orchard.  Several varieties, BEST price around. Nine miles south of Grantsburg on Hwy 87, then one mile east on Co. Rd. Z

Garage Sale 2973 River Road  Friday thu Sunday MAP PICK-UP SITE

Friday & Sat 8-5 Sunday 9-3

Antiques from local estate sales such as library tables, phonograph, cocks, glassware, hand tools, saws, draw knife, scythe, broad axe, old barn boards and hand hewn beams, barn wall tin panels, rough sawn birch & pine lumber.  Chairs, tables, bed frames, old toys, oil cans, etc. Lots of primitive farm tools, wrenches, horse drawn hay rake, saddles and horse tack, fisher fire place insert, traps, guns, hunting supplies and clothes.  Boys clothes ,  men’s blue jeans and insulated pants. 5th wheel camper, toys, used roof tin and misc. Pumpkins


Sat. only during the River Road Ramble we will have saw mill demos at 11am,1pm and 3pm.  As a child I spent hours watching Earl Davidsavor and his family lumber at the farm in the sand Barrens west of Cushing.  I have always enjoyed sawing and working with wood.  My family and I dedicate our efforts on this saw mill to my friend and mentor Earl, a hardworking, honest and kind man.

Craft and Yard Sale- 20556 Bucktail Dr.

Sale Saturday only- Pumpkins-Squash- Household items- Womems clothes.

Garage Sale 2912 River Road

Cleaning House. Stop and check us out!!

Sunshine Gardens-2747 Evergreen Ave.

Rain or Shine Garage and Plant Sale


Ornamental Shrubs for $5-10 each! Perennials $4 each or 3/$10! Water plants 50% off or more.

Organic Fertilizer and Aquatic Fertilzer on sale- Best Garden  Gloves $5 each.  We  will also have a Garage Sale in the greenhouse – John Deere riding mower w/rear bagger, Portable fish house, aluminum boat and antique Evinrude motor, student desk, end table, coffee table, Two recliners in nice shape, Casio cash register [like new]  10” table saw w/new motor, 6” jointer, Drill press with 5/8” chuck, Brand new smoker, Wagon Seat, Shelving, Womems & Teen Girl clothing, Plenty of miscellaneous.

Equestrian Paradise-2586 River Rd.

Not your usual garage sale. Lots of horse tack[riding and driving]. And misc.

Weather permitting we will have our restored cutters, sleighs, surreys and buggies on display.

Garage Sale- 2481 Sunny Acres Lane

Household and glassware items. Fishing poles, pictures, puzzles, tools and lots of Odds ‘n’ Ends.

Wolf Creek Methodist Church-2417 River Rd. MAP PICK-UP SITE

Bake and Rummage Sale

Coffee and cookies starting at 8am  Lunch starts serving at 10am

Rummage  Sale FREE will unless Marked.

River Roads Wolf Creek Bar-2387 River Rd.

Famous Wolf Creek Bar has continuously served liquor to locals and travelers since 1832. Photos and History of area on display. Mention the “RAMBLE” to receive a discount of $1.00 off Basket price w/Beverage Purchase.

Wolf Creek Methodist Church-Wolf Creek Bar-Riverside Auto


One response to “River Road Ramble This Saturday”

  1. Brian Finstad Avatar
    Brian Finstad

    That same road was a stage coach line that went all the way up to Chequamegon Bay to connect with Bayfield and LaPointe on Madeline Island. In the Northern reaches of that route, only fragmented sections of the road still exist. The main street of Gordon Wisconsin, Moccasin Avenue, is one such segment. There is still a house and a church on Moccasin Avenue that are from that early stage coach era. The route between Gordon and Chequamegon Bay followed an ancient Native trail labeled in one voyageurs sketched map as “The Grand Footpath.” It was a land route alternative to the Brule-St. Croix Portage. The significance of the location of Gordon, and why it is the oldest settlement on the upper St. Croix, is that Gordon was where this early footpath, when traveling from Chequamegon Bay, made contact with the St. Croix River. Gordon historically had strong ties with both Madeline Island and the St. Croix Valley as it was the point of connection between the two.

    Being from the upper river area, I have studied the Northern portions of this route, but had no idea until recently that the southern portions was still essentially intact and so well documented. Here is an account of a journey on that route from 1864 (begins page 76):



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River Road Ramble This Saturday