The deadliest tornado in Wisconsin's history occurred on May 18, 1883, when a tornado swept through the town of Rochester, killing 117 people and injuring more than 200 others.
Barron County, located in northwestern Wisconsin, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Ojibwe and Dakota Sioux. These tribes relied on the region's natural resources such as the lush forests, abundant lakes, and fertile lands for sustenance.

The first European explorers arrived in the late 1600s, with French fur traders establishing trade relationships with the Ojibwe people. In the early 1800s, the area became part of the United States through the Treaties of 1837 and 1842, leading to increased European settlement. The county was officially organized in 1859 and named after Henry D. Barron, a lawyer and politician from Wisconsin.

The 19th century saw rapid growth in Barron County, driven by logging and agriculture. The vast timber resources attracted logging companies, which transformed the landscape and led to the establishment of numerous sawmills. Agriculture also thrived, with settlers clearing the land for farming and raising livestock. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s further boosted economic growth and facilitated transportation of goods.

During the early 20th century, Barron County continued to develop economically and socially. The lumber industry gradually declined, giving way to new industries like dairy farming, manufacturing, and tourism. The county's rural beauty and recreational opportunities, including its many lakes and outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, attracted visitors from neighboring cities.

Today, Barron County is a thriving community with a diverse economy and a population that values its natural resources. The county is known for its strong agricultural sector, manufacturing industry, and the Barron Area School District, which provides quality education to residents. Barron County also holds various events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its rich history, culture, and natural beauty.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Barron County, Wisconsin.

  • 1800 - The Dakota and Ojibwa tribes are the primary inhabitants of the area that would become Barron County.
  • 1800s - European settlers begin to arrive and establish small settlements.
  • 1851 - Barron County is founded and organized.
  • 1871 - The first railroad is built in the county, leading to increased economic growth.
  • Early 1900s - Agriculture becomes a major industry in the county, with dairy farming and lumber production being prominent.
  • 1920s - The construction of highways and improved transportation infrastructure further boosts the local economy.
  • Mid-1900s - Barron County experiences a decline in its lumber industry but diversifies its economy through manufacturing and services.
  • 2002 - The county is hit by a devastating tornado that causes significant damage and loss of life.
  • Present - Barron County continues to be a thriving community with a mix of agricultural, manufacturing, and service industries.