Wisconsin Historical Society
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Nelsonville, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society placed the Rising Star Flouring Mill (Nelsonville, Portage County) on the State Register of Historic Places on August 18, 2017.
The Rising Star Flouring Mill contributed to the early local agriculture and industrial economy of the Nelsonville area. Saw and flour mills were the first industries to make an appearance in rural Wisconsin. A new flouring mill in an undeveloped area often triggered the establishment of a settlement. The Rising Star Flouring Mill was the catalyst for the development of the village of Nelsonville. The mill became the nucleus of the community, serving both as a commercial entity and as a local social gathering place. It is an excellent intact example of an early manufacturing facility that produced flour from Wisconsin wheat. Flour was a vital staple for the logging industry and early settlers. As farmers began tilling the soils of the cut-over lumbering lands, they focused almost exclusively to growing soft winter wheat. Flour milling became the economic leader in Wisconsin’s industrial economy from 1845 to 1875.
The Rising Star Flouring Mill became an outlet for locally grown wheat grinding it into flour. Jerome Nelson, who built the mill, purchased the local farmer’s wheat crop by the bushel. Some wheat was milled for consumption by the farmer who grew it. The rest was ground into flour and sold to lumber camps, local residents or shipped to larger cities. The Rising Star Flouring Mill not only helped to encourage settlement in the area but encouraged the farmer to continue to clear land and expand their wheat crop production. This mill retains its historic appearance on both the exterior and interior and helps tell the story of early industry in Wisconsin.
The State Register is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage. The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and National Register in Wisconsin.
To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.
About Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit wisconsinhistory.org.