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Historic Preservation

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Governor William H. Upham House
212 West Third Street

 Upham House

Built in 1880, this house miraculously escaped the great fire of 1887. William H. Upham enlisted in the Belle City Rifles, which became a company in the Second Wisconsin Infantry at the outbreak of the Civil War. During the first battle of Bull Run he was wounded and reported dead, but was actually captured by the Confederates and hospitalized near Richmond . When he was paroled from Libby Prison (where he was transferred after recovering) he received a direct appointment to the U.S. Military Academy from President Lincoln. He graduated with honors from West Point in 1866 but served only briefly.  Upham then engaged in lumbering in northeastern Wisconsin in 1869 and moved to Marshfield, which was just being platted, where he largely built the city. Upham entered a variety of business ventures including establishing a sawmill, a furniture factory (early to become Marshfield’s principle employer), a general store, a planning mill, a grain elevator, a flour mill, a railroad, a power plant, a waterworks, a machine shop, and organized the First National Bank. After the Marshfield fire of June 27, 1887 destroyed all of Upham’s plants and destroyed nearly the entire city, Upham played an enormous role in rebuilding Marshfield ’s industries and encouraged other businessmen, workers and citizens to remain in the city, building the city for a second time and avoiding almost certain abandonment of the community.  Upham, a Republican, was very interested in civic affairs (over political life) and served as alderman, mayor for two terms, and clerk of the School Board for 13 years. In 1894 he received the State Republican Convention’s nomination as the candidate with the best chance to unseat the incumbent Democratic governor. He won the election and served as Governor for one term, 1895-1897. At this point he returned to Marshfield to resume his enterprises and remained a prominent business leader until his death.

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