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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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February 4, 2023

Postcard of North Brown Street, downtown Rhinelander.~ Courtesy of Luke Laggis
Postcard of North Brown Street, downtown Rhinelander.

~ Courtesy of Luke Laggis
Postcard of the Paper Mill, Rhinelander.~ Courtesy of Luke Laggis
Postcard of the Paper Mill, Rhinelander.

~ Courtesy of Luke Laggis
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC
The Northwoods River News story

Before The Northwoods River News came into existence on Nov. 2, 2010, the paper had been the six-day a week paper The Daily News for several decades. The Daily News now has a new name and it was born during the days of World War I, the newspaper can trace its heritage back to a full set of grandparents in 1882 when Rhinelander was founded.

The grandparents are four weekly newspapers which were published in the early years of the city's history: The Rhinelander News, The Oneida County Herald, The Eagle River Vindicator and The New North.

The New North, predecessor to The Daily News, started in 1882 and was the oldest weekly newspaper published in the area. It began operation one month after the village of Rhinelander was officially platted in 1882. Charles Barnes had the first newspaper up and running. He titled it appropriately The New North. Barnes had come to Rhinelander with his father, David, his mother, and two sisters. In 1886 Barnes sold the paper to George Bishop. He remained involved with the newspaper until his death in 1904.

The Rhinelander Publishing Company, which published the weekly Rhinelander News, was formed on Aug. 3, 1910. It dropped publication of The Vindicator and adopted the Rhinelander News name, publishing on Fridays.

On March 1, 1917, the paper was converted to a daily in order to provide better coverage of news of World War I. The New North was purchased by The Daily News in 1947 and merged with the Daily News. The combined papers were then carried under The Daily News masthead for several years.

The newspaper was purchased by the Frank J. Russell group from Michigan's

Upper Peninsula on Jan. 31, 1925, after the death of long-time publisher Harry Slossen. Clifford G. Ferris was named editor and manager and eventually purchased all of the stock from the group. Ferris sold the newspaper to the Scripps League in 1968 and The Daily News soon after moved to its current location on Courtney Street. It was the fourth home for the newspaper.

Dick Timmons became publisher of The Daily News on July 19, 1979, and served in that capacity for many years. Scripps League sold its newspaper to the Pulitzer Publishing Company in 1996. Pulitzer Publishing Company was purchased by Lee Enterprises in 2005. In 2005 Lee Enterprises sold The Daily News to BlueLine Media Holdings. BlueLine Media Holdings then sold the paper to Walker Communications LLC on Sept. 30, 2010.

Prior to the transition to Walker Communications, LLC, the press was sold and shipped abroad to a company in Germany.

That purchase has led to the new name and the variety of changes being seen in today's newspaper - The Northwoods River News, a subscriber-based publication, which is now published three days a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

A new and improved website for The Northwoods River News was launched in March of 2011, and The River News and River News Sports each joined Facebook at the end of 2011. Another social media avenue for River News Sports may also be found on Twitter.

Expanding into the electronic age, E-editions were instated at the end of 2012 to allow readers to get the full edition online.

The River News, relocated its office, a customer-friendly, inviting location, to across the parking lot into the Trig's Riverwalk Centre in April of 2012. And the previous Daily News building was sold to Oneida County in December 2012.

History of Rhinelander
The area that eventually became the city of Rhinelander was originally called Pelican Rapids by early settlers for the stretch of rapids just above the convergence of the Wisconsin and Pelican Rivers.

Around 1870, Anderson W. Brown of Stevens Point and Anson P. Vaughn traveled up the Wisconsin River in order to cruise timber for Brown's father, E. D. Brown. Upon arriving at the meeting point of the Wisconsin and Pelican Rivers at the site of John Curran's trading post, and seeing the high banks along the rapids and the excellent pine stands, Anderson Brown envisioned a mill town with a lumber mill powered by the waters of the Wisconsin River.

Brown's vision would not come to fruition for some years, however after subsequent expeditions with others including his brother and Rhinelander's first mayor, Webster Brown, the brothers managed to convince their father and uncle to purchase the land from the federal government and build a town. In its charter, the city was named Rhinelander after Frederic W. Rhinelander of New York, who was president of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore &

Western Road at the time.

This was part of a bid by the Brown brothers to induce the railroad to extend a spur to the location to further their lumbering business. Ultimately, after over ten years of negotiations, the Brown family agreed to convey half their land holdings in the area to the railroad in exchange for a rail line to their future city. In 1882, the railroad line from present-day Monico to Rhinelander was completed, jump starting the development of Rhinelander as the commercial hub of the region.

The City of Rhinelander, Oneida County, is home to approximately 8,000 residents. As the county seat, and with a strong commercial and industrial base, the City is the business and service center for Oneida County. The City offers several parks. Hodag Park is located along the beautiful Boom Lake shoreline. Pioneer Park features a logging and railroad museum complex. Rhinelander's Northwood Golf Club, an 18-hole public course with clubhouse and restaurant, was rated 5th in Wisconsin from 1989-1994 by the WSGA. The City is also home to the Rhinelander District Library, named 2005 Library of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association.

Rhinelander is the Home of the Hodag, a mythical creature created by Rhinelander pioneer and timber cruiser Gene Shepard in 1896. Although it originated as a hoax, the Hodag became a local legend and the symbol of the City. Many local businesses, as well as the Rhinelander High School sports teams, are named for the Hodag.

A Mayor and eight-member Common Council govern the City of Rhinelander. The City provides a wide range of municipal services, including police and fire departments, water and wastewater utilities, public works, parks, library, animal shelter, and general government services.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oneida County has a total area of 1,236 square miles (3,201 km), of which 1,124 square miles (2,912 km) is land and 111 square miles (288 km) (9.01 percent) is water. Most people visit Oneida County to enjoy its lakes.

Oneida County was formed in 1885 from sections of Lincoln County. It was named after the indigenous Oneida tribe, one of the five nations of the Iroquois.

In 1989, the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation was created as a partnership between business and industry, responsible for new business growth and the expansion of businesses already located in Oneida County. The mission of the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation is: "To

promote and stimulate the orderly growth of stable businesses which will provide year-round employment throughout Oneida County while maintaining a high quality of life with a livable wage."

To achieve the mission of OCEDC, the Corporation has a staff consisting of a part time administrative assistant, a full time executive director, and a board of directors, including ex-officios from various aspects of area business and industry.

The Corporation is located at Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport and is funded from three sources: Oneida County, The City of Rhinelander and private contributions. The annual budget for the Corporation is approximately $123,000.

The Oneida County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Corporation which acts as an economic development coordinator for all of Oneida County. OCEDC assists individuals investigating the feasibility of going into business, works with existing business to expand and retain economic viability, and works to attract new business in an effort to expand our economic base and provide employment alternatives to the citizens of Oneida County. OCEDC also acts as a conduit between business and government on a local, regional, state, and federal level. The North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, in conjunction with the OCEDC Vision 4 Strategic Planning Committee, recently developed a website listing many of the Oneida County Assets, natural resources and other community assets as they relate to economic development.

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The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC
232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361

Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121
Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce

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