City of Thorp History

Thorp in 1870 was a land of timber; the abundant pines and hardwoods were the base of the areas first industries, in shingles, barrel staves, and charcoal.  The earth furnished red clay for bricks used to construct businesses and homes, many of which are still in use.

  When James and Ephrime Boardman built the first cabins, there were no roads, not even an Indian trail for a guide.  The homestead was ten miles from a neighbor, with camps of Chippewa Indians in what are now the townships of Reseburg, Worden and Butler.

  New settlers followed; trails, and then roads, were carved out of the wilderness.  Farms sprang up on the fertile land, then schools, saloons, general stores, and churches, were established.  Within ten years, there was the beginning of a thriving community.  The Village of Thorp was established on May 29, 1893 with a population of 883.  In April 1948 the Village of Thorp became the City of Thorp with a population of 1,052.

  In the early 1900's, dairying was so well established that farmers brought cheese makers to the area to begin processing our now famous cheeses.  These cheeses, and traditional sausages can still be purchased as you travel through our beautiful four-season area.

  The original Boardman and Indian trails became part of the famous Yellowstone Trail.  In the 1920's, this road, which ran from Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, to Puget Sound in Washington, was the nation's first interstate highway to be completed.  In Clark County, it is now identified as Highway's County Road X, and State Highway 73.  The four corners in Thorp, State Highway 73 and County Road X, are now marked with the yellow stones and signs, which marked the original road.  A new movement is in progress to not only retrace the trail in Clark County, but throughout the State of Wisconsin.