Portage County Time Line
1975 thru 1998

Quick Jumps: 1827, 1850, 1875, 1900, 1925, 1950, 1975

1975  Since little of the McDill pond is in the village limits, Whiting proposes abandoning the McDill dam to ease the village tax burden.

The Chicago and North Western abandons its line from Wisconsin Rapids to Bancroft.

The J. H. Morgan House, Plover, and the David McMillan House, Stevens Point, are the first and second county listings in the National Register of Historic Places.

1976  Portage County celebrates the United States Bicentennial.

The first National Wellness Confer-ence is held at Stevens Point.

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, soon to be Pope John Paul II, visits the county.

Fire destroys 5,000 acres of the Dewey Marsh.

1977  Enrollment at UWSP reaches 8,900 students.

Fire destroys 7,000 acres in southeastern Wood County and the Town of Grant in Portage County.

Irrigators capable of watering the corners of center pivot irrigated fields are first used in the county.

1978  University Chancellor Lee Sherman Dreyfus becomes the first county resident to be elected Governor of Wisconsin.

The state of Wisconsin shuts down the Whiting village water system because of high levels of nitrates.

1979 Ore-Ida Foods opens a vegetable potato processing plant in Plover.

County resident William Bablitch is elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

1980 County population: 57,421

The number of people employed in agriculture in the county drops to a low of 1,690.

1982 With the national economy in recession, the county unemployment rate reaches 8.2%.

Gross farm sales exceed $90 million, with about one-half coming from vegetables.

1983 Stevens Point celebrates its 125th Anniversary as a city.

Celestial Farms opens a potato processing plant at Plover.

The “New Hope Pines” white pine woodlot becomes a state natural area.

1984 The Manufacturers Direct Mall and Outlet Center opens at Plover. 

Farm debt loads increase to an average of $116,000 on average assets of $344,000.

1985 The Center Point Mall opens at Stevens Point.

The county adopts a Farmland Preservation Plan to regulate rural development and help farmers remain on the land.

The final services are held at the Beth Israel Synagogue.

1986 Hmong immigrants from Southeast Asia begin to settle in Stevens Point.

Portage County has 1,110 farms and 287,000 acres of farmland.

1988  County farmers are beset by drought and a tough economy.
1990 County population: 61,405; Village of Plover, 8,176.

After a court battle, Stevens Point succeeds in annexing valuable commercial property along Highway 10 east of Highway 39/51.

1991  The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame opens at the UWSP.

State Highway 10 from Amherst to Stevens Point is upgraded.

Several power generation companies announce plans to build a new generating plant in the Town of Plover.

Residents organize POWER, a group opposing the construction of high power electric transmission lines in the county.

1992  A new county library is constructed in downtown Stevens Point.

Stevens Point native Suzy Favor makes her first of two appearances in the International Olympic Games.

Portage County marks its Sesquicentennial.

1993  Development accelerates on Highway 10 east of Highways 39/51.
1996  After 92 years at Stevens Point, Normington Dry Cleaners closes.

UWSP and the village of Plover begin work to restore a remnant of native pine savanna landscape along the Plover River.

1998  County population (est.): 64,490; Village of Plover, 10,515.

Work begins on the county’s second highway bridge across the Wisconsin on County HH in Stevens Point.

At Plover, old St. Bronislava church is demolished.

Portage County helps the state celebrate its Sesquicentennial.

Quick Jumps: 1827, 1850, 1875, 1900, 1925, 1950, 1975


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