Archives Resources

Area Research Center Collections

LocalRecords   Log skidder, ca. 1905

The River Falls Area Research Center (ARC) is one of fourteen research facilities in the statewide Area Research Center Network (network map). The River Falls ARC houses materials owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society that are from four northwestern Wisconsin counties: Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and Saint Croix. Collections consist of two types of archival material: records of local government units, and private manuscript materials.  To augment these local history materials, the ARC also collects published local history and genealogical materials, and state and national genealogical materials.


Local Government Records

The records of local governments cover a wide variety of government offices and functions. The ARC has more records from Pierce County (the oldest county) and the least from Burnett County (the youngest of the four counties).

Search the UWRF catalog—Search@UWor the Wisconsin Historical Society's catalog in Forward.

Some typical types of local government materials include:

  • tax and assessment rolls
  • county court and justice of the peace court records
  • school records
  • city and county board minutes.

Local Manuscript Collections

"Manuscripts" is the term used for archival materials created by private individuals and families, and entities such as businesses, community organizations, and churches.

Some typical types of manuscript materials include:

  • letters and correspondence
  • diaries
  • scrapbooks
  • written reminiscences and oral histories
  • ledgers and other types of financial records
  • membership records
  • Civilian Conservation Corps records.

A search of our unified catalog describing the holdings of the Wisconsin Historical Society and the entire University of Wisconsin Area Research Center collections for all manuscripts related to a particular county is not as easy as with government records because the call number used for all counties in the River Falls ARC is "River Falls Mss" or "River Falls SC." Mss is the standard abbreviation for Manuscripts and SC in this case stands for Small Collection—a collection with one folder or just a few folders of material, rather than a box or more. You can still use the call number search, but use "River Falls" in the Search For box, pick "Call number" in the Search By drop-down menu, and pair it with a keyword search such as one of the four counties or the name of a person.

Local History and Genealogy Materials

These materials are mainly published, but also include some archival materials on microfilm. For more details, see the Genealogy section of our website.

  • local and county histories
  • printed family histories and genealogies
  • church and cemetery records
  • maps and atlases, including plat books and Sanborn maps
  • newspapers from the four counties
  • oral histories
  • federal and state census records (population, agricultural)
  • local serials
  • telephone books
  • some vital records (birth, death, marriage) up through 1907, although most of these records remain in the counties
  • local area photographs and postcards.
  • etc.

Contact Us

University Archives and Area Research Center
170 Chalmer Davee Library
(715) 425-3567 

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