UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Telephone Books and City Directories

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City Directories

A city directory is a listing of residents, streets, businesses, organizations, or institutions, giving their location/address in a city. A city directory will contain an alphabetical list of citizens, listing the names of the heads of households, their addresses, and occupational information. Sometimes a wife's name will be listed in parentheses or italics following the husband's. Some will include any working adult in the household. Other helpful information included could be death dates for individuals who had been listed in the previous year's directory, names of partners in firms, and forwarding addresses or post offices for people who had moved to another town.

City directory companies made their profit by selling the directories. The small communities in northwest Wisconsin did not have enough people to make it worthwhile for directory companies to produce directories. Hence, very, very few were ever created for any of the communities in northwestern Wisconsin.

County Community and Year

Burnett

None

Pierce

River Falls, 1988

Polk

None

Saint Croix

Saint Croix County, 2000 (including River Falls)

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Telephone Books

A telephone directory, or phone book, is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area, or the subscribers of a particular telephone company. Arranged alphabetically by surnames, it allows one to find the phone number and address of the subscribers. Often there were advertisements for local businesses as well. In smaller communities like those in northwest Wisconsin, the "white pages" listing the residential telephones and the "yellow pages" listing the businesses, were all contained in one physical phone book.

We have a nice collection of River Falls phone books back to 1925; a single book for Hammond in 1927; one with Frederic and Luck in 1943; a few in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s; and then most communities start up with 1980, although many then skip the 1990s and pick up again in the 2000s. Many of the smaller communities are bound together. Check out the online catalog records linked below for full details on dates and what towns are bound together.

County Community

Barron

Almena, Prairie Farm, Turtle Lake

Burnett

Danbury, Falun, Grantsburg, Siren, Trade Lake, Webb Lake, Webster

Dunn

Boyceville, Colfax, Downing, Eau Galle, Elk Mound, Knapp, Wheeler

Pepin

Arkansaw, Durand, Lund, Pepin, Stockholm

Pierce

Bay City, Beldenville, Diamond Bluff, Ellsworth, Elmwood, Esdaile, Hager City, Lund, Maiden Rock, Plum City, Prescott, River Falls, Spring Lake, Spring Valley

Polk

Amery, Balsam Lake, Centuria, Clayton, Clear Lake, Cushing, Dresser, Farmington, Fox Creek, Frederic, Lewis, Luck, Milltown, Nye, Osceola, Saint Croix Falls, Turtle Lake

Saint Croix

Baldwin, Deer Park, Emerald, Glenwood City, Hammond

Washburn

Earl, Minong, Sarona, Shell Lake, Springbrook, Spooner, Trego



Farmers' Directories

You might be thinking that you've never heard of a directory of farmers. Well, they are not quite the same as the previous entries. 

Many of the plat books/land ownership books included an alphabetical listing of everyone in the plat book. Since most of these rural land owners were farmers, these can be used as farmers' directories. Some of the plat books even include photographs of the families and/or farms.

WARNING: This is not yet a complete list.

County Year

Burnett

 

Pierce

1968

Polk

1914, 1980

Saint Croix

1987

New telephone directories come in every year. Do not assume that because a recent year is not listed that we do not have it. Check the catalog.

Telephone

 We are currently collecting any phone books we can get. Please contact us at 715-425-3567 or email us if you have directories you would be willing to donate.

Contact Us

University Archives and
Area Research Center

170 Chalmer Davee Library
archives@uwrf.edu
(715) 425-3567
Fax (715) 425-0609

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