Creation of Lake Wissota: Six Thouand Acres Flooded to Form Lake

Photographed May 23, 2015
Lake Wissota State Park
Chippewa Falls, Chippewa County, Wisconsin
44° 58' 51.75" N, 91° 18' 15.32" W (park entrance)
44.97384,-91.312477 (marker location)
Google Map

The marker is on the left;
see below for marker transcription.

The marker and tree are located about two miles inside Lake Wissota State Park, at a vista point en route to the campground sites. The address to the entrance to the park is located at 18127 County Highway O, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin 54729.

NOTE: An annual pass or fee is required to enter the State Park to access the marker.





Hydroelectric Dam is Built
In 1917, a hydroelectric dam was completed on the Chippewa River, and Lake Wissota was formed. The dam site at the confluence of five rivers and streams and created the lake that you see today. The dam and power station was owned by the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company. Louis G. Arnold, a young engineer working on the construction of the dam, combined the first syllable of Wisconsin and the last two Minnesota to produce the name for Lake Wissota.
Workers Harness a Natural Resource
About 700 workers were employed in the construction of the dam and bridges in the area. Before the construction of the dam began, a village was laid out nearby to house the workers. The village had a water supply, sewer system, homes, bungalows, bunkhouses, and a central dining room. A schoolhouse was also constructed for the children of the workers.
White Coal Supplies Power
White coal is a poetic name given to hyrdro power. "White' because of the splashing of the water and "coal" because of the energy derived from the flowing water. Today white coal is attractive because it is a clean source of power. The output of the Lake Wissota hydro plant in 1918 produced the same amount of electricity that 1120 tons of coal per day would produce. Today that would be enough power to supply 16,000 homes.

The Chippewa River system is a very attractive source for hydro power. Along the Chippewa River in Chippewa County alone, one-third of all the hydro power produced in the State of Wisconsin is generated.


The marker is located inside Lake Wissota State Park.

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