“Wisconsin’s Lost Towns,” Rhonda Fochs


Tioga is in Clark County, roughly equidistant from Thorp to the north and Black Falls to the south, in the vicinity of where CHs M and I intersect. For all practical purposes, it is not there anymore. Rhonda Fochs listed it as a Lost Wisconsin Town but had nothing to say about it.

The Clark County History Buffs have posted some limited information about it online on its website.

I was able to find a few old buildings still standing. I showed the old grocery store in the opening photo.

Here is another view taken from CH I, a tad east of the CH M and I intersection. The history buffs said it was a general store and a post office. They commented it looked more like a house than a general store.

Nathanial Coldwell Foster, known as NC Foster, is said to be the founder of the town. He lived in Tioga, New York, south of Ithaca and the Finger Lakes. He moved to Wisconsin in 1854 and planted his roots in Ft. Howard outside Green Bay. He operated a sawmill while there. He then moved the mill to Fairchild on Hwy 10, Southwest of Tioga. Once in the Fairchild area, he applied the name “Tioga” to the town, which sprung up because of his logging industry in the region. He started the first major sawmill in the area.

He owned about 15,000 acres of land extending from Eau Claire to Clark counties, mostly pine and hardwood.

In 1882 he built a railroad from Fairchild to Mondovi to support his logging efforts. In 1891 he Established N.C. Foster Lumber Co. in Fairchild. In 1913 he built the Fairchild and Northwestern R.R. It was a tramway. It used cars with concave wheels pulled by horses over a wooden track made from timber along the right-of-way.

The history of the Chicago, Fairchild, and Eau Claire River Line is fascinating. The line from Fairchild to Mondovi, roughly 50 miles, was completed in 1886. It was first named the Sault Ste. Marie & Southwestern railroad. It combined with the Chicago, Fairchild, and Eau Claire River Line, which had switched to steam engines.

Next to the General Store are two other buildings.  The Clark County History Buffs say this is the Depot.  In looking inside, that looks correct. However, I saw no evidence of tracks.

Just to the left of this Depot is another building that looks like a cupola. I do not know where the cupola was once called home. The top of it looks familiar. But the openings toward the bottom are interesting. They might have been to allow heat from below to escape. Another guess is the openings once held windows.  The question that remains is on what building this cupola resided.

This building was behind the cupola and was painted in similar colors. But I saw no cause to believe the cupola resided on this building. I did not look inside the building, but it seemed like living quarters, perhaps for the depot keeper.