The 1957 book, White Pines & White Tails: A Social Study of Sawyer County by Leighton D. Morris, then Co. Superintendent of Schools, provides a history of Sawyer County and its communities. Portions of this book have been included as part of the WIGEN web project available at www.wigenweb.org. The Village of Radisson portion is available here. Since that book was written in 1957 there have been many changes in Sawyer County and in Radisson as well.
The 1960 census indicated a Village of Radisson population of 179. Through the mid-1960’s dependable rail service provided an outlet for agricultural and wood products continuing the Village’s period of agricultural prosperity. With the abandonment of the rail line in the mid-1960’s, the future of all communities along the railway were in jeopardy. However, the Village of Radisson, being centrally located at the intersection of three (3) state highways (27, 70 and 40) as well as a County Road (H), was now poised for its next economic adventure – recreation.
The abandoned rail line was acquired by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and in 1968, the conversion from abandoned rail line to multi-use recreational trail began. This trail, now known as the Tuscobia Trail, runs the full 74 miles from Park Falls to Rice Lake (right through the northern part of the Village!) and provides for all-season recreational uses such as snowmobiling, hiking, ATV/UTV, horseback riding, bird watching, hunting (deer) and mountain biking as well as access to waterways for fishing and kayaking/canoeing. The Village’s location provided ready access to these, as well as other area (Chippewa Flowage) outdoor recreational opportunities.
The Village’s population continued to grow with a 1970 census of 206 and a 1980 census of 280 (the highest to date). The population has remained fairly constant at 237, 220 and 241, for 1990, 2000 and 2010 respectively.
While many of the businesses that contributed to the founding and growth of the Village of Radisson such as the rail line, the saw mill, the feed mill, the dam (removed in 2011), the farm supply store, the R-Store among others and the school (the school was merged into the Winter School District) are no longer visible or active, the Village of Radisson and its residents exhibit that hardy resilience to survive. As such the Village of Radisson continues to provide for its residents as existing businesses expand/adapt and new businesses move to the area.
The future, as always, remains unknown; however, the Village of Radisson and its residents will continue to do their best to support each other and its businesses to remain a viable entity through any ‘transition’ to come.