A site devoted to the history of Greater Rib Lake, Wisconsin!

This is the website for the Rib Lake Historical Society, LLC. The purpose of the Society is to preserve, publish and promote the rich history of greater Rib Lake, Taylor County, Wisconsin. 

Another goal of the Society is to provide to the public a convenient way to share and access historic photos and documents. 



FOLDER 5: Founder's Statement (2/22/2015)

For a copy of RLHS Founders statement, Click Here 





            This limited liability company was created by the filing of Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions on May 5, 2009. 





            The Society was created by Attorney Robert Paul Rusch, who resides in the Township of Rib Lake, Taylor County, Wisconsin, at N8643 CTH C, Rib Lake, WI  54470.





            The purpose of the Society is to preserve, publish and promote the rich history of the greater Rib Lake, Wisconsin, area. 


            The greater Rib Lake area consists of the Village and Township of Rib Lake and the Townships of Westboro and Greenwood in Taylor County, the Townships of Spirit and Hill in Price County, and the Township of Corning in Lincoln County, Wisconsin. 





            The Society’s office and archives are located in the Town of Rib Lake at N8645 County Trunk Highway C, Rib Lake.  The Society’s current email address is rprusch@newnorth.net.




            Robert P. “Bob” Rusch was born June 5, 1942, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He is the son of Rib Lake native Herman Arthur Rusch, born in the Village of Rib Lake in 1902.  His mother was Martha Hedwig Rusch, nee Gebauer, born in nearby Whittlesey, Wisconsin.  His parents met when Martha taught at the one-room, Spirit Lake School in the Town of Rib Lake in 1926. 


            Bob obtained a baccalaureate degree, majoring in foreign languages, as part of his effort to enter the Lutheran ministry.  In 1968, he obtained a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  After Bob noted the shortage of job opportunities for history majors, he entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; he obtained his Doctor Juris degree in 1972.


            Motivated in large part by strong environmental concerns, Bob acquired land in the Town of Rib Lake in 1972, and moved there with his then wife, Karen.  He was elected District Attorney for Taylor County and served four terms, 1972-1980. 


            Bob and Karen have two daughters:  Robin Paulina Riggs and Kristin Karen Bethany Leona Martha Strobach.


            In 1981, Bob authored “A Pictorial History of Rib Lake.”  This published volume was part of the Rib Lake Centennial celebration.  In the same year, he wrote the text for and narrated a video on the history of Rib Lake, “Rib Lake’s Lumbering Era.” 


             Between 1980 and July 1, 2009, Bob engaged in the private practice of law with his brother and partner, Attorney Thomas M. Rusch, at the Rusch & Rusch Law Office, S.C., Medford, Wisconsin.  During the same timeframe, he was active in a variety of environmental and historical organizations, a life member of the Wisconsin Historical Society, authored articles for the Wisconsin Forest History Association, served on the Board of Directors of the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation, and created the text for the two official Wisconsin State Historical Markers within Taylor County.  Bob is presently serving his second term as an elected member of the Rib Lake School Board.



            Bob is a charter member of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association and served as its first secretary.  For thirty years he authored a legal column in the Wisconsin Woodland Management magazine on legal issues affecting landowners. 


             Bob retired from the practice of law on June 30, 2009.  Throughout his life as an attorney, Bob amassed a substantial collection of historic photos and documents.  Some of these were used in publishing a series of railroad logging maps of north Wisconsin counties with his brother, Everett A. Rusch.  Bob has also co-authored articles on Wisconsin railroad history with James Welton, published by the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society. 


            One of Bob’s reasons for retiring from the practice of law is to devote time to his passion for local history.  He resides with his wife, Ann, at their rustic tree farm home, which they both love.  Ann is an RN working for Memorial Health Center Clinics in Medford and Rib Lake. 





             In November, 2005, Bob and his paralegal, Cindy Sommer, began the production of the Annotated Chronology of the Rib Lake Herald.  It consists of a verbatim reproduction of history-worthy articles published in the Rib Lake Herald from December, 1902, until its final edition, September 20, 1973.  Next to selected articles are Bob’s annotations. 


             The Annotated Chronology is available in three formats as of July 1, 2009:  hard copy, consisting of 1,039 pages, and CDs.  Copies of the CDs and a hard copy have been donated both to the Rib Lake Public Library and the Rib Lake School Library.  The third format is the online version; this has the advantage of being updated to include editions of the Rib Lake Herald, which are located from time to time and help fill in blank spots, see www.riblakehistory.com/rlhac.html. The Annotated Chronology is word searchable.





            Cindy Sommer and Bob have a created a scanned collection of thousands of Rib Lake-related historic photographs, maps and documents.  The vast bulk of photos, documents and writings of the Rib Lake Historical Society is available online.  All of it may be downloaded and printed free of charge.  This material is all word searchable.


             Particular attention has been paid to a careful indexing and description of the material and photographs.  This scanning and indexing is an ongoing activity.  It is a major objective of the Society to expand this collection.  Bob solicits access to private collections.  Parties loaning material for scanning have their materials promptly returned.  All contributors are given credit for loaned materials.







           Bob authored a pictorial history of Taylor County in 2014 and published by Arcadia Publishing of Mount Pleasant, SC.  It contains 240 maps, documents and pictures not previously published, many of the Rib Lake area.  It is available for purchase in local book stores and online at amazon.com or Arcadia.


            The long-range goal is to publish a series of profusely illustrated books on Rib Lake and environs. 





            The Rib Lake Historical Society, LLC, may be contacted at:



            A.        Regular mail:          N8645 CTH C


                                                        Rib Lake, WI  54470-9427



            B.        Email:                      robertprusch@riblakehistory.com



            C.        Phone:                      715-427-3444



Respectfully submitted,






Robert P. Rusch