Meet “Harold” The Hub City Locomotive

Marshfield’s “Hub City” Nickname Inspires New Mascot

Soon after Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the Wisconsin Central Railroad began forging its way through the wild frontier of thick forests rich in pine and hardwood as settlers sought to profit from the sale and transport of timber. The result? Hub City.

In an effort to foster national security, the federal government offered land grants to help pay for railroad construction, as well as incentives to states and corporations to build roads connecting population centers with the frontier.

When Louis and Frank Rivers arrived in what would become Marshfield, it was 1872 and there wasn’t a building in sight. Together, they felled the first tree that became the “Rivers Hotel”, Marshfield’s first establishment. Centrally located in the “hub” of the state, the two-room log hotel served as the center for goods being transferred throughout the region.

Harold the Hub City Locomotive
Introducing “Harold,” the Hub City Locomotive!

Though platted as a town in 1873, Marshfield wasn’t very established (instead was more of a clearing along the tracks that hosted loggers moving north along the railroad tracks) until 1878, when Civil War veteran William Upham arrived from Massachusetts and organized the town.

Through the subsequent decades, Marshfield continued to be a stop for both people and goods moving throughout the state. Without the railroad, it is possible that there would be no Marshfield today. What was once unsettled frontier became a hub of industry because of the presence of the tracks.

It is this history that spawned Marshfield’s nickname of “Hub City”, a name that can be seen throughout the community in event names, businesses, and publications.

To help celebrate Marshfield’s nickname, we’ve deemed “Harold the Hub City Locomotive” as our mascot. Keep an eye out for special appearances from Harold…

Historical information from:
Marshfield History Project. The Marshfield Story 1872-1997. First ed., Amherst, WI, Palmer Publications Inc, 1997.