#15 — August 8, 2016 — Bruce, Wisconsin!

Dear Friends,

Are you curious about the location of Ishwar Ji’s construction project in Wisconsin? Today’s blog contains some fascinating facts on the area.

The ISHA Meeting Hall is being built in Murry Township, located in a remote area of Rusk County in northwestern Wisconsin. The nearest community is the Village of Bruce, located about 9 miles to the south on Highway 40.

The only city in Rusk County is Ladysmith, about 10 miles east of Bruce, which serves as the county seat. Bruce is one of the eight incorporated villages, and Murry Township is one of 24 townships, in Rusk County.

A 2015 estimate of the Rusk County population was 14,124, in an area of 931 square miles, which works out to be about 16 people per square mile (compared to the Continental U.S. average of 104). Most of the area consists of farmland and forest, interspersed with many lovely lakes and rivers.

The Village of Bruce had a population of 775 in the 2014 census. It was incorporated as a village in 1901. It is governed by an elected board president and six trustees. It’s elevation is 1106 feet above sea level, and it is contained within 2.29 square miles of land.

The nearest city with a population of more than 50,000 people is Eau Claire, Wisconsin (46 miles, population 67,778).
The nearest city with a population of more than 1,000,000 people is Chicago, Illinois (308 miles, population 2,720,546).

The History of Bruce

The Village was platted in 1884 when the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Railroad reached that far east. The town was named for A.C. Bruce, a lumberman who had land holdings in the area, and reportedly operated a logging camp on the site of the modern school. The Village boomed as settlers came in and businesses were established. Some of the earliest buildings were the MacArthur Hotel (still in use), the former Blackburn Hotel, the former opera house (1904), and the Bruce News Letter office (now occupied by the Historical Society Museum).
Somewhere around the beginning of the early 1900s, a small school was built on the site of the modern school building. In 1905, Bruce had six teachers. In 1910, the first class of three students graduated from high school. Today, Bruce has an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school.

Bruce High School in 1915

Recreation and Entertainment in the Area:

  • Bruce is known as “The Gateway to the Blue Hills,” a beautiful forested, glacial area, with waterfalls hidden in the woods. The Blue Hills Recreation Area offers cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, biking, hiking, birdwatching, snowmobiling, and camping. Enjoy the Perch Lake Nature Trail, the Ice-Age Trail, or the hardwood trails.
  • The area is also known for its clean, clear lakes and rivers.
  • Christie Mountain ski area offers the highest vertical run in the north.
  • The Village of Bruce Park, where camping is available.
  • The Bruce Public Library
  • The Bruce Historical Society Museum
  • The Bruce Community Farmers Market is a cooperative effort of the local farming community.
  • And, a local Golf Course.

The historic MacArthur Hotel in Bruce

The People of Bruce and Rusk County

Bruce ancestries: German (28.5%), Norwegian (11.4%), Irish (10.6%), Polish (9.7%), United States (6.8%), English (6.5%).

Bruce median resident age: 43.5 years
Wisconsin median age: 39.0 years

Educational background, for people age 25 and over in Bruce:
High school or higher: 84.4%

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 13.3%

Graduate or professional degree: 4.2%

Unemployment Rate: 3.1%.

Estimated median household income in 2014:
Bruce: $24,976
Rusk County: $38,728
Wisconsin: $51,467

Religions of Bruce:

Real Estate

Estimated median house or condo value in 2013:
Bruce: $79,013
Rusk County: $102,600
WI: $163,000

Median monthly cost of rent in 2013: $622

Median price asked for vacant for-sale houses and condos in 2013:
Bruce: $204,959
Wisconsin: $167,554

Home Sales:

The Climate in Bruce:

Sounds like a great place to live! Hope to see you all in Bruce for Ishwar’s mitti seva event in September.

With warmest regards,
Paul Bauer
Chair of ISHA Building & Fund-Raising Committee