History of Plover
Plover is the second largest municipality in Portage county with a population of 12,123 in the 2010 census. The Village continues consistent, double-digit measured growth at census times since the 1980's and has averaged some 7.6% annual growth over those 30 years.
Plover has roots that run deep in Wisconsin history as the area that later became Plover was selected as the county seat of Portage in 1844 as a yet, unsettled area. Platted in 1845, the area received a post office under the name of "Plover Portage"; later changing just to "Plover" in 1850.
After effort iterations as the Village of Clayton, Village of Algernon and Village of Stanton, the name was eventually changed to the ViIlage of Plover in 1864. Just four short years later, after what was called 'an energetic battle in newspapers and the state legislature", the county seat was moved to Stevens Point in 1868.
As a result the Village of Plover was dissolved with municipal governance falling to the Town of Plover before again becoming incorporated as a village on March 8, 1912 upon residents' approval on a close elective vote. This incorporation too was destined to fail as a vote by the populous again led to dissolution on October 7, 1931 and a later effort for re-incorporation failing in 1965.
Finally, the Village of Plover was successfully re-incorporated on September 28, 1971 at 6.75 square miles upon a narrow vote of support from among the 2,618 population at the time. Since that time, the Village of Plover has continued strong growth represented by the most recent census of 12,123 in 2010 and nearly doubling the geographic growth from periodic annexations to now total some 11.35 square miles.
Currently serving the needs of the municipality, the Village of Plover Municipality Building was built in 1982. It serves as the center of local government and houses the Village's Police and Fire Departments. PABA's office is located here, just inside the north door #2.
Check out area history at Heritage Park
Plover plays host to the Portage County Historical Society's HERITAGE PARK on Washington Street. This special collection of older buildings makes possible a 'walk down memory lane' for those who may have lived aspects of this living history or provides a learning opportunity for those of us who didn't know the aspects of life in Plover during those times.
Just recently completed, the Portage County Agricultural Museum project brings attention to the agricultural focus of the Plover and Portage County area. A generous community along with perseverance by key individual volunteers have brought this project to fruition. The Society, located in Central Wisconsin, currently operates four museums; publishes local history books; and maintains a large archives housed at the University of Wisconsin -- Stevens Point's Archive Center. In addition, they maintain the Malcolm Rosholt Online Archives on their website to "disseminate knowledge of the history of Portage County, Wisconsin".
The Heritage Park is bordered on the West by Madison St., on the East by Washington St., on the South by Willow Dr., and on the North by the Railroad tracks, is the result of Maurice Perret's and John Anderson's foresight in the late 1970's. These 'historical pioneers' were responsible for the purchase of the Old Plover Methodist Church and two plots of land under the structure. The Village of Plover later donated this cost to the society. This was the beginning of what is now an historic village. In 1983 the society purchased the other 6 lots in the park and moved the Franklin/Calkins House onto the site. The remaining structures have been gathered from all over the county and brought to Heritage Park with the intention of preserving and showing what life in Portage County was like between 1870 and 1910.
The park follows a two theme presentation of its structures. The west side of the park is set up to portray community life and the east end both rural and unique structures from the county. This "preserve" of historic buildings would otherwise have been torn down and lost. The Society has endeavored to create a living monument to life in Portage County during its early settlement years.
Open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, 1 - 4 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day.