Big Falls - Little Falls, Whatsis?

January 26, 2018


It was a very nice day in July 2017 so I decided to goof off and ride around. I didn't have any plan. After driving around aimlessly I came to the Village of Big Falls in northwestern Waupaca County. I would later learn there is a place called Little Falls just about a mile to the southeast. Little Falls is really just a place name. It belongs to the Town of Wyoming


It is a very small community of 57 in 2015. The Little Wolf River flows through the northeast portion of the village. It's fun being in small rural areas like this.


Frankly, I had not prepared for the trip at all. I completely missed the Big Falls to the northeast of the town. Massively embarrassing. I would go back today but it's snow, so I'll wait until spring.


I hate to do this, but since I did not take a photo of the falls, I'll show one I took from the internet. It's just below the spillway that forms Big Falls Pond.

The Little Wolf River rises near Galloway in Marathon County and converges into the Wolf River in eastern Waupaca County. It is said to be a high quality trout stream flowing through a northern mesic hardwood forest. It is supposed to be a tame river for paddlers, and also great for angling, swimming and tubing.

There is a boat landing, picnic areas, a fishing dock, and a park in the southeastern part of the village and one in the northeastern part, giving you access to the dam and the river.


The village prides itself in the Annual Corn Roast held at this part in August.

This mesic forest is quite large and provides an important habitat for wildlife and plants. Prior to settlement, this forest covered the largest acreage of any Wisconsin vegetation type. The word "mesic" is used to reflect that it contains a moderate amount of moisture.

A.W. Whitcomb erected a sawmill in this village and used the water from the river for power. In 1890, the land was platted and the settlement became the Village of Big Falls. In 1923, Big Falls was incorporated. Today it is one of the smallest incorporated villages in the US. The early forests were logged and lumber and shingles were milled here. A granite quarry was located below the dam. At one time there were 500 villagers.

As an aside, Whitcomb set up a sawmill in the Township of Wittenberg as well, sometime between 1887-1901. It became a thriving community but today only a sign with some photos marks the spot.

It was lunch time so I looked for a place. Big Falls, a town of 57, I had two places from which to choose for a sandwich and a beer: JR's Bar and Grill and the Big Falls Tavern Food & Spirits.


For no particular reason, I chose the Big Falls Tavern.


I had a terrific cheeseburger here and some good conversation at the bar. As is always the case in rural areas of Wisconsin, people are wonderful.

After lunch, I drove around town a bit. It doesn't take long!


This is the only store I saw in town, the Big Falls Mill and Office. It is one of the last feed mills in the area. In addition to feed, it sells, among other things, shavings for chicken coops, fall food plot seed, fertilizer and lime and it makes its own chicken layer feed.


As you can see, this building was once a bank. However it has been completely renovated into a spacious single-family home, about 1,300 sq ft. It is my understanding it was sold in April 2017.


A private home cross the street from Big Falls Tavern! That sounds like a nice idea!


And of course you cannot run a village without a Village Hall. Big Falls is incorporated.

Now, about a mile to the southeast, again on the Little Wolf River, is Little Falls which is part of the Town of Wyoming. You first take CH G south out of Big Falls, then a left on CH C and then fairly soon a left on Little Falls Road.


The first thing you see on the right is a fabulous baseball diamond, covered seats and all. It was such a beautiful day, and there was a game underway, so I stopped for a bit to watch. I felt like I was in the "Field of Dreams."


This is the R.A. Radies Memorial Ballpark. Two people are parked under a beautiful tree to watch the game. Mr. Radies has passed away, but he was the one to start the ball park and put up a bar there as well. But there wee re plenty of people sitting in the stands, some of which are covered, some not.


This is a photo of a batter from the visiting Tilleda White Sox from Tilleda Falls, Wisconsin playing against the Little Falls Loggers. I have cropped this photo but I searched all over the original and could not find the ball. He is clearly halfway through his swing, so I am guessing the ball has just hit the catcher's mit, but I'm not sure.


This is a photo of the 2017 Little Falls Logger Baseball Team.

I found this all very interesting. Both teams are part of the Badger Amateur Baseball Association (BABA). In turn, BABA is part of the Wisconsin Amateur Baseball Organization, which consists of multiple leagues from around the state.

BABA was formed in April 1946. Leopolis defeated New London in the first championship series of 1946. Little Falls won it in 1992, 1996 and 1997, 2000, 2006 and 2007. So this is no fooling' around. These guys are serious.

In 2017, the Loggers played in the BABA Grand Championship series and made it to the semi-finals, having defeated Bowler and Tigerton. The win against Tigerton gave the Loggers the Western Division Championship. But they lost to the Birnamwood Kings 2-1 in the semi-finals, Birnamwood went on to play in the championship game against the Waupaca Lakemen and Waupaca won, 5-1.


I'd like to return to the Radies family given that the Little Falls Loggers' home field is the R.A, Radies Memorial Field. If you were to look up the family you would find a lot of Radies in the region. R.A. and his wife had eight kids, one of whom is William, the current president of the Radies Corp. It is also involved in general farms, primary crop. Its address is here at Little Falls Road, considered to be in the city of Marion to the northeast. You can see its operation to the right side of the photo.


This is a look at its facilities. Radies Corp. primarily operates in the Logging Camps and Contractors business / industry within the Lumber and Wood Products, Except Furniture sector. This organization has been operating for approximately 55 years.
The Radies Corp. has been operating for 55 years and is engaged in manufacturing operations at this location.

Little Falls Resort and Tavern

I would also like to mention the late Joanne Dorthey (Frailing) Radies who sadly passed away the day before Christmas, 2015 as the result of a car accident. Close to the ballpark is the Little Falls Resort, also known as the Little Falls Tavern. Joanne was a co-owner and was very active in the Wisconsin Tavern League, among many other pursuits.

She was also very active in Little Falls Logger baseball. My guess is many in the family are so engaged as well. If I learned anything during this visit, other than preparing myself better, I have learned you never know what you're going to find in Little Falls, Wisconsin, or likely any other small town either.


So here by the Little Wolf River we have a Blue Peacock. I waited for the lad to open up his feathers, but I guess he didn't like my face or something.


Little Falls is not really a falls, but a rapids. There is a very nice pedestrian walkway or footbridge across it making for a nice walk into the woods.


As I was leaving town on CH E south, I noticed this neat lighthouse on the side of the road. It was dedicated to R.A. Radies and his wife Joyce.


Traveling farther south, I spotted this quaint log house in a beautiful setting.