About the Rice Lake Area
Rice Lake covers approximately 939 acres with a maximum depth of 22 feet. Water skiing is permitted on Rice Lake, so bring your powerboat and ski. Easily accessible public boat launching sites as well as our own private boat landing are available to our guests. If you prefer silent sports enjoy sailing the length of the lake or maybe paddling the bays by canoe or kayak.
Rice Lake is also home to a variety of fish, everything from pan fish, crappie, small mouth bass, largemouth bass, northern and record class musky.
Rice Lake had its beginning in 1864 when Knapp, Stout and Company constructed a storage dam on the site of an earlier Indian village and a wild rice bed, taking the name of the community from the location. A mill was started at the dam in 1871 by M. W. Heller, who was the first permanent settler to move his family here. Heller was also in charge of the first store, hotel and blacksmith shop, which made the settlement the center for northern operations of Knapp, Stout and Company until the large stands of white pines in the area were exhausted.
The original plat of the city included in a 100-foot wide thoroughfare that is still the heart of the business district.
A Lentz stream engine, a unique part of local history, is on display in Knapp Stout Park, Main Street, next to the Chamber of Commerce building. The engine was built by the Erie City Iron Works, Erie, PA in 1925. It provided power to generate electricity for the Municipal Light Company of Denver, CO until it was purchased in 1946 by the American Excelsior Company of Rice Lake, WI. Once installed there, the steam engine generated power for all the plant's lights and small motors, and also ran all the production machinery. The boiler that produced the steam to operate the engine was fueled by wood scrap, making the operation very efficient. The mill operated 20 hours a day, 5 days a week making excelsior, which was baled and shipped by rail all over the U.S. The unit was taken out of service in 1976. The Lentz balanced poppet valve steam engine weighs 16 tons and is 19 ft. wide and 21 ft. long; the flywheel has a diameter of 12 ft. It is a single-cylinder engine with a 19-inch bore and a 21-inch stroke. It created 350 horsepower and operated at 200 RPM.
Rice Lake has a Mayor-Alderman form of government with elections every two years. A city administrator heads the day-to-day activities of the city. All commissions and boards are appointive, with the exception of the school board, which is elective. Rice Lake's population is 8,419. Latitude 45.51 N, Longitude -91.72 W. The city has a full-time fire department assisted by volunteers. The police force has 17 full-time officers.
City-owned utilities include electric, water and sewage treatment plants. Natural gas service and refuse removal service are located in Rice Lake. Voted 3rd best tasting water in the world at the 2005 International Water Tasting Contest.
Public Library, Post Office, 1st class; newspaper: The Rice Lake Chronotype, Wednesday Weekly, 7,500 circulation; Radio stations: WJMC-AM/FM, WAQE-AM/FM, WKFX-FM; Airport: Paved 6,700 ft. runway and crosswind runway; 40-bed, fully accredited hospital; two nursing home; daycare centers and preschool centers; job service office; Western Union; UPS; telephone; cable; and Internet services.