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Wisconsin Rapids is the seat of Wood County, Wisconsin. Although Europeans began settling the area in the 1830s, Wisconsin Rapids has been known by this name only since 1920. Prior to that, the settlement was divided by the Wisconsin River, with the west side incorporated as Centralia and the east side as Grand Rapids. The two cities merged in 1900, taking the name of Grand Rapids, which was changed in 1920 to avoid mail from being misdirected to the better known Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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