Banner Journal (Black River Falls, Jackson Co, WI)

July 16, 2008, Page 6 & Page 4

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon



Cranberry grower comes to life



Larry Hansen played the role of Henry H. Gebhardt as he told the story of the deceased Jackson County cranberry farmer.  Gebhardt was one of the historic figures highlighted on the 2008 tour of the Voices of the Silent City.  The tour, sponsored by Jackson County Historical Society, was held in Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls.  Hansen was one of nine actors who portrayed notable settlers of the county. (Photos by Pat McKnight/Banner Journal)



Banner Journal, Black River Falls (Jackson Co) WI

July 9, 2008, Page 5

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon



Silent City at Riverside July 12


The Jackson County Historical Society (JCHS) is sponsoring the annual Silent City Cemetery Tour. This year’s tour will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls July 12, (2008) running from 10 a.m. to noon.


The Falls Players and Gary Morris of the JCHS will serve as actors during the event.


Historical figures being recognized at this year’s tour include Peter James Hoffman, Harriet Harmer Slosser, Henry H. Gebhardt, George Merlin Hull, Louis Drecktrah, Francis Roberts Perry, James A. Thomas and Louis Gardipee.


Hoffman, originally from the New York area, was a farmer before he became involved in a dredging and hauling business.  Eventually, he began working in road construction, known still today as Hoffman Construction.


The Slosser family settled in the Disco area.  Harriet Slosser was active in the Women’s Relief Corps and is remembered for the elaborate quilts she made.


Gebhardt learned the cranberry business as a young boy.  At the age of 23, he acquired 800 acres of land along Perry Creek where he started his own cranberry business.


Hull began working for what would later become the Milwaukee Sentinel at the age of 17.  He went on to become a lawyer.  He achieved his life’s ambition to become a publisher when he purchased the Jackson County Journal in 1904, The Badger State Banner in 1926 and later the Wisconsin Leader.


Drecktrah was a lawyer when Governor Warren Knowles appointed him to serve as Jackson County Circuit Judge.  Prior to that, he was in the Air Force serving in the 35th Bomb Squad in England.


Perry was the librarian at the Carnegie Library and a student of the Winnebago language in which she was given the name “Blue Wing.”


Thomas was from Ireland and founder of Thomas Brothers Dairy.  Prior to that time he worked in logging camps before serving in the Civil War.


Gardipee managed the local Gambles store 40 years.  In addition to being an avid Packer fan, he was active in the local Lions Club, the Boys and Girls Scout program and the Red Cross.


In addition, visitors on the cemetery tour will also learn Riverside Cemetery’s history.  Families are welcome to attend the Silent City tour.  Golf carts will be provided for anyone unable to walk the tour.


In case of rain, the event will be rescheduled for July 19.




Actors in this year’s Silent City Cemetery Tour include Eugene Hertzfeldt (l), portraying Merlin Hull, and Larry Hansen, portraying Henry Gebhardt.  The tour will be held July 12 at Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls.  The Falls Players and Garry Morris of the JCHS will serve as actors during the event.  (Photo by JoDee Brooke/Banner Journal)