News: Neillsville – Prosperous Business Center (1905)

Transcriber: Steve Roberts 

Surnames: O’Neill, Frantz, Boardman

Source: Clark & Jackson Co. Trade Paper Sept 1905

A Prosperous Business Center; Largest City and County Seat of Clark County, Wis.

Neillsville was first settled about 1848. Mr. James O’Neill being the first settler who obtained a land claim from the government in that year, and followed soon by George Frantz, B. C. Boardman and others. The first store was erected in 1853-4, while a hotel was erected in the fifties on the site now occupied by the Merchants Hotel. The first school, a log building, was built about 1856 and situated one-half mile south, the rudiments only being taught, especially reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. The first church, a Methodist, was erected about 1869, and was followed by the Presbyterian, congregational, Lutheran and others a few years later.

The Marshfield and Merrillan branch of the C., St. P., M. & O., Ry. Was built in 1881, from Merrillan to a point one mile from Neillsville, on the west side of the Black River, and in 1891 was extended from that to Neillsville. The milling business was established by Hewett-Woods & Co. in 1867, who built the first large mill in the place and for a number of years the milling business assumed a considerable proportions while the logging gave employment to hundreds of men. In 1882 Neillsville was incorporated as a city at which time it had a population of 1400.

It is finely located on the C., St. P., M. & O., Railway., at the confluence of Black River and O’Neill Creek in Clark County, of which it is the county seat, 15 miles northeast of Merrillan, and 66 north of La Crosse. The city is lighted by electricity, has an excellent system of waterworks, and sewerage and a well-equipped voluntary fire department, using a large standpipe, with a very strong direct pressure and hydrants on all the principal streets.

The manufacturing industries comprise a large furniture factory, wagon factories, saw and planning mills, large flour and feed mill, grain elevator, pump factory, overall factory, spoke factory, brewery, cigar factory and others of minor importance.

The leading streets are macadamed, while many of the streets are laid with artificial stone sidewalks, and Neillsville contains as large number of residences as any city of its size in the state. There are churches of several denominations, including the Catholic, congregational, Episcopal, German Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Scandinavian Lutheran, and Unitarian; also lodges of the leading secret and benevolent societies, a public library, an opera house and two banks.

There are three public schools and a large high school, graduates from which are prepared to enter the university, and the city contains a good business college. The public schools are a matter of pride to the community, both for excellence and large attendance, and there are three parochial schools as well. Three weekly newspapers, Der Deutsch Amerikaner, Republican Press and Times are published. The main street contains many substantial business houses (all enjoying a prosperous trade), and the surrounding country is considered one of the best agricultural and dairying sections of the state, the shipments of butter, cheese and other dairy products being very large from many parts of the county. During the past few years new buildings have been erected every year, and Neillsville is enjoying a good steady and substantial growth.



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