Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

Clark County Press, Neillsville

April 16, 1992, Page 16

Transcribed by

Index of "Oldies" Articles


By Dee Zimmerman


Reprinted From The Republican and Press

(Originally Compiled by Terry Johnson)


Oops! … Last week’s “Oldies” story stated the North Hewett Street grocery store as being owned by Nick Gangler in 1921. However, Mr. Gangler purchased the store business in 1936 from Gus Deutsch who was the previous owner.   


Throughout the years there have been a variety of businesses, that at some time or other, have had the address of 614 Hewett Street, Neillsville.


Northern States Power Company had their office in that location, then it was the site for the home appliance business of Don and Hans Schiesel, later owned by Lyle Miller, then Ed Rice. After the appliance business was discontinued, Job Service used the building for their offices.


At the present time, the Clark County Press and Shopper businesses occupy the building at that address.


In the year of 1905, that building was the location of a good, reasonable, eating place. It was called the Gress Restaurant, operated by Mrs. Jennie Gress with her sons, Sherman and Bill as business partners.


Three full course meals with three different meats were served daily at a cost of only 25˘ per meal. The noon and evening meal also included a dessert, choice of 4 kinds of freshly baked pie, for that price. The tables were set up in the back half.


They also served ice cream, popcorn, cordials and sold cigars. The front portion of the area had a display case and counter with stools to serve the ice cream and lunch order customers.


The other employees were Mrs. Maxwell and Elsie Anding (who later married Sherman). Bill a foster son whose name was Pritchard but because he lived with the Gress family, he used the surname of Gress. Bill married Sadie Eggiman and they moved to Montana, then later to the state of Washington. They had one son Alfred.


Jennie Gress began the business after the death of her husband, Anthony. Anthony drowned in the Black River while crossing it (near where the Grand Avenue Bridge is located now) in a small boat because the old wooden bridge had been washed out. A log, floating downstream struck the boat and upset it. Anthony couldn’t swim. His body was found two weeks later by the old Dells Dam Bridge which was a great distance downstream. His companion (A Servaty) who was a good swimmer, survived.


Information and photos were provided by Mrs. Herman (Gertie) Hagedorn of Neillsville. Gertie is the granddaughter of Jennie Gress and daughter of Sherman Gress, Art Gress of Neillsville is Gertie’s brother, Don Gress (deceased) was also a brother of Gertie’s.   





Clark County’s first traffic fatality of the year occurred in a three-car crash on Highway 10, a mile west of Neillsville. The victim Louis Hause, 57, a passenger in the new Hause family car. Several others went to the hospital including members of the Hause family (Viola, David, Penny and Scott) and occupants of the third car, Mrs. Merlin Lindow and daughter Marilyn. The accident was thought to be caused by failure of a brake line in the car that hit the Hause car.


Flooding on Black River brought tragedy when three canoe-loads of La Crosse and La Crescent, MN persons were swamped in the raging rapids a short distance downstream from Ross’s Eddy. Thirty-five-year-old Donald Fellenz and his nine-year-old son Mark drowned in the episode. Among those involved in the rescue were Rudolf and Kenneth Opelt, Sheriff Walter Oldham, Harold Kren, Harold Prock and John A. Bergemann, all on land or by boat or by air, Glenn Short and Deputy Dan Patey. The canoe group had been sternly warned by Traffic Officer Harry Frantz before launching, that the river was very rocky and swift during flood stage, and that the canoes should not be launched.


Volunteers worked to fill sand bags to protect the H.H. Van Gordon & Sons fertilizer plant from flooding by the O’Neill Creek. In addition to the sandbagging. Volunteers worked to move products, in storage in the basement to above ground locations in the plant, at the Tibbett warehouse, the county highway garage and other locations.





A column on the left-hand side of the front page was titled, “War Diary.” Bold print under the column head advised, “In this column The Clark County Press will give a brief day-by-day account of major events as World War Two unfolds. This column may be clipped for scrapbook record of the war as it progresses.”


“Two daytime passenger trains passing through Neillsville are to b discontinued effective March 30. … The schedules of the other two passenger trains will be altered somewhat…”


The Happy Hollow School of the Town of York won the county grain judging contest this week with a team score of 2,952. … A total of 562 rural school boys and girls competed in the 13th annual event sponsored by the Neillsville F.F.A. chapter. More than 750 boys and girls came for the event.”


“Three of John W. Perkins’ agricultural classes took an intensive six-day course in etiquette from Miss Mabel Carlson and Miss Peggy Docker, home economics teachers; and two home economics classes had a week of instruction from Mr. Perkins on gardening. The change in courses were undertaken in all seriousness and accomplished surprising results; but not without its humorous sidelights.”





The lead headline on the front page read: “President Wilson Asks Congress To Declare That State of War Exists with Germany.” According to the story (Neillsville Times), “The message of the president was delivered amid scenes of wildest enthusiasm that the American public is capable of for the message could not but inspire the most patriotic feelings. The message itself is a masterpiece of rhetorical construction and pacifists and opponents of the president cannot but admit that he has handled the situation admirably in so far as the facts have come to him. Throughout its entire message is dignified and couched in terms of deep regret that the United States has been brought to the verge of war if not plunged into it.”


“The implement warehouse of Seif & Sons has been touched up with some mighty classy signs which are both artistic and decorative and make the building show up in fine style. The work was done by Mr. Chandler.”





“The $20,000,000 river and harbor bill appropriation just passed by congress should be accompanied by similar appropriation for road for dry land navigation. People who happen to live inland have rights that are not to be forgotten.”


“Wm. Dwyer was killed Monday at Prentice while unloading logs on the Jump River Lumber Co.’s logging train. He was crushed.”


“Congressman Haugen’s bill providing for sessions of the U.S. District Court at Eau Claire and Superior has been killed in the senate, after worrying through the house.”


Ad: “Four lines of samples from different tailoring houses to select from. If you want a suit to order you should see one our line of samples before placing your order. MARSHALL & KERNS.’


“Roads are villainous, bad enough yet to make a saint swear.” “Not less than a dozen scholarly people dropped in last week to tell us that it is Vesuvius, not Visuvius, but we’ll never let it happen again.”


“T.F. Ball, traveler for the Milwaukee Sentinel, visited the city Thursday.”


“Frank Lee Davis of Maple Works and Miss Katie E. Harriman were married Wednesday, April 30, at 1:30 p.m., at the O’Neill House, by Rev. J.G. Russel.”



Pictured above left to right are: Mrs Jennie Gress, Mrs. Maxwell, Elsie Gress (Jennie’s daughter-in-law,

Dr. Horace Frank (setting at the counter), Bill Gress and Sherman Gress.



Dining area where three family style meals were served daily, at the price of 25˘ per meal.





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