Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

Transcribed by Sharon Schulte

Internet Photo Preparations by Pat Phillips

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles





The Neillsville Planing Mills established by George W. Trogner was located between 4th & 5th Streets on the west side of Grand Avenue. There were two or three other buildings as well, which filled in that side of the block, all property of the Trogner Carpentry business. Kuhnís Decorating and Wallís Service Station occupy the area now.


One of Neillsvilleís early well-known respected residents was George W. Trogner.  He was born in the state of New York August 14, 1846.  His parents, Joseph and Elisabeth Trogner, were of German ancestry, but were born in America.  Joseph Trogner, a farmer, settled in Wisconsin in 1848, taking a homestead in Green County.


George W. Trogner was a long-timer resident of Neillsville who built many fine homes and business structures within the city.

Above: The Hosely house at the corner of State and 5th Streets, one of Trogner's carpentry masterpieces. This house was built in 1891, and originally owned by Dickinson who was a stockholder in the Neillsville Bank and held timberland in Western states. In 1912, Marcus, Sr. and Katherine Hoesly purchased the house for their home. A daughter, Ann, owned it later. Ann's brother, Jacob and his wife, Harriet, live in a home to the east of that house. Jacob and Harriet's son, Allen, now resides in his grandfather's house. In 100 years, only two family names have been its owners.


At the age of 18 years in 1864, he enlisted for service in the Civil War, becoming a member of Company H, 38th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers.  The regiment joined the Army of the Potomac before Petersburg, and took part in operations which resulted in the Capture of the Weldon Railroad, in the action of Poplar Grove Church, as well as other various skirmishes until the close of the war.  George was mustered out of the military in 1865.


After returning home, Mr. Trogner went to work in the woods, being involved with logging.  A little later, he traveled to Neillsville to work in the mill of Hewett and woods and became the mill manager after two years.


One of G. W. Trogner's workshop buildings was moved from the original site of Grand Avenue to the east on 9th Street, as the photo shows the turn from Hewett to 9th


Being a carpenter by trade, George helped build many of the early residences in Neillsville, working with that for three years after the mill employment.  He built the first wagon shop in the village, and made the first wagon and the first buggy ever manufactured in Clark County.  Later, he entered into carpenter work as a contractor, and also did general contracting.


The Farmerís Store, First National Bank Building, Masonic Temple, the North Side School Building, the Clark County Bank Building and the Furniture Factory.


Also, he was superintendent with the construction of the Library Building, and the Neillsville Bank Building on the corner of Hewett and 6th Streets.  George built several fine residences; one of those was his own and located on Clay Street, which is now the home of Dr. Donald and Trink Jenkins.  Banker Cornelius residence, was another of the large homes built during that time, on the corner of Clay and 2nd Street.  The Hoesly house, corner of State and 5th Streets, also the Lloyd home, now owned by Ray and Mary Jo Meier on Lloyd Street.


For fourteen years, Mr. Trogner owned and operated the Neillsville Planing Mill, which was then a saw and planing mill as well as a shingle mill.  Along with the carpentry and planing mill work, he built a substantial wood working and carpenter shop, known throughout the state for its capabilities.  As an expert cabinet maker and mechanic, he gained a wide reputation for his abilities.  He had a very large and complete set of tools, each the best of its kind, and his work benches were models of convenience and construction.  The work shops were designed, constructed and equipped with Georgeís patents of machines and other various powered carpentry aides.  If there wasnít a tool available, he went about designing and making such for his need.  His work shops were supplied with a large assortment of hardware needed in the cabinet making and building of dwellings.  He was surrounded with various implements and accessories used in his building trade.  The carpentry shop had a fine planning machine and a universal machine used in the fine finishing work of the cabinets, trim, doors, etc.  The machinery was driven by an eight h.p. gasoline engine.


For a short time, Mr. Trogner traveled as far west as Portland, Oregon, where he followed his trade, returning to Neillsville.  While a resident here, he served eight years as alderman.  He was a member of the local G.A.R. post and was the oldest member of Lodge No. 198, I.O.O.F., being a member for over forty years, as well as being in the Grand Lodge 44, of Pine Valley.


Georgeís first marriage was to Sarah Smith of Black River Falls.  They had four children:  Charles, who was the second largest printer of the United States in the Washington D.C. government building; George Jr., and Minnie, both died when young adults; a daughter, Kate, was married to William Kavolts and resided in Marion, Ohio.  After Sarahís death, George married his second wife, Mrs. Sarah Perry, the widow of Edward F. Perry.  They had one son, Walter Jr., who became an attorney setting up his law practice in Minneapolis.


Reviewing this manís history, it seems as if he was advanced way before his time.  The accomplishments in his trade, the inventions within his shops, and his ideas seemed to be very advanced in comparison to the era in which he lived.  Those actions are evident within the city, when we view the beautiful homes which he built, a mark that he left for us to enjoy.


Some of Mr. Trognerís family reside in the Neillsville area.  Great-granddaughters are Jean (Trogner) Kuhn and Betty (Trogner) Trunkel.  They have a brother, John Trunkel, Jr., who lives in Stoughton, Wisconsin.  Their father, John, Sr., who lived in Neillsville, was the son of George Jr. and grandson of George, Sr.


Mrs. John (Edith) Trogner, Sr. is a resident at Memorial Home in Neillsville.


A copy of the letterhead on business stationery of Geo. W. Trogner. He had written the letter in 1892, being sent to the Congregational Church's building committee with the specifications and price quote of a church building proposal. The quote was made on a building complete with steel roof, structure to include good brick on outside, good wood floor, and ready to be lathed. He would furnish all the building materials - all for the price of $2,375.00. The church was built by him for that price and many of you can remember the church building that was on the corner of West and 5th Streets (now the lot is site of Mid Wisconsin Neillsville Bank). (Photos courtesy of Jean Kuhn, Allen Hoesly and David Bedell).



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