Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

  January 12, 1994, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days  

By Dee Zimmerman




Coming from Sheboygan County in the 1880’s, Kapellen became actively involved in building up the city of Neillsville when he erected one of its business blocks, the eastside of Hewett between 6th and 5th Streets, in 1903.


Kapellen was a manufacturer and dealer of fine shoes and boots, occupying the rear portion of the large brick building corner of Hewett & 6th, on the 6th Street side.  The front portion of the building was occupied by R. T. Boullion’s Palace Buffet.


Bob Boullion came to Neillsville from Canada in 1878 and after a short stay, moved to Merrillan where he was in business for nine years.  He returned to Neillsville in 1891, starting a business here and continued owning the Merrillan business.


Luretta Roberts and Boullion were married in Neillsville during 1880.  A year after he had moved his business into the new building which he named “The Palace,” he and his wife put on a big celebration for their silver wedding anniversary, inviting “the town” to join in the event.


R. T. Boullion’s Palace Buffet, corner of 6th and Hewett streets during early 1900s





Brown was proprietor of the general store and Christie Hall at Christie.


Born in Wrightstown, Brown County, he came to Clark County in 1881.  Eventually, he became proprietor of the Christie General store and the Christie Hall, known then for its fine dancing floor.


Brown married Edith Grant, of Wrightstown, who was a lineal descendant of General Ulysses S. Grant.  They had two daughters, Nina and Lucile.


The Elmer A. Brown Store, at Christie




Born at New Lisbon, Wis., in 1857, started working at an early age, on his parent’s farm and clerking in his brother, Jeff’s store.  At age 18, he went into the lumber and grain business for himself at Wonewoc, Wis., where he continued for four years, then selling out.  Leaving Wonewoc, he went to Mauston, where he became secretary-treasurer for the Mauston Milling Co., for three years.


Heath traveled to New York City as eastern representative of Geo. M. Clark & Co. of Chicago, manufacturers of gas and gasoline stoves for two years.  He came to Neillsville to build the Badger State Telephone and Telegraph Co. System, which was constructed in the fall of 1896.  He developed it into a corporation, operating it until July 1901, selling his interests to W. H. Smith.


In February, 1903, the Balch & Heath Co. was incorporated, a general store in Neillsville.




Harness making became the trade for Gerber when he started leaning it at the age of 19.


Born in Ottertail County, Minn., he apprenticed in his hometown, Perham.  His first business was started at Long Prairie, Minn., where he opened a harness shop.  In 1902, he started selling, for a large wholesale house, traveling from town to town.  In 1905, he bought out the A. E. Dudley business in Neillsville, being a manufacturer and dealer in harness, saddlery and horse furnishing goods.



Balch was born on September 14, 1859, at Sheboygan Falls, Wis. His early years were spent in a printing office and a general store.  He studied a term in a general course at Madison.


He came with his parents, to Neillsville’s north side, in 1880, where his father opened a store.  Operating there for five years, they moved to Hewett and 6th Streets, later selling out to D. Tourigny hardware store (northwest corner of that inter-section). 


Buying out his father’s business interest, Balch went into partnership with B. Tragsdorf and the firm was named Balch & Tragsdorf.  Soon after, they built the large building and established the Department Store on the corner of Hewett and Fourth Streets.  In 1902, Balch sold his company interest to J. G. Zimmerman and took a year’s vacation.  In 1903, with H. Heath, they formed the Balch & Heath Co.

Residence of the Honorable Robert J. McBride, which was located across the street from the Clark County Jail, southwest corner of 5th and State streets.  (Referred to as the “House of Gables” – 8 gables in all)


The O. K. Cash Steam Laundry was on the corner of 6th St. and Grand Avenue, facing Grand Avenue.  Dr. Monk, owned the building, H. W. Kirby was proprietor of the business



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