Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

July 20, 1994, Page 28

Transcribed by Sharon Schulte

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


The Good Old Days

Granton’s Beginnings as a Village

A Granton Street Scene as it appeared in its early years.

Starting with a post office and general store along the old stage line between Neillsville and Stevens Point, was a village first named Mapleworks and later renamed Granton.

The first businesses were saw mills, Kemmeter’s Mill started in 1890, Elroy Osgood’s Mill in 1905. Osgood’s Mill site later became the location of Clarence Nowack’s ground feed store, when the settlers turned to farming rather than lumbering as their livelihood.

C.S. Stockwell platted the village, surveying it in 1890. Twelve years later, efforts were made to incorporate the Village of Granton. E. A. Buckler took a census, revealing a population of 313 persons with John P. Kintzele making the survey. The enthusiasts in the efforts were E. A. Buckler, A. J. Knorr, F. L. Snyder, J. Wright, Carl Whitecker and L.A. Marsh. In July, 1916, M. L. Rose took the census showing a population of 328. Signers of the petition were Charles Neinas, B. F. Winn, J. M. Tompkins, L. G. Morris, Edward Schroeder, B. C. Beecher and E. P. Monsser, with the petition being granted by the Court, September, 1916. Four additions were added to the original plot.

The charter election as held at Woodman Hall, September 30, 1916, chaired by Philip J. Kemmeter, E. J. Schroeder and Price Lee. There were 48 votes cast in favor of incorporating and 37 against the move.

The first annual election held the following month, chose officers who were: P. J. Kemmeter, President; Trustee, H. C. Witte, Dr. R. R. Rath, A. J. Knorr, O. C. Peterson, Price Lee, F. G. Hart; Clerk, J. H. Davis; Treasurer, C. A. Welke; Assessor, D.S. Rausch; Supervisor, W.R. Winn; Justices of the Peace, Dr. H. L. Rose and A. J. Thayer; Police Justice, Geo. Amiden.

The Business Men’s Association of Granton organized in 1915, showing a cooperative effort by buying, maintaining and operating a theatre for movies. The opera house was leased for a year, with shows twice a week. Whenever enough profit accumulated, they ran free shows, open to the public. They installed an electric lighting plant for the projector, purchased a projector and rented movies, twice a week, from the Chicago exchange.

A "White Way", to be set up on the main street of the village, became an idea in 1917. The idea materialized when a sum of $900 was brought together so the project could be started. Six cement abutments were poured as bases for the light posts. Gas operated, the lamps had to be lighted every night and shut off every morning. They were located on the corners of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Main Streets.

Three or four years later, electric lines were installed in the village with the electric energy being furnished by Northern States Power Co., metered at the substation on the south side of town. In 1926, the Northern States Power Co. purchased all of the Granton Electric Utility with lines extending as far as the Gruenke Cheese Factory in the Town of York.

The old deteriorating boardwalks were replaced by cement sidewalks in 1917 or 1918, as well as street with concrete slab from "Y" on south to railway on north. When curb and gutter was laid in 1953, new sidewalks replaced the old and the streets were prepared for asphalt covering, the project being completed the following year.

Taking advantage of the government WPA program, the city water system was installed in 1938-1939 at the cost of $23,000 assessed to the village. The city sewer system project started in 1940, being completed in 1949.

Soon after the village was platted, D. Barker, built the first store occupied by P. J. Kemmeter. Several buildings were moved from Mapleworks to the new site, not far to relocate. W.H. Butler and H.A. Knorr built the general store in 1897, Schuelke and Schultz operated the store for four or five years. From 1910 to 1932, it was known as "Witte’s Cash Store" operated by H.C. Witte. E L Witte took over the business in 1932, renaming it "Erhart’s Store." The business was sold to Hawthorne in 1946, the Kirk in 19458 who owned it until 1958 as the "Friendly Way Store." Kirk and Marvin Garbisch operated the Red Owl Store in the building from 1952 through 1959 when it was converted into an apartment house with three apartments.

As with other villages and cities, Granton has seen many changes during its existence.

Before the days of the television sets...members of the community got into the act and action of entertaining. Groups who would organize the play cast, provided the script and direction, traveling from area to area with their services. The local "stars" would put on a performance at the city's opera house or community hall, charging admission to pay the entailed expenses.

The above group of people participated in one of those performances held in 1939 at the Granton Opera House that was located where the Sportsman's Club House is now.

Back Row, left to right: Arlo Lautenbach, Mr. Beaver, Bandalow, Hintz, Walter Schmidt, Merle Hales, Swirnoff, Lloyd Spry, Herb Kinney, Lucien Moh, Clarence Nowack, Sam Schroeder and Arthur Eibergen.

Middle row: Wilbur Billman, Geo. Wilson, Mike Zahradka, Carl Bladl, Bill Schmidtke, Director, Tab Erickson, Oswald Pischer, Ed Boetcher, Ray Tyler, Paul Fleischman, Bill Eibergen, Durward Schwarze, Mr. Dorst, Geo. Wanecke, Floyd Pietenpol, Ross Downer and Ray Lehman (31).
Front Row: Pischer (boy holding flag). Vernon Peterson, Afred Zellmer, Roland Quicker and Ronald Quicker.



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