Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

 September 14, 1994, Page 32

 Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days     


By Dee Zimmerman


“Vets Village” … as it appeared in the late 40’s and early 50’s, was located between

 Sunset Place and Hill Street on Neillsville’s west side


Photo 1: Once a Village… that has disappeared.  Vet’s Village existed for 10 years on the east side of what was then referred to as Sunset Heights – or now would be Sunset Place, Neillsville’s southwest side.  This photo was taken during its existence.  Established in 1946, 12 pre-fabricated units were set up to ease the demand for housing as World War II veterans and their wives, families returned home to civilian life.  Sponsored by the city, the units were purchased and moved from the Badger Ordinance works of Baraboo.


The Neil Trogner family was the last to leave as residents in early 1956.  When the Common Council announced their decision to abandon the “village,” there was a gradual selling and moving of the units as they were vacated.  The last unit was considered to be used for a warming house along O’Neill Creek pond when as many as 100 youngsters would be seen ice skating on a winter weekend.


Many amusing stories were told by more than 60 people who called the units “home” during their existence.  One resident recalled, as a spring break-up came with a lot of frost in the ground, he had to check the ground each morning so as to adjust the building jacks he had installed in an attempt to keep the living room floor level.  Others related with amusement, how they recalled lying awake at night and being able to watch the stars through the cracks in the roofs.


However all in all, the Vet’s Village units proved adequate and served their noble purpose.  They were the center of life at one time, having gardens, clothes lines and play yards for 12 families including 22 children who remember it as having been “home.”


#2 The old Monk Building, before it was razed for the new IGA Supermarket parking lot.


Photo #2: An old Neillsville City Landmark that is not more… Once a laundry and later an apartment building, was the old Monk building at the corner of Grand Ave. and West Sixth Street.  The Stelloh building, partially torn down at the time of this photo, was on the south side and was originally built by Russell M. Larson and housed his lumber company for a few years.  Herbert Puscheck of Chili, builder of the first IGA Supermarket, is viewed inspecting the razing of the former cement block Stelloh building, making way for the parking lot portion.


#3 The horse and buggy days required a hitching rail with parking lot for the rig when their owners came to town, shopping.


Photo # 3: Ample parking lot space has longer been a Neillsville concern through the years.  This picture was taken back of the Farmers Store about 90 years ago.  It was typical of many other scenes in Clark County during that time, where horses waited for the folks to get done shopping and then go home.  The horse and buggy can occasionally be seen in town when some of our area Amish residents come to town. 


#4 Neillsville’s J. G. Zimmerman & Sons general store can be remembered by many former and present residents.


Photo #4: The J. G. Zimmerman & Sons Company general store, a great shopping center during the early 1900s.  This view was taken before the surfaced streets, still having board-walks and the portable directional sign in the middle of the intersection indicating buggy traffic to travel in the right half of the street, going north and west.


#5 Korman & Bonnerfeld Wagon Shop was located on North Hewett Street along the bank of O’Neill Creek.  The old Hewett Street Bridge spanned the creek, above the dam.  Korman-Gent also had been business partners in the building.


Photo #5: A west side view of the old Hewett Street Bridge with the Korman and Bonnerfeld building in the background.


#6 Chunks of ice washed up on the O’Neill Creek bank, damaging the Moen Carpenter Shop buildings foundation, in 1956


Photo #6: In 1956, the spring thaw-runoff created an ice jam on the north bank of Hewett Street.  The blocks of ice pushed out most of the foundation on the south side of the old Korman building then being occupied by the Moen Carpenter Shop.  A considerable amount of ground was also washed out on the south side.  Later, the O’Neill Creek bank was built up with more ground and willows planted on it to hold the bank in place as a preventive of future flooding.


(Photos courtesy of Herman Moen.)



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