Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

April 9, 1997, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Good Old Days


By Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


April 1877


The election for the Town of Pine Valley held in this village, last Tuesday, passed quietly, resulting in the election of the following officers: Chairman: James Hewett, Supervisors: F. D. Lindsay, Orville Cornwell.  Town Clerk: Ira B. Jones.  Town Treasurer: G. Steans, Town Assessor: J. A. Kimball.  Justices of Peace: R. F. Kountz, two years; D. H. Robinson, two years; John F. King, one year; Levi Archer, one year.  Constables: Frank G. Cawley, David Mason, Thomas Garvin.  Sealer of Weights and Measures: W. C. Crandall.  Pound Master, G. I. Follet.


George Lloyd has broken ground for his new building on the corner opposite Hewett & Woods. (Northeast corner of 5th and Hewett Streets)


There isn’t water enough in Black River to float a bean pole and the prospects of getting pine logs to market on the spring rise grows less every day.


A law of the state requires, under penalty of not less than fifty dollars, that all persons solemnizing a marriage shall within thirty days report to the register of the county in which the ceremony was performed.  Physicians, under similar penalties, are required to make returns of all births and deaths occurring in their practice.  Blanks on which to make these returns are provided by the state and may be obtained from any Register of Deeds in the state, without cost.


The “commission” from this county to the Black Hills, which will start the first of next week, will consist of Jas. Furlong, W. C. Goss and W. W. LaFlesh of this village; and E. D. Carter, Harry Howes and O. G. Tripp of Humbird.  We extend these gentlemen wishes for their success and a safe return; we bid them Godspeed on their journey to that land of gold.  Highwaymen infest the roads leading to the Black Hills.  They stop the stagecoaches and rob the inmates, pounce upon the solitary traveler and attack parties banded together for mutual protection.


Who Wants It? $1,000 will buy a good farm in Clark County, situated in the Town of York, five miles from Neillsville; 160 acres of land with 35 acres well cleared and improved.  Apply to J. L. Gates.


A sash, door and blind factory has been established in connection with the planing mill in this village, and hereafter there will be no need to go abroad for anything in that line. 


Sawyer has in his aquarium, at Lacey’s, an odd representative of the finny tribe, taken from the creek near this village, for which he can find no name, no one here ever having seen, anything of the kind previous to its capture.  Its general “complexion” is blue, but it shows many other bright colors, and is a beauty as well as a novelty.


A law of the state requires that every room above the third floor, in any hotel, shall be provided with a rope or other means of escape for guests, in case of fire.


A fine stock of marriage certificates are for sale at the Clark County Press office.


Never in the memory of man have the snow shovel and linen duster came so near being used in the same season.  (It has happened before).


J. C. Gwin & Co., of Loyal, has retired from the mercantile business at that place, having sold out their stock to some other party.


April 1897


Fishing for red-horse is now on.


The Thorp Courier appears this week in a dress of handsome new body type and looks very nice.


David Stewart, of Greenwood, who goes to the U.S. Military academy at West Point, N.Y., visited in the city over Sunday.


Fred Huntzicker and Geo. Pratt have a new possession—a pointer dog, they went to Merrillan Sunday on a rail hand-car to get the highly prized quadruped.


Black River was up and a-roaring Tuesday, so much so that there was fear that the north Grand Avenue Bridge would go out.  The rumor spread, and it attracted a large crowd over there to see the bridge go, but the catastrophe did not come to pass. The bridge was anchored to a post and a tree, however, so that if the river swept it from its piers it would wing around against the bank and be saved.


The stage of water in Black River is such that the furniture factory is surrounded by a flood and looks like Fort Sumter or Chateau d’If.  The bridges are all threatened, and when visited the other day, Frantz Creek Bridge, a small wooden affair was within a foot of being turned into a raft and floating off.


Roy Lowery’s house in Levis caught fire in the roof Sunday forenoon and, but for the presence of plenty of water and men, would have been food for the flames.  Adjuster Hutchings went down the same day and adjusted loss for Lynn Mutual at $5.00.


Years ago, many old settlers here quite vigorously opposed getting a railroad into Neillsville, and seemed wedded to the seventeen miles of bad turnpike and corduroy via Hewettville to Humbird, or twelve miles of mud and sand to Hatfield.  They remembered with a glow of pride the Price stage line to Sparta.  Perhaps they hated to see Jack Duncan and the other teamsters lose their jobs, and so opposed railroads from friendly motives.  If so, it was creditable to their hearts.  Every mud hole was, in their eyes, of value to the community, for it made more work, with broken axles, or twisted off a wheel.  Men of this way of thinking would lay out a road up a steep hill in preference to a level route, to run it near some boon companion’s house, or to give the horses a pull, or anger some enemy, doing an ill service to all posterity in so doing.  The bad hills on roads near this city are an evidence of this.  They would rather have a city pay perpetually for teams and men to repair streets, than put $800 into a rock-crusher and thereafter each year construct new streets. They oppose good roads just as they oppose railroads.  They believe a man who rides in a lumber wagon better than one who rides a bicycle.  They are naturally “agin” the new order of things.


Marsh & Howard Bros. are dealers in Pumps, Windmills, Wagons, Buggies, & Agricultural Implements.  They have ware-houses in Granton & Neillsville.


April 1942


Retail sales in Neillsville totaled $1,556,000 in 1939.  A business census report prepared by the United States Department of Commerce was based on figures resulting from the business census taken in the spring of 1940.


Seventy-five retail stores were listed in Neillsville by the report, making an average gross $20,746 during the year.


A picture of the part automobiles have played in the life of Americans is pictured in the report.  People spent more money on automobiles than food in Neillsville during 1939; $340,000 was spent with automobile dealers and service stations, compared with $246,000 spent with food dealers in the city.


Residents in or near Neillsville spent $264,000 with 10 local food stores in 1939.  Ninety-three such stores were operating in the county at that time grossing a total of $1,248,000.


There were five apparel shops in the city.  The lumber, building and hardware group, numbering six concerns in the city, had gross sales of $180,000, as compared with total sales of $989,000 for 50 such concerns in the county.


Neillsville had four stores in furniture, household and radio groups out of the county’s total of 18.  Eating and drinking places in the city numbered 15.


The average annual wage in Neillsville was $720 while the county average wage was $706 for the year.


The Neillsville City Council has authorized the purchase of a new fire siren at a cash outlay of $277.80.  It also voted to erect a new 40 ft. tower atop the city hall for the siren.  The cost of the tower will be $115.


Clark County’s April tire quota has been released.  The tire, tube and retread quota for Clark County in April consists of: 18 tires, nine recaps and 14 tubes for passenger cars and light trucks; and 76 tires, 81 retreads and 74 tubes for trucks and buses (The government allotted quotas on rationed items due to World War II defense needs.  Tires were one of the rationed items.  Being of a different quality than tires of today, not nearly as many miles of wear were obtained from a 1942 factory or retread tire).


A county man appeared before Dist. Atty. Beilfuss this past week and had to pay a $500 bond.  It was reported that he settled a tavern argument with a glass beer mug.  The fracas started when he bragged that he could skin 100 logs in a day.  Another fellow overhearing the boast said, “That’s nothing, I can do that before breakfast.”  After that remark, a great commotion resulted with one man getting lacerations on his face.


Three town of Seif boys experienced a battle on a wild ride on a cake of ice down Black River last week.  Fortunately they were able to tell their story themselves.


For three hours, Clarence Ziegler, Orville Griep and Clarence Brandenburg waged a grim, thrilling fight for their lives against the cold current of Black River while the ice cake on which they were floating was ground even smaller as it was dashed against rocks in the river bed.


The boys had gone out to inspect their beaver traps along the river.  It was a warm spring-like day and the ice was breaking up.  To get to one trap, they had to go out on the ice over the river.  Under their weight a large cake of ice broke away from the bank carrying three boys with it.  Jim Griep, Orville’s brother remained on the shore.


Riding the ice cake down the river for one-quarter of a mile, as it became less in size, it dashed against a rock and the ice cake started to submerge.  They were able to jump onto a large rock about 30 feet from shore.


All that time, Jim followed along on the shore, watching.  He then found a string of wire which he threw to the boys, holding on to the other end.  Orville and Clarence jumped onto a passing ice cake and pulled themselves to shore.


Clarence decided to swim to shore but with difficulty against the current and cold water.  His companion picked up a pole from the river bank and extended it out over the water toward him.  Clutching the pole his companions pulled him safely ashore.


The Neillsville Milk Products Cooperative has purchased property to the west of its present location, and is about to develop a cheese factory of importance.  The purchase includes the tile building formerly Degener Hardware, with its site measuring 25 x 96 ft, running from Seventh Street to the alley.   The Cooperative has also completed its parcel by the purchase from Harry Roehrborn of a strip in the rear measuring 10 x 56 ft.


The purpose is to construct a new building, to the rear of the present tile structure which will be one story and will measure about 32 x 54 ft.  This will be a make room, which will be connected with the older building to the front.  The older building will be for curing and storage.


The construction of the new building and its equipment will put the Neillsville Milk Products Cooperative among the top cheese producers in this section of Wisconsin.  The Cooperative already has three vats and is securing a fourth, having a capacity of 14,000 pounds of milk.  The total capacity of the four vats will give the Cooperative a cheese capacity averaging upwards of two tons for a single shift.  The prospect is that the production will be at least of that size, which will mean 1,500,000 pounds of cheese per year.


Among the purchases will be a new cheese press and pasteurizer.  The latter is equipment not commonly used in cheese factories hereabouts, but the Cooperative is advised that the government, purchasing on a lease-lend bases, favors cheese made from pasteurized milk, in the judgment that pasteurizing improves the keeping qualities.


The new building will be of tile, harmonizing with the other structures.  Construction will start promptly.


A permanent home has been purchased for the Clark County Press.  The building is known locally as the new Zbinden building, located on Seventh Street, west of Grand Avenue.  Really not “new,” the building bears that designation in contrast to the “old” Zbinden building which was on the corner and which has been wrecked.


The new Zbinden building, though intended as a milk plant, is well suited to the needs of a country newspaper.


The building will have reconditioning such as a new roof, new ceilings, and a furnace installed for hot air heat.


The purchase made from the American Stores Dairy Co., included the vacant site upon which the old Zbinden building once stood.  This site still had upon it the basement walls, considerable concrete work and the old boiler room.  These are being wrecked, with the debris thrown into the old basement.  The purpose is to make a fill and eventually to landscape the land east of the Press building (Grand Avenue side).

A scene captured below the first steel Grand Avenue bridge which spanned O’Neill Creek at about the turn of the century  (Photo courtesy of Clark County Historical Society’s Jail Museum).



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