Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

March 1, 2000, Page 21

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


March 1930


Last week, the people of Neillsville and vicinity were somewhat surprised by the announcement that the J. G. Zimmerman & Sons Co. had sold their entire mercantile establishment, known locally as the “Big Store,” to the Farmers Store Company, a chain store organization owning 19 other stores. Wm. Larson of Eau Claire, who is general manager for the purchasers, is here to affect the transfer.  The purchasers are in no way connected with the Farmers Unions now being organized in the county. 


The J. G. Zimmerman family came here in 1901 from Muscoda, the father, J. G. Zimmerman buying an interest in the store with Ben Tragsdorf.  The partnership continued until 1910 when Zimmerman bought out the Tragsdorf interests.  The firm was incorporated and has since been carried on by J. G. Zimmerman and his three sons, George G., Joe and Harry.

The J. G. Zimmerman & Sons general store, along the 400 block of Hewett Street in Neillsville, was a familiar landmark in the early 1900’s.  The business was opened in 1900-1901 with B. Tragsdorf and Zimmerman as partners.  After Tragsdorf’s death, Zimmerman became sole owner, later taking his three sons, George G., Joe and Harry, into the business.  In 1930, Zimmerman sold the business to the Farmers Store Company and it continued to be operated under that firm until the early 1970’s.  (The photo, circa 1910, is part of the Glass Family’s Collection)



Over 900 people crowded into the packed Neillsville Armory to watch the Granton High School basketball team whip Neillsville High School’s cagers, 23 to 17.


The doors of the Armory opened at 6:45 p.m. and by 7 p.m. every available seat had been taken. Crowds began seeking, standing room and within a short time, the gallery and lower floor were packed with standing spectators, standing on the stage, window ledges and boxes. 


The game drew basketball fans from Loyal, Greenwood, Merrillan and Marshfield in addition to the big delegation from Granton.


Dutch Neverman has undertaken the task of making a wheelbarrow.  There are certain engineering problems that must be overcome, but Dutch is gradually getting the vehicle put together.  For a time on Tuesday, it looked as though the project might have to be abandoned when Dutch inadvertently nailed the wheelbarrow to the floor of Ruddock’s blacksmith shop while putting on the bottom boards.  After a bitter struggle with a crowbar he finally got the wheelbarrow and shop separated but the framework was warped and had to be straightened for repairs. The wheelbarrow will be equipped with plush handles and a tail light, as well as a canopy to protect the operator from rain or sun.  Dutch announced that he intends to take the wheelbarrow up to the Clark County Fair grounds for a trial spin around the half-mile track.


On February 20, the ice went out of the Black River, the earliest, according to old-timers, since 1877, the year of the Al Brown winter.


During the warm spell, the snow left in a hurry and hundreds of motorists took their cars off the blocks and out of the sheds on Sunday to enjoy an outing. A large number of golfers spent Sunday afternoon at the Pinecrest Golf Course and reported the course to be in excellent condition.  By Tuesday, most of the frost had come out of the ground and sink holes were appearing in the roads. It was feared by some that the warm weather would start fruit trees to blossoming and result in a shortage of fruit, when and if, cold weather returns and freezes the buds.


Mrs. Will Schultz has lilacs blooming in her yard. Recently she took a broken twig from one of her lilac bushes and stuck it in the ground. During the recent warm spell, the blossoms came out with all the vigor of spring.  (Our present weather seems to be the same as that of March 1st, 1930. D.Z.)


F. E. Clifton, of Owen, opened up his new bakery in the Odd Fellow Lodge building, with new equipment.  Clifton has had experience in a number of bakeries, in small towns and large cities.  No lunches will be served. The business had been named “The Quality Bakery.”


Tragedy struck the Neillsville vicinity on Sunday afternoon when it became known that Alfred Stelloh, 17 years old, and his brother, Frank, 21, had died of fatal injuries when their plane crashed on the C. G. Frantz farm, a mile and a half south-east of Neillsville.


Frank Stelloh had purchased the plane, an American Eagle, from Mr. Damrow of Marshfield about two weeks ago.  Sunday morning, Stelloh and Irvin Feirn drove to Marshfield, where the craft was being kept and flew back here, landing at the fairgrounds.


Nick Sydorowicz has bought a farm from W. D. Martin, near Columbia. Sydorowicz formerly lived at Thorp, but has been living on the cemetery road recently.  He and his family will soon move to their newly purchased farm.


The Tibbett Ice and Fuel Co. completed its shipment of ice to Marshfield on Thursday.  They sent out 48 carloads in all, cut and hauled directly from the O’Neill pond to the railroad cars.


Last week the Opera House at Greenwood under the management of O. A. Hiles, began showing talking moving pictures.  First-class equipment has been installed for staging that kind of entertainment. 


Mr. and Mrs. Ed Marg are the proud parents of twin sons, Donald and Melvin, born on March 11.  Reports are that mother and boys are doing fine.


J. C. Moen has taken the contract to clear up the ruins of the Presbyterian Church which was burned a few weeks ago.  He will try to utilize whatever material is possibly usable and fill up the basement area with rubbish.  (The church site was on the south side of Fifth Street between Court and Hewett Streets. D. Z.)


I will gladly pay $5.00 to anyone who owns a tabby with kittens born between March 15 and May 15.  You will bestow a favor by notifying me, giving the approximate date of the birth of the kittens.  I will make a note of this and should I need a foster mother for fox pups, I know who to contact.  Please send messages to Robert R. Quinnell, Rt. 6 Neillsville.


It’s the middle of March and maple syrup is on the market in this locality. The early spring with warm weather the past two weeks started “tapping” in the sugar bush with fairly good runs of sap reported.  Nearly every spring, considerable maple syrup and sugar is made here, not only for home use buy also for local sale and shipment.


John Pietenpol has one of the most up-to-date maple syrup plants in Wisconsin on his farm in section 34, Town of York.  This year, he has about 1500 trees tapped.  Gathering and boiling maple sap requires the constant attention of Pietenpol and two hired men.  His average output is about 400 gallons.  So far this year, he has made about 200 gallons of syrup. Ed Krejci and Ralph Winn are helping him with the work.


Pietenpol sells much of his product in the vicinity and ships a considerable amount to other markets.  The syrup made by him is of excellent quality as he uses a modern type evaporating pan. The sap is fed in one end and in passing through the compartments to the other end; it comes out as clear maple syrup.


A comfortable living place is in a cabin at the sugar camp where Pietenpol stays nights during the sugar season.  He has a fine 120 acre farm, a fine herd of cows and other livestock.  The maple syrup business is only a side line, but aggregates a considerable income.


The much heralded “economy” plan to relocate Highway 10 to a point three miles north of Neillsville, as proposed by Herman Portz at the Highway Commission hearing Wednesday in the Clark County Courthouse, was struck a damaging blow.  The estimates of the state highway engineer revealed the cost on the revised route would be much greater than paving the present Highway 10 site.


The estimate, made by the engineer, was $460,000 as the cost of the road Portz has outlined, that amount being only for the pavement into Neillsville and not including a $25,000 bridge over O’Neill Creek and an overhead railroad crossing west of the railroad depot which would cost approximately $44,500, making the total cost of the project $528,000.


The amount contrasted with $364,000, which the concrete will cost on the present Highway 10 site, reveals a difference of $165,000.  Portz was informed by state officials that in order to carry out his proposed plan it would be necessary to use all the available money including the amount allotted to Greenwood for concrete on their project this year.  That city would be left with a dirt road for a main street, to permit the Portz plan to materialize.


A lively discussion took place in the court house with Attorney F. D. Calway, a member of the Clark County Board, leading the fight for the retention of Highway 10 at its present route.  Calway explained a cost of $180,000 would be just to prepare the roadbed and $328,000 to lay the concrete from the Wood County line to Hoesly’s Corners.  (That intersection is now the junction of County Road C and Highway 73.  D. Z.)


He further stated that Clark County has been taxed for concrete on Highway 10 and it would be a miss-appropriation of funds raised for one particular place and diverted for another purpose.


Press headline news the following week: The Portz Highway 10 relocation project was defeated.  The State Highway Commission voted to pave Highway 10 as originally planned, the same decision as that made by the Clark County Board.


This information was telephoned to Otto Weyhmiller, Clark County Highway Commissioner, at the court house at about 5 p.m. by J. Donahue, Chairman of the State Highway Commission at Madison.


Weyhmiller and the Clark County Highway Committee will leave Friday morning for Madison to confer with the state commission relative to the disbursement of county and state moneys.  The moneys had been set aside for the financing of Highway 10 pavement which will run to Trimberger’s corners east and west to the cut-off.


The decision of the State Highway Commission brings to a close the long fight to change the Federal Highway 10 route and relocate it to a point three miles north of Neillsville as proposed by a member of the Clark County Board.


February 1950


The coldest weather of the winter season thus far clamped its frigid fingers on the area during the last week.


A record low of -39 degrees was set Monday, according to official government records at the Indian School farm.


The broad, snow-covered slopes of Bruce Mound ski area rang out with shouts and laughter Saturday afternoon.  Nearly 200 boys and girls, all scouts, enjoyed an outing there at the invitation of the Neillsville Boy Scouts organization. The scouts from Neillsville, Greenwood, Loyal, Merrillan and Colby made the most of the outing.


The young people skied and tobogganed down the big slope. Some brought along those new-fangled “round sleds” and seemed to have had the most fun of all. They were like whirling dervishes as they buzzed the downward slope much like land-locked flying saucers.


Most of the scouts were from Neillsville, roughly 150, who gathered in front of Merchants Hotel and the city hall, after their noon dinners. They were taken to Bruce Mound in cars donated for the outing.


A number of Neillsville people gave their time and effort to making the fun event a real success.  Some of those people were Dr. Kenneth Manz, John Bergemann, Jack Tibbett, Joseph Ylvisaker, J. J. Wavrunek, Art Epding, Calvin Swenson, Alfred Hovey and A. C. Covell, plus several others.


The Half Moon Ski Club, which turned its facilities over to the scouts for their affair, worked hard in preparing the area for the outing.  In the last two days before the wingding, they loaded a 14’x18’ building on to a trailer, hauling it down to Bruce Mound for an additional warming house. They finished the job Saturday morning, just in time for the outing.  Those who worked hard on the project were Heron (Pink) Van Gorden, Jim Hauge, Dick Van Gorden, Cal Swenson and Bill Seif.


Forty-two refugees have been brought out of Europe by members of the Holy Family Catholic Church of Willard. Forty of these came during the year 1949.  Two of them arrived last Saturday.


All of the refugees are Slovenians and all ran from the Communism of Yugoslavia.  Many of them first found their way into Austria or Italy and have been helped on their way from Europe.  Most of them have undergone hardships in their efforts to find a new home.


In every case, they have sponsors, members of the Holy Family Parish who have undertaken to guide and help them in their new life.  Father Odelo Hajnsek, pastor of the congregation, himself a Slovenian, has been in charge of the arrangements for the refugees.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel