Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

June 28, 2000, Page 9

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


June 1900


Work was commenced Monday on the excavation for the foundation of the $6,000 standpipe which this proud young metropolis of Neillsville has arranged for.  It will crown the hill on the old cemetery lot, in the Second Ward, one of the highest points in the city limits. The large well near the pond will be promptly started and ready by the time the stand pipe is completed.  The standpipe is to be made of rock and iron.  It may not be an object of great beauty, but its utility will out-balance its appearance.


Considerable quantities of stone and cement are on the ground near the excavation, ready for the masonry.  Eight powerful iron anchor-rods will be embedded in the solid rock and cement foundation, to hold the stand-pipe in position.  The stand-pipe will be 16 feet in diameter and 100 feet high.  It is expected to take three to four weeks to complete the construction.  Pipe, elbows, joints, etc., have been ordered for the connections. The capacity of the stand-pipe is to be 5,000 barrels of water.


The beautiful lot upon which the stand-pipe stands is now city property.  It could afford a nice park.  A fountain would be a cheap and easy matter. Planting of trees with winding paths placed on the slopes to the north and south can be made, providing an attractive setting.  A few inexpensive settees suitable placed for the best views would make the little park the most popular place in town.


There are several springs north of the pond so plans are to dig a well in that area to supply an ample water supply for the new stand-pipe.


One day last week, G. W. Allen, the Loyal stave man, received a large order for 24 carloads of staves.  The order is to be shipped to points in this country and Canada. Allen has the distinction of being the largest holder of staves business in our state.  He is shipping orders out as rapidly as rail cars can be secured. It seems too bad that this large amount should be shipped out for manufacture into barrels when it could profitably be done here.


Timbers for railroad bridge building were unloaded yesterday at the end of the track in back of the Merchants Hotel.  The bridge building crew came to Neillsville a day or two earlier so the bridge work has already begun.


Papers were signed Monday which made it certain that the central sale and breeding farm of the Shire and Hackney Horse Company Limited of Liverpool, England, is to be at Neillsville.  There is no doubt that it will add materially to the prosperity name and fame of Neillsville.


The stock, desired by the company’s representative, was taken with a balance of $250,000 signed for by the Englishmen. The company has bought 150 acres of the G. A. Austin farm.  They will proceed to buy and bring over the first installment of Thoroughbreds, both mares and stallions. A trained English horseman will come over with Mr. Douglas and remain here to be in charge of the stock farm.


The solid brick walls of the bank building grow steadily skyward.  The cut stone and pressed brick front of the walls give a foretaste of how the completed building will appear.


Bollinger, the chimney-sweep, made our borough very melodious this week.  He is a musical as the gay peacock which struts about the neighborhood and is almost as gaudy.


Several July 4th celebrations will be held throughout Clark County.


The Levis people, full of patriotism are organized for a full-sized celebration of our Nation’s birthday. They have selected Ballou’s woods, 4 ½ miles south of Neillsville, as a place for their jubilation.  Horse racing, foot racing, climbing a greased pole, dancing, reading the Declaration of Independence, etc.


The Washburn people will join in a general big celebration at the Shortville town hall.  If the cylinder-head isn’t broken out of the American eagle on that occasion it will be because the Cramers, Short boys, Winters and rest have forgotten how to make the old bird scream. There will be a lot going on so we could like to join hands with the Washburn people in their circle on that great day.


A rousing Fourth of July celebration will be held at Christie for the town of Weston folks, one-half mile east of the Christie store. There will be dancing, feasting, music, lemonade, etc.  That should all make for a roaring good time.  Everybody is expected to be there, from the east, west, north and south.


A howling good time is what we want here in Neillsville, too.  We will celebrate one way or another.  A dance will be held on July 4th on the third floor of the Neillsville Furniture Factory, for starters. There’s lots of fizz to Neillsville, once the cork is pulled.


The city authorities of Marshfield have run afoul with Major Upham in regard to their electric lights.  As a result, that city is in darkness after the sun goes down.  As Upham made the town, the task of undoing the problem would seem to be an easy one.  Doubtless, the authorities will soon make up with the old man in their differences and he will then turn the lights on again.  A one-man town is never safe and their recent collision illustrates that fact.


Some rogue, in payment of the devil, cut a guy-rope of the evangelist’s tent a few days ago.  He should meditate upon the various uses to which rope may be put and thank his lucky stars that Craig & Warden didn’t catch him.


W. G. Marsh, of the firm of Marsh Bros., let the contract Tuesday to Trogner & Taylor to build a new residence building on his fine lot on Clay Street, adjoining Frank Eyerly’s.  It is to be a nine-room, two-story modern frame house. The very stylish home will in every way be a most conspicuous ornament worthy of the city of Neillsville.  Work on excavation of the basement was begun this morning.


D. Dickinson’s new residence is to go up this year, on the Lindsay lot and is to be completed on or before Dec. 31st.  This house is to stand on one of the most commanding spots in Neillsville.  It will also be a structure that will do the site justice.  It will be very nearly like the Dick O’Hearn residence in Black River Falls, but somewhat larger.  It will have a fine tower and all the most modern fixtures.  It will have the convenience of city water, of course with the new stand-pipe but a block away.  The city will be under obligation to Dickinson for putting up so fine a building.


(The Victorian homes built in the late 1880s – 1890s such as those mentioned above, were a pride of the city of Neillsville at that time.  They had a great appreciation of the quality and style put into the building of these structures.  George Trogner was an excellent craftsman for that point in time which was why he was entrusted to carry out the design for the house wanted by the soon-to-be owner; it was to be of the best possible construction. Those beautiful homes are still a symbol of their greatness to our community and city, a respected symbol to be assured preservation for future generations.  We are the stewards to care for and maintain our city’s heritage. D.Z.)


June 1955


Eighteen hours of heavy rainfall last Saturday caused Hay Creek to breach its banks at Rock Dam early Sunday morning.  It by-passed the dam and the highway bridge across the old channel. The old and new channels met just below the highway bridge.  The new channel’s torrent of water cut across the highway.  The break was 55 yards west-southwest from the dam. Water was pouring through the one sluice gate at the dam, as well as through the new cut. The dam was built about 18 years ago by Clark County to form a recreational lake.


The Catlin school, located east of Loyal, will be joined to the Loyal School District.  The order followed a formal hearing, in which the electors of the district had opportunity to express themselves last Monday evening.


Alvin Wold has purchased the Christie Store and Feed Mill.


Located at the crossroads of State highway 73, which cuts north-south through the heart of Clark County and County Trunk H, Christie’s location is ideal for serving a large, prosperous farm area.


The truth of this is indicated by the strides of business growth made by this community since World War II.  New enterprises and buildings for business, manufacturing and recreation include: an outdoor theater, a television sales and service business, an enlarged and active farm implement and lumber business and modern cheese factory.  It numbers in addition, a general store, a feed mill, a second general store specializing in groceries, a convivial tavern, a school and two churches.


Henry Thomsen, ‘Mr. Penney Himself’, is retiring as manager of the J. C. Penney Co. store here on July 1at.


He will be succeeded by Edward Diehl, currently assistant manager of the Wisconsin Rapids store and who has been with the J. C. Penney Co. since 1943.


Influential in business circles here, Thomsen is the only manager that the J. C. Penney Company has had in Neillsville.  This accounts for the reason and the fact that he is referred to as “Mr. Penney” so much that he readily answers to that as if it is his own name.


The acceptance and growth have been earned, for Thomsen has devoted long, long hours to the management and conduct of the local store.


Thomsen has been associated with the J. C. Penney Co. for 29 years, leaving a department store in Madison, at a decrease in income, to join the then young and growing organization.  His first employment was in the Sheboygan store, where he learned the ins and outs of the business and management. A native of Denmark, he had served as an apprenticeship in men’s clothing business in the old country before venturing to the United States.


After three years in the Sheboygan store, Thomsen was offered the management of the Ledgerwood, N.D. store, then a new venture for the company.  He accepted and operated that store successfully from 1929 until 1938.


The 50th wedding anniversary celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Bergemann was marked by one of the nicest days we have enjoyed in several weeks. All of the seven children and their families were present to make the happy reunion. Also present were Bergemann’s sister, Mrs. Joe Carle, North Hollywood, Calif., his brother Otto Bergemann and wife from Beaver Dam and Mrs. Bergemann’s brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Strugel, Appleton. 


After church services, a dinner was served for 115 at St. Mary’s parish hall in Neillsville.  The afternoon was spent at the Bergemann home.  In the evening an open house was held at the Community hall.  A coach and four gleaming white horses stood at the front of the house to convey the bridal pair to the hall. This came as a complete surprise to the bride and groom but they greatly enjoyed the long, leisurely ride from their home to the open house.


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Volkmann, both of whom are well known in Neillsville and Southern Clark County, this week are completing arrangements for the purchase of Alta’s ready-to-wear store in Neillsville.  They expect to assume ownership on July 1st.


Management of the shop will be taken over by Mrs. Volkmann, the former Ruby Frantz, who will be remembered as the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Frantz of Neillsville.  The Volkmann’s have moved back to Neillsville and are now settling in the old Zimmerman home on Hewett Street, recently occupied by the Reber’s, which they have purchased.


For the last few years the Volkmann’s have lived in Western Springs, Ill.


The school merger of Owen and Withee, now a joint district, has been approved and created with their first meeting scheduled to be on July 11.



He who hesitates is sometimes saved. – James Thurber




Neillsville, Wisconsin, South Side View

*The above photo was not originally part of this article.  It was submitted by the family of Peggy L. Walter and was taken from a postcard booklet titled, "Souvenir Letter", Neillsville, Wis.


This circa 1900 view across O’Neill Creek, looking southeast shows the water standpipe in the background.  At the left, foreground, is the Neillsville Brewery with a flag pole at the top of the building.  The postmark on the card reads Oct. 16, 1906.  (Photo courtesy of Jay Parker collection)




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