Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 13, 2000, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


September 1875


Campbell, Watson & Hommel have turned out several fine buggies from their shops during the season.  But, the “boss” buggy of the lot is now being manufactured for G. A. Austin and will be out in time to take the first premium at the Clark County Fair this month.


Last Friday the rains came down like a mill-tail and the waters descended from the Court House hill into the carriage shops of Campbell, Watson & Hommel with such force that the boys began to think they would have to go to sea whether they were prepared for voyage or not.  By working hard nearly all night, they managed to beat back the raging billows, but not until they had undermined the sidewalk and damaged the under-pinning.  (The sidewalk being referred to was constructed of wooden boards, more commonly known as boardwalks. D.Z.)


The recent rains have raised the water in the Black River be (by) over four feet and is still rising.  There were several log-jams of considerable importance and the water has reached a fair driving stage so that several of the able-bodied men available have gone on the drive to move the logs.


On Friday morning, Ole Amunson and M. A. Bigger went over Black River Falls without transportation.  They had been working on a log-jam just above the falls, and then suddenly they were carried over the falls along with the logs.  The logs became detached in such a manner as to prevent them from affecting a landing until they had made the perilous trip over the falls.  It is a wonder that both men didn’t drown.


A huge log-jam containing about 10,000,000 feet of lumber is reported being hung-up on the Popple River Falls.


The stockholders of the Clark County Bank have contracted with G. W. Montgomery for the construction of a suitable building.


School will commence on September 20 in Neillsville.  All who are to attend during the fall term should be on hand at the opening day of school.


The Hook-and-Ladder Company of this village made its first appearance in public last Friday at the fairgrounds. The men were in full uniform, brought their freshly-painted new trucks along to be viewed and gained many well deserved compliments.  This is the “boss” institution of our village.


The name of the hotel kept by O. P. Wells, in this village, has been changed from the Rossman House to the Wells House.  A new sign bearing that name will soon appear.


Having strayed from the premises of J. L. Gates, in this village about September 18, is one dark red cow about five years old, medium size, with a brass nub on one horn and not in good flesh. Any person returning said cow or giving information leading to her recovery will be suitably rewarded.


The next week’s Press reported: “It pays to advertise; J. L. Gates got word that his dark red cow was at a place in Humbird.” 


Hunters report an abundance of game in the woods this fall.  All lovers of bear steak and venison are anticipating more than the usual amount of sport during the hunting season.


The Corner Grocery has ceased to exist, as Mr. Kountz has sold his entire stock of groceries to Hewett & Woods.  Kountz is retiring from the business that he had run across the street from the O’Neill House.


September 1940


Harold Mattes has constructed a stock shed 70’x154’, for the Mattes Livestock Market, located five miles southeast of Thorp.  The building was initiated at the third anniversary sale of Mattes, held Sept. 4 and 5.  The building will care for 1,000 head of livestock. At the anniversary sale, stock to the value of $21,000 was sold in two days.


At the opening sale, Mattes received a large wreath in the form of a horse-shoe, presented by the Thorp South Side Improvement association, of which he was a charter member.


The first 4-H Calf Club competition at the Clark County Fair was held in 1922 with two entries.  The first Calf Club winners and sole exhibitors were Mable Portz, now Mrs. David Gallagher, of Neillsville, and her sister, Dorothy, now Mrs. Irvin Haslow of Chili.  They are daughters of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Portz of Chili. 


The Portz sisters were members of the Fremont 4-H Club.  Joe Reichert, now of Thorp, was the club leader, and Herbert Knipfel, now with the bank for cooperatives at St. Paul, Minn., was Clark County Agent.


Upward of 160 4-H calves were exhibited at the Clark County Fair this year.  Champions of the Guernsey calf herd of Washburn 4-H Club were shown by; Jerry Opelt, Lawrence Reinhart, Arlene Opelt, Harold Froelich and Paul Krutsch.


The annual Loyal Days celebration will be held Sept. 13, 14 and 15.  There will be exhibits, bands, games, a pet parade, amusements and it will close with a band concert on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.


Regular Ladies’ Day at the Neillsville golf course will be postponed this week, Thursday, Sept. 12, due to the fact that the Neillsville Ladies are playing in a tournament.


Neillsville’s local hospital will be re-opened Sunday, Sept. 15, after receiving many improvements.  The public is invited to inspect the facility.  The building, has been given a thorough re-construction, with six new rooms added.


The exterior of the building does not reveal what has been happening inside. As yet what is evident is chiefly that a modern steel fire escape has been provided in place of the former wooden one. But upon entering the building it becomes evident that a major re-doing job has been done.  The wide staircase has been taken from the south wall of the building and an adequate staircase has been run up the center of the building.  Thus it became possible to enclose the south verandah and to transform it into private rooms.  Previously the hospital had but one private room; whereas now there are seven.


An office has been provided just to the left of the entrance and an adequate lobby has been furnished at the end of the hall to the east.  The building has been completely painted inside; new linoleum has been laid on nearly all the floors.  All the old electric wiring has been taken out and replaced with new and safer wiring, laid-in conduits.  An electric call system has been installed.


The working quarters have been renewed and modernized with improvements in the X-ray quarters.  Of the interior, the operating room alone has not been touched, for that was already satisfactory to the surgeons who use it.


The modernization began at the very bottom and went to the roof, including the lowering of some of the ceilings.  In the basement, a new concrete floor was laid.  The heating plant was already adequate, but new radiation was installed in the six new rooms and elsewhere as needed.  A shower bath was installed on the main floor.


This modernization of the building is the most important step which has been taken in local hospital facilities since the present building was purchased some ten years ago. At that time marked local encouragement was given Mrs. Naomi Stamper, with local subscriptions of $1,500 to assist the purchaser.  The old Judge O’Neill home was then purchased and Mrs. Stamper conducted the hospital for seven years, finally renting the building and equipment of Mr. and Mr. J. W. Martin, who have since operated it.  Until the purchase of this building, Neillsville had never had anything which could rightly be called a hospital.  The nearest approach to it was a makeshift which Dr. Samuel Esch provided.  He took over the Dr. French home, where the library building is now located.  He made provision there for the patients of himself and his doctoring partner.  But the venture, dating back thirty or thirty-five years, did not last long and for more than 25 years Neillsville was without hospital facilities.


The marked improvement of the Neillsville hospital grows out of the purchase of the building by W. J. Marsh and the personal interest which he has taken.  He has spent practically the whole summer upon this task and has cooperated with the Martins in working out improvements which have been suggested by their experience.


“It is most fortunate for us and for those interested in the Neillsville hospital that Mr. Marsh purchased it and modernized it,” said Mr. Martin to the Press.   “He has made a real contribution to the health and progress of the community.  Before he took hold of it, there was occasion for discouragement.  The building, perhaps 65 years old, was in need of repair and there was a shortage of facilities, particularly of private rooms.  Mr. Marsh has been very generous in the extent of the program which he has carried out. He has done everything which we have asked or suggested and the result is a hospital in which first-class work can be done.”


The Wisconsin National Guard units, including the local service company, were among those ordered into federal service on October 15, in the second call of the War Department earlier this week.  


According to reports emanating from Washington, all units of the 32nd division (Wisconsin and Michigan National Guard), except the tank company, are included. The call was made to approximately 37,000 guardsmen in 28 states.


The Washington reports said Wisconsin and Michigan guardsmen will report to Camp Beauregard, La.


The second call as issued on the day that about 60,500 national guardsmen, those named in the first call under expanding on the defense programs, were being inducted into federal service for a year’s intensive training.


There will be 7,000 Clark County children going back to school, all schools to be in operation by the end of the first week in September.  Neillsville city school children will number 598; grades 258 and high school 340 students.  Approximately 6,500 other children will have resumed class work in rural, state graded and high schools by the end of the week, throughout the county.


Several changes will be found in the school set-up for the next year. Four additional rural schools will be closed as a result of small attendance last year. The Frenchtown School formerly classed as a two-room state graded school, will be classed this year as a one-room school, because its average daily attendance last year was below 25 students. The Frenchtown School is in the Town of Hixon.  State and county aids are available for two teachers when the average daily attendance is not less than 25.


Rural schools closing are the Rock Creek, Town of Levis; Irving, Town of Washburn and Uncle Sam, Town of Weston.  Four other rural schools which were previously closed bring the total in the county not operating, to eight.  The schools already closed are: Longfellow, Town of Sherwood, Church, Town of Foster; North Willard, town of Hendren and Fernwald, Town of Butler.


Several new teachers have been engaged to teach in the schools of the county, while others have shifted from one district to another within the county system.


H. H. Van Gorden & Sons’ elevator specials for the week are headed as, “See what $1.00 will buy.”  Country Girl flour, 49-lb sack, 99c; Malt Sprouts, 24% protein, 100 lbs., $1.00; Barley, 100 lbs., $1.00; Salt, can be used for making pickles, curing meats and all other household uses, 100 lbs. 95c; 2 gallons of fly spray, $1.00.


Stop in at Welsch Motor Sales in Neillsville to see the new Oldsmobile’s, six new lines for 1941. The ‘41s are bigger with longer wheelbase and wider tread. They are more powerful with the new 100 h.p. Econo-Master Engine in all three of the six-cylinder models.  Once again, Olds’ famous 110 h.p. Straight-Eight is in all three of the Eights models.  Crowning all other advancements, all Olds models for 1941 are offered with the amazing Hydra-Matic Drive and that means no clutch, no shifting!  Prices begin at $852 for the Special Six Business coupe; Special Six 4-door Sedan, $945 or Olds Special Eight, 4-door Sedan, $987.


Neillsville Public Schools first bus was purchased in the early 1940s.  Driven by Ray Strebing, the bus transported high school students living in the rural area southwest of the city.  (Photos courtesy of the Strebing family collection)


The out-of-town ladies who came to Neillsville to play golf on Ladies’ Guest Day, in the 1940s, were treated to a unique feature.  Schiller’s horse-drawn 1800s hearse, taken from a storage barn, pulled by the golf course tractor, was used to carry the ladies’ golf bags to their starting tee boxes.  The tractor, with some modified changes, such as a starter, is believed to be the same one still being occasionally used to help with course maintenance.



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