Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

November 28, 2001, Page 18

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days  

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


November 1881


(A business review was made of the village of Neillsville in 1881, one year before it was chartered as a city. D.Z.)


Neillsville is an enterprising village of about 1200 inhabitants, the largest village in Clark County.  It is situated in an excellent agricultural region and is near the proximity of extensive pine forests.  The industries are contributing to the wealth of the county and insure the town with a future of permanent prosperity.


The village is located upon a series of elevations on the east side of the Black River and overlooks a rich and varied landscape.  A stroll through the various streets discloses many handsome residences. Along the business thoroughfares, the primitive structures of earlier days are giving way to substantial brick blocks and buildings, showing enterprise and thrift.


The Clark County courthouse stands upon one of the highest elevations in town.  It is an imposing and elegant structure of brick.


The village is amply provided with school and church privileges, containing a splendid brick school house, with a thorough school system, rendering facilities with all that can be desired.


Neillsville is the present terminus of the Merrillan and Neillsville branch of the C. St. P. M. & O. railroad, which gives an outlet to the outer world.  This service has added much to the advantages of the village as a business point.


The town is the headquarters and base of supplies and an outfitting point of the great logging camps for the upper Black River pineries.  Also, Neillsville is the home of many of the leading lumbermen of this part of the state and much money is expended with this industry here.  Thus, the benefits are shared within the village.  All of the various societies and organizations are represented with indications of an intellectual cultural advancement.


Hotels are a leading feature of every town and our village has a lead in that review.  The hotel that enjoys a name and fame of more than most is that of the O’Neill House with J. W. Carhart as proprietor.  It is a large three-story structure, centrally located with first-class parlors, halls, sleeping rooms, a dining room and office. Also, it provides sample rooms that are commodious and handsomely furnished to offer the guest every comfort and convenience in displaying the traveling salesmen’s merchandise.  The O’Neill House is classed as one of the best hotels in the Northwest.


Jacob Rossman is the genial landlord of the Rossman House.  He took charge of the hotel 11 years ago.  As its owner, he has added to the building from year to year, until it is an extensive establishment within the village.  The house is well located, well furnished and the bill of fare is unexcelled.  Rossman is an old resident of the state and has had 22 years of experience in the hotel business. 


The manufacturing interests of any community are or should be of the first importance.  One of those businesses is the saw and planing mill of L. W. Gallaher. This enterprise was originally established in 1871.  In March, 1878, the establishment was destroyed by fire.  It has since been rebuilt and is today one of the best equipped of its class in this region.  The building is a substantial structure, 84’ by 60’, two stories, with an iron fireproof roof.  It is operated by a 30-h.p. engine and provided with a circular saw having the capacity to cut 10,000 feet of lumber daily.  It is also equipped with a planer and matcher, scroll saw, molding machine, iron lathe and a gumming machine.  Saw gumming is quite an important feature. The establishment turns out lumber, moldings and every species of job work, re-sawing, and other custom jobs.


The Neillsville Flouring Mills, under the proprietorship of W. S. Colburn, is an important feature of the village.  The mill was originally built and operated by Blakeslee & Hewett.  It is one of the pioneer industrial establishments of the village. Colburn, who has been identified with the mill for the past five years, is the recent successor of C. Blakeslee.  He is a practical miller of many years experience and he has due credit for the popularity of its products.  The mill is thoroughly equipped, provided with four runs of buhrs and has a capacity of 50 barrels of flour every 12 hours. Grist work of all kinds and the grinding of feed is an important feature in the business.  The yearly total of feed ground averages from 300 to 500 tons.  Colburn is prepared to supply lumbermen with flour upon satisfactory terms.  All in all, this establishment comprises one of the most useful and important elements in the business interests here.


The Foundry and Machine Shop of Korman & Taplin is a new and deserving enterprise.  It fills a sphere peculiarly of its own and has already become indispensable.  The Foundry has facilities for doing all kinds of work in its line.  Job work of all sorts, brass and iron castings, machine repairing, iron turning and such projects will receive prompt attention.  They make a specialty of millwork.  In the next season, they will be ready to do quite an extensive business in the manufacture of plows and various kinds of mill machinery.  They are the owners of a substantial building with dimensions as follows; Machine department, 20x40 feet, two stories high; foundry, 20x50 feet, with two wings, each 20x20 feet.


The Stave Mill is owned by G. Sterns, the only representative of the stave-making industry in the town. Sterns has been identified with the town for the past 13 years; formerly doing planing and job work.  For the past four years, Sterns has given his exclusive attention to the manufacture of tight-work stave stock.  He is preparing to manufacture heading and slack work and it is believed that in another year this class of work will comprise an important feature of the manufacturers.  So far, the stave mill productions rank high in the market.  The business already furnishes employment for 10 to 12 hands and contributes materially to the good of both the town and the surrounding country.


The Leason Pump Factory, operated by A. S. Leason & Son, proprietors, inaugurated this business here one year ago.  The Leasons came here from Sheboygan County, about one year ago when they started building their pump factory.  The establishment is operated by steam power, equipped with new machinery and comprises almost everything in the line of wood pumps, tub cisterns and other work-orders pertaining to the business.  The elder member of the firm has had 20 years experience as a pump-maker. 


James Hewett, merchant and lumberman, is the representative of one of the most important business interests in this section of the state.  He is the owner of one of the largest general stores in Clark County and is largely engrossed in lumbering.  Being a first resident of the village, he has done perhaps more for the development of Clark County and the building-up of the town than any other one man.  The “Red Brick,” as his monster store is called, is presided over by Stanley F. Chubb.


The establishment of Meinhold & Curran is entitled to a prominent place in this review.  Their principal stock is dry goods. They are at present paying special attention to ladies cloaks, shawls’, dolmans along with ladies’ and gents’ furnishing goods.  They occupy a store, 90x24 feet, with all the available space being occupied.  This house is under the management of Curran, who was for several years connected with C. N. Paine & Co., of Merrillan, a large concern.


George L. Lloyd, hardware merchant, has been identified with his line of business for the past ten years, owning a large hardware house.  The business occupies a handsome white brick, iron front block, two stories high.  It also has a basement and all of this space is occupied.  The store is 100x30 feet in dimension.  The stock embraces everything in the hardware and tinware line.  A good tin shop occupies the second story.  Lloyd is extensively engaged in logging and has also done much to help build up the town.


The Clark County Bank is the oldest institution of its kind in Clark County.  The general banking firm is led by Levi Archer, President, Jas. Hewett, Vice President, and W. C. Brooks, Cashier.  The bank’s capital is $25,000.


J. L. Gates & Co., proprietors of the Neillsville Bank, started the business two and a-half-years ago.  They do a general banking business.  J. L. Gates has resided in this vicinity for 22 years.  Having dealt in real estate, he has done logging of pine timber and is a member of the firm of Gates, Stannard & Co. a grocery, plus having other business interests.


H. J. Youmans has established a leading store comprised of three departments.  All items that pertain to drugs, grocery or crockery can be found in Youmans store.  The sale of tobacco, cigars, canned goods and fruits are items of great importance there.


W. C. Crandall, druggist, owns and manages a store that has for years filled the needs of the village.  The store, 80x24 feet, is well stocked.  The stock embraces drugs, books, stationery, paints, oils, lamps, crockery, toiletry and perfume articles as well as having many ornamental items.  Doc. Crandall has lived here 12 years and is a regular medical doctor.


The Myers Brothers drug store started business three years ago, as successors to J. C. Lacey, Jr.  It carries all goods in their line, besides a choice showing of toilet articles, a fine stock of books, stationery, wallpaper, paints and oils. A news department is a great attraction there.  Henry Myers, of this firm, has lived here for 20 years.


E. E. Crocker, a hardware merchant, started his business here six years ago.  His 100x22 foot store is “loaded to the muzzle” with hardware, tinware and related items.  Along with the store, he has two large warehouses well filled. Agricultural machinery is kept in the warehouses.


D. Dickenson & Co. is a well established dry goods and grocery house, under a new title, J. C. Saupe, having become a partner recently.  The business occupies a handsome store on Third Street and keeps in stock dry goods, clothing, notions, groceries, boots, shoes, hats and caps.  Their goods are fresh, having been imported this fall.


Emery Bruley, clothier and dealer in furnishing goods, has the only exclusive clothing house in town.  His stock comprises men’s and boys’ clothing, furnishing goods, hats, caps boots, shoes, and notions.  Lumbermen’s clothing is a special feature.  Bruley also deals in wagons, being an agent for the Fish Bros., and has on hand, sleighs and cutters.


Photograph rooms are available and operated by Mrs. F. S. Kirkland.  As a photographic artist, Mrs. Kirkland is not only experienced, but has for several years made study to develop the superior quality that shows in her work.  She is also prepared to furnish work in ink or oil, keeping a good stock of frames and albums.


Reitz & Haugen are merchant tailors and clothiers.  They carry a complete line of goods, both ready-made clothing and cloths, all stylish and fresh. Bot gentlemen are experienced tailors.  They also deal in lumbermen’s clothing.


H. W. Klopf, jeweler, deals in clocks, watches and all types of jewelry.  He has done business here since 1875; is a practical and skillful watchmaker.  The showcases in his shop are kept well-filled, offering a fine selection for his customers.


Proprietors of one of our two meat markets are the Wolff Brothers.  Though a young enterprise here, they do a big business.  They have a general meat market business and also handle game of all sorts.  Both men are fair and straight-forward, doing much for the town in furnishing appetizing meats.


J. Furlong, dealer in groceries, provisions, crockery and glassware, has been a resident of this vicinity for a fourth of a century.  His present business establishment, located on the north side, was opened a year ago.


F. A. Balch & Son, of the north side grocery store, are the next claimants of our attention.  Although a rather new establishment, they do a good business.  Dry goods and notions were added to their stock last spring.  The store is of a great convenience to those who live in the area north of O’Neill Creek.


G. W. Trogner, wagon and carriage maker, for the past 10 years has been identified with the interests of Neillsville.  He manufactures carriages, wagons, sleighs, cutters and does repair work.  He is also known for his craftsmanship in building houses, having built many of the substantial structures within this county.


O. P. Wells, liveryman, started in his present location last June, as the successor of Ed Markey.  The new stable is 64x36 feet in size.  It is conveniently arranged and supplied with outfits suited to the wants of all.  He has about 15 head of excellent horses and makes a specialty of the commercial traveler business.


L. Weeks carries a stock distinguished for its excellent character, comprising all that belongs to a first-class furniture and undertaking business.  Job work and picture framing are also a part of the business.


Another furniture and undertaking store, across the street from Weeks, is that of Peter Johnson.  A much older concern, he carries a large selected stock.  The commodious quarters are always “at home” to callers because of the congenial reception they receive.


Mrs. M. L. Walker is a leading representative of our millinery interests.  In character and style, her stock is notably elegant and modern.  Being a resident here for six years, she has always kept a well-maintained establishment that is ever abreast of the times with fine millinery goods. 


J. W. Ferguson, our efficient postmaster, has been a resident in town since 1854.  About 10 years ago, he was appointed postmaster and under his management the post office has become one of the best offices in the state.


Within the same building as the post office, are the Millinery Rooms of Mrs. J. W. Ferguson, established eight years ago.  She has gained and maintained a prominent position in her line of business.


Julius Tragsdorf, manufacturer and dealer in boots and shoes, has a substantial brick store and prosperous business.  Being here for eight years, he is a reliable workman.


W. J. Krause, manufacturer of cigars, has been here about two years.  His products amount to about 10,000 cigars per month, all of which are sold, or nearly all are sold here, which speaks well for his product.


In closing this review, we must state that several other important establishments have been omitted owing to the desire of the proprietors.


The railroad was completed to the west edge of the Black River in 1881, a mile from Neillsville, later extending east through the city.  The railroad era ceased here in January of 1982.



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