Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

January 24, 2001, Page 15

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


January 1901


Stevens’ carpenter shop is filling a long-time need on Neillsville’s North Side.  Not only does it provide carpentry services but the shop is also a club room to which that section of the city’s residents may resort to share wit and wisdom, play cards, swap ideas and discuss the management of world affairs.


A very pleasant surprise party was given at the home of Miss Viola Youmans last Thursday night by about 35 of her Neillsville friends.  The Youmans house’s dining room and sitting room were cleared of all articles of furniture, rugs and anything else that would be in the way, converting the rooms into a dance hall for the evening.  A very enjoyable time was experienced by all and at a late hour, the young guests departed for their respective homes.


Frank Tompkins and Henry Montgomery will give a dance the 19th of January at the opera house in Granton.  Everybody is invited to attend.


The Unity Club took a carry-all and sleighed on Saturday evening to Montgomery’s farm.  Everyone enjoyed a delightful time.


The deal has been closed, whereby Chas. Kippenhan has purchased Ed Buker’s planing mill in Greenwood. He will fit it up for making stave headings and shingles.  In the spring, he will move the mill onto a piece of land north of the old stave mill.


A few new Century suggestions have been made.  The bright and beautiful little city of Neillsville ought to have: All city debts paid; a new and thoroughly up-to-date high school, superbly equipped; a fire-proof city hall and library building; paved streets throughout the business district; anther railroad; business men interested in municipal affairs and a large attendance at every city council meeting; a riot act read to gamblers; more factories; a population to be doubled in the next ten years.


H. B. Gregory, of the creamery firm of Gregory and Hanold, who has been operating the Levis Creamery, has been in the area to make arrangements for getting a stock of ice for the coming season.  The ice will be taken from the Black River, above Dells Dam.


Gregory, the Levis creamery man, was married to Miss Emma Hanold at the home of her parents, near Richland Center on Christmas Day.  Jas. the bride’s father is Gregory’s partner in the Levis business venture and is a well-to-do man.  The bride wore a gown of cream silk and the groom wore conventional black.  The bridal couple stood under an evergreen arch as they greeted the wedding guests.  A house full of elderly people was entertained in the afternoon and the young folks in the evening.  Mr. and Mrs. Gregory will make their home in the Levis community in the spring.  (At that pint in time, the area creameries and cheese factories didn’t operate, or accept milk, during the winter months.  D. Z.)


Teddy Dyskow has quit the barber business.  R. Townsend has secured the shop formerly occupied by Dyskow, opening on Monday with Ole Jackson and Bob Glass as assistants, providing a three-chair barber shop. 


Mr. and Mrs. Frank Glass arrived here from Grand Rapids with their household belongings last Saturday and will make their home here.  Glass was installed Monday morning as foreman in the furniture factory.


The breweries of La Crosse have been combined and a new $300,000 plant is to be erected. The present brewery buildings will be used as an ale brewery, a malt house and storage plants.


The Menominee and Chippewa Falls stores have recently gone in for rest rooms for the farmers who come to town to shop.  In Neillsville, the Big Department Store has had a part of its big salesroom divided-off for a restroom, where a wash and toilet room is provided.  The store also keeps a free lunch counter through-out the day.  The model little city of Neillsville is well worth patterning after.


An electric wire at Ascott’s drug store somehow had gotten moved up against the steel ceiling in the rear part of the store.  Wires connecting with the steel ceiling created a fire in the rear part of the store.  Flames shot into the store in a most threatening way, but no damage resulted.  An inquisitive store clerk climbed up through an opening in the ceiling to investigate and flames recommenced their antics at that moment, nearly taking the young man’s life.


The John Dwyer farm in the Town of York was sold recently to Henry Schultz, the transfer having been completed on Thursday of this week.  The price paid was $7,900 which includes all stock, machinery and equipment on the farm.


Henry Schultz is a brother to George Schultz of Dells Dam who many years ago drove logs down the Black River.  He knew Len Stafford, Bob Ross and all the other old loggers.


Another land sale this week was that of Albert Garvin. Garvin sold a plot of 40 acres, in the Town of York, to Jr. Graves, a newcomer to the area.


People living in the Tay community will join forces with the Dells Dam people and have an entertainment night at the Prince of Peace Church on Feb. 14.  Entertainment will include a number of dialogues, various songs, recitations, charades, tableaux and music for this event.  It promises to far surpass any former event in this area. A grand supper will also be served that evening.  Admission will be 10 cents per person and the supper will be 10 cents.  The proceeds will go for kalsomining the church walls.  (Years ago, kalsomine was used to cover walls as it ws less expensive.  It was a white or tinted wash consisting of whiting or zinc white, with glue and water, applied to ceilings or walls, instead of paint. D.Z.)


Dennis Tourigny has used the warehouse at the rear of the North store, which he bought last week, to be raised and then will at once start converting it into a shop.  The old Tourigny store building will be moved close to the big building in the spring.  It will then be raised and made over ingot a better-looking and serviceable annex to the main store. Anthony Gress moved the warehouse and did an excellent job.


A culvert has to be put in over Goose Creek on Seventh Street next summer.  Now would be the right time to get the needed rock, for that project, hauled by sleigh down Seventh Street, as sledding conditions are presently very good.


January 1951


In the years of 1900-1901, in Neillsville, Mrs. L. A. Grow advertised that she would take “ladies” hair combings and cut hair in exchange for “switches” at $1.25 each.


The advertising was in harmony with the custom of that time. Then, long hair, and a lot of it, was the crowning glory of a woman.  If she lacked plentiful supply, she could buy a little in a “switch” form and artfully insert it along with her own hair.


Long hair was a sign of respectability in 1900.  The Press publisher recalls that a high school girl in Bancroft, Michigan, was wearing her hair short and curled at the beginning of the century.  This was considered an additional reason for questioning her virtue. She also painted her cheeks.  She was probably a virtuous dame, with her eyes focused on 1950, but she was thought in her day to bear marks of a woman of the streets.


On November 29, 1900, Marsh Bros. store advertised a clearance sale.  In that advertisement, it was stated that the firm had a few more pairs of shoes with pointed toes.  “They will go for 75 cents a pair.”  That item recalls a passing fad of 50 years ago, whereby shoes of men and women were brought to an extreme point.  Today, many a foot still treading the earth is deformed because of those pointed shoes.  The manufacturers doubtlessly tried to make room in the shoes for the feet, but in most instances, room was lacking.  The feet had to fit the shoes rather than the shoes fitting the feet.  That fad passed presently, much to the joy of millions of feet.


Fifty years ago, long coats for women were seldom seen. They wore short jackets and capes. Those items were advertised by Marsh at prices ranging from $2.75 to $10, at the sale.


In January 1951, Lynn Jaseph referred to an old barn in the 1800 editions of the local newspapers. D.Z.)


“The ancient livery barn which stood during my boyhood on the site of the present First National Bank, corner of Fifth and Hewett Streets, was particularly a landmark which the elderly residents will recall.  On nearly every Halloween, the teen-age boys disassembled a large farm wagon and reassembled it astride the roof of that old barn for all to see in the next day’s morning hours.


The owner of the barn was Captain J. W. Tolford, not Telford, who was an early sheriff of Clark County.  He was a remarkable man who had been a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War and was very active in the patriotic activities, particularly the G.A.R.  His home was on the east side of Hewett Street, on the north side of O’Neill Creek, the first house north of the Wolff & Korman wagon shops.”


The traditional 50-cent dinner enjoyed by the Kiwanis members for the past 30 years will become a victim of rising prices.  Starting with the first meeting in February, Neillsville Kiwanians will pay 75 cents for their meal every Monday evening.


The Lewerenz Food Shop restaurant has been sold to Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Minette who took possession of the business this week.  Otto W. Lewerenz was the founder of the restaurant.


The Minettes purchased the restaurant, fixtures, equipment and stock and are leasing the restaurant portion of the building from Lewerenz, who retains ownership of the realty.  They will continue the operation of the restaurant enterprise in that location.  The bus depot, which has operated in conjunction with the restaurant business, will also be continued.


The Minettes plan to do extensive renovating and remodeling of the interior, which will be carried out without any interruption of service to its customers.


Lewerenz will continue the operation of his locker, meat and ice cream businesses, which are all closely identified with his farm operations.


(In January, 1951, Kurt Listeman wrote a tribute to the old-time officials of Neillsville. D.Z.)


“The amount of taxes needed by the City of Neillsville to meet its 1901 budget was $21,000.  Fifty years later, the amount budgeted for the year of 1951 is $171,000.


The Neillsville of 1901 was a busy and prosperous city.  It was energized by the extensive logging carried-out around it, which gave plenty of work for all persons over 16 years old, in its numerous factories.  The Neillsville of that time could boast of: a huge furniture factory, with its 100-plus workers; various saw, shingle and planing mills; a large wash board plant; pump and windmill shops, two wagon-works; two ice plants; foundry and machine shop; brewing, malting and soft drink plants; two monument works; six blacksmiths; feed and flour mills; a spoke mill whose output exceeded one million spokes a year, plus a half-million staves and a million headings; several creameries and cheese factories; it had a half dozen hotels and as many livery stables; a hospital and three newspapers to care for its needs. All of this was enlivened by the thousands loads of wood brought in during the winter months.  The wood was delivered by the farmers clearing their lands and the drove of settlers coming in to start farms.  One morning train delivered 50 new settlers.


In the spring of 1900, when the logging camps let out their big crews with cash-filled pockets, a Saturday night in Neillsville was reminiscent of a western movie.  However, the policing of the rough crews, in its locale of 20-some saloons, was done by a single officer, Mr. Hommel.  Besides his 16-hour duty as town marshal, Hommel was street commissioner, water commissioner, helped service the city hall premises and parks, as well serving as the fire chief.  His year’s salary for all of this was $600.


Incidentally, the city clerk got $300 and the city treasurer received $75; we – the mayor and six aldermen – got nothing.


For too little do those of today value the integrity and hard work of their pioneer officials of half a century ago; George Trogner, William Smith, Leason, Seif, Eilert, Kimball, Schoengarth, Youmans, the Huntley brothers, Clark, Free, Sturdevant and Schuster, who conserved so thriftily the funds of the taxpayers.  It was the same old-time council men who administered the Neillsville City funds of only $21,000 to meet its operating funds.


Now, in 1951, the size of Neillsville is pretty much the same as it was 50 years ago.  It has the same area, same water works, same 13 miles of streets and crosswalks, same sewage and light facilities, same parks and number of schools and stores, with about the same population.  But, the taxes needed to meet the coming year’s budget are $171,000 compared to the 1901 tax need of $21,000.


Two deals of school districts in Clark County illustrate the modern trend.  In the Town of Butler, old District No. 3 has sold its building and site to a private purchaser.  This building and site had been unused to several years, the school having been consolidated into the present No. 2 Butler and Mead.


The other transaction was in Dorchester, where a joint district has enlarged its site in the village, giving increased space to the west side of the present school property. This central district, with high school included, shows the development due to the modern trend of consolidation with transportation of pupils.


The District No. 3 Butler site was sold for the amount of $200 that included the entire property and the building.


The property purchased by joint District No. 1, village of Dorchester and Town of Mayville, to be added on to its present school site, cost the district $500.


The Neillsville Planing Mill located between Fourth and Fifth Streets, on Grand Ave., was a thriving business, circa 1880.  Farmers and logging companies were busy clearing surrounding land of its timber, hauling logs to the Neillsville Planing Mill, spoke and heading mills for processing into lumber.  (Photo courtesy of the Loomis-Seffern Family Collection)



© 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