Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 29, 2001, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 


The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


August 1901


Robert L. Gates of Milwaukee, becoming aware recently that a committee of Neillsville citizens was pushing the work of beautifying the depot grounds, forwarded a check of $150.  It is to be used for purchasing a bronze fountain to be placed on a lawn east of the depot buildings.  Gates, a Milwaukee businessman who was born and raised here, asked that no publicity be given the incident but we chose to tell of this great generous contribution.


The fountain will be purchased and placed in position in the grass plot east of the train depot as soon as the Omaha Co. has finished the rough work of raising the tracks, depot and platforms.  The work is to be done in a very short time.


A villainous looking snake of medium size, with a wicked eye has been making his home under the sidewalks along Hewett Street.  It is supposed that he has been driven from his usual haunts by the many street improvements going on in the city.


Street Commissioner Hommel is pushing the sewer extension work to be done on Grand Avenue.  He has a crew at work on the stone arch on Seventh Street over Goose Creek.  That same bothersome creek will some day have a sewer main of large size laid along its bottom.  After that, the entire arch can then be covered up and leveled over.  Then the city will be able to forget it every possessed a Goose Creek.  That is what the city of Washington did years ago with a tiny stream of which the poet Tom Moore once wrote: “What once was Goose Creek is a Tiber now.”


Last week, the Neillsville City Council’s Street Committee took a trip to Ableman, Madison, Janesville, Darlington, Sparta, Viroqua, Bangor, West Salem and La Crosse.  They inspected and studied methods of paving, the machines used and the class of work done by the rock crushers.  Alderman E. E. Crocker and J. F. Schuster and Street Commissioner J. W. Hommel composed the committee.  Upon their return they reported that they were delighted with what they saw and learned. At several cities they saw rock crushers at work, crushing as high as twenty to twenty-two cords of granite a day.  One discovery that the committee made was that in some cities they dispense altogether with a roller.  The paving is rolled by teams and wagons, thus greatly reducing the cost.  At Darlington, outside of the business district, the middle of each street is graveled about ten or twelve feet-wide, grass cultivated from their to the sidewalks, making a beautiful street.  The streets are free from dust and it is very easy to keep the grass cut with mowing machines.


The committee brought home samples of crushed rock as delivered by the crushers, which may be seen at Grow, Schuster & Co.’s office. They learned all about the most economical methods of handling rock and getting it spread upon the streets.


When Neillsville gets a few miles of crushed rock covered streets built, it will be an object lesson to the residents of outlying sections.  Now is the time to cover the streets with rock, after the new sewer pipes have been put in.  Then there will be no need to dig the streets up for a long while as that would disturb the crushed rock covering.


The newly refitted parlor at the Merchants Hotel has been thrown open to the public and it is a beauty.  New carpet, new wallpaper, repainted woodwork and new furniture have been added to the room.  Drop in and see it and while you are there, try playing the new piano.


John Dwyer has rented the building at the rear of the Neillsville Bank known as the “Blue Front”.  Dwyer will open a meat market there as soon as he can get the proper equipment for an ice room, meat blocks, cleavers and such.  It is as near the center of business gravitation as he could get.  He proposes to run a first-class shop and sell the best meats.


John G. Schmidt died Sunday at his room over his marble works on Sixth Street.  Funeral services were held at the Episcopal Church, W. H. Stone officiating.  Graveside services were led by the A.O.U.W.


Schmidt was born in Germany in 1856 and came to America in 1870.  He lived in West Bend and came to Neillsville in 1886 where he worked in the Marble business.  In 1888, he was married to Amelia, daughter of the late Jacob Rossman.  His wife died in 1891, leaving a little daughter, Katie, who has been reared by Grandma Rossman and she still makes her home there.


J. G. Zimmerman and John Kolar, of Muscoda, have purchased R. W. Balch’s interest in the big store, “The Savings Bank.”  Zimmerman will be taking Balch’s place in the store, while Kolar returns to Muscoda, where they have a large store.  Balch let go his interest for the reason that he desires to go away for his health.  The name of the new firm is Tragsdorf, Zimmerman & Co.  The new partners are pleasant gentlemen to meet and will be found at the front in the promotions of the entire city and its business interests.  Tragsdorf has for years been catering to the wants of a large portion of the community trading here.


Notice is hereby given that by order of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, the post offices at Day, Carlisle, Shortville and Pleasant Ridge will be discontinued on August 13, 1901.  The patrons of these offices will be supplied by rural carriers after that date from Neillsville.  Large boxes for mailing outgoing mail will be placed at the four offices discontinued.  L. B. Ring, Postmaster, Neillsville, Wis.


A. B. Marsh will give a free admission to the 20th Century Fair with each barrel of flour purchased for cash at retail.  This offer is from now until after the fair to be had at the Flour and Feed Store in Neillsville.


Go and see the Magnetic Healer, whatever your ailment may be.  The new infirmary on Seventh Street is now complete.  After nearly two years of test, magnetic healing has proved a boon of health to every sufferer who has given it an honest trial.


August 1931


Frank Kopp narrowly escaped serious injury at midnight Tuesday when his car smashed into a tree at the turn in Highway 95 near the G. Bryan farm.  Kopp reported to Fred Rossman, chief of police, “Three cars of Black River Falls bandits, crowded him off the road and shot at least 25 shots around his car.”


“The shots were a signal to the car ahead,” said Kopp.  “The bandits all stopped and surrounded my car and stole my wife’s suitcase.  No doubt they thought there was a large sum of money in the bag.  I stood nearby with my shotgun ready in case they started to get rough.”


Kopp suffered a bruise on the head in the crash. The car was towed in and is being repaired at the Lewerenz garage.


Last week, Kip Schultz, who lives at Hatfield, picked up what looks like a heart-shaped bronze watch charm.  The charm, is stamped, “R. B. French, B. R. Station, Wis.”  It was found near the site of the old hotel at Hatfield carried on by the late R. B. French, Sr.  His son, R. B. French, Jr., states that he does not remember that Hatfield was ever called Black River Station, though it might have been known by that name on the railroad map.  The first post office was on Arnold Creek, half-a-mile from there and it was called Frankville.  That post office was discontinued when the Green Bay road was built and Hatfield was established.  In the early river days, French states that the locality was commonly called Mormon Riffles.


The city of Neillsville has bought the old Carlson house on the North side.  It is now being repaired and fitted up to house poor families needing city aid.  It will accommodate about three families.


Slot machines have been ordered out of Clark County by District Attorney Hugh Haight and Sheriff William Bradford.  Machines found operating here in the future will be confiscated, it was stated.


Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Irvine of Owen will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on August 17.  They are the parents of John J. Irvine, Clark County Clerk.  Another son, Dave Irvine, lives in Milwaukee.


Irvine was prominently identified with the early life of Clark County.  He held various public offices and represented his district in the state Assembly.  As a boy, Irvine worked on the Mississippi River and at the age of 16, went across the Western Plains to Salt Lake City, Utah, in search of gold.  He had many experiences with the Indians who were attacking the white travelers in those days.


He was married in 1871 to Eliza Roscoe and took up farming in Beaver Township, where they lived until 1914.  For a time they lived in Loyal, later making their home at Owen.  They are both in good health.  Mrs. Irvine still attends to all her duties about the household.


Joe Zilk has started work on his new filling station at the south end of Hewett Street.  Zilk has done considerable traveling about the state, looking over various plans and models of filling stations. By doing that, he has come up with plans for the latest and most convenient of plants.


Mr. Jim Vincent and Miss Merrille Winters were married at Rockford, Illinois on July 30.  They went back to Beloit, where the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Winters, live.  After spending a few days there and then going to Milwaukee to visit friends and relatives, the young couple came back to Neillsville.  They have now gone to Withee, where the groom is employed in a garage.


The bride graduated from the teachers’ training course in Neillsville High School. She attended Eau Claire Teacher’s College for one year and has successfully taught for three years in rural schools.  The groom is the son of J. F. Vincent of this city.  He was employed for some time with paving contractors, but the past few months has been working in a garage at Withee.


Last week, a deal was closed by which Clark County acquired title to a large gravel pit just west of Greenwood.  It is a part of the property owned by the old Fairchild and Northeastern Railroad.  The tract has an area of nearly 21 acres.  It is all covered with a deep deposit of the best kind of gravel.  This will furnish the county’s supply for many years and will be conveniently available for highways 73 and 98.


The Indian School has lately been supplied with a fine line of playground equipment.  It has all been constructed by Supt. Ben Stucki and his two brothers, Henry and Jack.  The equipment consists of swings, a giant slide, trapeze rings, parallel bars, teeter boards and more.  All units are very strongly made, much more substantial and bully as fine in appearance as any from manufacturers.


The Stuckis have also laid a large amount of concrete walks around the buildings and grounds along with other improvements.


Thousands of fish were removed from O’Neill Creek on Saturday and Sunday.  They were then transplanted in Wedges Creek to save them from dying in the stagnant pools of the O’Neill Creek, caused by the water which has almost ceased flowing there.


For several days, dozens of young boys have been having a royal time gathering fish from the landlocked puddles.  They have picked up the fish with their hands or stunned them with small clubs.  It required only a few minutes to gather a string of 25 or 30 fish, including suckers, black bass, rock bass, crappies, perch and bullheads.  Some of the bass weighed four pounds.


Saturday, Wm. Farning, Everett Kleckner, John Mattson and C. E. Elliott seined out a large number of the fish, placing them in stock tanks and took them to Wedges Creek.  Sunday, the same crew with the additional help of Ernest Snyder, Claude Ayers, Louis Kurth, Leo Miller and Archie Stockwell seined out more than 100,000 fish, it was estimated, and planted them all in Wedges Creek.


Permission for the transfer was obtained from the State Conservation Commission at Madison.


No one in Neillsville and vicinity remembers O’Neill Creek ever being as low as it is now.  In its upper waters, it is still flowing but before it reaches Neillsville so much of the water has evaporated that it is mostly a dry bed.


The Neillsville School building’s dome fell while being removed from the roof. Gall and Carl, who are putting the new roof on the school house, also had the job of removing the old dome. They received an offer for the dome, if it could be removed and lowered from the roof in good condition.  Pete Warlum’s gin-pole was secured and used in the dismantling operation.  The engineering feat would have been a success if it had not been for the pole breaking when the heavy strain was put on it. The dome fell, not badly crushed, so it may be repairable.


The Neillsville Kiwanis club wishes to thank the Neillsville band, the Little German band, the Nehs’ Fife and Drum Corp, the clowns, those who furnished cars and all who assisted in making the 1931 Clark County Fair Booster trip, around the county, a success.


The 59th exhibition of the Clark County Fair and homecoming opens today, August 27.  It promises to be the greatest and crowning event of more than a half century of expositions, which long since have been regarded as the finest of their size in Wisconsin.


The management realizes that many of the smaller fairs have been forced to close because of the business depression. They have made a heroic effort to keep alive the traditions and interest in the Clark County Fair.  Clark County cannot afford to lose its fair and will not lose it if the public responds as it should.


Horse racing will be one of the features of the program on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A number of good horses have been booked for races.


Saturday night, at 8 p.m., a public marriage will take place in front of the grandstand. Interest in this event is rapidly reaching a high pitch, owing to the fact that the names of the bride and groom have been kept secret.  It was feared that the names of the couple might get out. But so well has the secret been kept by the young man and woman and the fair management that there is not the slightest inkling as to their identity.


Dozens of prizes have been donated by the businessmen of Neillsville and will be presented to the couple.  There is no doubt but what this event will attract a large throng and the public is urged to be on hand early to obtain choice seats.


Zilk Villa Cabins were located behind Zilk’s service station and Buick dealership on the northeast corner of Division and Hewett Streets.  The six cabins were rented out to travelers during the summer and to deer hunters in November.  The service station was built in 1931 and the cabins were put up afterwards.  Cabins, such as these, were before motels.   (Photo courtesy of the Strebing 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