Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 14, 2002, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 




Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


August 1882


Mrs. Caroline O’Neill has fitted up her restaurant with a suite of bath rooms which will be thrown open to the public next Saturday.  An electric bath has been put in and all the conveniences as are provided in the larger cities.  This town has needed such baths for a long time and we believe the people will recognize Mrs. O’Neill’s enterprise by a large patronage.


Jacob Rossman has moved into his residence on Main Street.  We judge, by appearance, that he proposes to take advantage of city regulations and will omit the fence around his lot.  A fence never adds to the beauty of a building lot, but serves only to prevent the lot from being used as a pasture.  If all our residents would abide by the city laws and not let their cows roam at large in our streets, the fences could be removed.  The walks and lawns could then be kept clean and neat, so the appearance of our city could be greatly improved.


James Delane has recently enlarged the dining room of his hotel on Third Street.  The hotel now has six tables and a seating capacity for 36 people. We are pleased to state that the change was made necessary in order to supply the demands of an increasing patronage.  Delane is deserving and we are glad to note the “boom” at the Reunion House, which seems to be permanent.


The jovial auctioneer, A. Cook, of Unity, has been crying the sale of H. Burgess’ hotel, farm and frog pond this last week.  He has received a number of flattering bids, some of which he is about to accept, as the wet weather favors the sale of the frog pond.


N. C. Foster and W. T. Price are largely interested in the pine-covered lands surrounding Fairchild.  They have commenced to build railroad tracks from Fairchild, out as far as 15 miles into the timber.  The gauge of the railroad will be the same as on other railroads.  The flat cars for carrying logs will be pulled with a locomotive of good power.  The experience has been tried at other places and will undoubtedly prove successful here, also.


The Sunday School scholars of Greenwood gave their town residents a rare treat last Sunday evening with a number one concert.  The singing scholars were coached by Mrs. Schofield, who always succeeds in anything she undertakes.  She is not only a thorough musician but is also an expert teacher.  The children were drilled three times before the public concert.  At the appointed hour, all were in their proper places and when called upon were ready to perform their part.  The object of the concert was to raise funds to buy new singing books for the Sunday School classes.  A collection was taken at the close of the concert.  The audience gave an amount of $8.45, which was an expression of their appreciation.


The brickwork on the Rossman-Bruley building is all done and the roof is completed.  The veneering on James O’Neill’s building is also done.  This makes a great improvement on that side of the street. 


The race between M. C. Ring’s horse “Fred” and Carhart’s sorrel took place last Wednesday at the fairground and resulted in an easy victory for Ring’s horse.  Considerable excitement had been worked up about town and there was consequently a large attendance.  The stakes were $25.  There were several small side bets made by outsiders.


Alex and Jerry Cross have rented the lower story of the Tragsdorf building next to the Reddan House.  They will soon open up a restaurant and saloon at the new site.


August 1947


“The pond of O’Neill Creek is not a fit place to swim in,” is the declaration of Dr. Milton Rosekrans, the Neillsville City Health Officer.  He advises all swimmers to keep away from there and also the Black River, from the mouth of O’Neill Creek to Five Mile Bridge.  In these areas, the water is contaminated.


Neillsville Rotarians and several of their guests committed a slight case of mayhem on 25 pounds of steak at the Grand View Park on Tuesday evening.  E. E. “Mun” Hart presided over building a fire, after receiving only one lesson from Dr. M. V. Overman, with the latter presiding over the grill.  The clean-up squad consisted of Dr. Overman’s Labrador, “Cookie.”


Louis E. Slock, of the Eau Claire State Teachers College, announces that 40 Clark County teachers have enrolled in a “Conservation of Natural Resources” class being taught in the Neillsville High School from August 4 to 16.  A similar number have enrolled in the course at the Owen center.


The course is “planned to meet the increasing demand of better teaching of conservation in the schools of Wisconsin,” Slock said.  It is offered through the cooperation of the University Extension division, the Eau Claire College and County Superintendent of Schools, Russell Drake.


Merry Ol’ Gardens will be busy with dances this coming week.  August 7, Moeller’s Accordion Band will play, and Saturday, August 9, it will be Jack Kolbeck and his band. Sunday, August 10, Rodney Ristow and Orchestra will play for dancing from 2 to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the Tavern League picnic and dance.  On Thursday, August 14, the Kidds Kids of Owen will sponsor a dance with Ted Wirth and Band providing music.


Reider Olson has purchased the Pleasant Ridge cheese factory building and intends to establish his fish hook factory at that location.  He is now remodeling the upper portion of the building and will use it as a residence.  He will use the lower portion for the start of his manufacturing and will expand as the need arises.


The purchase of the Pleasant Ridge property was made from Charles Prust.  In the deal, Prust acquired the land adjoining the golf course, which Olson originally purchased for his factory.  The purpose of Prust, with reference to this property, is said not to have matured.  It may be sold; it might possibly be developed for tourist cabins, a business in which Prust is now engaged to some extent at his place near Granton.


One gallon of humidity per hour – that is the rate of extraction in the Lewerenz Sweet Shop, following the installation of the first full air conditioner of Neillsville.  Thus Otto Lewerenz is the first man in the city to be able to give a visual demonstration of the old saw, “It isn’t the heat; it’s the humidity.”


This demonstration consists in the actual sight of the water that is extracted.  This water is caught in a large tray in the new air conditioning apparatus and is visible there for all to see.


Eva Clouse Laffe announced the sale of her dress shop to Mrs. A. L. “Alta” Devos, who will assume ownership and active management of Eva’s Fashion Shoppe.


Mrs. Laffe started in the dry-goods business in the Colby store in Loyal.  At that time, the store was owned by the later W. B. Colby, father of J. R. Colby, present cashier of the Loyal State Bank, and R. B. Colby, who now owns and manages the store.


Both of the Colby sons then were working in the general store and were managing it.  They had installed a dry goods section and ask around for a clerk to take charge.  They settled on Eva Clouse and sold her on the job because: “You know how much material it takes to make a dress, and we don’t.”


That was the beginning of Eva’s life in the clothing business.  She stayed with the Colbys for two and one-half years, selling yard goods and groceries.  Then she received an offer from the late Ben Picus, who had installed a ladies’ ready-to-wear department on the second floor of his Loyal store.


The responsibility of buying fell upon Eva’s shoulders and during her 10 years there she carried this important assignment.


Her success was attested to by her assignment in the early 1930s, when Picus decided to open a dress shop in Neillsville.  His selection for the management of his new store was Eva.  But it was a poor time for expansion.  Money was getting tighter and tighter after the stock market crash and business was in a deepening slump.


Two and a half years later, Picus gave up the Neillsville store and moved his stock back to the Loyal shop.


Then Eva ventured to gamble her small savings.  She severed business connections with Picus, determined to start a ladies’ ready-to-wear store in the former location of the Neillsville Picus store.


“I didn’t have much to go on,” she recalled, “so I bought what stock I cold and just opened the door.  I couldn’t have an opening, because my stock was so small, a sale would have cleaned it out completely.”


This inauspicious opening took place February 1, 1934.  The years immediately following were hard going for Eva – as they were for most retailers and people alike.


One of the experiences which stand out in her memory was that of the Lowe Furniture Store fire, on January 16, 1939.  The Lowe building, located next to her shop, burned during the night.  Firemen from Neillsville, aided by the Granton volunteer department, kept the flames from spreading to her shop; even though it appeared for a time that they would not be able to save her shop.


Eva and her many friends carried merchandise stock out of the building and she was given space for it in Bob Reimer’s store.


“The next morning,” she said, “I was kept busy answering the telephone.”  Women from all over the area wanted to know when our fire sale would start.”


Another earlier experience, which had her on edge, was the period in 1938 when the Woodward store and the store of W. J. Marsh were concluding their activities here.  Both stores had closing-out sales.  Then, the Woodward business and Marsh store were replaced by the J. C. Penney and McCain stores.  Both of these stores had large opening sales.


“I didn’t think I’d do any business at all,” Eva commented.  “But the final result was that business was better than usual.”


When her sale to Mrs. Devos was being negotiated, Eva was doing the usual amount of worrying about what she would do.


“You can take over my store,” her husband, Henry Laffe of Humbird said, “and I’ll go fishing.”


“No,” was her reply.


“We’ll both go fishing!”


Robert Reimer has sold the Coast-to-Coast store to Herbert Borde.  The transaction includes the stock, good will and Coast-to-Coast franchise. The purchaser is already in possession of the business.


This sale comes at the end of nine years of experience in the Neillsville hardware business for Reimer.  What he had was chiefly experience as cash was definitely short.  But Reimer was willing to work and he liked Neillsville and its people.  He came to town while the Depression lingered and cash continued to be rather hard to get for a period of time.  But it was a good schooling for an enterprising young man.  However, it was not long before Reimer began to acquire some of the indications of success, including election to the board of the Neillsville Bank and to the library board.


Reimer and his family will relocate in the state of Washington and will own and operate a Coast-to-Coast store there.  They are influenced both by Reimer’s long-felt desire to go west and by the fact that many of the Reimer’s relatives reside in Washington State.


Miss Gladys Anita Fenner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Fenner, Loyal, became the bride of John Olsen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Olsen, Route 2, Loyal, at a ceremony performed at the Loyal Methodist Church.  The Rev. Lee Holmes officiated.


Miss LaVonne Smith of Loyal was maid of honor and Floyd Olsen, brother of the groom, was best man.


The bride and groom are both graduates of the Loyal High School.


After a wedding trip to northern Wisconsin, the couple will make their home in Loyal.


Miss Frances Ruzich, R. N., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Matt Ruzich of Willard, became the bride of Edward Kokaly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Kokaly, Sr., also of Willard.


The wedding ceremony, of the young couple, was preformed (performed) by Rev. Bernard Ambrozic at the Holy Family Catholic Church’s Parish House.


The bride is a graduate of the Greenwood High School and also a graduate nurse from the St. Joseph’s hospital at Marshfield.  During World War II, she served as a nurse in the U. S. Navy.


Four transfers in three months is the record of the land adjoining the Neillsville golf course.  This is the piece of three and one-half acres, first sold by Herman North to Reider Olson, with the intention that it should become the site of a fish hook factory.  Olson exchanged the land with Charles Prust and came into possession of the Pleasant Ridge cheese factory.  Now Prust has sold the parcel to Joseph Rasch, who is coming back to Neillsville after a period of residence in the Chicago area.


The definite understanding is that Rasch intends to build a home upon the land and that he has no business project in mind for it.


The land sale to Rasch ends the discussion with reference to the use of this property.  The land is in an area zoned for agriculture.  The proposal to use it for industry occasioned debate by the local officials.



A view of North Hewett Street from the Seventh street intersection: looking southward as it appeared in the late 1880s.  The B. Dangers store was on the southwest corner of the intersection.  (Photo courtesy of the Bill Roberts’ Family Collection)



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