Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

February 16, 2011 Page 16

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

February 1881


The stave business in this locality during the past few months has grown to be a business of considerable importance. The staves are now piled up at the northern terminus of the new railroad, alone being sufficient to make business for the road for some time in transporting them, and they are but a small part of what have been gotten out of here during the season.


Chew Saw-log plug tobacco, sold only by C. Blakeslee.                    


English, German, and Scandinavian job printing done by the Republican and Press Steam Printing House.


The first freight received from the Black River Railroad was delivered to J. L. Gates last Monday evening, the order being six sacks of dried apples. The freight was delivered at Mr. Gates’ establishment in this village by a lad named James Allen, hauling it from the railroad with his favorite team, made up of a horse named “Ponch” and a mule.


The County Poor Farm is not becoming densely populated, as was expected, with most of the once deserving poor still preferring to earn their own living rather than going to the Poor House.


Several lumbering camps operating in small timber and old choppings were compelled to hang up cutting the latter part of last week. The snow has become too deep to enable operations to be continued, and yet to have a profit.


A team of horses belonging to Tom Garvin made a lively run down Main Street, departing from the O’Neill House, last Saturday night.                                                                                                                       


The Peterson property in this village, consisting of a business house on Second Street and a dwelling house in another part of the town, sold under the “hammer,” last Saturday was bought by Fred Klopf.


(That Second Street is now Sixth Street D. Z.)                                              


The “boss load” of logs ever hauled on the Black River was taken to the landing in Polley’s Camp No. 1, on Wedge’s Creek, last Monday, by a team weighing less than twenty-four hundred pounds. The load consisted of twelve logs and scaled 7,840 feet.                                                                                            


H. B. Philleo, Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue, was here again last Thursday looking matters over. We hear it intimated that lumbermen who have been handling tobacco in their logging camps could save money by taking out a license.                                                                                                             


Mr. John Rollins, aged 74 years and 6 months, died at his residence in the Town of Fremont, Clark County, Wisconsin, Wednesday evening, February 16, 1881, after an illness but of a few days duration. Funeral services were held at the Windfall schoolhouse.


February 1951


(The following article previously ran a few years ago and by request it is being run again. D. Z.)


How did the Main Street of Neillsville look 50 or more years ago? Best testimony comes from W.  J. Marsh, retired businessman, who resides in Neillsville now and who went into business here in 1887.  He has drawn upon his excellent memory to help the Clark County Press reconstruct the business center of Neillsville, as it was 50 years ago and more.


Start with the west side of Hewett Street at O’Neill Creek.  On the south bank of that creek was an old gristmill, long owned by Scott Colburn and later sold by him to A. B. Marsh, then by Marsh to Robert Hemphill, J. D. McMillan and Warren Page.  This was long run as a center for farm trade, grinding the farmer’s grist.  Then it was finally sold and became the Oatman Condensery; later sold to American Stores Dairy Company.


Next, south, and on the north side of the railroad tracks was the millinery shop of Mrs. Kemmery. She was one of several of the old style milliners in a day when all women’s hats were made to order. The frame building, which she occupied, becoming property of the American Stores, was moved several blocks south on Hewett Street, reconstructed and became the home of the Superintendent of the condensery, first A. B. Sheddan, now L. R. Barton.


Across the tracks to the south and on the site of the present Merchants Hotel was the Central Hotel, a frame building owned by Jacob Rossman, head of the Rossman family and forefather of the various Rossmans of this area.


Next south and on the site of Harry Rosenquist’s new filling station was Fred Klopf’s general store.  Important factor in that business was Mrs. Klopf, a shrewd and energetic businesswoman.  The property, a frame building, was later sold to B. Dangers and continued in its use as a general store.


Next south was John Klopf’s saloon.  In those days the building was wholly wooden.  Later the front was veneered. The building continues in the same use, though it was long vacant in the Depression of the 1930’s.


Then came; an old wooden building the occupants of which escape the recollection of Mr. Marsh. Later; that site with the old building were bought by Jesse Lowe, who put up the present brick building, occupied by the Moldenhauer Jewelry and the Mabie Barbershop.


The old frame building next door south, now a tavern and pool hall, was originally constricted by O. P. Wells and occupied by him as a hardware store.  He was the father of the young woman who became Mrs. W. J. Marsh.


The site of the present Northern States Power office was occupied by a small wooden building, used as a grocery store by Charles Lee. Mr. Lee’s father was a long time express agent in Neillsville.


The site of the present Adler Theater was occupied as a hardware store by E. E. Crocker, father of Mrs. George Zimmerman.  He sold to Dennis Tourigny, an eccentric French bachelor.  He slept on a blanket in the store and cooked his own meals in the back.  He evaded the women and saved his money.  It is recorded of him that he wore his old straw hat into the winter.  When one of his friends joked him about it, he said that he intended to get it lathed and plastered and wear it all through the winter. Dennis weakened as his years increased and finally married a young woman.  As a matrimonial prospect he had integrity and considerable property.  He also had longevity, outliving his wife.


On the corner site, now occupied by the Becker restaurant, was the Cole and Pashell store, selling dry goods, clothing and shoes. The building then on the site was of frame construction. The present brick building is of later vintage.  In this location Mr. Marsh first worked as a clerk, when he came to Neillsville in 1878. For his services he received $200 per year and his board. The board was good.


In the old days the site of the present Neillsville Bank was occupied by a large frame building owned by Gates, Stannard and Co. and used for a grocery business.  The Gates of this firm was Jim Gates, who organized a private bank. This was succeeded by the Neillsville Bank, which thus came into ownership of its present site.  The old frame building was removed to Fifth Street, was reconstructed and became what is now known as the Howard apartments.


Next south was a frame building of light construction, used as a drug store by Meyer Bros. This was later sold to C. C. Sniteman, who constructed the brick building now on the site.


On the site of the present Berger store was a frame building, which housed the Clark County Bank.  President of that bank was Levi Archer, who lived on a farm south of town and drove in by horse and buggy every morning. The bank’s cashier was W. G. Klopf.


Next south was an old wooden building, owned by W. C. Crandall and used by him for a drug store.  He was a physician. This site is now occupied by the Coast-to-Coast store.


Next south was an old wooden building followed in later years by the brick building, which houses the present bakery.


On the site of the Kearns Drug store was a wooden warehouse owned by James Hewett.  On the corner was the pride of the town, the first brick building erected in Clark County, which was put up Hewett & Woods in 1872.  It is a solid brick structure. The firm used it as a general store, specialized in supplies for loggers.  Mr. Marsh bought the property in 1887, occupying it for years with his dry goods, clothing and shoe business.  He still owns it.


At the southwest corner of the intersection of South Hewett and Fifth was an old wooden livery stable, owned by Captain Telford.  This was a large barn, extending also over the area now occupied by the Prochazka food store. This livery barn was later torn down and succeeded by a frame building on the corner used as a candy store.  Next south, on the Prochazka site, was a small building, used as an office by Dr. Frank.


The building, now occupied by Benson Hardware, was constructed prior to 1900, by Dr. Samuel Esch. Next, south there was a vacant lot until bought by the elder Unger, who built upon it the present brick structure, occupied by the Hinshaw Shoe store.  Next, south was a vacancy, but across the alley, now a vacant spot, was a two-story frame building, the lower floor of which was used by L. B. Ring as a printing office and the upper part of, which was used by him for living quarters. The old basement still remains on this site, which is now owned by the Badger Telephone & Telegraph Company.


On the corner, present site of the Farmers Store, formerly was the Blakeslee lumberyard.


Now with Mr. Marsh, readers will go back north to O’Neill Creek, and will find not far south of the creek the livery stable of Eugene Webster.  This frame barn was on the site of the present building of the American Legion,


Next south was another millinery shop, that of Mrs. Walker. The building has disappeared.  Next was the home of Frank Darling, back of where the Al’ Aboard is now.  Then came; Mr. Darling’s shoe shop, a wooden building, which was later reconstructed and used as a tavern.


So far Mr. Marsh can recall there was nothing of any importance on the site of the present brick building on the north side of the alley.  The present building was of later construction.  Across the alley to the south was a small building of no importance, later succeeded by the present Warlum-Robinson building. Then came; a frame building occupied by Ritz & Haugen, merchant tailors and clothiers.


On the site of the present post office was the O’Neill house, which in 1900 was past its early glory.  In the lumber days it had been a busy center and was still the main hostelry of the town, constructed by pioneer James O’Neill, the uncle of Judge O’Neill.  It was a three-story building which deteriorated and finally burned.


Across the Street to the south, in those earlier days, was a frame structure, long occupied by the McIntyre’s saloon.


Next south of the saloon was Mrs. Tibbitt’s restaurant. The building was of wood, but the food tasted like more. Mr. Marsh remembers the place and the woman for her fine contributions to nourishment. The woman in question has passed to the reward awaiting good cooks.


The building next to the south, now occupied by Alta’s store, runs back to 1900 or before.  It was constructed by Jacob Rossman, the hotel man, and was long used as a saloon.


The next building, now a pool hall, also runs back to 1900 or earlier.  It was constructed by Emery Bruley and housed a clothing store. 


The next site was occupied by a frame building and was used by James O’Neill as a law office. This was later given a brick veneer. An addition, built to the rear, was used as a printing office. The building is now owned by Zimmerman Bros.


Across the alley Richard Dewhurst had in earlier days a small frame building, which he used as a business office. By 1900 he had constructed the present brick structure, which was used by his brother-in-law, D. Dickinson, as a general store.


The present Thayer building, first floor of which is occupied by McCain’s, was constructed by James Ferguson and was at the beginning of the century used as a post office, Mr. Ferguson being postmaster.  Later the building was reconstructed with the help of brick. It came to be the location of Hein & Beaulieu’s dry goods store, in which Mr. Marsh worked three years.


Next were two small frame buildings, now owned by Judge Schoengarth. Those are old buildings, running back to a date earlier than 1900.  One of them was occupied by a drug store, owned by C. C. Sniteman, and maintained by him in addition to his main drug store on the west side of the street.  The other of these two buildings was occupied by Anton Unger, who had a shoe shop and shoe store there until he built and occupied the Unger building on the west side of the Street.


(These two frame buildings were replaced by a brick structure. D. Z.)


The present building on the corner, occupied by the Schultz Store, has stood there since 1873 or 1874.  It was built by George L. Lloyd and was used by him to house a hardware business, which he carried on for many years.  Mr. Lloyd was a good businessman.  He put up a sturdy building, of solid brick, one of the very early brick buildings in Clark County. The brick was bought in Milwaukee, shipped by rail to Hatfield and hauled by teams of horses and wagons to Neillsville.


On the corner, where Dick’s service station is now, was a frame structure, housing the Chauncey Blakeslee general store. Next; the German-American printing office, a wooden building; then the Dr. Esch office, in a wooden building; and on the present Lewenze (Lewerenz) site, a millinery store, run by the Dignin sisters.  The building was of wood.


(The buildings mentioned in the above paragraph were located on what is now the Sniteman Town Square site. D. Z.)


Finally; on the corner of Hewett and Fourth Street was the frame residence of B. F. French, a colorful pioneer and lawyer, always known as “Doc”.  The French residence site later became that of the present ‘Carnegie’ Library building.



Main Street Neillsville; as it appeared in 1900, photo taken from the intersection of

Hewett and Fifth Street, with the north view.






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