Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

February 12, 2014 Page 15

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

February 1929


Last Saturday afternoon an open house was held at the Masonic Temple, at which time the building was open to the public. A great many people availed themselves of the opportunity to inspect the new building and the reception committee was kept busy all afternoon taking visitors all through the edifice. The Masons are very proud of their new home and were pleased with the hearty response to their invitation to the public.


Last week, a fine addition was made at the W. J. Marsh Co. Store when a stairway was cut leading into the upper story of the building, which was formerly the Masonic Temple. The stairway leads up into a large room on the second floor and this room will be used as a display and sales room for curtains, draperies, floor coverings and such. The additional room relieves the congestion on the lower floor and gives the Marsh Co. the needed space it has required for the curtain department. The stairway is an easy climb and opens up from the ready-to-wear department.


Henry Rundle has given us a few interesting notes on logging operations of fifty years ago in the nearby stand of the white pine.  That winter, Mr. Rundle cooked in a camp for Fred French on Wedges Creek and he says over 275,000,000 feet of white pine were landed in black River. W. T. Price, then senator, put in some ten million feet; Hewett and Wood of Neillsville twenty-five million; Ketchum of New London, some twenty million.  He was operating on the East Fork of Black River at that time. G. D. Schultz was foreman of the Wedges Creek Camp, where Mr. Rundle was cook, and he now lives at Dells Dam.  There were many small jobbers in the woods that winter; T. M. Scranton, Ezra Tompkins, David Wood and J. Lanigan were all from around Neillsville. John Paulus, whom many remember as host of the O’Neill House for a number of years, was in the logging game too in those days.


Will Tragsdorf has installed in the lobby of Trags Theatre a new electric corn-popping machine.  The top part is of plate glass held in place by aluminum strips while the bottom is finished in white ducco. The machine adds beauty to the lobby and turns out an excellent quality of popcorn.


Trags Theatre was built by William Tragsdorf circa 1920, located in the 600 block of Hewett Street, second building north of West 6th Street intersection. The above photo shows William Tragsdorf standing near the front entrance.  It later carried the name of Adler Theatre and last in its existence was known as the Neillsville Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts)


The Cherokee Club, home talent players of Colby and vicinity, which won the recent district contest at Marshfield, took second place at Madison in the State Contest. The Windsor Club of Dane County stood first.


The building formerly known as the Delane Hotel on Fifth Street, owned by Chas and Linwood Shaw, is being rewired and remodeled on the first floor to accommodate the Neillsville Auto Sales Co., who will use it as a display room.  There are good flats on the second floor, which Mr. Shaw is putting in shape to rent.


Palmer Vinger has sold his farm, known as Suburban Heights four miles north of Greenwood, to Jack Keifer of Sparta for $12,000. This used to be known as the Mark Warner farm in early days.


By order of the Railroad Commission of Wisconsin the Badger State Telephone Company will replace in effect March 1st a new rate covering the use of “Desk Telephone” equipment, this new rate, which is 15 cents per month additional for telephones of this type, has en anticipated for many months, so will not come as a surprise to the customers who use this type of phone.                                                                                                


Carl Stange, local Weather Bureau Observer, last week received the government report for January.  Only once in 39 years has there been a colder January and that was in 1912 cold weather was continuous during the past month, the thermometer registering below zero every day. There was three times the normal amount of snowfall, considering the state as a whole; it was the greatest snowfall on record.


However most of the trunk highways in the state have been kept open most of the times. Weather has been favorable for logging, the meadows and fall grains are well protected by the snow.  Highways were impassable over a large part of the state frequently and in some localities rural mail service, automobile and even railway traffic were suspended for several days. Even some small villages were isolated for several days.


All over the northern hemisphere January was extremely cold.


(Does that weather record seem similar to ours this year: there is an old saying, history repeats itself, even in weather patterns?  However, at this point in time, our modern snow removal equipment and it operators have all roads clear shortly after each snowfall, enabling us to travel. DZ)


February 1954


The Zimmerman name, one of the oldest in the city’s retailing line, passed from the main street of Neillsville last weekend with the sale of Zimmerman Bros. men’s clothing store.


The purchasers are Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Gustman and Mr. and Mrs. A. E. (Cully) Gustman.  They have taken possession and are operating the store under the name of Gustman Bros.


Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Gustman long have been residents of Neillsville. The Cully Gustmans are former residents of the city and have returned here from St. Louis, Mo.


Cully Gustman started in the retail clothing business in 1929 with the W. G. Woodward Company in Neillsville. In 1934 he went to Warren, Minn., where he managed a store for the Woodward Company and for the last six and one-half to seven years he has been stationed in St. Louis, Mo., as merchandise manager for the concern’s 91 stores.  His old store at Warren now is managed by Bill Crow, who was the last Woodward store manager in Neillsville.


Mrs. Cullen Gustman is the former Cleo Conlin, a native of Neillsville, remembered by many residents. The Gustmans were married her 21 years ago in May. Their son, who spent about three years of his life here, now is in the army and is stationed at Fort Meade, Md.


All four of the Gustmans have had experience in retail businesses.  Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Gustman operated a grocery store for several years on the city’s south side; and more recently Mrs. Gustman has been serving as a clerk at the J. C. Penney Store here.


Completing approximately 48 years of merchandising tin the city, Joe Zimmerman is the last of a name, which has been familiar to all residents here since 1901. For more than a year and a half the Zimmermans had sought to remove themselves from the main street scene; but it was not until the death last spring of George Zimmerman, that such a move became imperative.


Joe says that he does not have any plans for the immediate future except to get some jobs done around his home on Grand Avenue, which are long past due.


The Zimmerman name first came to the main street in 1901, when the father of George and Joe, John George Zimmerman brought his family here from Muscoda, in the southern part of the state. He had purchased a half interest in Balch & Tragsdorf, which had established the “Big Store” on the main street here the year before.


In 1910 Zimmerman purchased the remaining half interest from the Bernard Tragsdorf estate and from John Kohler, taking into partnership with him, John E. Haliday. The store was operated as Zimmerman & Haliday until 1912, when Mr. Zimmerman bought out the Haliday interests and operated under the name of J. G. Zimmerman & Sons.


It was at the time that George and Joe, who had been working in the store, became partners in the enterprise. Joe carried a watch given to him by his father as a part of his wages during his first year of work in 1909.


After the Zimmermans sold the “Big Store” in 1931, Joe and George took turns in managing the store for five years.  In 1936 they opened their men’s clothing store business at its present location.


During his live there, George attended mainly to the office end of the business.  Until his brother’s death, Joe concerned himself mainly with the sales and merchandise end of the enterprise.


Mr. and Mrs. Alvin F. Eisentraut recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.


Their advice is that the most important thing for a young couple to learn if they want to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary is to “make up their mind to get along.”


“Each one has to learn to give a little and to hold his or her temper,” said Mrs. Eisentraut.


Another thing that is important is that each member of the partnership should have access to the family’s money and a say in how it should be spent, according to Mr. Eisentraut.


The Eisentraut’s, who now make their home on East Sixth Street, were married at the home of Mrs. Eisentraut’s parents, the William Rueges, in southern Grant Township, on February 10, 1904. Their attendants were her sister, now Mrs. Herman Braatz and Will Wendt, who lived in Waterloo, Wis.  Performing the service was Rev. Griffis, who served as Presbyterian pastor in Neillsville for a short period.


It was an evening wedding; and the next morning the newlyweds climbed onto a sleigh and, for their “honeymoon,” drove to the 200-acre farm Mr. Eisentraut had bought near Glove. The temperature was far down, Alvin believes it was about 30 below, but Mrs. Eisentraut says it didn’t see that cold.


Mrs. Eisentraut’s father followed in a sleigh piled with new furniture the couple had bought for their home. The farm was located a mile west, three-quarters of a mile north and a quarter of a mile west of the Globe Store.


During the six years they spent on this farm the Eisentraut’s sold butter fat at 16 cents per pound, eggs from 6 to 10 cents per dozen; and hogs brought the outlandish sum of four cents per pound.


“They were real mortgage raisers’,” Mr. Eisentraut commented wryly.


After six years on that farm they had, by dint of hard work, reduced the mortgage by $800.


“We thought that was pretty good,” Mr. Eisentraut asserted and for those times, it was.


They milked 14 cows at that time and the milk was taken to a skimming station on the old John Seif farm. The cream was skimmed off, and the farmer took the skimmed milk back to the farm, where he used it principally as a feed. A little later the Eisentraut’s bought a cream separator and skimmed their milk.  Then, the cream was picked up by Billy Palms of Tioga.


After six years on the farm near Globe, the Eisentraut’s returned to the Town of Grant and took over the Eisentraut home farm.  There they remained until seven years ago, when Alvin retired from farming and moved into the house on Kurth’s Corner.  Three years ago, they moved again, this time into Neillsville where they have a comfortable home on East Sixth Street.


For many years in his life on the farm, Mr. Eisentraut served as president of the Pleasant Ridge Cheese factory, a farmer-owned factory, which served the farmers of the community around it.  Vint Lee was the cheesemaker there for about a quarter century, and was the cheesemaker when the factory closed several years ago.


The Eisentraut’s have four children: Helen, Ruby, Alta and Carl.


A quiet observance for the golden wedding was planned.  It was to include a dinner with all four children of the couple and their spouses expected to attend.  They are Mr. and Mrs. Paul hemp of Rochester, Minn., Mr. and Mrs. Arleigh Syth of Greenwood, Mr. and Mrs. Willard H. Allen and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Eisentraut of Neillsville.


The “Chinese collection” of Miss B. E. Tourigny, a former resident of Neillsville, has been offered to the city of Neillsville, but city officials are in a quandary as 5to where it could be properly housed and cared for.


The collection, which Miss Tourigny terms “valuable,” has been offered on her death as a gift in memory of her uncle, Dennis Tourigny, one-time hardware store proprietor here.  It occupied three rooms in her Los Angeles, Calif., home.  Included in the collection are such valuable items furniture from the Imperial palace at Pekin, wood carvings, embroidered court robes and other items, “many of which could not be replaced.”


The offer was made last October in a letter addressed to the mayor.


But unfortunately the library does not provide adequate space for such an extensive collection, according to Mr. Devos.  Nor is there room in the city hall according to City Clerk John C. Brandt.


While there appears to be a dearth of places where such a collection might be house here, many who know of the offer are hoping that some answer might be forthcoming, from some resident of the city, who would permit the community to take advantage of Miss Tourigny’s offer. After all, Alderman Arden Hinkelmann points out; this collection could well become the foundation for an interesting and valuable city museum.


In one of Miss Tourigny’s letters she stated: “Most of the things I have could not be replaced, therefore are valuable, such as furniture from the Imperial Palace at Peking.”


In another letter, Miss Tourigny wrote that she “would like to donate them to the city museum, when I pass on, in memory of my dear Uncle Denis Tourigny.”


Miss Tourigny, now 75 years old, is remembered here by many older residents of the community, having live on the north side in the house on Hewett Street now occupied by the Fred Maeder family. She lived there with her uncle until his death on October 31, 1921


A widower, Mr. Tourigny gathered a fairly sizable fortune for those days. All of it was made in the hardware business here, which he operated in the latter years in the building now occupied by Becker’s Café.  (That building is located on the northwest corner of the Hewett and West Sixth Street intersection. DZ)


In his will Mr. Tourigny left his estate to his niece and after the estate was closed the following spring, she left with her sister on a tour around the world.  In the late years, she made her home in Los Angeles.


(The valuable oriental collection offered by Miss Tourigny would have been great to have in Neillsville, but the first need would have been donations for building a public museum to store and display the collection. DZ)





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