Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

January 28, 2015, Page 10

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

January 1895


An effort was made to take parts of District No. 1 and the McCarl School in the Pleasant Ridge area and form a new district, the school house to be built 2 miles south of the Reed School, but it failed, the reason being that the people in the McCarl district yet pay but little school tax and as southeastern Grant Township was not opened to settlement until lately.  Heretofore the McCarl School could not be move farther east.  The Reed School is small enough now.  If the Superior rail line comes, Pleasant Ridge will have another railroad.  The rail line survey crosses the Omaha on the Randall farm and thence down the O’Neill creek.  It would cut each Counsell farm in half.


N. C. Foster, of Fairchild pays the most taxes in the Town of Eaton.  The amount of tax was $1,240.


C. W. Dewey, foreman for the Withee estate, has in nearly one million feet of logs in Popple River.


Much has been said within the last few months throughout Clark County and the state regarding the sheep industry, of the decline in prices of wool and mutton, which has proven disastrous to farmers in our county who were engaged in the industry.  The sheep industry has passed through one of the worst crisis in its history in America.  Two years ago and several years previous, no kind of stock on the farm yielded a better income proportionate to the amount invested than a flock of high-grade sheep.  Calamity came upon it like a clap of thunder from a clear sky, until today the sheep breeders of our county and state are in a state of panic and disposing of their flocks for starvation prices.


We noticed, for example, that at a large sale recently in Iowa, lambs sold at 40 cents and sheep at from 30 to 95 cents.  Sheep are being disposed of in every way and the sheep breeders are much like a flock of sheep when the wolves are after them.  Nevertheless, we believe that profitable sheep breeding is not an end in the United States, nor will it ever be.


C. Krumrey has gone to considerable expense to open a road on the ice up Black River to the Weston Bridge site, to enable him to haul the bridge material up on bobsleds.  If you want a sleigh ride, hitch on to your cuter and you can take as grand a ride as there is to be had in the county on the ice all the way.                      


All those wanting dry hardwood at $1.50 per cord, delivered, call on D. Krumrey’s Wood Yard.


York Center news:


A good deal of trapping is being done on the O’ Neill Creek this winter.


A number of our people were caught out in the blizzard Saturday and enjoyed it to their heart’s content.


Several of our people experienced frozen ears and cheeks during the recent cold snap.


An excellent time was enjoyed at the oyster supper, which was held at Wm. Rose’s Friday night for the pastor’s benefit.  Twenty dollars was taken in.


New sheds have been built for teams of horses to be kept at the Free Methodist Church.


Don’t forget the entertainment next week Friday evening at Visgar Church.  Help them to get an organ by putting in your mite.  They deserve a large crowd.                                                                  


Mr. Bancroft, who resides in one of Hank Klopf’s tenements on South Hewett Street, was run over by a wagon Friday and his left shoulder blade was broken from the backbone. He was walking along the road near Pitcher’s Cooper Shop at the side of the wagon of John Wildish, his son-in-law, when his can got caught through a wheel and he was thrown to the ground with the above result.  Drs. Esch & Lacey set the bones and are attending the case.


Wm. Huntley, our new postmaster, has bought the post office fixtures of Fred Reitz and rented the main floor of the new solid brick Esch-Taylor block two doors north of our office, moving into the new quarters Satruday night.  It is a splendid building for the purpose and is in all respects central.                            


An appeal is sent out from Cranberry Center, a station on the Northwestern Road, for the relief of families of owners of cranberry marshes, which were destroyed by forest fires last fall.  The owners of those marshes were a few years ago well-to-do, but have, by the failure of crops and the loss of marshes and buildings, been reduced to poverty and are now destitute.  A cold winter is upon them and they are hungry and unclothed.  The territory burned is in the counties of Juneau, Monroe, Jackson and Wood, extending from Valley Junction to Grand Rapids, a distance of about forty miles by several wide.  It includes the best marshes in the state and lands that were formerly worth $100 per acre.  Many of the marshes are rendered entirely worthless, as acres of the mucky soil were reduced to ashes.  In 1883, 10,000 barrels of cranberries were shipped from Cranberry Center, while this year the total number shipped was only 115.


January 1940


The above ornate overhead trestle bridge, built in 1940, spanned O’Neill Creek allowing vehicles and pedestrians to cross on Hewett Street.  The bridge served that need until being replaced about 40-plus years later.


Construction of a new $35,000 concrete bridge over O’Neill Creek on South Hewett Street was started Wednesday morning.  Contractors expected to have their work under full swing by today.


Most of the first day on the job was taken up with the laying of grades for the bridge and approaches by state department engineers.  However, it was expected that excavating for footings of the new bridge might be started late in the afternoon.


According to Clifford Nelson, engineer in charge for the Swenson & Christianson Construction Co. contractors, the work is expected to move relatively slow during the extreme cold weather.  The contract allows 180 days for a completion, which is a comfortable allowance under ordinary conditions, he said.


About 20 men will make up the crew when the heaviest construction work is being done, D. E. Christianson of Black river Falls, member of the firm, said. The contract provides for the securing of day labor through the county relief office, he said.


The new bridge will be a two-span affair.  In order to construct the center pier, it will be necessary to tear out a portion of the dam crossing O’Neill Creek at the bridge site.  However, Mr. Nelson said this will be delayed as long as possible to allow for the removal of ice by a local concern and to allow skating on the pond.  He indicated that it might be a month before construction work requires removal of a portion of the dam.


The old single-span bridge, put up 45 years ago, collapsed September 17 under a truck driven by Walter Aumann, Neillsville milk hauler.                                                                                         


The tax roll of the Town of Weston amounts to $14,479.45 this year.  This is divided as follows: State taxes, $250.51; County taxes, $9,906.76; Town $4,260.11; School, $60.82; occupational, $1.25.


The first marriage license made in Clark County in 1940 was that of Frank Arch, 30, Town of Eaton and Rose Jordan, 27, town of Warner, on the third day of the New Year.  The ceremony is planned to take place January 13, in Greenwood.


Special Saturday, Only - 12-quart Milk Pail, 29’, limit 3 to a customer; at Gamble Store Agency, A. E. Russell, Owner.


An unusual picture of Wildcat Mound, one of Clark County’s many beauty spots, has been taken in natural autumn color, and now is on exhibition in a window of the C. C. Sniteman Company.  The picture was snapped by Clarence Stelloh and the rest of the work was done by D. E. Thayer.                                             


The Neillsville All-Stars, Central Wisconsin Champions of last season, returned to the battle scenes in the third game at the Armory Tuesday night and rang up a slip-shod 22 to 11 victory over the Loyal Village team. Although the team showed potential strength, it also showed the result of inactivity.  The All-Stars Harley Jake, Kenneth Olson and John O’Connell at forwards, Hugh Horswill and David Krutsch sharing the center post; and Bob Harvey and Carl Wegner were holding down the guard spots.  The Loyal lineup included hill and Oestreich at forwards, Trindal at center, and Brussow and Trimberger at guards.                                                                                                


Dr. James A. Naismith, show has just died at Lawrence, Kansas, was the father of basketball.  He had the distinction of originating the only major sport created in the United States, with the possible exception of baseball, about which there is much controversy.  There is no controversy about the identity of the father of basketball, a sport introduced by Dr. Naismith in 1891 and now played by more than 20,000,000 persons.


A ghostly grey shell, Seventh Street landmark of thriving and not-so-thriving, industrial enterprises of Neillsville’s past, was doomed to the wrecker’s bar and hammer this week.


The rambling, weather-beaten old structure now being razed is located opposite the Neillsville Milk Products Cooperative plant and has been known during the last generation as ‘the drier plant.’  People who had invested in the future of that concern even today speak of it with mixed emotions.


The building, which house the plant, was being wrecked this week by Harris and Anderson, professional wreckers of Winona, Minn.  They purchased the building and land from Joseph Dudenhoffer of Chicago, who was one of the investors in the old dehydrating plant.  And in about three months from now the building will have been torn down, stick by stick.


Although the building is associated more closely with the dehydrating plant, a business built and killed in almost the same breath by the First World War, it has been the center for more than one industrial hope of Neillsville during its more than 55-year existence.


History of the building dates back to the early 1880s when the original structure, which formed only a small part of the large building of later years, was constructed for the manufacture of washboards.


Instead of the usual zinc rubbing plate, the washboards made there were of glass.  And glass, on which the business was founded, also caused its downfall.


The stock company was formed as the Crystal Glass Washboard factory, and manufactured the product of the inventive mind of the late F. A. Balch, father of the late F. O. Balch, retired merchant.  Among the investors were James Hewett, George L. Lloyd, F. A. Balch and R. W. Balch, his son.


A bright future was foreseen for the new industry and the company started with a bang.  It purchased a glass factory in la Crosse, which originally was built to supply glass bottles for la Crosse breweries; but it had stopped production.


There was a reading for halting production of the bottles; but the reason was not discovered by officials of the washboard company until their washboards started cracking, seemingly without cause.  Then they learned that the beer bottles previously made there also had the habit of literally disintegrating.  Investigation of the matter by Mr. Sniteman, George Lloyd, Loren Balch, manager of the plant for some time, and others revealed that the sand used in the manufacture of the glass did not make a tough enough product.


So the plant started getting its glass from the Mississippi Glass Co. of St. Louis, Mo.  This glass was tough enough; but the freight to Neillsville proved prohibitive and the concern, which had provided employment for eight or 10 Neillsville men came to an inglorious end after six or seven years of operation.  The Mississippi Glass Co. took over the patent as satisfaction for money due it, and according to Fred Balch, still makes the old Crystal Glass Company’s washboard.


For a short time the building stood idle.  Then Morris Horn and Carl Rabenstein, one-time publisher of the Deutscher-Amerkaner, organized the Neillsville Overall factory and located in the building.  This took place in the early 1890s.


The overall factory prospered for several years and provided constant employment for many Neillsville women during its peak seasons of production.  After some time Mr. Horn moved on to Eau Claire and Carl Rabenstein, Jr., took over the management of the plant.  The company reached the point where it considered expansion of the factory.  But, as older memories of the city recall, there was some difficulty about securing the labor necessary for the enlarged operations, so the plant moved to Eau Claire in about 1907.


Once more the industrial hopes of the city centered on its grey hulk as the World War I progressed.  There was an urgent cry for vegetables and fruits of smaller bulk, but with all their goodness left intact.


The method of dehydrating or removing the water from vegetables and fruits was developed and people of Neillsville looked forward with enthusiasm toward the prospect of a booming industry.  In 1916, the National Food Preserving Company, a stock concern with local residents and Chicago men as heavy investors, stuffed in its safe a government contract for the majority of its dried vegetables.  Business went ahead merrily.  The building was enlarged extensively.


The company even developed to the point of dehydrating such things as mushrooms and packaging them in small bags for household consumption.  However, there were two things wrong; the war didn’t last long enough, and the product did not find the anticipated domestic market.


Canned goods were largely responsible for the last-mentioned difficulty.  Housewives found that dehydrated edibles, which required considerable soaking in water before they were restored to original size and workability, took too much time and trouble to prepare.  On the other hand, canned goods only needed to be opened and warmed.


Thus, when the Treaty of Versailles halted the World War, it also drew the strangling noose about the dehydrating industry, which had been created by the necessities of the war.


Again in 1919, the grey building was empty.  Then, about four years ago, the building was turned into an egg-packing plant and slaughter-house by Otto Ebling and William Schultz; but this business lasted only a short time until Ebling and Schultz moved to another city.





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