Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

January 13, 2016, Page 12

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

January 1936


Wisconsin has but one small elk herd and these animals roam the forest areas of Vilas County, living largely in the refuge.  Twenty elk were released several years ago and there has been a slight increase in their number.  The conservation department plans to stock moose in places that they originally occupied.  Large refuges are necessary for these animals.


The largest crowd that ever attended a Silver Dome Ballroom dance jammed the big hall New Year’s Eve, dancing until 5 a.m.  Several hundred had to be turned away, being unable to get into the ballroom.  The crowd, it was said, equaled or exceeded the big grand opening attendance at the Dome.                                                                                                                          


For the third or fourth time in as many years the fire department received a false alarm Monday night to put out a “fire” at the armory.  Reflections of light from the stoves in the upper front rooms of the armory, which are used by the Service Company, flicker against the windows and give the impression that the premises are afire.


The Neillsville Hardware Store, owned and operated by L. H. Howard and Paul Blum since 1932, was sold to M. A. Cockran of Chili Jan. 2, the new manager to take charge about January 15.


Mr. Cockran is thoroughly familiar with the merchandising business, having operated a variety store at Abbotsford for some time.  Mr. Howard and Mr. Blum will devote their entire time to the sale of tires and auto accessories, and service at the Neillsville Tire Shop.                                                                            


Civilian Conservation Corps crews are improving about a hundred Wisconsin lakes this winter by placing spawning beds and shelters, according to Sid Gordon, in charge of this work.  Similar work is being carried on by WPA crews under the direction of Otis Bersing.                                                                                        


Presently there are 85 men employed on the recreational dam project in the Town of Sherwood.


The drifted side roads Monday morning compelled rural mail carriers to get out their “snow-snakes” to make their rounds.  Even with these, their time was somewhat slowed up, but with ordinary cars, the trip would have been impossible.


(A mechanic designed “snow-snakes” by taking an old light-weight car, removing the front wheels, assembling a steering unit, and mounting skis on the front axle, with tracks on the rear axle, enabling the apparatus to travel over the deep snow, emergency machines for rural mail carriers to deliver the mail.  The apparatus was not easy to steer, thus “snow-snakes.” DZ)                                                                                                                    


C. Gassen, whose business was temporarily put out of commission by the fire last week, soon got under headway again, patching up the shop so as to take ca re of customers and give good service.


The B & F Machine Shop was not so fortunate; the side of the building occupied by the shop being too badly damaged for occupancy.  Mr. Bruhn and Mr. Feuerstein are moving their damaged tools and machines into the basement of Naedler’s garage across the street and making an inventory of them for insurance adjustment.


News item two weeks later:


Bruhn and Feuerstein, proprietors of the B & F Machine Shop last week made a contract with the Kintzele estate to buy the lot on which the shops stood that were destroyed by fire.  They are cleaning up some of the wreckage and plan to put up a modern building on the lot.                                                                     


When the George Vine family at Pleasant Ridge was ready to start for church Sunday, they discovered that the road leading the short distance of one mile to the church has drifted and it was impossible to get through.  What a splendid excuse, nay reason, for staying at the cozy foreside, but such thought entered not into the minds of the Vines.  Instead, they sought a new route, drove to Granton and back to the Ridge Church on Highway 10, a distance of nine miles with the mercury hovering around the 12 below zero mark.                                                       


The old Begley House, once a popular hotel in Greenwood and used in recent years as a dance and entertainment hall, was destroyed by fire between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. Saturday following a Leap Year dance held the night before.  The building has been known as the Moonlight Gardens, Northside Hall and the Klark Kounty Klavern. A heavy wind handicapped the firemen and burning embers were carried as far as the old Robert Schofield property at the southwest edge of the city.  Snow on the roofs saved other buildings in the city from catching fire.


The old Henry Huntzicker home, 2 ½ miles south of Greenwood, on Highway 73 burned to the ground Sunday evening.


The house was now occupied by Mrs. James Killian, her son Elmer and her daughter and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Art Christie.


The fire which was discovered by the hired man, Ken Rogers, is believed to have been caused by a defective chimney, which had become overheated.


The house was built more than 60 years ago by Henry Huntzicker, one of the three Huntzicker brothers: George, Jake and Henry, who were early settlers along what is now Highway 73.  The old farm is owned by a son of Henry, Will Huntzicker, who lives in Greenwood.  The house was large and kept in good repair and was valued at $4,000.


(Henry Huntzicker operated a hotel, stagecoach stop-over at that site in the late 1800s, a convenience for travelers. DZ)


January 1956


The following expression comes from Walter Rindfleisch of the Cloverdale Cheese Factory, Colby.


“I don’t know what is going to become of the dairy industry if the Selective Service keeps on taking the trained personnel from the cheese factories.  The factories have enough trouble without manpower shortage.  “Cheese factories can’s use 4-Fs or drunks, either.  It takes time to train cheese factory workers, too.”


Jerome Kasper is said to be one of the youngest licensed cheesemakers in the state of Wisconsin.  He is 19 years of age.  Jerome graduated from Colby High School in the spring of 1955 and then attended the dairy short course at the University of Wisconsin.  He is presently employed at the Kasper Cheese Factory, Unity.


A movement is on foot to establish an Evangelical Lutheran Church in Neillsville.  To fathom the possibilities a meeting has been called to be held at the Kiwanis rooms in the Neillsville Bank building for 8 p.m. Monday, January 16.


In local charge of arrangements is the Rev. M. S. Egge, pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church at Greenwood.  He will conduct the meeting.  Interested also are a number of Neillsville persons, some of whom are at present members of Mr. Egge’s congregation.


The church of this denomination nearest to Neillsville is Our Savior’s Lutheran at Greenwood. However, the American Lutheran Church, represented by congregations at Fairview and near Granton, is closely related, and plans are under way for a merger of the two.                                                                        


Not less than 2 percent of taxable income for support of the home church has been adopted as a standard goal by the finance committee of the Congregational Church of Neillsville.  This has been accepted by six families of the congregation, who constitute a nucleus for what is hoped to be an expanding acceptance of the standard all through the membership.


The plan was given an initial impetus in the minuteman address of last Sunday morning and is being explained more in detail in a congregational letter, now in preparation.


The finance committee is abandoning the plan of set pledges heretofore in use, substituting a simple “declaration of intention,” which does not establish a legal claim upon an individual or upon his estate.


The Zilk Villa auto service and Buick dealership building was located on the northeast corner of South Hewett and Division Streets intersection.  The construction on the ornate, attractive building was started in 1930, with some additions through the years.  The building’s structure and business services well represented its owner, Joe Zilk, Sr., who was an innovative individual and respected citizen of the Neillsville community.  The building was razed in the early 1970s.


Sale of Zilk Villa, service garage and automobile agency, is announced this week by Joseph F. Zilk, who will be severing 41 years of business association in Neillsville.


The purchaser is Norman Gennrich of Milwaukee, who has run his own service garage in that city for several years.  The Gennrichs are a family of six children, four boys and two girls.


Included in the local transfer, in addition to the service garage, are the Zilk home adjoining, and the body and paint shop building on the same grounds.


Mr. Gennrich is expected to be in active charge of the business here this week.


The entire personnel of Zilk Villa will remain with the new owner at least for the time being.  They include: Glenn and Joe Zilk, Jr., and Mrs. Frances Lyons.


An addition to the staff will be Elmer Ross, a mechanic who has worked with Mr. Gennrich for several years and who is a native of Medford.


Mr. Zilk is closing 41 years of business activity in Neillsville, as a patent medicine man, bulk oil agent, inventor, and service station and automobile agency owner. He has been one of the most widely known and highly respected businessmen of the community, whose interest in civic advancement could always be counted on.


It was back in the horse-and-buggy days, in 1914, when Joe Zilk launched his business career in Neillsville.  At that time he “covered” southern Clark County as a house-to-house vendor of patent medicines and other products.  For two years he operated his route with horse and buggy; but these gave way to the advance of the automotive age in 1916, when he purchased a car with which to make his calls.


Then in 1917 and World War I and Joe went into the army.  When he came back in 1919, he was pressed into service as a mechanic by Wm. F. Dahnert for but a few months, dean of the city’s tavern keepers, who was a garage-man at that time.  He stayed with Mr. Dahnert but a few months, and then bought the Standard Oil bulk business from Krumery in
August 1919.


At that time, Mr. Zilk recalled, the oil business was not nearly as busy as it is today.  There was no fuel oil to deliver house-to-house, and use of automobiles was comparatively minor.  More than that, the rigors of winter and lack of road facilities then resulted in laying up most automobiles during the winters.


So winter business consisted mainly of seeing to it that the kerosene barrels in the stores in the city and at the country crossroads were kept full.  There were in use at that time, however, a goodly number of Kerosene lanterns, and that is what kept the bulk oil business going in the winter.


In the next few years, Mr. and Mrs. Zilk were married, and purchased property at the corner of Hewett and Division streets.


In 1930, he sold the bulk oil business to August Selk and launched the construction of the service station unit of Zilk Villa Service.  There have been several additions since the construction of the original portion, which now serves mainly as office space.  In 1937, two stalls were erected to the east, and the house was built north of the service station on Hewett Street.  In 1940, he added the Buick agency to the service station and garage business.  A warehouse and body shop were added in 1947.


Mr. Zilk has another side to his talents of which the younger generations probably are not away.  He is an inventor.


Zilk Villa, a model of efficiency, contains many devices and “gadgets” invented by Mr. Zilk.  They include a tire changer, principle of which has been patented by another since the original Zilk construction.  He also invented an early “apron alarm,” to call station attendants as cars rolled onto the service ramp; and the pneumatic operation of the doors in Zilk Villa also are Zilk invention.


But the invention for which he is probably most widely known among the older residents of the area is the snowmobile, which he invented just before going into the army.


 The invention concerned principally skis mounted to a steering arrangement made for the front end of automobiles.  The most popular feature about the Zilk snowmobile was that the skis would ride in the wagon tracks, and thus were more effective than other similar gadgets on the market at the time.


The patent was secured while Mr. Zilk was in the army, and during that time, he had many offers to manufacture or sell the snowmobile patent. 


“I wasn’t in the position to handle the thing right,” Mr. Zilk said, “and by the time I got out of the army, they had started plowing roads.


He feels the snowmobile might have made him a rich man.


And as it was, several units were manufactured here and in nearby towns, with Mr. Zilk receiving a $10 royalty for each unit manufactured.                                                                                      


Coming! Central Wis. Biggest Dancing Event! Featuring 9 Fine Bands Thursday, January 19 at Silver Dome Ballroom


*Polka* *Waltzes* *Mambos* *Swing* *Schottisches*


Hear the Parade of Bands:


Howie Sturtz, Russ Nelson, Billy Uthmeier, Wayne Seefeld, Elmo Johnson, Charlie Kieffer, Ruby Grassel, Jack Kolbeck & Willy’s Harmony Boys


Continuous Dancing, from 8 to 1: Admission 85’!


(And, we didn’t miss a dance!  It was the generation of dancers, our main recreation, dancing one to three nights a week. DZ) 







© 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