Recollections of Columbia, Wisconsin

by Mabel Schlender Jonkel

Contributed by Sarah Poertner

transcribed by Crystal Wendt & Michelle Harder.


There was a flutter about oil being found. Oil had been found floating on waters of Five Mile Creek near the mill site. Being Mr. Charles Graves was a real estate promotor, he had Mrs. Twamley’s brother, Mr. Gross, come from Iowa with drilling machinery to make tests. He drilled several hundred

The Schlender’s store in on the right of Five Mile Creek.

Feet through solid granite of good quality but not quantity, and found no oil. I am sure no Columbia folks ever felt there was ‘oil or gold in them there parts," it was only a promoter’s dream.


In 1896 and 1897 Columbia had newspaper. It was standard size with four sheets and advertised all business places in Columbia. It is sad that no one seems to have a copy. Janey Farning Paulaus had a copy in 1954. It was loaned to the Neillsville paper but it was not returned.


Fred Goebel, formerly of Chicago, owned the village shop. When the saw mill moved on, he returned to Chicago again. His one son, Fred, Jr., returned to Columbia several times to visit.


What was known as the Deal house was built by F. A. Copley who had run a dry goods store during the saw mill days. Ed Deal, Sr., then bought it, renting it to various tenents. Mr. And Mrs. Sam Twamley lived there. For a while it was a millinary store operated by Mrs. Theodore Larson. During the height of saw mill days, a second millinary store was operated by Mrs. Pete Frisley for a few months.

In later years Bill Sollberger owned the Deal Building. Here he had a grocery store for a short period. Finally it was taken down.


Perhaps promotors or maybe a Fourth of July brought crowds to Main Street in Columbia. The Bee Hive on the left was the first store and post office. On the right was the second store with the school house in the distance.


Next door to the Deal property a Mr. Cook erected a building. Mr. Johnson bought it and his wife had a candy store. When they left Frank Emery and family moved in for several years. Then a Spanish War Veteran by the name Frank Richardson lived there.

When the two room school was started, two teachers, Nell Ruddock and Mayme Breed set up housekeeping. It was then known as the "Old Maid’s Hall." The young folks had many good times there.

When the rural mail carrier, Fred Bohnhoff, took Viola Barnes as his bride, they lived there until they could build a new home on the Charles Baxter farm a half mile from town.




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