Recollections of Columbia, Wisconsin

by Mabel Schlender Jonkel

Contributed by Sarah Poertner

transcribed by Crystal Wendt & Michelle Harder.


In 1900 the farmers formed a stockholders company when they decided to build a cheese factory. All hands became busy in building a two story structure with a cheese factory on the fist floor and dance hall on the second floor. A two-year university man from Addison, Michigan, Charles Harlow, was hired to organize the business and then made cheese for several years. He was followed by Clair Elsworth of Lone Rock. He made cheese for two seasons.

Then Fred Meitzke of White Creek made cheese for several years before becoming manager of the Columbia, Merrillan and Hewettville cheese factories. My half brother, Erwin Simonds, made cheese under this management for several seasons.

Due to not enough milk coming in, it was discontinued.


The upper floor of the cheese factory provided a dance hall for many happy occasions.

In 1923 more settlers came into the area and the stockholders engaged Fred Thieler of Humbird to again open the factory. He hired August Resong of Neillsville to make cheese for several seasons. Frank Keller of Fairchild followed as cheese maker for several seasons. Mr. Theiler sold the machinery to Gottfried Sollberger of Monticello. He ran the factory until it burned to the ground in 1929.

This, of course did away with the dance hall where so many good times were had.

Fred Meitzke was one of the cheese makers in the Columbia factory.





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