[Memory Trails Index]


Janet Schwarze


Arno Vater

The first school was held in what is the wood shed of the White School. This was a term of three months in the smmner of 1901 or 1902. The teacher was Lynn Joseph. The following year the present school was built. The lumber was sawed and furnished by Robert Vater who lived one-half mile west of the school. This lumber had to be hauled a distance of 8 miles because the road west of the school was made impassable by a creek. The lumber was hauled south along a logging road to the Murray (Andrew Miller farm) farm then on through Frenchtown to Withee and north four miles to the building site. The cost of the school was $1,000.00.

Arno Vater and John Hemminger were pupils in the new White School and are residents of the district at the present time.

The school consolidated with the Owen—Withee district in 1960. The lower grades are still taught there.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vater are 92 years of age and celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on November 11, 1961.

The Chas. Andersons, whose home was directly across from the White School, moved there as newlyweds in 190S. He had come at the age of 18 (in 1893) with his parents from Racine. Mrs. Anderson came from Iowa. Mr. Anderson helped build 3 miles of County Trunk T south of the Taylor Co. line. Mr. Anderson is 87 and his wife 81. They presently make their home in Withee.

Some early White School teachers were Alice Fisher, Mayme Hemminger, Edward Jerry and Ida Funk.


Mrs. Wilbert Hansen (Eva Robinson)

We came to Owen in November 1906 by train from Eau Claire. The track passed through Withee where it does now, then swung south of Sam Anderson’s buildings and came into Owen north of the Western plant. It continued east to Curtiss and Abbotsford which was the main line prior to the opening of the cut—off through Atwood and Riplinger. In 1912 during the high water in the spring, freight train #23 went into Black River because of the weakened condition of the bridge, caused by the high water and the huge ice jam. (The forgoing incident was recalled by R. J. Martin of Chippewa Falls, a retired fireman who worked the railroads in this area for 50 years. He was engineer on No. 2 on its last trip through Owen. He re-calls Jimmie Hansen, another railroad man who lived at Withee (father of Emil Hansen of the Mercantile Store). A lot of stock used to be shipped out of Withee and Owen before trucks took the business from the railroads).

At one time the train didn’t stop at Owen unless flagged. People had to get off at Withee, so we were lucky that day. We stayed at a small rooming house run by Mr. and Mrs. Roberts in the building that is now the Clover Farm Store. The Woodland Hotel was under construction and my father had been here before we came painting and varnishing it.

The two school houses were located just west of the County garage. Mrs. Grant was my first teacher, I think. The buildings were moved east of the tracks on 29 and one is just east of Gummerson’s Implement Shop now.

A creamery was behind the County Garage for a few years, but it burned down.

The Owen Gospel Tabernacle was formerly a Blacksmith Shop, then remodeled for a Roller-Rink. The ball diamond was about where Kralms live now, before it was moved down town. I can’t recall any bleachers. Mrs. Hail lived where Bert Cattanach does now and gave piano lessons.

The lumber yard stretched from Mauel’s Ice Cream plant to the mill pond. The saw mill, planing mill and light plant were west of the mill pond which was full of logs. At one time a rail road went out of Owen from Cranes into the north woods. Another log railroad ran between Owen and Jump River via Polley.

The Fairchild and Northeastern R.R. made a round trip to Owen in the morning. The tracks came in from the south between the Opera House to the Pickle Station and crossed Highway 29 then ran along the alley behind Main Street. Griebenow’s furnace shop used to be the depot. There was a turntable behind the Pickle Station for turning the engine around. We kids played on it a gave each other rides.
Louis Bulgrin’s building housed the Post Office, butcher shop, groceries, and dry goods. It was called the “Company Store). The men got their checks at the company office, if there was any-thing left after they paid house rent, food and the wood bill.
The Company Boarding House was south of the Company Store for the men who worked in Owen.



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