History: Neillsville, WI Post Office (1858-1938)

Contact: Dee Zimmerman
Email: ldzimm@tds.net


History of the Neillsville Post Office

(Excerpts from July 1938) "The Good Old Days" column complied by Dee Zimmerman for the July 16, 2003 issue of "The Clark Co., Press"; Neillsville)

Neillsville's new $60,000 post office, which was dedicated recently, is one to the finest and most modem federal buildings in the Northwest for a city the size of Neillsville. The building is imposing in architecture and combines beauty and utility to a high degree, with every modem convenience to be found in a federal building. Every new device to handling mail expeditiously and safely is to be found here, with the newest ideas in lighting, heating, ventilation and general arrangement.

The new post office building was dedicated July 3 with impressive ceremonies and an address by U.S. Senator F. Ryan Duffy, whose influence helped secure the building for the city. The visitors' day and inspection of the building by the general public took place Saturday, June I 1, with the building being occupied for the first time Monday, June 13.

The site on which the new post office is built is one of the most historic in Neillsville. For many years, the O'Neill House, the first three-story building in the city, stood on this location. This hotel was widely known in Central Wisconsin and many famous people stopped there while it was running. The hotel burned down some years ago and the site was vacant thereafter until the new post office was built. It was from the hotel to O'Neill Creek that the struggling village of Neillsville was built over 80 years ago. A rival place was Staffordsville, beyond the North Side hill, but the location near the creek proved most suitable for the building growth of the future city of Neillsville.

The first post office here was opened May 31,1858, with Simon C. Boardman as the first postmaster and the name of the post office at that time was Clark County House, which was changed to Neillsville on October 6, 1856, in honor of James O'Neill, one of the founders of the city. Boardman served as postmaster until July 17, 1857.

In all, 19 postmasters have served in the office here from the time of S.C. Boardman to Louis "Frosty" Kurth, present incumbent. Boardman served from May 31, 1855, to July 17, 1857. The other IS postmasters and tenures were: Geo. W. King, July 17, 1857, to Dec. 23, 1858; Chauncey Blakeslee from Dec. 23, 1858, to May 2, 1860; William C. Tompkins from May 2, 1860, to April 11, 1863; Charles w. Carpenter from April I 1, 1863, to Nov. 28, 1865; Andrew J. Manley from Nov 28, 1865, to Sept. 11, 1867: William T. Hutchinson from Sept. 11, 1867, to June 22, 1871; James W. Ferguson from June 22, 1871, to July 1, 1882; Wm. Campbell from July 1, 1882, to Aug. 2, 1886; Isaac T. Carr from Aug. 2, 1886, to Sept. 9, 1890; Frederick Reitz from Sept. 9, 1890, to Dec. I 1, 1894; William Huntley Sr. from Dec. 11, 1894, to Jan. 7, 1899; Llewellyn B. Ring. from Jan. 7, 1899, to March 18, 1903; Frederick Reitz from March 18, 1903, to April 19, 1906; Arthur E. Dudley from April 19, 1906, to July 23, 1915; William Huntley Sr. from July 23, 1915, to July 1, 1919; Arthur E. Dudley, acting postmaster, from July 1, 1919, to May 28, 1920; Anton C. Martin from May 28, 1920, to Sept. 30,1929; Benjamin J. Brown from Sept. 30, 1929, to Jan. 36, 1934. The present postmaster, Kurth has served since Jan. 30, 1934, being recently re-appointed for another four-year term.

In addition to Postmaster Kurth, the local post office has the following personnel: Jesse W. Scott, assistant postmaster, Arthur J. Haugen and Miss Laura North, clerks; Albert Dahnert and Barney J. Haas, city carriers; Ben Brown and Paul A. Bartell, sub-clerks and city carriers; James D. Cummings, O. S. Aspen, Albert Kuehling and Arnold Yankee, route carriers and Walter Bryan, Sheridan T. Braken and George H. Bryan, sub-route carriers. The janitor of the building is Victor Carl, temporarily until fall when a full-time employee will be appointed.

The land for the new post office building and grounds were purchased by the government through a composite purchase from the North estate, Henry J. Naedler, Judge O. W. Schoengarth and P.M. Warlum, all of whom held an equity in the vacant comer lots.

The Ebbe Construction Co. of Trenton, Missouri, had the general contract for the erection of the building and work was started September 1937. Harold Ebbe was superintendent of construction with William W. Cooke, construction engineer for the government.

The building proper is 56.6 by 60 feet in size, with a full basement, one-half of which is completed to handle the present needs. The building is of buff tapestry brick, with Dolomite stone trim, granite steps and the roof is of gravel and copper construction. The building entrance fronts on Hewett Street.

At the rear of the building is a concrete loading platform, 9 by 16 feet, with an enclosed vestibule, 9 by 6 feet in size.

Entrance to the rear of the post office building is by a concrete driveway from Hewett Street and abutting the north side of the building to the rear of the building where the excess grounds have been concreted to permit the parking of the cars of the employees. The lobby woodwork is of oak. The floor of unglazed quarry tile and the lock boxes are bronzed and of Grecian style. Entrance to the private office of the postmaster is gained from the lobby, the office being on the north end of the lobby. The woodwork of the office is also oak, as is the floor.

The main office is adequately lighted and spacious, having more than 1,500 square feet of working space for the convenience of the working personnel.

Access to the large vault is gained through a steel cage in which the registry, stamp and money order clerks work. The floors in the main work office are maple with birch trim woodwork. The parcel post window counters are covered with stainless steel and all of the furniture and equipment are new and modem.



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