Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 25, 2000, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News


October 1925


At a regular meeting of the Owen Village Board on October 15, 1924, a resolution for the Village of Owen, into a city of the Fourth Class, was introduced by Trustee A. M. Wilson.


The resident population of Owen exceeded 1200 in a census ordered by the village board, 10 weeks prior to the time of the resolution adoption.  The census exhibited the name of every head of a family and the name of every person living within that residence and the village as of August 21, 1924.  The lots or parcels of land on which the people resided were verified by the affidavits authorized by C. L. Johnson.  The original affidavits were filed in the office of the village clerk where certified and verified copies were to be filed with the Clark County Clerk of the Circuit Court.


It was decided that the territory within the Village of Owen, in becoming a city, would be divided into four wards.


The polls of elections were designated to be held in the following places:


First Ward: John S. Owen Lumber Company’s boarding house office.


Second Ward: Owen Village Hall, corner of Fifth and Pine Streets.


Third Ward: Owen Bottling Works building on Lots No. 1 and 2, corner of Fifth and Linden Streets.


Fourth Ward: Alec Mattson’s filling station building, corner of Third Street and Paul Avenue. 


All members of the Village Board voted in favor of adopting the resolution whereby Owen would become a city. Those members were: Sutter, Griebenow, Richardson, Morley, Wilson and Keefe.  H. C. Madsen was president and C. L. Johnson was clerk.


An early Owen resident, Clare L. Johnson, shared some of her memories of the village in its early years; 50 years after Owen became a city:


“A sawmill, blacksmith shop, company store and office, school house and a few homes – that was Owen Mills as it was called.


On Pioneer Street, lived the Martinsons, Bjornstads, J. T. Johnsons and Louie Johnsons.  Residents who came later were: Fred Hansens, John Peterson, A. G. Johnson, Joe Probst, Wm. Sutters, Bill Perkins, Albert Thorpes, John Jones and others.  That street would later be caller Bjornstad Street.


The area from Bjornstad Street, to what would later be the Golf Course, was used for growing grain and hay for the Owen Company’s work horses.  The company barn for the horses stood about a block west of the Sharer Chiropractic office.  A good clean barn odor brings back a nostalgic sensation for the “olden days.”  As children, we sat on the fence watching grain and hay being cut.


Below those fields, to the south, was a pasture which not only afforded free pasturage for each family cow within the village, but also fun for the children as a creek ran through it.  However, there were some troubling times in the old pasture too, when a young bull would decide against intruders. During the summer months the women would do the milking in the morning.  At one time a neighbor sat on top of a stump pile for sometime waiting for the bull to leave and forget about her.  Needles to say, his stay in the pasture was short.


The saw mill and blacksmith shop were to the north of the Owen Mills company store and office, later the sight of Badger Shooters Supply.  Logs were brought down from the woods on the spur line that ran east of the mill pond and to the back of the Owen home.  As a child, I never thought that some day I would be walking up the stairs of what in our childish eyes was a mansion.  I chuckled to myself when I went to visit my friend, Prudence Turnery, who later had an apartment in that house.  Prudence and I went through the eight grades and high school together as did Walter Fox and Ina Weirich.


Before the depot was built, an old box car was used by the Wisconsin Central railroad which later became the Soo Line.  It ran east and west, affording good connections to Abbotsford, Chippewa Falls and other points.


We didn’t think of pollution in those days when we saw the smoke and sparks spewing from the tall burner when refuse from the lumber was being burned.  Think of all the presto-logs that could have been made from the saw dust.  However, some of the sawdust was used in ice houses when the ice from the pond was cut and stored during the winter.


The lumber yard extended from the mill as far as where the Catholic Church now stands.  The newly cut lumber gave off a good clean fragrance.


The school house, a three-room structure, stood in the area across from the E. J. Crane Feed Mill and was used until around 1908 when the new school was built.  The brick building was later used for the grammar grades.  The joys of indoor plumbing in the new school building made us readily forget the outhouses of the old school.


The old opera house was in use until 1915 and high school graduations were held there during its existence.  Later, the gymnasium was built on that site.


The post office was in the Owen’s company store where government post cards could be bought for a penny and 2-cent stamps for letters.  If someone was late in getting a card or letter to the post office, they could hurry over to the train and put it in the mail slot on the train car.


There was no floral shop in the village but, oh, what a wealth of wild flowers there were to be enjoyed – wild blue phlox, adder tongues, Dutchman’s breeches, wild iris, trilliums, anemones, wild geraniums, butter cups and others.”


(In April of 1925, Owen officially became a city. This year marks the 75th Anniversary for the city and its area residents have hosted a number of events to commemorate its history.  D. Z.)


 Owen Mills was named after John S. Owens who started a sawmill business with a village developing around the mill site. The name of the village eventually was changed to “Owen” and became a city in 1925.  The Woodland Hotel building is a remnant of the classic facility which served travelers during the early 1900s, providing excellent dining and rooms for its guests.  The above photo depicts Main Street circa 1920 with the Woodland Hotel in the foreground.



October 1960


Sunday, October 30, has been designated as “Canvas Sunday” in the Neillsville United Church of Christ.  On that day, an effort will be made to complete the congregation’s drive for $65,000 with which to build a new church building. The proposed church building will be built at the corner of Park and Second Street.


See the new 1961 Rambler American Deluxe 2-door sedan for only $1,845.  It is one of 12 all-new models for 1961, available at Gennrich Motors, 1 Hewett Street Neillsville.


Mathilda Budos, who speaks six languages, had to have a translator put the question to her which brought the answer that made her a bride Monday morning.


She became Mrs. Ignatz Szoljar at simple civil ceremonies performed by Judge Lowell D. Schoengarth in his court room.  The only witnesses were the attendants, Clerk of Court, Robert W. Schiller; his deputy, Mrs. Edna Beyer, who translated the question to which Mathilda answered, “Ja”, and Ray Ingham of Willard, a friend. 


Mrs. Janice Steinhilber, court reporter and Mrs. Ina Mae Dux, registrar of probate, watched from the court records office, a few yards away.


Mrs. Szoljar is the second of her family to bear that name.  She is the sister of Mr. Szoljar’s first wife.  Her first husband died in Romania in 1945, at the close of the war. 


About two years ago Szoljar visited his home land and met his later wife’s sister in the Red satellite country.  For the next 18 months after his return he sought help in cutting through seemingly red tape which would permit Mathilda Budos to come to America.  Finally it happened.  She arrived here in early August and their wedding plans were culminated in the courtroom on Monday.


“After she has been in America a while and learns to speak our language,” commented Szoljar, “she will know seven languages.”


The Szoljars are holding a wedding dance for invited guests Saturday night in the East Side Hall at Willard.


Approximately 40 farm buildings along the south side of Highway 29 between Abbotsford and Owen will go under the auctioneer’s hammer November 3 and 4.


The Christensen Sales Company, Abbotsford, has been notified by the state highway department that its bid for auction services has been accepted.


The buildings, including several houses, will have to go to make way for the new construction of Highway 29.  A temporary office will be located at the junction of Highway 29 and County Trunk E, known as Curtiss Corners.


The Havenet Convalescent Home at Owen will conduct an open house October 30, from 2 to 4 p. m. in observance with “Nursing Home Day,” which has been proclaimed in Wisconsin by Gov. Gaylord Nelson.


The Clark County Pleasure Riders met October 9 for their ride at the Duane Mrotek farm and through Hayward.  They also rode to Mount Telemark.


On the return ride a party of eight had taken a wrong turn and got lost about 20 miles from their loading station. They were found by a hunter, who telephoned ahead to the rest of the party.  They were picked up by a truck and brought in about 9:30 p.m.


Those who participated in the ride were: Mr. and Mrs. James Wangen, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Meyer, Allen, Danny, Randy and Bobby, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Loos, the Bill Trindall family, Ramona Kannenberg, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Young, all of Loyal; Mr. and Mrs. Ed Johnson and Roger, Paulette Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hodnett, Mrs. Woody Woodbeck, Rollie and Terry, Bob Prock, Craig Carlson, Gary Hoffman, Kenny Thorsen, all of the Owen-Withee area; Mr. and Mrs. Earl Stafford, Dwaine Gilman, Carol and Barbie Burris of Unity, Norbert and Bernard Fricke, Mr. and Mrs. Don Horn, Lillian and Lucille Markee of Greenwood.  There were also a number of riders from Hayward and a couple from Two Rivers, making up a total of 51 riders in all.


The biggest every trail ride to be held in the annual get-together at Al Cramer’s, in the Sherwood Dam area, took place Sunday, Oct. 16.  A total of 120 horses and riders joined in a 15-mile trail ride in Sherwood Forest. Cramer arranged for luncheon facilities at his farm home.


Neillsville Saddle Tramps, Inc., the Loyal Riding Club, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids riding organizations joined in the biggest trail ride ever held in this section.  Gordon Meddaugh, president of Saddle Tramps, announced that riders will participate in another trail ride near Eau Claire next Sunday.


Fourteen ladies have organized the “Grey Ladies” to serve patients at Memorial Hospital, the Neillsville Nursing Home and other old folks’ homes within the city.  The Grey Ladies are affiliated with the Red Cross; Mrs. R. Temte is the local chairman.


Members will visit patients and render such services as writing letters, reading to them, sew or mend on occasion, and sit at the bedside to visit.  The second meeting of the group was held at the Memorial Hospital last week, with John R. Temte, hospital administrator and Dr. M. N. (V.) Overman speaking to the group on the importance of the service.


Charter members include: Mrs. Temte, Mrs. Tom Flynn, Mrs. Hebert (Herbert) Keller, Clara Henchen, R. N., Mrs. Mildred Tanner, Mrs. Fred Subke, Mrs. Hazel May, Mrs. Harris Schoengarth, Mrs. M. V. Overman, Mrs. Joseph Ylvisaker, Mrs. William H. Yenni, Mrs. Herbert Feig, Mrs. Warren Heddleston (Huddleston) and Mrs. E. A. Georgas.


(The Grey Ladies organization has changed its name to “Red Cross Volunteers.”  A group of area women are still actively involved with visiting and serving patients at the Memorial Hospital and Home every Wednesday.  D.Z.)


Miss Phyllis Ellison, Loyal, and John Linster, Rt. 1, Greenwood, exchanged nuptial vows Saturday in Trinity Lutheran Church in Loyal.  The Rev. Mr. Ganz performed the ceremony. 


Parents of the couple are Mr. and Mrs. Dan Ellison and Mr. and Mrs. Ollie Linster.


Beatrice Schefus of Waukesha was her sister’s matron-of-honor.  Bridesmaids were Mrs. Betty Gutenberger, Milwaukee, Carol Margelofsky, Hustisford and Linda Capelle, Loyal.  Junior Bridesmaid was Amy Linster of Plymouth, niece of the groom.


Best man was Dennis Schefus.  Groomsmen were Bob Gutenberger, Harold Boon, Gordon Ellison and David Linster.  Allen Linster and Floyd Clemens were ushers.


Mavis Rossow sang, accompanied at the organ by Margaret Ann Rottier.



The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.  Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. – Dwight D. Eisenhower



People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don’t believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw



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