Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

December 12, 2001

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days   

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News



December 1936


Leslie Cook, of the Town of Hewett, and some fellow hunters succeeded last week in killing “Old Stub-Toe.”  It was a deer whose tracks have been a matter of curiosity to forest visitors for several years.


It is reported that this deer was believed to be about 15 years old.  He had magnificent antlers, but one prong had been shot away.


His peculiar tracks by which he had long been known, was found to have been caused by one deformed foot, the deformity being evidently caused by an accident of some king, though he might possibly have been born with it.


F. O. Balch, who has been in the hardware business in Neillsville for the past 15 years, this week announced his retirement and is selling out his entire stock of goods and all fixtures at a sale starting Saturday.


The name of Balch has been identified with the merchandising history of this community for the last half century.  It began when F. A. Balch, father of Fred, opened a store about 1885, in partnership with his son, Rella.  The store was then located in the old North side store, now occupied by Nick Gangler.  A short time later, they occupied the building where John Kubat’s house on North Hewett Street now stands.  A few years later they moved into the building now occupied by the Balch Hardware store.


In the late 1890s, the elder Balch withdrew and Rella Balch and Bennie Tragsdorf went into partnership, opening a store where the Schultz Bros. store is now located.  A short time later they built the Big Store, now Zimmerman’s store.


F. O. Balch, who was on the road as a shoe salesman for years, went to Milwaukee in 1910 where he and Mrs. Balch operated a very successful millinery business until 1920 when they returned to Neillsville.  A year later, Balch bought out the hardware business from Powers & Wing.


The Odd fellows enjoyed a “homecoming” on Saturday evening at their hall and a fine time is reported.


There was a program of music.  Four songs were presented by the Neillsville High School Girls’ Glee Club, accompanied by Miss Christianson at the piano.  John Landry played several selections on his bass horn.  A lunch was served and cards were played.


There were members present from Chili, York Center and Lindsey.


The Kiwanis club had as its special guest of honor Monday night, C. C. Sniteman, Neillsville’s veteran druggist.  Also, with him were a group of the “elder statesmen” who for many years have been identified with the business and professional life of the city.  This group consisted of Justice A. E. Dudley, H. M. Root, Wm. Klopf, Chief of Police Fred Rossman, Herman Yankee, W. J. Marsh, J. F. Schuster, Dr. W. A. Leason, Geo. Sontag and Rev. G. W. Longenecker.


W. A. Campman, in charge of the program, did a little figuring out the separate and combined ages of these men all seated about a special table.  It was revealed that Root is the oldest, being well past 90 years of age, Sniteman a close second at 87, and Dudley, the youngest at 68. The combined age of the group is 843 years.


Mayor Stelloh, in a few well-chosen remarks, introduced Sniteman and his companions around the table.


Geo. E. Crothers spoke briefly on Sniteman’s business career and what it had meant to the community.  He emphasized the fact that he had early in life prepared himself thoroughly for his profession of pharmacy and had kept pace with the progress of science and methods in that profession.  Sniteman has always stood ready to help any enterprise that gave promise of helping the community.  The speaker also complimented the other men of the group for their spirit of youth and continued activity.


The rest of the evening’s program consisted of a number of movie reels put on by Archie Van Gorden.  He gave an explanatory talk tracing the Canadian hunting trip taken in September and October.  Van Gorden, was accompanied by Dr. Wm. Olson of Greenwood and Floyd Potts of Christie along with other hunters and guides who went into the vast region of mountains, forests and streams of Western Alberta. 


Nothing finer, nor of more intense interest than these films has ever been shown in Neillsville.  The hunting scenes are thrilling in the extreme, many of the feats verging not only upon the spectacular, but also dangerous.


Van Gorden has also unusual ability in describing the scenes caught by his camera thus making the program one of rare interest from start to finish.


The man on the flying trapeze who “floats through the air with the greatest of ease” had nothing on Frank Reinhard on Tuesday morning.  The automobile he was driving left the road near the A. D. Zittelman farm, south of town, and soared into space.  The car cleared one barbed wire fence, zoomed over a little hill, plowed through another fence and finally came to a halt against the third fence.


Neither the car nor Reinhard suffered the slightest damage, despite the fact that on the first jump the wheels did not touch the ground for 16 feet.  The flight stated (started) when Reinhard stepped on the brakes to round the curve; but instead of keeping to the road, the car skidded on the ice and started for the stratosphere.


In doing a series of articles about successful men in our area, one of those most prominent of this group is Henry Langreck.  Langreck lives two and one-half miles east of Neillsville on Willow Dale, a 100 acres farm.  He rents an additional 80 acres to enable him to carry out his farming operations on a larger scale.  The farm was a part of the 325 acre farm owned by his father. He purchased his land and erected the buildings in 1916 at which time he was married to Miss Mary Mueller.


They have seven children: Dorothy, Marie, and Harold who are at home; Herbert, Florence, and Catherine who attend the Reed School; not to forget Robert who is the adorable baby of the family.  Mrs. Mueller, the mother of Mrs. Langreck, also makes her home with them, a pleasant addition to the family.  This happy household is a pleasant home to visit.


Langreck has 45 head of Holstein cattle, the type he likes best, and he raises 150 White Leghorn chickens every year.  He has not raised hogs on such a large scale recently, but keeps enough for their own use.  He plans on entering into the field of a commercial enterprise, once again.


Some of his political views are quoted below:


Langreck feels that CCC camps are useful and that the planting of trees is a worthwhile project.  He thinks that it would be excellent if the CCC boys could be trained along the line of road improvement.


WPA work comes in for its share of approval, but he believes that the spending of some of the money should be investigated.  Many people who do not deserve relief come in for the lion’s share.  People who do work of this type of program should receive a fair, living wage and not a wage which scarcely takes care of the bare necessities.


Farm relief is a fine thing for the parties in real need.


One thing, Langreck feels the farmers should get together on the cooperative movement.  If the middle man could be eliminated, the prices to the consumers would be lower and the profit for the farmers would be larger.


There has been so much said about the condition of youth today, but Langreck takes the attitude which is singularly sympathetic.  He thinks that the root of all trouble is the young person’s home life, because someone coming from a home which exerts a proper influence over its members is going to be person of good character.


Langreck lies to read the newspapers and says he derived the greater portion of his education from reading.  The radio is the favorite means of entertainment in his home.  The home is equipped with many modern appliances and household aides among the most prominent of which are gaslights, running water and a washing machine.


So we close this series of articles on the successful farmers of this region with this last one on a truly “self-made” man.


The marriage of Miss Vera Beilke, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Beilke, Lynn, to Rudolph C. Riedel, son of Mrs. Anna Riedel, Town of Fremont took place on Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran parsonage.  Rev. William Baumann performed the ceremony.


The bride was attired in a pretty brown silk alpace with accessories to match.  The bridesmaid, Mrs. Louis Riedel, sister-in-law of the bridegroom wore a dress of rust crepe.  The best man was Louis Riedel, brother of the groom. 


A wedding dance and shower were given at the Granton Opera house on the evening of Dec. 15.


The young couple will make their home at the filling station at Chili Corners where the groom is employed.  Their many friends extend congratulations and good wishes.


A. E. Dudley and Will Klopf recently recalled early Neillsville days.


The sale of the Al Domensky estate to the Neillsville Milk Pool, as that firm’s intention is to enlarge its plant, brought to mind some history.


In a conversation over the transaction with a Neillsville businessman, he recalled some of the early history of that block.  Knowing that P.S. Dudley, the father of A. E. Dudley, present police justice for the city of Neillsville, was one of the early property owners in that section, Dudley was interviewed on the subject.


Will Klopf, another pioneer, was in Dudley’s office at the time and the two men gave the reporter a splendid picture of the scenes of yesteryear.


P. S. Dudley came to Neillsville with his family when Arthur was but six months old.  He erected a frame building for a harness shop where the Matt Marx building now stands.  The upper story of the building served as the dwelling for the family. Later, the elder Dudley bought the block mentioned above and there, built a home for his wife and children.  It is the brick structure located directly south of the old Walter Zbinden factory.  The balance of the land behind the house was used as pasture for the buggy horses and a cow.  (It is believed that the house mentioned still stands along Grand Avenue just north of the Laundromat. D.Z.)


At that time, according to Dudley and Klopf, the North side of the town was practically all timber land.  Dudley recalls being lost in the forest one day while on an errand for his father, until a kindly man found him and set his feet in the right direction.


Other incidents recalled were the Thayer building, then a frame structure used as a drug store by Lige and Henry Meyer.  It was later purchased by the fine young Charlie C. Sniteman, whose ability to earn, as an employee, the fabulous sum of $75 per month was the miracle of the day.  Sniteman and his wife lived over the store for a time, an outside stairway lead to the flat.


The old school house, where Dudley received his early training, stood one door west of the W. J. Marsh store.  The school was a frame building and was removed only a few years ago.


The chime clock at the corner brought us back to the present age and reminded us that is was time to be on our way.


Pastures and lawns have taken on a green appearance during the past few days.  It is the result of the warm weather and recent rain showers.  Country roads are quite muddy.


There has been one marriage license application recorded at the court house this week.  It is that of Paul A. Oblack and Irene G. Zager, from the Town of Hendren.


Last week the final steps were taken in transferring the title of the fair grounds to the county and leasing the same back to the Clark County Agricultural Society.


This property consisting of 45 acres of fine land, a race course, baseball grounds, grandstand and an excellent set of buildings is valued at more than $20,000.  The roadways are graveled and there are two good wells.  This is one of the finest county fairgrounds in the state.  It now becomes the property of Clark County and is clear of debt with leasehold rights being passed on to the Society.


We receive three educations, one from our parents, one from our schoolmaster, and one from the world.  The third contradicts all that the first two teach us. – Montesquieu


The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense. – Arnold Bennett



Sniteman’s Drug Store was referred to as the Silver Front Drug Store at the turn of the century.  The interior, with its glass-enclosed counters, was the style of the late 1800s.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ collection)



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