Contributed by Halbert “Bud” Hardrath; transcribed by Crystal Wendt.



Thanks to the vision of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Wiedenhoeft in the early 1900’s, the site now occupied by “The Sword” in Colby was developed.


The location has a long history of being a dance hall, a nice park, and a baseball field. It served the community for approximately 14 years as “Wiedenhoeft’s Park”.


At the time of their marriage, the Wiedenhoeft’s purchased the parcel of land on the east side of Colby just beyond the Dehne Home. They farmed the land and Mr. Wiedenhoeft, being an outstanding carpenter, decided to build a large dance hall on the site. In 1912 the dance was opened to the delight of many area residents.


Mr. Wiedenhoeft continued to make a name for him self building many beautiful homes and churches in the Colby area; many still exist today.

The dance hall in the park turned into a center for community events in addition to dances, receptions and parties. The second phase of the site development included building a baseball field. Additional amenities turned the area into a real scenic park.


Over the years, many phases of community entertainment centered there. The Fourth of July celebration was always a big event, with a baseball game, entertainment and food galore. The menu included hamburgers, hot dogs and home-made ice cream churned out by Mrs. Wiedenhoeft by hand using portable freezing units.


Wisps in the air from the hot coffee and lemonade carried through into the evening hours and start of the dance.


“Wiedenhoeft’s Park” served the needs of people in many different ways; Countless reunions and wedding receptions were held there over the years. The park was the community hub for gathering of all kinds.



The Wiedenhoefts maintained the annual program of festivities until 1944. The aging owners became unable to do justice to the rigorous demands of the business.


For many years, the very best orchestra were contracted to perform at the dance hall. Many, including the Howie Struz Orchestra, were contracted at least in advance.


In 1944, the business was sold to Wiedenhoefts’ daughters and son-in-law. Mr. and Mrs. Wiedenhoeft retired to a beautiful home they constructed in the city of Colby.


Some years after the visionary owners passed away, the dance hall burned in a tragic fire. The group who purchased the property rebuilt the facility to replace the dance hall and renamed it “The Sword”.


“The Sword” is shown during its early days. The dance hall is located a block east of STH 13 on the northern edge of Colby.



Colby: Remembering Colby Park

Source: Scrap book one:  by Elsa Lange Hardrath & Dorthaleen Edwards Hardrath


Contributed by Halbert “Bud” Hardrath





To the Editor:


My aunt Celia Wiedenhoeft, Colby, was kind enough to send me the article you published two months ago on “The Sword”. I am the son of Bernie and Goldie Walter who purchased the facility from Herman and Anna Wiedenhoeft (my maternal grandparents) in 1944. My parents operated it as “Colby Park”, or simply “The Park”, until 1951, when I graduated from St. Mary’s Grade School.


They subsequently owned a similar facility in Bear Creek; then a motel in Neillsville (where I graduated from high school); and finally a resort on Lake Wissota, near Chippewa Falls, until 1970. They then enjoyed 25 years of wonderful retirement in Oceanside, Calif., until their passing in the mid-90’s.


I, as well as my sister, Marlene, Riverside, Calif., would be delighted to hear from anyone who remembers Bernie and Goldie and would like to share memories of times at “Colby Park” during those amazing post WWII years when my parents owned “The Park.”


Gerald Walter


Ranchos De Taos, NM


* * * *




To the Editor:


I feel honored to respond to the request of the Gerald Walter family for people to answer their article in this paper. We knew Herman and Anna Weidenhoeft and Bernie and Goldie Walter very well when they owned and operated the Weidenhoeft (Colby Park) for many years. I’m about the only musician left of the orchestras who used to play for them.


I remember when the music groups played on a stage when it was situated in the middle of the dance hall – 10 ft. up. I still don’t know how they ever got a piano up there for the Frank Kramer Orchestra and the Zayner Orchestra (from Cornell). It makes my very happy to reminisce over the good times we had there.


Our band played there for many weddings and anniversaries, including my parents 50th the lasted until the farmers were bringing the cows to the barn to be milked. Fun!


I had four brothers and a young uncle who played for my folks, the Albert Lindau’s golden wedding. Our band, Emil’s Band, played many jobs at that park but at that time we were called Mickey’s Entertainers.


The best thing about all this was the hamburgers that Herman and Bill Goose made and sold. They were so good to the band members.

All the ballgames played there were something too.


Lucille Daellenbach




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