Donated by Linda Mott
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In the past hundred years, tremendous changes have taken place in every community in the United States. In Barron County it was the wonderful forest which first attracted white men in large numbers. For forty years after 1860, logging and the work done by sawmill and woodworking crews made up the chief activities carried on in Barron County. During the last 15 years of this period agriculture began to be important. After 1900, agriculture rapidly developed and became the basic industry of this county. As years went by, high bred and pure bred dairy cattle made this county one of the most famous dairy regions in the United States.
To adequately relate the great changes that have taken place in this community during the past 100 years and give credit to all those who made a worthy contribution is of course impossible. All those who toiled here for a short or long period of time made some contribution in makingthis community what it is today.
The founders of any community are always important. Somebody, obviously must start a settlement, if a community is to follow. These first settlers must be given much credit for their efforts. In later years some men and women stand out in their activities in keeping a community developing and moving forward. Many of these are worthy of mention.
In a very limited space only the details and events which seem of most consequence, may be recorded. No two writers would select all the same details. They would probably agree on many of the main topics.
We hope that this account will, in large measure, meet with your approval. Those who have worked on this account have given much time in trying to bring out a work with some merit. We certainly wish to thank all those who assisted us in gathering material.
The Chinese tell us; "One picture
is worth a thousand words." We thoroughly agree with this bit of wisdom.
We have included many pictures from early years and some from later years.
These pictures show emphatically how life in this community has changed,
over the years. Many of our older citizens should find some of these pictures
of the years around 1900, of great
With kindest regards, we now pass this work along for your consideration.
Arthur S. Felien
Ben J. Becker
Mayor Everett E. Lightner
The Red Men
(This article, not politically correct in today's world, shows the attitude of early European settlers towards the Native Americans that lived and thrived in Barron County. I apologize for the sentiments of my ancestors in a land that was not even theirs.)
Long before Columbus discovered America we are quite sure what is now Wisconsin and Barron County was the home of many thousands of Indians. Hundred of lakes provided excellent fishing and vast areas of forest lands provided the best hunting. For the Indians' way of life in Wisconsin had a great deal to offer.
The first Indians to live in Barron County were probably the Mound Builders. Some scholars believe they were immediate ancestors of the Dakota or Sioux Indians. Mounds may still be seen in Chetek, Rice Lake and Cedar Lake areas.
Before the white man came the Sioux and Chippewa tribes had fought many savage battles along the Red Cedar River and on the shores of Prairie Lake for possession of Barron County. The Chippewa Indians after much warfare finally had their headquarters south of Lake Superior while their bitter enemies, the Sioux, had their headquarters in the Mille Lacs region of Northern Minnesota.
The two commodities, found in Barron County, which were of great value to the Indian were wild rice and pipe stone.
For many years after white men came to Barron County Indians were tolerated. There was some intermarriage between white men and Indian women. In lumbering days there was a large village near Almena. It was one of the last villages to die out.
Indians became somewhat of a nuisance in time by begging and pilfering. When they learned to drink the white man's whiskey they even became a menace and committed some murders among their own members and threatened some whites.
On January 1, 1878 the county board requested secretary of the Interior, Carl Schurz, to remove the Indians from Barron County to a reservation. Later most of them were moved to Courte Orilles reservation.
Many white Frenchmen from Canada visited Barron County as explorers, fur traders and missionaries long before 1860. These are familiar names; Radisson, Grosseilliers, Alloues, Marquette, Joliet, Perrot and Daniel du Luth.
In the Beginning
One hundred years ago, John Quaderer, then 31 years old, arrived on what is now the site of the City of Barron. He was born in Switzerland in 1829 and came to America in 1852.
In 1860 the outbreak of the
tragic Civil War was still one year away and Wisconsin had become a state
only 12 years before (1848). What is now Barron County and the areas which
surrounded it was a vast wilderness of giant white pines and hardwood forests.
John Quaderer was a foreman employed by Knapp Stout and Company. Like all large organizations this lumber firm started in a small way and as the years went by, it grew into an industrial giant. It established sawmills at Rice Lake, Menomonie, Dubuque, Iowa, and at St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1873 this firm owned 115,000
acres of pine lands along the Chippewa and Menomonie Rivers. In 1879-1880
it added another 100,000 acres to its holdings. Some of this land was purchased
from the Government for $1.25 per acre. At one time this firm operated
six farms in Dunn and Barron Counties totaling about 7,000 acres to produce
vegetables, pork and flour
to feed its hungry crews.
In one year its busy saw mills produced 55,000,000 feet of lumber, 20,000,000 shingles and 20,000,000 lath and pickets.
Twelve hundred men were on the payroll of its logging and saw mill crews. Company stores in 1873 sold $750,000 worth of merchandise. In the 1870s Knapp Stout and Company was reputed to be the largest lumber company in the world. It carried on operations in Barron County and adjacent counties for over 50 years.
Mr. Quaderer built a logging camp on the south bank of Quaderer Creek and opposite what is now the Court House Square, and also a small company store. In 1874 he also built a hotel which was known as the Quaderer House, for many years. For a while its upper floor was used as a court house. Mr. Quaderer acquired title to much land along Quaderer Creek and the Yellow River. His name probably appears on nearly all abstracts involving real estate in the City of Barron.
In 1876 he gave the block now called "Court House Square" to Barron County to be used for the location of a Court House. The first court house, built on Court House Square, was built in 1876. It was a frame building and faced Quaderer Creek. N.M. Rockman and his bride, early pioneers, used part of this building as a home, for some time. In this year Charles S. Taylor was appointed District Attorney. For a time he and his wife lived in a small log cabin. In later years N.M. Rockman served as Barron County treasurer for a period of 21 years.
The first county jail was completed in 1879. It was located on the North side of La Salle Avenue across the street from the present court house. This jail was a two story frame building and cost $800. The Sheriff's family occupied the second floor.
On July 2, 1876, Charles S. Taylor wrote the following letter to his wife shortly after he arrived here. He wrote from Rice Lake, then called Rice Lake Mills.
"At Barron there is a hotel (a good large one painted white and tolerably furnished inside, in which are the county offices, two rooms); and a large new barn belonging to the hotel. Across the road is a little store in which is also a postoffice. There are two small, new residences, one of hewn logs and the other a frame, I believe. The county house is now being erected, it is all enclosed. There is a blacksmith shop, small, and about a half mile away, a homesteader's house. This comprises the sum total of the seat of justice of the County of Barron.
The place is in the midst of woods, except that the owners of the place, has perhaps, cleared.
But oh, what a difficult 'get-at-able place' it is. Sixteen miles of almost unbroken woods from Prairie Farm. Then such roads, mud and ruts, pine stumps and oak. On the way are quite a number of homesteaders little clearings and one schoolhouse, also the old S.K. Young schoolhouse, northeast of Prairie Farm.
The timbered land between Prairie Farm and Barron is considerably over half hardwood, of great density and beauty, the rest is either pine or pine and hardwood mixed, with considerable pine clearing. A marked peculiarity of the pine lands here is that the soil is excellent on most of them, the hardwood lands are all good, of course. Between Rice Lake and Barron, twelve miles, over half the distance is heavily wooded with hardwood, part of the distance is covered with pine, or has been so covered, with part of the land of a light soil."
Some time after Mrs. Taylor arrived here she wrote:
"Picture to yourselves a little hamlet in the woods, having a hotel and a tiny store across Quaderer Creek and on this side a new frame courthouse just ready for occupancy, a small printing office where the Barron County Shield was started October 10, 1876, a saloon, and two or three dwellings. On the courthouse grounds, around the dwellings and in the streets were trees and pine stumps. All north and east of the courthouse square was forest, there was not even a street opened there."
"Lest We Forget"
One hundred years ago Barron County was a wilderness of gigantic white pines and hardwood trees through which the red man roamed. To this wilderness came the first settlers, sturdy men and women who were called the pioneers. These resolute men and women laid the foundation of this great country of ours, in this community and in thousands of other communities. There could never have been a United States of America without the work done by these courageous men and women.
They settled in a wilderness and suffered want and privation. They spent years of gruelling labor and hardship, often with little reward. Comforts were very few; luxuries, there were none. For many years there was no medical aid for miles and miles.
Why did they refuse to return
to the places from whence they came when they found so much hardship and
suffering in the wilderness? Because they were true pioneers with the genuine
pioneer spirit. They did not "put their hand to the plow and then turn
back." They were men and women of faith and vision. They could "see beyond
the years." They toiled faithfully
through the weary years so that their children and grandchildren might inherit the promise. We, who live here today, owe these men and women our undying gratitude.
In our limited space we cannot
mention the names of all those who made a worth contribution in laying
the foundation of this community. Indeed, we know the names of only a comparatively
few from available records. We know there were hundreds of them in the
Barron City limits and in the farm areas surrounding Barron.
After the lumbermen had completed their labors a tremendous amount of hard work was required to free the land of huge stumps and brush. Barron County became a famous farming area only after many years of arduous toil by thousands of men and women. Some wise man once said: "No nation is any stronger than the men who own and till its soil." The basic wealth of
Barron County lies in the fertility of the soil of its thousands of farms. The men and women who acquired these farms proved themselves not only industrious but also progressive and intelligent as well. They were willing to learn new and better methods of farming as years went by. From years before 1900 they began to build up dairy herds of high grade and pure-bred cattle. In time Barron County was known far and wide for its excellent dairy stock, not only in this country, but in many foreign lands, also. For 50 years and more its entries at state and national dairy shows have won hundreds of blue ribbon prizes.
Roads and Life in Early Days
By our standards we would not
call the rutted trails over which the wagons of the early days moved so
slowly, roads at all. Knapp Stout and Company had to bring in supplies
and equipment for its workers and they made their tote roads only good
enough so their supply wagons could be moved. The branch roads were little
more than trails. Maybe in the worst, low places,
a small log would be thrown down to prevent the load from sinking deeper into the mire. Occasionally a large stump might be removed but more likely the trail went around the larger stumps to avoid time and effort of removing them.
The tote roads, of course, lead only to a few of the settled communities and to the chief logging camps. In early days supplies had to be brought from Menomonie, Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire by wagons drawn by horses, mules and oxen. A trip from Menomonie to Rice Lake Mills, required three days.
In the earliest days men gathered at Menomonie in the late fall where was located the headquarters of Knapp Stout and Company. They came from near and far; some from Europe, some from Canada, some from the older states and some from Wisconsin. When they hired out to the lumber company and were in one of its scores of camps they were completely at the mercy of that company because the food and other supplies for miles and miles were entirely owned by the company. In the dead of the winter a man might face starvation if he defied his employers as it was a difficult feat of endurance to walk 30 or 40 miles without food to reach a settlement where food and shelter might be obtained. The company superintendents and foremen gave orders and exacted obedience. To run a logging camp in those days probably required a system such as this.
There was no squabbling over the length of the work day. Mother nature settled that; from dawn till dusk. Teamsters put in a longer day; their animals required attention before dawn and after darkness. The food in the lumber camps probably was not of great variety but it was substantial and plentiful. A lumber camp was no place for a weakling. Only sturdy men of great stamina could endure the physical toil in these early lumber camps.
In time men began to acquire land within the county. They would build a cabin in the forest and clear some land around it. They would then bring in their families. In the summers the men would clear more and more land around their cabins and raise whatever produce they could to provide for their families. In the winter the men left their families and went to work in the logging camps. This gave them additional income to meet living expenses. In time there were many small farms in the county.
Some families in the beginning
did not own any animals and had only a few tools; maybe an axe, a shovel
and a hoe. Many men had to carry in supplies for many miles from the nearest
tote roads or from company stores located in lumber camps. In time maybe
a cow and a couple of mules or oxen were acquired and life began to be
somewhat better. The lumber company had
hundreds of animals and sometimes sold some of them to those who had the means to buy them. Today with tens of thousands of dairy cattle within this county it is almost impossible for us to realize that in those early days cattle could hardly be found anywhere in the county.
Industries of Early Days
An ancient maxim declares: "The way to wealth depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money but make the best use of both".
We can be sure that the men and women who settled here in the early days and laid the foundation of this community believed and practised the principles stated in this quotation. Getting started must have seemed at times, an almost insurmountable task. Less dauntless spirits would have given up in despair. We know they did carry on with faith and determination and we know they did succeed.
F.H. Perkins built the second sawmill on the Yellow River a little southeast of Barron in 1863. In 1869 Bracklin Neville Company also started to build a saw mill on the same river also southeast of Barron city limits. It was not completed. It is of interest only because the State legislature designated this site as the first county seat of Dallas (later Barron) County, in 1868.
In 1878 J.J. Smith and Nelson
Carpenter built a saw mill on the site where the old electric power and
pumping plant is now located. Speed brothers later operated this mill.
In 1881 George Parr, John Post and P.J. Parr acquired this plant. They
rebuilt the mill, reconstructed the dam and installed new machinery. The
capacity was 30,000 feet per day; shingle mill
35,000 per day. There were a planer, lathe and picket machines. Later this plant operated under the name of George Parr and Son.
In 1884 Charles S. and Jared
W. Taylor built a dam where the lower dam is now located. There was a head
of 8 feet of water.
They also built a flour mill and a woolen mill near the dam. There was
sufficient water power to run both mills. The flour mill had a capacity
of 100 barrels per day. The woolen mill not only made woolen fabrics, but
also made woolen clothing
which was badly needed in the severe winters of those days. These garments were sold for miles around in this area. The flour (roller) mill was operated by Jared Taylor and the woolen mill by Charles S. Taylor.
On cold winter mornings in the nineties, there would often be 100 sleigh loads of logs, all going to the saw mills and wood working plants in Barron.
In 1886 W.B. Judd built a large saw and stave mill; capacity, 40,000 staves per day. In the same year J.W. McKeson built a stave and heading factory; capacity, 25,000 staves and 10,000 headings per day. In 1891 E.N. Stebbins Sr. built another stave and heading mill.
Scores and hundreds of men found employment in these various industries during their many years of operation. This community owes much to the resourcefulness and initiative of these early settlers who established these industries here so long ago.
The Coming of the Railroads
An old saying declares; "Twenty miles from a railroad civilization goes back one hundred years". No doubt this saying was true up to forty years ago. The coming of automobiles and trucks along with good roads have made this saying obsolete.
In 1882 the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railroad built their tracks through Cameron and northward to Rice Lake and Spooner. Later this railroad reached Superior and Duluth. Barron was then only six miles from a railroad.
One day, about the third week in July, way back in 1884 there was much celebration and rejoicing in Barron. On that day, track laying crews working east from Turtle Lake reached Barron. This "Soo" railroad gave Barron rail connections with St. Paul and Minneapolis and later on with points to the East. The first depot was built on 7th Street.
In those early days a railroad
was of tremendous value to a community. It meant that vital supplies could
be bought in quickly and cheaply. On the other hand whatever products a
community might have for sale could be shipped out to markets where these
products were needed. No wonder that states, counties and settled communities
offered inducements of great value
to railroad companies in an effort to get them to build railroads where they were so desperately needed.
In 1900 the Menomonie, Dallas and Rice Lake Railroad laid tracks from Barron to Ridgeland. This railroad known for years as the "Blueberry", is a branch of the "Soo" railroad.
It was especially important to the villages, Hillsdale, Dallas and Ridgeland, to the south ofBarron.
1908 the substantial Soo depot which is located along the tracks east of
N. Third Street, was built. A few weeks ago the last passenger train passed
through Barron. Automobiles and buses have made the passenger business
on hundreds of trains a losing proposition, for many years. A sawmill cannot
be operated without logs, --passenger trains cannot be run
Today, railroads may seem far less important than they were some fifty years ago. This is no doubt true. However, we must never forget the tremendous part they played during the development and growth of this nation of ours. The incredible and amazing achievements, in this state and nation during the past one hundred years, would not have been possible without railroads.
The first newspaper published in Barron was the Barron County Gazette. The first issue came out in 1874 and the publishers were C.W. Carpenter and W.L. Abbott. In 1875 this paper was moved to Rice Lake and the name was changed to the Rice Lake Chronotype. On November 1, 1876 A. Dewey started publishing the Barron County Shield here. On November 1, 1879 Walter speed and Company purchased this paper. From this date until 1905 there were only three men who gained destiny of this newspaper; Walter Speed, Charles S. Taylor and Thomas Dovery.
The Barron County News was first published in 1900. Its first name was the Weekly Call. The first editor was Fred W. Haislet. In 1903 the paper was sold to C.W. Andrews and the name was changed to the Barron County News. In June 1904 N.S. Gordon purchased this paper.
Other owners of the Shield from 1905-1918 were W.R. Hotchkiss, F.B. Gessler and Durnell and Dretzke. August F. Ender purchased the paper in 1914. On November 1, 1918 N.S. Gordon brought the Shield and consolidated the two papers under the name of the Barron County News-Shield. In 1920 Mr. Gordon bought the subscription list of the Prairie Farm Breeze and these subscribers from then on received the Barron County News-Shield.
In 1926 Ray C. Peck and J.W. Grant purchased the News-Shield. In 1935 Grant sold his interest to Roy Holman. Peck and Holman continued publication until 1940 when they sold the paper to E.H. Stern. In 1943 he formed a partnership with his brother, Julius stern, and Clarence Seidl.
Since 1940 the plant has been much enlarged and modern up-to-date presses have been installed. The circulation has been increased from 2,000 to 2,700. The publishers do a big business in the field of job printing and have customers not only in Wisconsin but from points in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.
The Barron County Republican was published here from 1884 to 1904. During these years the publishers were: J.H. Williams and Son, J.J. Smith & Jay Williams, Barrage & Hudson and W.A. Coe. In 1904 the paper was moved to Dallas.
L.A. Goodrich came here in 1926 and published the Barron Tribune for 2 years. This paper was consolidated with the Barron County News-Shield.
Barron Public Library
The men's club established
the first public library in Barron in 1909. It was located on the second
floor of the post office building near the corner of Third Street and La
Salle Ave.. Soon there was a collection of second hand books and magazines.
Some periodicals were subscribed for as soon as funds would permit. In
1912 the library was moved over Radermacher's store.
In this year Andrew Carnegie agreed to donate $6500 for a library building. In February 1913 the fine brick building was completed at the corner of Third Street and Division Avenue.
In July 1909 the City assumed maintenance and began appropriating money annually for the operation of the library. Mrs. T.J. Powell was the first librarian and served until 1913. Mrs. Isabelle Young was the second librarian and served from May 1913 to August 1920. On September 1, 1920 Mrs. Josephine Anderson became librarian and held the position for 23 years. She was succeeded by Doris Pitzer in 1943. She served until July 1958 when the present librarian, Laura Edson, took charge.
On January 1, 1960 there were 9,937 books in the library. For 1960 the City Government appropriated $7,635 for operation of the library. A total of 38,492 books were borrowed from the library in 1959. During 1960, $800 will be spent for new books and $136 for magazines.
On October 25, 1929 the 20th anniversary was observed. Open house for visitors was from 10 A.M. to 10 P.M.. At that time there were 5680 bound volumes in the library.
C.C. Coe was the first president. John W. Soderberg was president in 1925 and George Borum was secretary and treasurer. Some of the directors of past years were; John E. Brown, Mrs. Laura Stebbins, Mrs. K.E. Thompson and Henry Radermacher.
At present Mrs. Ralph Uehlin is president and Mrs. Elsie Adams is secretary.
A Fire Disaster
On October 16, 1908 Barron suffered its greatest disaster by fire. At 9:35 P.M. fire was discovered in the Gordon Bakery on Third Street. The fire department soon had three streams of water pouring into the building. However the fire had not been discovered until it was burning fiercely and furthermore a strong south wind was blowing.
Soon the Hood building to the North caught fire and also J.W. Heffner's hardware store. George Post's grocery store and W.F. Horstmann's furniture store and Heffner's opera house all went up in flames. Another large structure which burned was the Commercial Hotel. The Shell Oil Station on Division Ave., now occupies this site.
Good work by the fire department saved the Baptist Church and the homes of Charles Myer, J.W. Thompson, John West, Dr. W.H. Ellis and J.R. Ferris. Nelson Stebbins fell from the Morris barn and suffered a broken arm, while fighting the fire. The fire was under control by midnight.
Thirteen families lost their homes, five business places were destroyed and also the hotel. The total loss was $67,000. Insurance coverage was $23,732. Our older citizens will remember that fearful night.
Barron Cooperative Creamery
The Barron Cooperative Creamery
was organized at a meeting of stockholders January 18, 1902. The following
officers were elected; J.E. Bowen, president; William Bartlett, vice president;
W.L. Brown, secretary; George Brown, treasurer; directors; J.P. Crowley,
E.E. Joyce, J.E. DeWolfe, Paul Paulson, and J.E. Wichern. The organization
was capitalized at $3,000. The
directors bought the old creamery plant, a wooden building, from N.M. Rockman on February 25, 1902. For the past 58 years this plant has had a remarkable and steady growth. In large measure the growth and prosperity of Barron and the surrounding farm areas has been dependent upon the growth and efficient operation of this organization since the turn of the century.
In 1902 there were 70 patrons and only 61,454 pounds of butter fat were received. In 1951, fifty years later, the plant received 3,832,891 pounds of butter fat from almost 1,000 patrons. During the first 20 years of operation this creamery produced nearly 19 million pounds of butter. During part of this time some other milk products besides butter were produced.
In 1927, this plant received 16,890,390 pounds of whole milk; in 1951 it received 90,971,538 pounds of whole milk. In 1902, 70,416 pounds of butter was the total production for the year. In 1952 this much butter was produced in 3 days.
In 1907 a modern brick plant 48 by 72 feet was built. Later this was enlarged to 59 by 130 feet. This is now called the "B" plant. In 1927 the Grade "A" plant was built and the plant began receiving whole milk from its patrons. Now the output includes butter, 2 types of powdered milk, condensed milk, and plastic cream.
Much of the whole milk goes to Chicago. Some milk trucks go as far south as El Paso, Texas.
This creamery meets the rigid systems of inspection required by the Chicago Board of Health and the U.S. Public Health Service. Only milk of the highest quality can be marketed in large cities.
In 1918 the plant began drying buttermilk and later both dried skim milk and dried whole milk were added to the production. Needless to say the processes of pasteurization, homogenization and vitamin enriching have long been in operation in this plant. The products from this creamery are sold all over the United States and in many foreign lands.
Not only has the plant been expanded as more room was required, but new, up-to-date machinery has been introduced as soon as it became available. Over the years many visitors have come to Barron to study and observe this efficient, modern, successful plant in operation. Many of them wished to start milk processing plants elsewhere.
During the 59 years of the life of this organization five men have held the important position of manager. J.E. Bowen served two terms, 1902-1909 and 1927-1934. A.W. Arndt served from 1909-1927. Lloyd Nelson and Arnold Elkin served from 1934-1955. There was one employee in 1902; today there are sixty. The wonderful success of this organization has been due to the ability and hard work of these men and the directors and also to the devotion and loyalty of the hundreds of employees, over the years, who have done their daily tasks faithfully and well.
Today 11 tank trucks and 18 can trucks bring the milk from the farms to the plant. The plant furnishes steam heat for both the junior and senior high schools, and also for the new Methodist Church and Barron Community Memorial Hospital. In 1959 the Barron Cooperative Creamery paid its patrons almost three and three fourths million dollars, for whole milk.
The record of city government for Barron dates back to 1887 on April 5, when the first election was held, following the incorporation on March 31, of that year. Ed C. Coleman, father of Dr. Harry Coleman, was elected Mayor; George Parr, President of the Council; John Quaderer who had figured so prominently in the earlier history of the city, was elected alderman and supervisor of Ward One of the four wards then forming the city. Henry K. Olson was elected City Clerk.
The first meeting was held
two weeks later on April 19, at which time the regular meeting dates were
set and certain salaries were set and also bonding requirements to be met.
At this time the clerk's salary was set at $100 per year. The street commissioner
was to receive $1.50 per day for a 10 hour work day; if he used a team
he was to receive an additional $1.50
per day. Subsequent meetings were held until the end of the first year for the first elected officers, to set up the many ordinances and regulations required.
Mayor Coleman served until the even year election the following April in 1888. At this time John Quaderer was elected for the first full two year term. Each of the subsequent mayors served only one term until Joseph T. Atwater served two terms from 1906-1910.
John Anderson served the most years as Mayor of the city. He served 4 complete 2 year terms and all but 8 months of his fifth term. His total time was not served consecutively, however, as he and John West alternated during the 10 years beginning in 1924.
When Mr. Anderson resigned in August, 1937, he was succeeded by the Council President, LA. Goodrich. He served until the following April which is the shortest term in the city's history.
It was in the 1938 election that Emil Fligel, who is presently serving as alderman of the third ward and President of the Council, was first elected. He was served consecutively since and has served in that capacity longer than any other man in the city's history.
There are three ex-Mayors of the City of Barron who are still living; Mr. T.J. Thompson, Mr. A.P. Stebbins and Mr. John E. Hoar. Mr. Thompson is retired, Mr. Stebbins is still actively engaged in the drug business as he has been in the past 54 years. Mr. Hoar is presently principal of the new senior high school of this city. Mr. E.N. Stebbins, who was the father of A.P. Stebbins served as Mayor from 1898 to 1900.
During the 6 years Mr. T.J.
Thompson was Mayor, the city purchased the land that is now our city park;
Main Street (La Salle Avenue) received a heavy fill of gravel along with
some other streets; a large scale sidewalk installation was carried out
and the concrete bridges on North Mill and North 7th Street were built
across the Yellow River, besides other regular
World War One occurred while Mr. Thompson was Mayor.
Mr. A.P. Stebbins served as
Mayor of Barron for a period of 8 years. During this time the city park
was much improved. The W.P.A. provided labor for constructing the dam,
the bath-house and the cook-house. The new city power and light plant was
built on east Division Avenue and a new diesel engine installed there.
Other general city improvements were also carried out.
World War Two occurred while Mr. Stebbins was Mayor.
John E. Hoar served 8 years
in the post war period (1946-1954) and during this time the bridge across
Quaderer Creek on Memorial Drive was built; the new sewage disposal plant
was built; the Woodland Elementary School was built. At this time the Memorial
Athletic Field came into being and Munsingwear decided to locate in Barron.
There was a new plat that came
into the city and the usual general city improvements were made.
The present Mayor is Everett E. Lightner who is in the real estate and insurance business. During the time he has served (from 1954 to present) the council has approved the planning Commission's entire re-zoning of the city; a new 30 bed hospital has been built; the first plat with contour sheets developed; the Wisconsin State Animal Lab located here; a new $45,000 city shop built; addition of 10 acres to Wayside Cemetery, platted and improved; 5th Street bridge widened and a new foot bridge built in the city park and another deep well has been added to the city water system.
The city has grown slowly in the past 40 years. The council is composed of 4 aldermen, the same as it was at the first meeting in 1887. However, problems of today are probably a little more complex and more of them than 73 years ago. This is borne out by the fact that a lot more space and help is needed to carry out the functions of every facet of the local government.
Officials, City of Barron, 1960
Everett E. Lightner...............................................Mayor
Roy Kuhnley.................................................City Clerk
Gus Hoglund.............Alderman & Supervisor, 1st Ward
Everyl Cook.............Alderman & Supervisor, 2nd Ward
E.J. Fligel....President of Council & Alderman, 3rd Ward
F.H. Helland...................................Alderman, 4th Ward
Cecil Erwin............................................Chief of Police
Hugh Fleagle...........................................City Assessor
Morris Johnson......................................City Treasurer
The Barron City Council has met in various places since the incorporation of the city. The first meeting place was C.D. Coe's law office which was on the upper floor of the old Bank of Barron building, on the northeast corner of the intersection of Third Street and La Salle Avenue. The city fire hall was built in 1907, during Mayor Atwater's term of office. The council held its meetings there until the City Hall was built in 1932. Since then the meetings have been held in City Hall.
Population -- City of Barron
In 1890, 829; in 1900, 1493; in 1910, 1449; in 1920, 1623; in 1930, 1863; in 1940, 2059; in 1950, 2355.
Barron Post Office
The first post office in Barron was located in the Johnson House on the north shore of the Yellow River and some distance below the lower dam. It was established in 1868 and S.P. Barker was the first postmaster. James Bracklin, who was a superintendent for Knapp Stout and Company, carried the mail from Barron to and from Menomonie.
In 1869 the Johnson House was designated as county headquarters and this spot as long been called "the old county seat." The county board ruled that one-fourth of the Johnson House should be used for the post office.
In 1872 John Quaderer became postmaster and he moved the post office to his house south of Quaderer Creek. In 1881 John Conner was appointed postmaster. He had a helper, J.J. Smith. They established the office in their store at the head of Third Street until 1885. They then moved their store and post office to a new location on the northeast corner of Fourth and La Salle Streets. The next postmaster was Benjamin Harrison. He moved the office to a place near the northwest corner of Fifth and La Salle Streets.
Jared W. Taylor became the next postmaster. He left Mrs. Harrison in charge of operating the office much of the time. When J.J. Smith took the office he moved it to a location near the northeast corner of La Salle and Third Streets. H.G. Ellsworth followed J.J. Smith. The next man to hold the office was Fred B. Kinsley and he served for 12 years. K.E. Thompson held the office for 4 years. A.J. Osborne followed and served for 6 years. Lester B.West was the next post master. He served for 12 years, 1920-1932. A.J. Osborne was postmaster from 1932-1941. Charles R. Lawton served as postmaster from November 1941 until 1957. Golden Barritt has been postmaster since 1957.
Golden M. Barritt--started as sub clerk in December, 1930, regular clerk May, 1935; assistant postmaster, 1956, acting postmaster, April 1957; postmaster April 1958.
Frank G. Thompson--started as sub clerk May, 1922; regular clerk April, 1925; transferred to rural carrier, January, 1955; now serving as rural carrier on Route 1.
Verl L. Maas--Started as sub clerk January, 1936; transferred to rural carrier January, 1955; now serving as rural carrier on Route 2.
Edwin A. Ostenson--Served as sub city carrier March, 1949; regular carrier May, 1952; transferred to clerk January, 1955; promoted to assistant postmaster May, 1958; presently serving in that position.
Philip H. Barritt--Started as sub carrier March, 1948; regular carrier January, 1958; presently serving in that position.
Gordon J. Anderson--Started as city carrier January, 1955; transferred to clerk, January, 1958; presently serving in that position.
Frederic H. Stair--Started as sub clerk--carried in December, 1951; presently serving in that position.
Victor C. French--Started as a sub city carrier January, 1958; presently serving in that position.
Philip D. Ward--Started as sub city carrier 1959; presently serving in that position.
Clarence R. Place--Started as clerk about 1917, served as clerk and assistant postmaster until retirement in 1956.
Others who served in the post office for a period of years between 1900 and 1935 were J.E. Burton, Louise Burton and Leonard Weisensel.
Wm. Johnson, Donald Johnson
and Herbert Voll served as mail messengers hauling mail to and from the
Some of the Star Route carriers who hauled mail to and from the towns in the southern part of Barron County were Ray Stalker, Eddie Anderson, Orville Anderson, Herman Dietert and Robert Dietert.
City delivery service started in Barron in March, 1949, with Edwin Ostenson and DeWayne Stokes as carriers. Present carriers are Philip Barrit and Victor French.
Rural delivery service from Barron started December 1, 1903. Routes were established at that time by interested persons securing signatures to petition from people that would be served. They were then appointed carriers. Four rural routes were established at that time with the following carriers:
Route 1--Wm. Hood
Route 2--Silas Speed
Route 3--Claude Edwards
Route 4--Roy Mason
Harry Harbaugh was appointed substitute carrier November 15, 1905, serving as such on all routes until 1910 when he became regular carrier on Route 4 and served as rural carrier until his retirement August 31, 1954.
Other rural carriers in the early years of the service were, Dr. Wm. Ellis, Maude Stoddard and Ansel Atwater on Route 1. Ansel Atwater transferred to Route 2 following the death of Silas Speed, and Ed Pecore became carrier on Route 1.
Andrew Eckland became carrier on Route 2, following Ansel Atwater in 1921, and continued as rural carrier until his retirement in 1954.
Alfred E. Coons became carrier on Route 3 in 1915, and served until he retired in 1948.
Maude Bartlett Kolb followed Roy Mason as carrier on Route 4, and served until 1910 when Harry Harbaugh took over that route.
Route 2 and 3 were consolidated in 1934, Andrew Eckland taking Route 1, Alfred Coons Route 2, and Harry Harbaugh Route 3, Ed Pecore resigning at that time.
Following Alfred Coons retirement in 1948, the three routes were further consolidated by giving the south portion of Route 2 to Hillsdale and dividing the remainder of the 3 routes into 2 parts which constitute the present Routes 1 and 2.
Following retirement of Andrew Eckland and Harry Harbaugh the routes were carried by temporary carriers for short periods until Frank Thompson and Verl Maas were transferred from clerk positions to rural carriers.
Badger Turkey Industries, Inc.
Some young men and women have a hard time deciding what they wish to make their life work or career. Others may make a decision while in their early teens and then go forward with determination and great energy to reach the goals, whatever they may be.
Wallace H. Jerome belongs in the latter group. In grade school he developed an interest in poultry raising. In high school he won honors in 4-H club work in this field. In 1936 he was a member on the University of Minnesota poultry judging team which won national honors. He completed his poultry study at the University of Wisconsin and received his degree in 1941.
In 1941 Jerome Turkey Farm was formed by Wallace Jerome. He bought the 200 acre, Barron County old people's home, farm, and in 1942 raised 15,000 turkeys there. This organization conducts turkey growing operations for Jerome's flocks and for flocks which other farmers raise in partnership with Jerome. The birds were processed at the farm and for a time were sold to Chicago commission merchants. Later, part of the output was sold through the Norbest Turkey Grower's Association, a very large marketing cooperative.
As the years went by and more and more turkeys were processed, the plant at the farm was no longer adequate. In 1950, Mr. Jerome bought the idle canning factory in Barron. He completely remodeled it and enlarged it and installed the most up-to-date equipment so now there is no finer turkey processing plant anywhere. To provide the enormous quantities of feed needed for so many birds, he erected a huge elevator which rises to a height of 168 feet and holds 180,000 bushels. In 1953 he entered the hatching operation, and in 1959 hatched over 2 1/2 million poults.
Birds pass through the plant at the rate of 40 per minute and each is processed in one half hour. They are packed in slush ice for 12 hours to remove the body heat and then pass through a blast-freezing tunnel where it is 40 degrees below zero.
The output of this plant increased, amazingly, year by year. Two and one half million birds were processed in this one plant in 1959. This is 800 car loads (more than 31,000,000 live pounds). The total payroll for Badger Turkey Industries, Inc., Jerome Turkey Hatchery Inc., and Jerome Turkey Farms Inc., totaled $841,552 in 1959. Growers in Wisconsin and Minnesota were paid about $7,000,000. These firms paid $29,939 in property taxes to the city of Barron and about $100,000 was paid for water, electricity and sewer fees in 1959.
Barron Fire Department
Way back in 1887 at a special
election, Barron citizens voted to spend a sum not to exceed $1500 to purchase
fire apparatus for the city. On November 16, 1887, John Post bought a fire
engine at Beloit, Wisconsin, for $275.00. Five hundred feet of hose was
ordered at the same time. On June 7, 1888, a hose cart was purchased for
$90.00. A well was dug so water would
be available to fight fires in the central part of the city.
On May 27, 1890, a call went out for volunteers for the fire department. A.M. Clemmons was fire chief at that time. In April, 1890, the city council voted to pay the owner of the team which hauled the fire engine to a fire, $3.00 for each round trip.
On May 18, 1891, a signal service was established in the city and a decision made to built a shed at the city pond to house the fire engines and hose cart.
On April 12, 1892, a committee was appointed to fix fire limits in the city. On April 20, 1892, the construction of wooden buildings was prohibited on certain city streets. On May 21, 1892, a fire department of 20 men was organized by Chief E.W. Pierce. Pay was fixed at 50 cents per hour for actual services at a fire.
On August 7, 1893, a decision was made to issue bonds for the purpose of building city water works. On December 31, 1894, John Post was appointed to sell the old fire engine. On September 15, 1896, it was decided that a new city well should be constructed beside the old well; dimensions 21 feet by 21 feet, cost not to exceed $250.00.
On September 3, 1897, the voters of Barron voted against building a new city hall. On April 11, 1898, Robert Holiday was hired to pump water for the city at $325.00 per year. On March 7, 1899 the fire department was reorganized. The officers were: W.G. Rosenow, chief; C.C. Taylor, secretary; and Will Kolb, treasurer. E.N. Stebbins was mayor. F.W. Tims was appointed to buy a hook and ladder truck--price not to exceed $90.00.
On March 5, 1900, $100.00 was appropriated for a fire bell. On May 21, 1900, the number of members of the force was raised to 42. On June 3, 1901, C.W. Taylor was authorized to buy a hose cart and two chemical engines. On May 2, 1904, it was decided to place a hose cart and 200 feet of hose at the heading mill. On August 1, 1904, the council voted to place a hose cart and fire host at the Taylor Bros. Mill.
On April 4, 1905, the voters approved the building of a brick structure to house the fire apparatus--cost not to exceed $3,000.00.
For some reason, no building was erected. On May 14, 1907, the voters approved a bond issue ($2500), to be used to build an engine house. On June 22, 1907, the contract for building the new fire hall was awarded to Bart Finnemore for $3847.00.
On October 3, 1910, the city council purchase a 100 gallon soda acid chemical tank from W.S. Nott Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. On February 5, 1911, the salary of the fire chief was set at $25.00 per year. On January 12, 1920, the price for fire calls was set at $1.00 per hour, and $4.00 was allowed for team or car hauling the chemical tank to and from fires.
On June 13, 1921, the city agreed to buy a new fire truck with this stipulation; the fire department was to pay $600.00 on the purchase price and $200.00 the following year. In 1923, a fire siren was purchased. On May 12, 1928, the fire chief's salary was set at $50.00.
In 1950, the townships of Barron and Maple Grove drew up a contract with the City of Barron, to provide fire protection in all three of these areas. This year a new F.W.D. fire truck was purchased at a cost of $13,000.00. In 1957, a Ford Pumper was added to the equipment. In 1959, a 1000 gallon water tank was purchased to be used in fighting country fires.
In 1960, there are 32 members in the Barron Fire Department. It is more highly organized than in past years. Now there is an assistant chief, (Ben Becker), a hose captain, a ladder captain, a salvage captain, and a master mechanic.
On March 28, 1960, the Barron Fire Department held its annual banquet. Fire Chief, C.H. Wintrone, presented retirement badges to the following: Clarence Edson (36 years of service), Chester Johnson (31 year of service), Emil Fligel (21 years of service.)
FIRE CHIEFS TIME SERVED MAYOR
George Severance April 1889 to April 1, 1890 C.D. Coe
A.N. Clemmons April 1890 to May 1891 C.D. Coe
Clarence C. Coe May 1891 to April 1892 J.W. Stone
E.W. Pierce April 1892 to January 1895 J.J. Smith
John Post January 1895 to June 1896 J.W. Stone
R.D. Smith June 1896 to April 1897 Geo. H. Carey
Christ Strobel April 1897 to March 1899 F.N. Stebbins
W.G. Rosenow March 1899 to May 1904 F.N. Stebbins
A.J. Osborne May 1904 to April 1905 S.W. Sparlin
John West April 1905 to April 1917 S.T. Atuater
D.G. Clemmons April 1917 to April 1919 T.J. Thompson
Robert Reed April 1919 to April 1923 H. Radermacher
Ben J. Becker April 1923 to April 1928 John West
W.E. Taft April 1928 to April 1930 J.A. Anderson
Owen Hall April 1930 to April 1931 J.P. Anderson
Ben J. Becker April 1931 to April 1946 A.P. Stebbins
C.H. Wintrone April 1946 to present (1960) John E. Hoar & Everett E. Lightner
Business and Professional Men
We cannot mention all of the names of business and professional men who located in Barron during the last hundred years. We will attempt to mention some of those who were here for a long time, and achieved great success and some who were civic minded and public spirited, and rendered valuable service to this community.
In writing about the industries of early days, we have already mentioned the names of several men who built saw mills, woodworking mills, a flour mill, and a woolen mill, here in the long ago. We have also mentioned the business and professional men who were established here in 1884, when the railroad came to Barron.
Henry Radermacher worked for several years as the village blacksmith in Cameron before he came to Barron. In 1895 he established a dry goods store here. In 1901, he built a fine new store which was a credit to himself and an asset to the town.
J.W. Heffner, who was born in Ohio, sold so much farm machinery in the nineties, that he gained the reputation of "Machinery King.". He came to Barron in 1896. He worked for Knapp Stout and Company for ten years and farmed for nine years before he came to Barron to engage in the machinery business. In 1909, a year after the big fire, he erected the Heffner Opera House block on the southeast corner of Third Street and Division Ave. It had a front of 134 feet on Third Street, and extended 98 feet on Division Ave. He sold part of this property in 1915, and the remainder in 1917 and 1920.
W.H. Brandt came to Barron in 1890 and built the first brick building in this city. He established a drug store on the corner were the Stebbins Drug Company is now located.
In 1881, T.W. Borum became an employee of the W.W. Kimball Piano and Organ Company of Chicago, Illinois. He became agent, general agent and finally, superintendent of the agencies of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. He established his headquarters in Barron. In a number of years his agencies sold several million dollars worth of goods for this company. He was one of the organizers of the Barron Telephone Company and served for a time as its secretary. He was vice president of the Barron County Abstract Company and in 1915, he was elected president of the Bank of Barron.
In 1886, DeWitt Post established a hardware store here. His stock consisted of high grade tools, tinware, firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, and general sporting goods.
Charles S. Taylor did a very big retail business in disposing of the woolen goods produced in his woolen mill here. He sent out from 12 to 15 teams and salesman every fall into a dozen counties in northwestern Wisconsin. They worked during the fall and early winter months. In 1900, Mr. Taylor shipped 100,000 pounds of raw wool to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was excess wool, not needed in the mill.
H.H. Dennison came to Barron in 1902, and opened a photo studio here. He operated this studio for 44 years until he retired in 1946. No doubt, most of the pictures which appear in this history, were taken by him.
In 1897, J.W. Soderberg came to live in Barron. In 1899, he was admitted to the bar and for the next 43 years, he practiced law in Barron. He served as district attorney for ten terms, was municipal judge for six years, and was one of the founders of the Barron public library.
Dr. C.C. Post came to Barron in 1893, after graduating from the Chicago College of Physicians and Surgeons. He served this community and the surrounding area for a period of 53 years, except for about 21 months during World War One, when he served as a captain in the medical corps in the U.S. Army. He was employed as a surgeon by the Soo railroad for 50 years. His exceptional ability as a physician and surgeon and his integrity and devotion to duty, made him one of the most highly respected medical men in the state. In 1901, Dr. H.M. Coleman joined him and they formed a clinic and worked together for 45 years. They also established the Barron City Hospital. Dr. Post owned several farms and he was a pioneer in breeding pure-bred Holstein cattle. Mrs. C.C. Post, who has been a resident of Barron for about 75 years, still lives at 208 E. LaSalle Ave.
Dr. H.M. Coleman graduated
from the medical school of the University of Minnesota in 1897. He practiced
medicine for three years in North Dakota and in Baldwin, Wisconsin, and
then joined Dr. Post here. Like Dr. Post, he served Barron and the adjacent
areas faithfully and in accordance with the highest traditions of his profession,
for a period of 45 years. (He
left Barron for a period of 22 months during World War One and served as a captain in the medical corps in the U.S. Army.) He served on the local school board and was also health officer for awhile. He owned a fine dairy farm south of Barron, and raised pure-bred cattle.
Dr. George K. Lang and Dr. C.R. Carlson are veterinarians who are practicing in Barron at the present time.
Other veterinarians who practiced here for many years in the past are Dr. M.L. Claflin, Dr. R.A. Johnston, and Dr. G.S. Pratt.
F.W. Tims was born in Canada and settled in Barron in 1892. He established a general merchandise store here and built a very fine residence. He served as alderman and supervisor of the 4th ward for some time.
Mr. H. McKee arrived in Barron in 1887. He established a grocery store in 1891. Mr. McKee served as city clerk for a period of 20 years.
A.P. Stebbins came to Barron with his parents in 1891, from Pennsylvania. In 1904 he graduated from the course in pharmacy, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. In 1906 he became proprietor of the drug store on the northwest corner of LaSalle Ave. and Third Street. For 54 years he has operated this business and carried a full supply of high grade drugs to meet the needs of this community. This store is well stocked with all other goods which drug stores of today have for sale. The Stebbins Drug Company is one of the oldest businesses in the city. To survive for so long a business must be founded on integrity and faithful service. Mr. Stebbins has rendered public service to this community by serving 8 years as mayor.
Claude C. Morrison became proprietor of the Morrison Pharmacy in June, 1908 and operated this business until his death in September, 1959. He received his pharmacy degree from Milwaukee Medical College (Now Marquette University), in 1905. He worked in drug stores for a short time in Eau Claire and Cumberland before he came to Barron. Mr. Morrison was interested in community welfare. He served for many years on the Barron School board.
Charles A. Taylor, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Taylor, graduated from the law school, University of Wisconsin, in 1906 and started law practice in Barron in that year. He practiced law here until his death in 1949. He served as district attorney for 8 years and also as municipal judge and divorce council and public administrator for many years. After his father's death in 1913, he became manager of the woolen mill. He served a short time as circuit judge (1939-1940). He was a member of the State Bar Association and was President of the First National Bank from 1917 to 1949.
Dr. R.C. Smith came to Barron in 1932. In a few years he worked up an extensive practice here. He was located here for 19 years. In June, 1951, he moved to Alaska. He gained some fame for his large collection of guns. When he left here it contained some 300 guns valued at $75,000.
John R. McDonald was a resident of Barron for 62 years and operated the Majestic Theater here for 39 years. We all remember his cheerful smile along main street. He was public spirited and was always willing to lend a helping hand in promoting the best interests of this community.
Roy M. Wolworth started to
work in his father's store in 1900. In 1910 he became a partner in the
business, and in 1920 he became the proprietor. In 1950 he sold his interest
to his daughter, Isabelle (Mrs. Henry Samuels). Mr. Wolworth has continued
to help in operating the store since selling it. This enterprise has been
in the family for more than half the life of
During the last 50 years, many other businesses have been established. Some are: Solie and Son, M.L. Anderson and Sons, and M.I. Berg, insurance.
At present time, Dr. R.M. Post has the longest record of service here in the field of dentistry. He started to practice here back in 1925. Some other dentists who have practiced here for many years each, during the last forty years or more, are Dr.H.N. Huff, Dr. E.W. Herring, Dr. W.F. Goddard, and Dr. F.E. Demille.
Some other doctors (M.D.S) who practiced medicine in Barron since 1900 are: Dr. A.E. Hedback, Dr. E.S. Crisman, Dr. Henry Wiger, Dr. R.W. Adams, Dr. Knute Reuthin, Dr. A. Galloway, Dr. Nels Werner (He established Werner Hospital), Dr. P.K. Edwards, Dr. Harry Schlomowitz, Dr. D.F. Hammond, Dr. Lucile Radke, and Dr. G.A. Fosvedt.
At present, the following doctors are practicing in Barron; Dr. H.M. Templeton, Dr. M.S. Saydjari, Dr. C.J. Strang, Dr. R.C. Whaley, and Dr. D.G. MacMillan.
Two dentists are practicing here besides Dr. R.M. Post. They are, Dr. Reid L. Perry and Dr. Melvin Neumann.
Dr. R.A. Nelson came here in 1921 after graduating from the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He located on the second floor of the Normanna Bank Building. In 1937 he built the substantial brick clinic building on the corner of 4th Street and Division Ave.. He practiced in Barron for 37 years. He sold his practice and building to Dr. Ralph Frey in June, 1958.
The following attorneys are practicing law in Barron at the present time; John P. Santerre (district attorney); F.E. Van Sickle (city attorney), and George Strang.
Dr. Ray E. Jacobson and Dr. G.M. Springer are practicing optometry in Barron at the present time.
The only hotel, now operating
in Barron , is the Commercial Hotel. This hotel no longer serves meals;
it provides rooms for transients and others who may wish to rent rooms
for a longer period of time. Many years ago this hotel was called the Kurschner
House. It was built not long after the fire of 1908 destroyed the old Commercial
Hotel which was located on the
northwest corner of Third Street and Division Ave.. When the new Soo line depot was built, the hotel which used to stand on north Seventh Street near the old depot was moved to a location west of the Sales Pavilion. It was called the Bailey Hotel. Many years ago it was torn down. The Barron Hotel, on the northwest corner of LaSalle Ave. and Seventh Street, is no longer operated as a hotel. Some years ago it was operated as an old folk's home. The two Quaderer Houses of early days have already been mentioned.
The first travel routes in Barron County were its lakes and rivers and a few Indian trails, used by Indians and traders. The so called tote roads were laid out by lumber companies to provide routes for bringing in supplies for their lumber camps.
State roads were mapped out
in Barron County long before any roads were actually built. In other words,
they existed only on paper for a long time. On May 24, 1869, the town board
voted to build a public road along a route already traveled which ran northeast
from Prairie Farm village and through a point one and one half miles west
of the present village of Hillsdale
and then continued on to Quaderer's camp in Barron. There was much travel on this route. On October 6, 1873, the county board took over one state highway and two town roads. Two roads were established from Barron to Rice Lake and another from Barron to Chetek. The latter skirted the cranberry marsh at Cameron.
By 1900, the road system of
the county was well established but many of our main roads of today were
little more than trails at that time. From 1900 to 1910 there was considerable
town road improvement. Most of the towns were divided into six road districts
under the supervision of a pathmaster. By 1910, many of the roads were
fairly good in dry weather, but were almost
impassable after periods of much rain and were blocked in the winter after heavy falls of snow.
In 1911, the State Aid Highway Law was passed. It provided an annual appropriation of $350,000 for the benefit of state highways. The Barron County board laid out the county system of trunk highways on November 18, 1911. By 1912, all towns in the county had applied for state aid for town roads. In 1912, the county board elected Simen S. Berg to the office of highway commissioner. Edward Gleason succeeded him in 1917.
Before 1917, an appropriation of $3000 by the county board for maintenance and road machinery was considered a generous amount. In 1917, Mr. Gleason requested $30,000 for these purposes and was granted $15,000. In 1919, he requested $50,000 for gravel and $50,000 for machinery and maintenance and was granted the full amount. The coming of the automobile made people aware of the value of good roads. They were willing to pay taxes to build and maintain good roads. In 1920, the county board appropriated $90,000 for gravel, machinery and maintenance, and in 1921, a sum of $85,000 was voted for the same purpose.
In 1921-1922, a county machine repair shop was built in Barron. There was an equipped blacksmith shop and also sheds for housing county road machinery. At that time, the equipment consisted of seven gravel trucks, three large grading tractors, two tractor patrols, and two big screening plants, some camp equipment, graders and tools and some other machinery.
The gravel roads of the twenties were a big improvement over the dirt roads which were built after 1900. However, they seem very inadequate when compared with our modern roads of black-top and concrete. After 1930, huge sums of money had to be appropriated each year before our fine highway system of today could be built and maintained.
In 1947, a new, spacious, modern highway shop was built. Building and equipment required an outlay of some over $200,000. This building is located east of highway 25 and north of the Soo line tracks. The grounds have been beautifully landscaped. Today the Barron County Highway Department employs about 80 men during the winter and about 130 during the remainder of the year. There are, at present, approximately 63 miles of paved roads in Barron County. These are federal and state highways. The county highways total 265 miles and are black-topped with the exception of 20 miles. Town roads total 1450 miles.
Joe Stearns succeeded Mr. Gleason and served for a period of about four years. Elmer Rogers served as superintendent of patrols for a period of fifteen years. At present, Orval Larson is county highway commissioner.
In a recent year (1958), the chief expenditures for county highways were as follows:
Highway Administration........................................$ 22,701.98
Operation of Pits.............................................$ 89,025.10
Incidental Labor..............................................$ 82,645.80
Highway Equipment, New........................................$ 81,114.80
County Aid, Bridge............................................$ 52,764.73
The first school house was
built in 1877 on Division Street "just east of the tracks." This must have
meant east of the "Blueberry" railroad tracks which were laid later on.
At this time this location seemed way out of town. Margaret Clary was the
first teacher. Mrs. C.S. Taylor taught this school during the 1879-1880
school year. In 1881, the school house burned
after being struck by lightning.
A new school house was built in 1882 on Franklin Ave. on the present Ward School site. In 1884, this school had two departments with two teachers. Mr. L.S. Cheney took charge in 1886. He graded the school and established systematic courses. There were 3 teachers in 1886. Two grades were held in rented store rooms. More room was needed. In 1887, John Quaderer sold the block south of LaSalle Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets to the school board for $1500. Two lower rooms of a four room school house built on this site were ready for use in 1888. Mr. Cheney resigned in 1889, but went to
Madison and visited the Superintendent of Public Instruction and succeeded in having a three year high school established in Barron. In 1895, a four year high school course was offered. Mr. F.H. Lage was principal of Barron public schools from 1893-1898. Later he served as County Superintendent of Schools.
The school population increased steadily. In 1901, the Ward school was built. There were then ten teachers in the public schools. In 1906-1907, the north wing of what is now Barron Junior High School was built. In 1922, an addition was made to this building.
It provided a gymnasium-auditorium, two locker-shower rooms, three class rooms, a library room, and a large assembly room. In 1935, the south wing was erected. It provided four more class rooms and much needed space for the agriculture and music departments. In 1959, new shower rooms and locker rooms were built on the west side of the gymnasium. The locker and shower facilities were no longer adequate so this addition was a much needed improvement.
In 1951, to meet the need for more room for grade pupils, a fine, brick, one story building was erected out on Woodland Ave. It provides eight well lighted, well ventilated, modern class rooms.
The splendid, new, Barron Senior High School was completed in 1957. It gave much needed class rooms, a wonderful gymnasium-auditorium, spacious music, manual arts and agriculture facilities and a large, well equipped, hot lunch dining room and an up-to-date kitchen.
This new structure is a modern, well planned building, constructed of brick and concrete blocks, very well lighted and steam heated. The citizens of this school district may well be proud of this new addition to our growing educational system.
The last five supervising principals of the Barron Public Schools are as follows: F.T. Hansen, 1920-1923; Martin Anderson, 1923-1927; E.E. Waters, 1927-1932; A.K. Lyon, 1932-1948; H.W. Newman, 1948-1951.
The present administrator of
Barron Area Public Schools is Superintendent, Mr. R.R. Rhode, who came
to Barron in 1951. During his administration the school district has been
greatly enlarged by consolidation and the new Senior High School has been
built. For 29 years, Mr. John E. Hoar has been principal of the Senior
High School. Robert Kempkes is principal of the
Junior High School. About seventy teachers now make up the teaching staff for all schools in this district. The enrollment in grades 9 through 12 now totals 538.
The Barron-Almena-Dallas-Ridgeland-Area School Board
Harry J. Vruwink, director
Erling R. Christianson, clerk
G.W. Christianson, treasurer
Mrs. Leone Espeseth
Mrs. Wallace (Marian) H. Jerome
Ralph E. Peterson
spot within the churchyard, where the silent shadows creep;
Breathe a prayer to God in heaven, here our loved ones lie asleep)"
Wayside Cemetery is located north of Highway 8 in the eastern city limits. It was started by the Town of Barron and later the City of Barron acquired the title. Over the years it has been developed into a spot of great beauty by skillful landscaping and constant care. Attractive shrubbery, some fine trees, and evergreens thrive throughout this tract. In the summer months the neatly trimmed, rich, green grass and a wide variety of many colored flowers which bloom here make this cemetery a beauty spot well worth travelling many miles to see. The whole spot is surely a living memorial to those who have here, entered their final rest.
Recently, an addition has been made to the original tract. This 10 acres lies adjacent to the old cemetery and west of it. It has already been landscaped and platted and in time, will add further beauty to the original site.
Near the east entrance on the south side of the old cemetery stands a granite memorial erected by Barron citizens in honor of Civil War veterans. Here, every year, if the weather is favorable, Memorial Day exercises are held.
In early days, two burial grounds were started, one west of the Blueberry tracks along Division Ave., and the other in the eastern part of the city along LaSalle Ave.. Both of these were finally abandoned.
The pioneers have long been dead and, "on their graves the mossy grass is green." As we have said elsewhere, we should always remember their toil and sacrifice and hardship in those days so long ago. They made possible the good way of life which we enjoy today. The true spirit of brotherhood was in their hearts. They helped each other. They shared each other's joys and sorrows.
Today in this land of ours we find much crime and green and selfishness; we find much dishonestly and racial hatred and corruption in government, at all levels. Fraud and dishonesty are often passed over lightly as matters of no great consequence. Who today receives the acclaim and plaudits of our multitudes? Are they men and women of the highest intelligence, integrity and character? We are worshipping false gods!
If we continue to ignore these
evil forces which have long been at work in our community we shall surely
lose all of those blessings which this nation has bestowed upon its people
in years gone by. A nation is no stronger than the people who make up that
nation. We do not lack prophets. Every now and then their voices are heard
in this great land. They warn us of the peril
and disaster which lies ahead, --but to no avail. We are so busy in our pursuit of money and worldly goods and comforts of life that we do not wish to be bothered with unpleasant thoughts. The things which money will buy are temporal; the things which money won't buy are eternal. In the lives of the pioneers, the eternal values predominated.
Normanna Savings Bank
The Normanna Savings Bank was established January 4, 1894, and opened for business on this date. The founders were these five men; N.M. Rockman of Barron; P.A. Moe of Chetek; J.A. Anderson of Dallas; Knudt Espeseth of Dallas; and Nels Johnson of Chippewa Falls. The location was on the north side of LaSalle Ave. between Fourth and Fifth Streets. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Espeseth decided to withdraw after a short time. The other three were owners for some time and then Mr. Johnson sold his interest to the other two. Mr. Rockman owned the building on the northwest corner of LaSalle and Fourth Streets. In 1902, the bank was moved to that location.
On July 15, 1903, the bank was incorporated as a state bank. The officers were: P.A. Moe, president; G.I. Moe, vice president; N.M. Rockman, cashier; Elmer A. Rockman, assistant cashier. On January 1, 1909, Julius C. Rockman became cashier and his father, N.M. Rockman, became vice president.
In 1922, the bank officers
were: P.A. Moe, president; N.M. Rockman, vice president; Julius C. Rockman,
cashier; Morris B. Johnson was teller and Arthur Mors was bookkeeper. Helga
Nelson was stenographer. In 1903, the capital stock was $6,000.00. On January
1, 1908, this was increased to $12,000.00. On March 10, 1922, the total
resources of this bank were
$336,138.84. In 1922, the directors were: P.A. Moe, G.L. Moe, N.M. Rockman and J.C. Rockman.
In 1924, M.B. Johnson was elected assistant cashier. In 1926, the capital stock was increased from $12,000 to $30,000. The bank purchased the building from N.M. Rockman in 1926. On January 1, 1926, N.M. Rockman resigned from the office of vice president. In March, 1926, the directors were as follows: P.A. Moe, N.M. Rockman, J.C. Rockman, F.S. Woodward and M.B. Johnson. The officers were: P.A. Moe, president; F.S. Woodward, vice president; J.C. Rockman, cashier; M.B. Johnson, assistant cashier. N.M. Rockman died in July, 1926.
On January 17, 1937, the Normanna Savings Bank and the Bank of Barron were consolidated. J.C. Rockman became president of this consolidated bank. He had started working as a regular employee of the Normanna Savings Bank way back in 1904.
Bank of Barron
The Bank of Barron was established as a private bank on May 1, 1885. C.D. Coe and J.F. Coe were the founders. It was incorporated as a state bank March 3, 1887, and opened for business on May 2, 1887. The charter was to run 20 years and the authorized capital stock was $50,000.00 consisting of 500 shares, each share worth $100.00. The four original stock holders were: Frank J. McLean (200 shares), W.C. McLean (50 shares), C.D. Coe and J.F. Coe held 125 shares each.
On April 30, 1887, the following
officers were elected: F.J. McLean, president; W.C. McLean, vice president;
C.D. Coe, cashier and J.F. Coe, assistant cashier. The building and lot
was purchased for $2,132.29 and $504.08 was authorized to purchase furniture
and fixtures. On August 1, 1895, C.J. Borum became assistant cashier. On
February 3, 1896, there were
three directors: F.J. McLean, W.C. McLean, and C.J. Borum.
On January 12, 1905, it was voted to erect a brick building. The first floor was to be rented for a store; the bank was to be located on the second floor. The cost was limited to $10,000.00. On January 30, 1907, the bank charter was extended for another 20 years. On January 12, 1909, J.W.C. McLean was elected president, J.P. McLean vice president, C.J. Borum cashier, and George R. Borum, assistant cashier. T.W. Borum became President in 1915, and C.J. Borum became President in January, 1920. In this year, George R. Borum was vice president and F.L. Van Sickle was cashier. In January, 1932, George Borum became chairman of the board. F.L. Van Sickle became president and Jalmer Viitanen became cashier.
On January 17, 1937, the Normanna
Savings Bank and the Bank of Barron were consolidated. These men were elected
directors: J.C. Rockman, Martin N. Rockman, George R. Borum, F.L. Van Sickle,
A.E. Coe, J.E. Bowen and F.S. Wodard. Other officers elected were: J.C.
Rockman, president; F.L. Van Sickle, vice president; George Borum, chairman
of the board; Jalmer
Viitanen, cashier, and Morris Johnson, assistant cashier.
The bank was remodeled in 1956-1957. New fixtures, lighting and decorating, a new safe deposit vault in the basement, and a conference room in the basement made up this remodeling project.
The officers at present (1960) are: J.C. Rockman, president; A.P. Stebbins, vice president; Jalmer Viitanen, cashier; Morris Johnson, assistant cashier.
The directors are: J.G. Rockman, Martin N. Rockman, Jalmer Viitanen, A.P. Stebbins, M.B. Johnson, and Martin L. Anderson.
The employees are: Helga Nelson, Geraldine McManus, Vivian Meyer and John Wold. On December 31, 1959, the records show undivided profits and reserves $94,772.02. Total deposits $3,113,318.99.
Business Places of Early Days
For about twenty years after John Quaderer came to the site of the City of Barron, it was chiefly a lumber camp. By 1884, when the Soo railroad reached Barron, the following places of business were already in operation: Telke Bros. operated a general store near the head of Second Street; George Parr had a general store at the corner of Second and LaSalle Streets and Smith and Connor also had a general store on the same corner of LaSalle and Third Streets. John Post had a hardware store on the corner of Second and LaSalle Ave.
The first Soo depot was built on Seventh Street. Near it was a hotel, the Barron House. John Schonbeck was the proprietor. Charles S. Taylor was publishing the Barron County Shield.
There were three attorneys in Barron in 1884. They were: Charles S. Taylor, Jerome F. Coe, and H.J. Sill. Dr. Charles Jenks was practicing medicine.
In 1885, the Barron County Shield stated there were 100 men working on new buildings in the village. It seems the location of the new depot on 7th Street, caused several business men to move to new sites. Telke Bros. moved to the northwest corner of LaSalle and Fourth Streets. They fitted up a hall on the second floor.
Smith and Connor built on the northwest corner of LaSalle and Fourth Streets and Thomas W. Parr built on LaSalle Street just west of the Smith and Connor building.
John Quaderer and Simon Christeson built a new "Quaderer House" on the south east corner of Fifth and LaSalle Streets. John and DeWitt Post built a store on the north east corner of Fifth and LaSalle Streets. Ed C. Coleman and Nelson Carpenter opened a new store. J.F. and C.D. Coe erected an office building on the north east corner of LaSalle and Third Streets. The upper floor was fitted up for a Masonic hall.
N. Carpenter built a theater hall on the corner of Third and Division Streets in 1886. The Barron Opera Incorporation was organized May, 1889 and a building was erected on the corner of LaSalle and Fifth Streets. This organization was capitalized at $3000. The seating capacity of the hall was 400.
The first telephone company
in Barron County was organized on February 5, 1896. It was named The Barron
County Telephone Company. A total of sixty three shares of stock were sold
for $25.00 per share making a sum of $1,575.00. The first officers and
directors were: President, DeWitt Post; vice president, N.M. Rockman; secretary,
W.R. Brandt and C.C. Coe. On July 14, 1896, T.W. Borum became director
in place of C.C. Coe. On February 8, 1897, A.M. Fenton and Dr. C.C. Coe
replaced N.M. Rockman and W.H. Brandt on the board. T.W. Borum became secretary
and A.M. Fenton became vice
president at this time. On April 15, 1901, F.E. Horsman became vice president in place of A.M. Fenton.
When the project was started, exchanges were established at Rice Lake and Barron with toll stations at Rice Lake, Dallas, Cumberland, Mikana, Almena, Hillsdale, Haugen, Dobie, Cameron, Angus, Prairie Farm, Chetek, Campia, Horseman and Tuscobia. The toll lines connected with the toll lines of the Wisconsin Telephone Company's at Cumberland and Rice Lake, thus making it possible to communicate with almost all places in the United States.
In 1905, J.E. Horsman became secretary and also took over the active management of the Barron exchange. In 1909, A.C. Strand became a director; he succeeded Dr. G.C. Post. The other officers at this time were: President, DeWitt Post; vice president, T.W. Borum; secretary, J.E. Horsman; treasurer, C.J. Borum.
In February, 1922, much stock changed hands. It was decided that the headquarters should be moved from Barron to Rice Lake. The following officers were elected: President, Dr. O.M. Sattre of Rice Lake; vice president, Charles A. Taylor of Barron; secretary and general manager, J.E. Horsman of Barron; treasurer W.A. Demers of Rice Lake. A.G. Strand was also a member of the board.
By 1922, all the local exchanges
except those at Rice Lake and Barron had been sold and the Company expended
its efforts on expanding these two. In 1922, the Rice Lake exchange had
1,716 subscribers, 1004 being in the city and 712 in the country. In this
year the Barron exchange had 704 subscribers, 402 were in the city and
302 in the country. In 1897 the
earnings of this company totalled $400.00. In 1920, they amounted to $50,000.00. The pole lines during this time increased from 100 to 600 miles.
DeWitt Post and J.E. Horsman are the two men whose industry and intelligence had a predominant part in the growth and success of this company.
The General Telephone Company of Wisconsin, formerly the Commonwealth Telephone Company, now owns this telephone system. In recent years, dial telephones have been installed for the convenience of the subscribers.
City Park and Barron Golf Course
In October, 1918, the city of Barron purchased forty acres of land from C.C. Coe. This tract of land lies along the Yellow river, most of it on the north side. The part that now makes up the City Park lies along the south bank. Much work has been done in past years to make this park into the attractive recreation center which we find here today.
To the east is located a softball diamond with lights for night games. Along the south side are the outdoor basketball court and tennis courts. A low dam has been constructed across the river to provide a fine swimming pond which is a popular place during hot summer afternoons and evenings. A concrete block bathhouse is located near the pool with facilities for those who come to the park to enjoy the water sports. Throughout the park are outdoor fireplaces and tables and benches for those who come here for summer picnics. Swings are provided for young children. A second block building provides indoor cooking facilities.
The park driveway winds through towering old elms and sturdy old oaks, some of which were surely growing here at least one hundred years ago when John Quaderer set food in this county. A few rather fine specimens of white pines grow here and there giving some hint of the towering giants which once rose by the thousands in Barron County.
To the north of the Yellow river in this forty acre tract is located the attractive, well kept, nine hole golf course. It provides summer recreation for young and old, too. At the southwest corner a suitable club house has been built where meals are served at certain times.
The American Legion donated much labor in cleaning up the park in the twenties. W.P.A. labor built the dam and the two concrete block buildings.
For the past fifteen years Edwin C. Warwick has been supervisor of the summer recreation program at the park.
The Barron golf course was laid out about 35 years ago. Several of the golf enthusiasts of that time still play the game today. Today there are three members on the board of directors of the Barron Golf Club: Keith Allison, Virgil Edson and Erling Christianson.
Jalmer Viitanen, who has played this course for over 30 years, is now serving as secretary-treasurer for this club.
The Canning Factory
Back in 1901, some enterprising Barron citizens decided to engage in the canning industry. They raised capital stock of $15,000 and built a plant. Four hundred acres of land was purchased for growing peas. Difficulties were encountered in harvesting the crop and in the canning operation, -- probably due to lack of experience.
Late in 1902, the plant was sold to the Waukesha Canning Co. This company enlarged and remodeled the plant and carried on operations for ten years. In 1912, the plant was sold to the J.B. Inderreiden Company of Chicago, Illinois. This company operated through the year 1948, with the exception of one year when the plant was closed.
The canning season usually started around July 1st. Some years it would start during the last week in June. The pack was usually completed by mid August or a week or ten days later.
In early days mules and horses
were used to haul the loads of vines from the farms to the viners at the
plant. To seal the cans a soldering job was required. The cover was put
in place and solder applied, one can at a time. Later a Hawkins line was
introduced and 24 cans could be soldered at one time. Still later, the
marvelous closing machine was invented which could
seal the cans without solder and do so at the rate of 125 or more cans per minute.
Steam power was used throughout the plant at first. Later on, electric power was used in the factory and can loft. A steam engine was used to operate the viners until the plant closed. Two very large boilers were used to produce steam. Steam was used to cook the peas.
During some seasons the plant
operated 24 hours a day during part of the pack. The record for one day's
pack was 10,000 cases. Hot, dry weather during the critical growing season
sometimes seriously reduced the season's pack. First grade peas thrive
best in cool weather with plenty of rain. In later years when trucks came
into use, viner stations were established in
several places in the county.
Some of the early plant managers were: Bill Christianson, John Hoffman, John Van Lear, John Webster and Bert Webster. In later year, these men were superintendents: E.W. Hulbert, Olaf Johnson and Bill Crandall. For awhile, E.W. Hulbert was superintendent of both the Barron plant and the Rice Lake plant.
Ed. Hutchins started work at the canning plant way back in 1908. From then on, he worked at this plant all of the years it operated with the exception of some months which he spent in the U.S. Army during World War One. He probably worked at most every job in the plant at some time or other. He was foreman of the factory and can loft for many years. After the pack was over here, he worked for the Inderreiden Company during the corn pack, much of that time in northern Illinois. Hutchins states that Eldor Gunderson worked at this plant almost as long as he (Hutchins) did. Many a new worked, including this writer, was given a helping hand by Ed Hutchins when trying to get started on some new job.
Growing potatoes is still an important part of the agriculture of Barron County. There was a time when far more labor and land were devoted to this activity than at present. Three large buildings along the Soo tracks were once used as storehouses for the flood of potatoes which poured in from the farm areas surrounding Barron every fall.
In those days, horses and wagons were the means by which commodities had to be transported from farm to town. From early morning until after dark, long lines of heavy loads of potatoes were formed, each driver patiently waiting his turn to unload.
A brick making plant operated in the southern city limits east of highway 25 in the nineties. In 1908 it was moved to the west side of the highway. It continued to operate until about 1914. It then ceased operation and was never reopened.
The name of this firm was, for a time at least, the Barron Red Pressed Brick Company. In 1901, George H. Carey was the owner of the plant. At that time, the capacity of the plant was 40,000 brick per day. Mr. Carey came to Barron in 1894 and worked her for the Soo railroad. He was born in Vermont in 1860.
The plant which was erected on the west side of the highway was a larger structure, 30 by 200 feet and 12 feet high. The capacity of this plant was 60,000 brick per day. Joe Kohl, Gregory Koerner and William Gillette were owners for some time. William Gillette acted as foreman for awhile.
A crew of about 21 was employed. The kilns were heated with pine wood. Horses drew the clay from the clay beds to the plant. Wheel-barrows were used to load the box cars.
Many buildings in the City of Barron are constructed of these brick. Some of them are: The Ward School, the Normanna Bank Building, the Barron Hotel, the City Fire House and some of them went into the construction of the Barron County Court House, which was built in 1901.
Barron Flying Club
The Barron Flying Club was established in 1946. At present there are 29 members in the club. Ten planes are kept at the airport. There are nine hangars; one of the nine hangars is large enough to house two planes.
The City of Barron owns the airport; the flying club maintains it. There are two runways: One is 1/2 mile long and 300 feet wide; the other is 1/4 mile long and 300 feet wide. The runways are moved in the summer and kept free of snow in the winter. Oscar Ormson is the flying instructor at this airport.
The officers of the club (1960) are: President, Henry Ebner (Cameron); vice president, Oscar Ormson; secretary, Ed Chermack and treasurer, Gale Wells.
The early history of Barron
saw the founding of many fraternal organizations. According to records
available, the following came into being prior to 1920; F.&A.M. #220,
I.O.O.F., Rebekahs, Eastern Star, Royal Neighbors, United Colony #218 Beavers,
Yeomen, Modern Woodmen and Knights of Pythias. There are records available
only on the 1st five of the above
named; also, only the first five are still in existence today, and they are as follows:
Barron Lodge #220 F.&A.M. received its charter on June 7, 1881. William P. Smith was the first W.M.. Members were scattered over the entire county, and meetings were first held in Coe's office which was upstairs over the old Bank of Barron building. Paul K. Anderson is the present W.M., and the membership is about 110. Fred I. Hirt, who has served in every office of the lodge more than once, has done a lot in keeping the lodge going.
The next lodge to be chartered was the I.O.O.F #38, which received its charter in July, 1887, with a membership of 4. There is no record available as to who the first officers were, but the present ones are Ray Christeson, Noble Grand and C.V. Peterson, secretary. The present membership is about 70.
Liberty Rebekah Lodge was chartered on June 8, 1892, with 9 members, and Amanda Horstman was N.G.. Mrs. Norman Olson is present N.G. and the membership is about 60.
The O.E.S. was next chartered on June 12, 1892. Present officers are Lillian and Jay Holman, and the membership is about 103.
Royal Neighbors #1850 was chartered September 7, 1899, with 30 members. Laura Breda is the present Oracle, and the membership is about 200.
In the early history of the city, there were 4 commercial clubs; Barron Business Men's Club, Mother's Club, PTA, Business Girl's Club and the WCTU. Then there were the Boy Scouts and the Hi-Y Club.
Only the Mother's Club and WCTU and Boy Scouts still exist. There were no records available to show when the clubs were formed and who at the time was at the head of each of them. The present president of the Mother's Club is Mrs. Verl Maas. Mrs. John Topol is president of the WCTU. The Boy Scouts have increased their membership to the point that there are now two troops in the city, and 1 Cub Scout group totalling more than 100 members. Floyd Hovarter and Virgil Edson are Scoutmasters while E.C. Warwick is head of the Cubs.
There were 4 patriotic organizations
prior to 1922 and they were: Martin Watson Post # 172 G.A.R., organized
September 6, 1884, with 16 charter members. The latest record of the post
is 1922, when there were only 8 members left. The 2nd organization was
the counter part of the Post and that was the Women's Relief Corps #130,
organized April 15, 1895, with 19
charter members. The latter did everything possible to foster the spirit of patriotism and to aid and further all interests of the old soldier. They presented flags to all the schools and gave each veteran a basket of "dainties on his birthday." Like the auxiliaries of the present day veterans' organizations, they, at all time, bent their efforts to further the cause of the Posts.
According to records available, the last Civil War veteran to die in this area, was Sidney H. Peck, who died July 2, 1939.
Ben Brown Post #212 American Legion was organized January 12, 1920. First Commander was Dr. H.M. Coleman. By 1922, there were 126 members. Among the first meeting places were the Barron County Court Room, the K.P. Hall, and upstairs over the old city hall. Their present clubrooms are located in the log building on North Third Street, which was built in 1935 when Hans Ness was Commander. In December, 1943, the Post name was changed to Brown-Selvig Post #212 in memory of Herman E. Selvig who was killed at Guadalcanal, the first casualty from this community. Ben Brown was the first casualty from the community in World War I, which accounts for the first name of the Post.
The Post met all the mandatory measures to be eligible to come up to the standards of a patriotic and service organization. Also, the Post has given a wide service to the community, state and nation. Among them were the first sponsors of the Boy Scouts; community Christmas tree; Christmas treat and show for the kiddies; wheel chair and hospital program for the community; patriotic ceremonies for Memorial and Armistice Day; awards to leading boy and girl high school graduates each year, plus many more. Probably the biggest thing the Post did was promotion and bringing to a conclusion the making of the park into the beautiful place it is today. Through the years, the work of this fine organization has made the American Legion a tradition. They have stood by in peace and war to aid and help the community in every way possible. The Post's high membership was in 1945, when there were about 400 members. Today there are well over 200 and approaching the 300 mark. Glen Christianson is the local commander and the adjutant is Elmer Severson who has served that capacity for several years.
The women's auxiliary to the
Post was formed in 1921, with 11 charter members; today their number is
about 100. The first president was Mrs. Martina Falkenberg: Today's president
is Arlene Bastian. Through the many years the Post has been in existence,
the Auxiliary has been a motivating factor in the promotion of the aims
and ideals of the Post. They have well
lived up to their promise of promoting and helping the American Legion.
Since 1922, two fraternal organizations have been formed in the city of Barron. The Degree of Homor about 1924 with Hazel Hudson as the first president, and presently Minnie wood is heading the organization. The Shrine Club was formed in 1946 with M.L. Claflin as president; Gale Wells is the present head of the 110 membership group.
The first commercial club formed since 1922 was the Civics Club in 1927. It is composed of the business and professional men in the city and presently has a membership close to 130. The present head is Mait Brempl.
The last formed club was the Junior Chamber of Commerce, chartered in June, 1956, with a membership of 7 with Dr. Dean Hammond as president. Today, Robert Fladten is president and the membership is over 30.
Since 1922, there have been 3 new patriotic posts or units chartered in this city.
The first one was Robert B. McCoy Post #46 U.S. War Vets chartered May 21, 1930, with the first meeting in the old city hall. A.J. Osborn was the first commander and P. Eckley was the adjutant. The last commander, at the time of the last meeting on September 8, 1953, was Albert Wickbolt, and they met at the home of Jack Pitzer who was the acting adjutant. At the present time there are only 3 survivors of the Post and they are Tom Stafne of Prairie Farm, M. Galbraith of Cumberland, and Jake Clemans of Barron. Jake, as he is affectionately known, has served as commander of the Post and adjutant several times, besides serving the Post in other capacities. Jake is the only Spanish War Vet (living) in our city today. He lives alone at 127 South 2nd Street, Barron, and next February will be 90 years young.
The next patriotic organization and the latest formed was Veterans of Foreign War Post #8338, which received its charter in 1946, with 18 members present of the total of 18 members. The present commander is Seymour Wintrone and adjutant is Gene Bender. Presently about 100 members make up the post roster. The Auxiliary to the Post was chartered in 1949 with Marjorie Tabor as the first president. The president today is June Greenwold and Mrs. Ralph Akenson is the secretary. Their membership is 31. The Post owns its own clubrooms on the north side of East Division Ave. in the city of Barron.
The Post and its Auxiliary,
bend every effort to help the cause of the veteran, his widow and orphan,
in many ways; particularly for the disabled and hospitalized. They, too,
have several community services and above all keep up the patriotic spirit
of the community. This organization, although the youngest service organization,
certainly shows great promise for the
The Barron Kiwanis Club was organized in February, 1944. At present it meets in the Methodist Church basement. There are 40 members in this club at the present time. The officers are; J.W. Felsch (president), Virgil Edson (vice president), and E.R. Christianson (secretary and treasurer).
Towering high above the city is the Jerome feed elevator located in back of the Badger Turkey Industries processing plant. The big elevator's light can be seen from a long distance at night from any direction and serves as a beacon for pilots. The elevator is used to store feed for the far flung Jerome Turkey enterprises and for storage of grains. An electronic device enables the elevator manager to determine the temperature of every storage bin, so that temperatures can be controlled to prevent spoilage of the grains.
Our Electric Cooperative
One of the new buildings on the local horizon is the headquarters of the Barron County Electric Cooperative at the junction of East LaSalle Ave. and highway 8, completed in 1954. The cooperative now serves approximately 6900 members on 1876 miles of line in Barron, Washburn and six adjacent counties.
Following months of voluntary work by pioneer farmer leaders throughoutBarron County, formal incorporation papers were filed with the State onAugust 21, 1936. The setting of the first pole near the city's power planton June 19, 1937, was witnessed by hundreds of hopeful farmers who feltconfident that this infant business would grow to meet their needs. John E. Olson was president of the board of directors, succeeding to thatposition following the death of A. G. Bilodeau, the first president.
By the end of 1937, some 300 farms were being served along 175 miles ofline built with a portion of the loan of $195,000 from the Rural Electrification Administration. Wholesale power was purchased from the city of Barron Municipal Utility. Through the foresight of Mr. John A. Anderson, who was Mayor of the city at that time, and who realized the importance and need of electric service to rural areas, the purchase of a new diesel generating unit was promoted so that the city of Barron could supply the needed power to the electric cooperative. The power supply served the cooperative's needs until 1947, when it became necessary to secure an additional source in the Dairyland Power Cooperative. Energy was purchased from both facilities until 1952 when Dairyland Power Cooperative assumed the full load.
Incorporators of the Barron Electric Cooperative were: Nels Nelson, HenryPalmquist, Jake Hawkinson, Edwin E. Peterson and William Gohl. Eightmembers signed the charter at the original membership meeting.
The first office was located in the Jerome Building, now the Gamble Store,then at the corner of LaSalle and 4th Street, now the PCA office, thencethe 4th Street section of the present Ben Franklin Store before theypurchased the Third Street Building from which they moved in 1954.
The regular personnel has increased in number from three to the presentthirty, several of whom are fifteen to twenty year employees. The manager,Otis Berger, has held that post since 1941.
The first board of directors: A.G. Bilodeau and John E. Olson, Chetek;William Gohl, Comstock; Henry Palmquist, Barron; Alex Schnacky, Haugen;Knute Knutson, Cumberland; Willis Jerome, Barron; S.A. Carlson, Chetek,and Nels Nelson, Rice Lake. Of the three last named, Jerome and Carlsonare present board members, and Nels Nelson was its treasurer fromorganization until his death on July 22, 1959. The area has been zonedsince 1941 so that all areas have representation.
Acting for the present 6900 members are the following nine man board: Willis Jerome, Raymond Falstad, Chris Abt, A.W. Fenander, S.A. Carlson, Norman Olson, Haakon Anderson, A.A. Immerfal Jr., O.G. Graven.
The Barron County Electric Cooperative (Wisconsin's largest) is now a business with total assets of $3,500,000 and an annual operative revenue of just under $1,000,000. In addition to the one at Barron, there are substations at Spooner, Chetek, Clayton, Haugen and Cumberland. Membership equity in the cooperative is approximately 30%.
The most phenomenal growth occurred in the decade 1939-1949 when the miles of line jumped from 315 to 1567, and members from 796 to 5,084. Area coverage is near, but the uses of electricity continue to increase and thecooperative plans ahead on that basis in order to not only maintain good service now but to meet the demands of the future. The Barron County Electric Cooperative is a valuable contributor to the economic progress of our community.
Utilities-Light and Water
Needless to say, the fine water and electric systems which we find today in the city of Barron, did not grow up over night. These systems started, in a small way, over 60 years ago. During all of these years these utilities have grown and met the demands of the growing city. Over theyears when expansion was needed, the men on the water and light commission have so informed the city council. Several times the voters have voted in favor of issuing bonds to raise the necessary money for needed expansion.
Oil lamps were first used to light the village streets in Barron. Any citizen who wanted a light near his home or place of business had to buy it. This system was in use for several years.
In 1894, the city contracted
with the Soderberg and Gillette saw mill to furnish the first electric
current in Barron. J.W. Stone was mayor at that time. In 1898, when E.N.
Stebbins was mayor, a small brick building was erected on the site of the
old Parr Manufacturing Company. A steam engine furnished power to drive
the dynamo. At the election, $1200 was voted for
this project. The council voted in favor of taxes to pay interest on the bonds. Light rates; for one 8 candle power lamp, 5 cents per month, and for one 16 candle power lamp, 25 cents per month. In November, 1898, twelve arc lights for streets were ordered.
In 1901, the city council voted in favor of buying the Soderberg and Gillette property, limit of $10,500. This issue carried at next election. In 1904, the light and water commission was established. In 1911, a 32 horse power engine was bought to supplement the water wheel.
In 1914, a new water wheel (turbine type) was installed (140 horse power). The plant then had a total capacity of 90 kilowatts. Meters were installed in this year. There were about 260 meter customers. In 1914 the total output of the plant was 149,650 kilowatts. The current was on from twilight to 11 P.M.. From 1915 to 1924, the city plant bought some power from the Red Cedar Valley Cooperative Co.
In 1918, the voters approved the issue of twenty, $1000 bonds for the purchase of a new water wheel and a generator. T.J. Thompson was then mayor. In 1923, the city council voted $1500 to buy the Taylor (lower) dam and for building and equipping a hyrdo-electric plant there. In 1924, a 240 horse power Diesel engine was added to the plant. This engine added 160 kilowatts to the system.
The following Diesel engines have been added since, as demands for power grew:
In 1927-240 horse power engine-160 kilowatts
In 1930-600 horse power engine-400 kilowatts
In 1937-1050 horse power engine-731 kilowatts
The fine new power plant on E. Division Ave. was erected in 1935. Mr. A.P Stebbins was mayor then. A 1400 horse power engine (980) kilowatts was installed.
In 1954, the city council and commission bought another Diesel engine; 1920 horse power, 1360 kilowatts.
The city signed a contract with R.E.A. and furnished electric power to that organization during the years 1938-1952. In 1958, the city of Barron made a contract with the Barron Electric Cooperative and agreed to buy off-peak power for a period of 10 years.
In 1946, the light and water commission was abolished and a board of public works was substituted. In 1951, the light and water commission was restored. At present, B.J. Becker is president. The other two members are Magne Solie and Joe Macak.
In 1959, the city of Barron electric plant had an output of 11,988,963 kilowatts.
Public Water System
The public water system was started in 1894 when J.W. Stone was mayor. The source of supply was two large reservoirs fed by springs. The first water mains were laid in this year. Before 1921, the first deep well had been drilled and two pumps raised the water from the well and elevated it into the water tower tank. This well is 424 feet deep. About 1930, a second deep well was added to the system. A second tower tank was also constructed. Over the years the water mains and branches have been extended to meet the requirements of the growing city.
The third deep well was drilled in 1958 at a cost of $35,000. These three wells supply our city with an abundance of pure, fresh water for household and industrial use, and, of course, are of vital importance in fire protection.
To Our Service Men, Living and Dead
In 1860, Barron County had
a population of only 13, and in 1870, five years after the Civil War ended,
the population was only 539. Obviously, the county could not have sent
many men to the Civil War. In those early days most of the men working
for Knapp Stout and Company lived in the county and only during the months
when logging crews were working and during the
spring log drives on the rivers. They left the county and lived elsewhere during the remainder of the year. No doubt many of these men enlisted and served in the Union armies at some time during that long struggle.
We do know that many former Civil War soldiers moved into Barron and Barron County after that war was over. They played a very important part in laying the foundations of the county and this community. Among those men were many of our most industrious and public spirited citizens. Today, all are gone--they have answered the last roll-call. They sleep "the sleep that knows no breaking," out in Wayside Cemetery and in a score or more other final resting places, within this county.
The Spanish-American War was of short duration and comparatively few men were engaged. These veterans of that war were living in Barron not very long ago; J.W. Pitzer, Jack McKain, Nick Gasper, Dr.W.F. Goddard and A.J. Osborne. Today, Jake Clemans is the sole survivor, living in Barron.
In World War I, about 2,000 men from Barron County answered their country's call. After we declared war it lasted for about 19 months. In that war, 50,000 American soldiers gave "the last full measure of devotions." Nearly 200,000 were more or less seriously wounded. (see Barron County's Gold Star List)
The Pearl Harbor attack, early in December, 1941, plunged us into World War II. This war lasted 3 years and 9 months after we entered it. Some 4,000 men and women served from Barron County in this war. About 235,000 American soldiers laid down their lives on battle fields all over the world. Approximately 566,000 were wounded.
In the early fifties, we fought the Korean War. Some 1,100 men from Barron County served in our armed forces in this war. Battle deaths totaled nearly 28,000. The wounded totaled 77,600. We must never forget these young men who laid down their lives so that we might live in peace and freedom.
"They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn; At the going down of the sun, and in the early morning, We shall remember them."
In the far flung islands of the Pacific, in sea and air battles and in steaming jungles and in the bitter cold of the rugged land of Korea, our young soldiers met a fanatical foe who fought with religious frenzy. No enemy soldier who ever faced an American soldier in combat has ever questioned the valor and fighting ability and endurance of our fighting men.
Sgt. Rollin B. Curtis was chosen "Wisconsin's Outstanding Soldier" in 1922. As part of this honor he received a free trip to San Francisco, California. In 1918, while serving in Germany, he was awarded the coveted, French Croix de Guerre. In 191, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His military service award was rendered in World War I.
Capt. Norman Skogstad served
in the 31st Fighter Group, 15th Air Force, during World War II. He went
overseas in June, 1944. By the time the war ended in Europe, he had shot
down 12 German planes and had become commander of a squadron and was one
of the leading pilots in the Mediterranean theater. He was awarded the
ETO Ribbon with seven battle stars, the ATO
anti-submarine patrol decoration, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with 17 clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was also awarded the presidential unit and Silver Star for gallantry in action.
Items of Interest Over the Years
James Bracklin, first Barron County Treasurer, won some notoriety in early Barron County history. While on a boat trip on the Menomonie (Red Cedar) River, a satchel containing county records and a sum of county money fell overboard and was lost.
John Quaderer first came to Barron County in 1854, and his crews logged along the Hay River. Later he gained the reputation of having supervised the banking of more logs along the Menomonie (Red Cedar) River than any other man.
"East of the city of Barron, and about three miles away on the east bank of the Menomonie (Red Cedar) River, is a lonely grave in which lies all that is left of the first white woman, Miss Philander Ball, who died in Barron County in 1859. She came from Michigan and the general belief is that the death was caused by poison administered by some squaws who were jealous of her charms." (from the History of the Chippewa Valley)
"The first death in the city of Barron was that of a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phylander Ball in 1863. The mother died a few days later. Both are buried on the banks of the Menomonie about a mile north of the Soo railroad bridge at the locality long called Lousberg" (from the History of Barron County). Here we shall have to choose between these two versions. The birth of the first white child in Barron settlement occurred in 1865. A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jones.
In November, 1880, John Quaderer had the settlement surveyed and platted as a village. He not only gave Court House Square to the county, he also donated to the city, the mill site of ten acres where Parr Manufacturing Company once had a plant. He donated 40 acres to the railroad. This tract was near the heart of the city. He sometimes drove to Eau Claire for a load of provisions. On the return trip he often saw so much hunger and distress among the people along the road, and being a generous hearted soul, he could not ignore their sufferings. It is said by the time he arrived back in Barron, he did not have a great deal of his load left. "Faith, hope and charity,--and the greatest of these is charity."
On September 17, 1890, the sawmill of the Parr Manufacturing Company was completely destroyed by fire. A new plant with a capacity of 40,000 feet per day was built. It employed about 30 men.
On July 4th, 1876, many people from all over the county gathered in Barron. A dance was held in the new courthouse.
Before the Soo Line was built through Barron (1884), A.R. Thurston operated a stage line from Barron to Cumberland and from Barron to Cameron. He also carried the mail. William Bartlett also ran a stage several times per day between Barron and Cameron.
For many years, Knapp Stout and Company floated from ten to twelve million feet of pine logs down the Yellow River. Two ingenious "Parker" gates at the Taylor dam, had to be opened to let the logs pass through.
William Rhodes observed his 99th birthday on March 31 (1960). He and Mrs. Rhodes will observe their 75th wedding anniversary on April 16th. Mr. Rhodes is an ardent Braves baseball fan. Mrs. Rhodes is past 94.
Mrs. Frank Hulbert died April 11th (1960). She was 98 years old last December 8th, and had lived in Barron for 59 years.
John Quaderer was the father of eleven children. Two of these children are still living. They are; Lawrence Quaderer of Couderay and Anna Quaderer (Mrs. Otto Kahl) of Prairie Farm.
Barron Community Memorial Hospital
One of the most important community projects ever undertaken in this locality was the recent successful conclusion of activities which gave this community the Barron Community Memorial Hospital. The campaign began February 7, 1956. Mayor Everett Lightner was appointed to direct a preliminary survey to determine public sentiment. Somewhat later anintensive campaign got under way to raise $375,000. It was so successful that on April 3, 1958, construction was started.
On February 16, 1957, a temporary board of directors was formed consisting of: Everett Lightner, F.E. Van Sickle, Jalmer Viitanen, Willis Jerome, Lawrence Wooldridge, Edgar Perry, D.A. Ritchie, Ed Vergin, and William Miller. At this meeting the officers elected were: F.E. Van Sickle, president; Willis Jerome and Mayor Lightner, vice presidents; Jalmer Viitanen, secretary and treasurer. Alderman Gust Hogland was named to represent the city council on the hospital's board of directors. Three more members were added to the board of directors a little later. They were: William Koser, William Wisti and Harris Kahl.
This fine new hospital was dedicated on March 15, 1959. This is a 30 bed hospital and is the most modern in this part of the state. It contains the latest and most up-to-date equipment. There is a modern operating room and an emergency room. Drs. Strang and Templeton built a fine clinic at the west end of the hospital.
At the time of the dedication, these doctors made up the hospital staff: Dr. C.J. Strang, chief of staff; Dr. H.M. Templeton, vice chief of staff; Dr. Dean Hammond, secretary. Other staff members are: Dr. Ralph Waley and Dr. M.S. Saydjari. The registered nurses at the hospital are: Laura Weise, Mrs. Barbara Ritchie, and Rosella Crottery. Donald Cook is hospital administrator.
What will the next hundred years bring to this community and this nation? No man knows. Will other fiends and mad men rise and "shut the gates of mercy on mankind", as happened only a short time ago? Again, no man knows. We can only face the future with a great deal of fear and apprehension when we think of the greedy, unprincipled, merciless men who now occupy positions of great power and who have in their hands the terrible, destructive forces which science has recently discovered.
We can also face the future with great faith and courage and hope when we review the past and recall how many crises mankind has encountered in years gone by. Each time, during the darkest hour when all seemed lost, man has fought on and finally crushed the forces of evil. And we fervently hope it will ever be thus. At any rate, no thinking man, were it in his power,would care or dare to draw the veil aside.
We fully realize that this account of the events which have taken place in this community in the past hundred years, is far from perfect. Maybe some things which do not appear in this account should have been included and other items which are included had better been omitted. A brilliant writer once produced an essay entitled, "The Glory of the Imperfect." If there is some small merit in this work, maybe it will fall under some such title.
And now, with trust in God, and with hope and courage, and good will, and good fellowship, let us embark on the second hundred years hoping that this community and this nation will move, ever forward and the world will become an ever better place in which to live, as the centuries come and go.
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