The following items are related to the HISTORY OF PULASKI.  As you know, parts of Pulaski are in Shawano County, while others are in Brown County. 


Pulaski's Historic High Points Listed
  • J. J. Hoff, Chicago landowner, established site of Pulaski village—1885.
  • Valentine Peplinski opened first grocery store—1887.
  • J, J. Hoff "donated 120 acre tract for Franciscan monastery and church—1887.
  • Cornerstone for church blessed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop F. X. Kaster, Green Bay—April 27, 1887
  • Post office established—1890. Printery established in Franciscan monastery—1907.
  • Chicago and North Western railroad line completed from Green Bay through Pulaski to Gillett and Shawano—1907.
  • Malon Prokopovitz entered retail business—1908.
  • Addition built to monastery —1908.
  • Village incorporated, John Peplinski president, Charier, L. Lebich, secretary, Lawrence Szymanski, treasurer—1910.
  • Pulaski State Bank capitalized—1910.
  • First public school building completed—1910.
  • Merchants' and Farmers' Telephone company organized March 14, 1910.
  • Volunteer fire department organized—1912.
  • Three-story building added to monastery property—1915.
  • Public high school building completed—1923.
  • Pulaski Canning Company, Inc., organized—1928.
  • Progressive Farmers built warehouse—1935,
  • Pulaski village celebrates its Golden-Silver Jubilee anniversaries— Aug. 3 and 4, 1935.

JULY 31, 1935

Village Was Incorporated In 1910, 25 Years Now

PULASKI, Wis. — Culminating fifty years of strenuous labor and hardship to develop an unpromising lowland of brush and pine stumps into, a thriving community of industries and homes, Pulaski village, on Saturday and Sunday, observes the fiftieth year of its founding with a huge homecoming celebration. It is also twenty-five years since the village was incorporated, making the celebration a joint Golden-Silver Jubilee festival.

Half a century ago, in the summer of 1885, J. J. Hoff, a Chicago landowner and real estate dealer, having bought up a vast tract of land in this territory, made plans for the building of the village that he called Pulaski. Evidently he was something of a visionary, since it is apparent that by his selection of the village site at the exact juncture of the counties of Brown, Shawano, and Oconto, he predicted the growth of a large and prosperous trading and manufacturing center.

Name Was Attraction

Large numbers of Polish immigrants were then coming to the Middle West to settle. A few were in the town of Hofa Park, named after the landowner, and were induced to make their "stakes" in Hoffs proposed community. Many Polish people in Milwaukee, Chicago and the Pennsylvania mining regions were attracted by Hoffs' circulars and personal visits that were glowing account of the attractions to be offered at Pulaski. it An instance of Hoff's keen sense of business strategy and psychology in attracting Polish immigrants is shown in his selection of the name "Pulaski," in honor of Count Casimer Pulaski, the Polish nobleman who fought with the American patriots in the War for Independence. Most of the people who came bought their land in forty and eighty acre lots, "sight unseen," building a town and community whose people even today are largely of Polish extraction.

Retail beginnings were made in 1887, when Valentine Peplinski brought his family from Hofa Park and opened the first grocery store. This old building was still in service until last year as a blacksmith shop, having been moved from its original location on Pulaski or "Main" street, near the Pulaski state bank.

Accompanying Valentine Peplinski of Pulaski was his son John B. who, with his father, must be given much of the credit for the town's early development and steady growth. The Peplinskis were born in Poland, and John was 17 years old when they came to Pulaski.

Still Operates Store

The elder Peplinski died in 1915, and today John is still a robust and an active businessman, one of the "oldtimers." Besides several other connections, he operates a well stocked hardware store, representing a passing generation of the old-fashioned, conservative type of store keeper.

Mr. Peplinski likes to tell about the conditions as they were in those early days. Contrasted with the village as it is today, the changes seem almost phenomenal, since the community is a comparative "youngster" as against the histories of many similar sized Wisconsin towns. There were only the barest excuses of roads laboriously chopped through the trees and underbrush, and during the first half dozen years the town itself was only a wide space in the road. "And not too wide at that!" Mr. Peplinski recalls. Today it has grown to a population of 900, surrounded by a thickly populated farming section.

A trip to Green-Bay for supplies, a distance of eighteen miles, was an event in itself. Travel was by ox team and wagon, and if everything went well the driver usually was gone no longer than two days. If the roads were "bad" there was no telling when the driver might be expected back in town.

A settler named Mike Jaroch was the first farmer to locate in the section immediately north of Pulaski, having come from Milwaukee in 1884. By 1890 there were only five farmers on the road to Angelica, with others sparsely scattered about. Farming was mainly on a subsistence basis during the first years while the land was being cleared, and there was very little cash handled by the farmers. As soon as the land was cleared, however, it was found that the soil would raise fine crops, and the farmers prospered accordingly.

Had Plenty of Work

"It was a tough life," Mr. Peplinski relates. "Making a living was hard, but when we made some money we kept it until we were ready to spend it; no depressions and overnight business failures touched us then. Salt pork, flour, and salt were the main staples of the grocery trade by the Peplinskis before the turn of the century. Most of the people were farmers, and those few who followed some other line of business had gardens that produced much of their food.

"We had no pleasures; it was all work, and plenty of that!" Mr. Peplinski averred in answer to an innocent question as to what the settlers did for relaxation. "We used to have a picnic every year on the Fourth of July, though," he reflected after a pause.

In 1890 the Peplinskis expanded their grocery and general merchandise business to include farm implements. That this was a happy decision is attested by the fact that the J. A. Peplinski Hardware company today enjoys a heavy run of business and is one of the village's largest stores.

During the same year, in 1890, the facilities of the postal department were brought to Pulaski. Valentine Peplinski was the first postmaster, handling the sparse volume of letters and other matter in his store. Until 1905 the mail was brought by the stagecoach passing through Angelica, where the "mail runner," who obviously couldn't do much running over that particular road, carried it the three miles to Pulaski.

John Peplinski also had the honor of being postmaster for a time. Today the post office has a third class rating, having fallen from second class during the years of the depression. It is located in the J. A. Peplinski building on Pulaski street. Three rural delivery routes are maintained, covering a total of 145 miles.

Sawmill Erected

A sawmill was erected by Hoff, and here local farmers brought their own logs to be cut into boards and shingles for their homes and farm buildings. Trees consisted largely of oak, hemlock, second growth pine, and a sprinkling of maple, beech and other hardwoods. Many of the buildings were constructed of heavy logs, roughly hewn to shape. "Raising bees" and "shingling bees'* were about the nearest approach to social enjoyment for these hard worked men, who banded together in comradey fashion to help their neighbors with building operations.

A profoundly religious people, embracing the Roman Catholic faith, these early Polish settlers were never without the ministrations of the church. Occasional masses were read by visiting priests until 1887, when J. J. Hoff made a 120 acre grant to the Franciscan Fathers for a monastery and church. Before the close of the following year, a humble chapel was erected and work started on the monastery.

From these meager beginnings, the monastery and church grew into the present splendid institutions. The monastery is a thriving community of its own, housing a printing establishment that does a rushing business for the church and the Order and job printing for the general public. St. Mary's church, a beautiful new edifice, is one of the prides of the village.

A modern parochial day school of eight grades is maintained by St. Mary's parish. The Polish National Catholic church, a comparatively smaller parish, is the only other church in Pulaski. Villagers and nearby residents of other faiths are served by out-of-town churches in the vicinity, including a Methodist church at Angelica, and Lutheran churches at Owego, Lessor, and Kunesh. The Kunesh Lutheran church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year.

Incorporated in 1910

John Peplinski was the first president of the Pulaski Merchants' and Farmers Telephone company, organized on March 14, 1910. Other officers were Louis Peplinski, vice-president, and F. K. Ramczewski, secretary-treasurer. The original capital stock of the company was $5,000, which since has grown to $25,000. D. E. Riorden is the present manager. The first telephone line was built to serve subscribers between Pulaski and Angelica. Today the exchange has a total of 500 subscribers, maintaining service 24 hours of the day.

The year 1910 evidently was a busy one for Pulaski, for in addition to the organizing of the telephone company, the village was incorporated, the Pulaski Stats bank capitalized, and a new public school building completed. The village was growing rapidly at this time, no little credit being due to the Chicago and Northwestern railroad which finished building its lines from Green Bay with branches out of Pulaski to Gillett and Shawano in 1907.

Being elected the first president of the village when it was incorporated in 1910, was another milestone in the career of John Peplinski, a busy citizen who never courts fame or publicity, but is always ready to talk over "old times" with his numerous friends. Charles L. Lebich was the secretary of the first village board, and Lawrence Szymanski was treasurer.

The Pulaski State bank was organized with a capitalization of $15,000, the investment of 22 stockholders. John Peplinski, Harry T. Peplinski were instrumental in organizing the bank. John Peplinski was elected president and F. K. Ramczewski was cashier. For several months business was conducted from an office in the Peplinski home and the present bank building was finished the following year.

Always conservative in its dealings, the Pulaski State bank weathered the years of the recent depression safely. Today it has a capital stock of $50,000. Harry T. Peplinski is the president and Tony Efta, cashier.

Organized Fire Department

Prior to 1910, educational facilities, while provided, were informal and inadequate to the needs of the growing community. Teachers conducted classes in private homes and vacant rooms above stores. The first unit of the present modern building was completed the same year the village was incorporated, and Oscar H. Cooley was the first principal. The high school addition was finished in 1923.

In 1912 the first fire fighting equipment was purchased, at a cost of $2000. Ably manned by volunteers, Pulaski's fire department today is the means of saving much property from destruction by fire. Not only are residences and business places within the village protected but frequent calls are answered from nearby farming sections.

One of the outstanding businessmen in the village at the present time is Malon Prokopovitz, whose large department store, elevator, and oil products company grew out of a small retail business established in 1908. The White Store, on property owned by Mr. Prokopovitz on St. Augustine Street, today is housed in his own building of 110 feet frontage, and with a depth of 100 feet.

The White Elevator, also operated by Mr. Prokopovitz, is a trading center for farmers as far as 15 miles away. Grains, cabbage, potatoes and other farm produce are bought, with a large part loaded directly into freight cars and shipped to Chicago and Milwaukee markets. Farm needs of all kinds, as well as gasoline and other petroleum products, are retailed.

The Pulaski Canning Company, Inc., representing Pulaski's largest manufacturing business, is a direct benefit to farmers who have vegetable produce to sell. and to local employees. First opened in 1928, the factory cans large amounts of beans, corn, beets, and cabbage, and during the actual canning season has approximately 105 men and women on the pay roll.

Good Canning Year

D. J. McIlree is the present manager of the concern. Products are sold to wholesalers or handled through brokers, with some being shipped as far away as New York. Much of it is sold under the firm's own brands, "Nu-Gold,'* and "Gold-Kist." Various sizes of cans, including 1, 2, 2½, and 10, are used.

Indications for the season this year, if weather continues to be favorable, point to the largest output in the experience of the company. Contracts made with growers include 180 acres of beans, 342 acres of corn, 28 acres of beets, and 6 acres of carrots. In addition, 100 acres of cabbage, to be canned into kraut, have been contracted at the prevailing market price, although it is anticipated that a heavy tonnage of non-contracted cabbage will be purchased.

Pulaski is the center of a prosperous agricultural region, and some of the most efficient and best equipped farms to be found in the entire state are located near the village. Accordingly, many of Pulaski's businessmen depend to a great extent on the handling of farm products and supplies, and their prosperity is immediately proportionate to the prosperity of the farmers.

Farming is almost wholly of a diversified nature, with emphasis on dairying. Farms run from 80 to 160 acres, with the average perhaps 140 acres, although there are several of 200 acres or more. Two cheese and a milk bottling plant within the village, and numerous other cheese factories in the neighborhood, handle most of the heavy volume of fluid milk produced.


PULASKI, Wis.—In the Roosevelt High School is seen the reason for one of the proudest boasts of Pulaski's citizens. Besides offering excellent and diversified educational opportunities to the youth of the village and many from outlying districts, it also serves local townspeople through its fine library and its athletic and extra-curricular program of music, dramatics, and other activities.

The building, which houses all twelve grades of the public education system, is well-equipped, modern, and declared fully adequate for the needs of the community by the state department of public instruction. Recently the entire building was redecorated; and renovated, and a fine lawn established. The large gymnasium and the auditorium with its stage, compare favorably with any in similar-sized high schools of northeastern Wisconsin.

Training for Life

Much of the credit for the high standards maintained in the school is due to the efforts of Alvin E. O'Konski, who will begin his third year as village superintendent of education and principal of the high school. Mr. O'Konski is keenly interested in the recent trends in education believing that the present emphasis on practical training is highly commendable.

"The purpose of the high school has changed considerably in the eyes of educators and citizens in general during the past ten years," he points out. In the past, the average high school was looked upon primarily as a preparatory school for college, regardless of whether the student had means or desire to continue his academic training.

"Today the high school is, and should be, regarded more and more as a training school for practical life. By effective guidance, students should be led to select a schedule of work that will be of the most practical value to themselves individually. Formerly the curriculum was almost total compulsory; today it is widely elective."

A course in business law was introduced last year as an elective subject. Chemistry and journalism are also among the new electives taught. Beginning with the next term, every student will be required to take the first year typewriting course. In addition the usual range of subjects of the smaller high school is provided.

Enrollment Grows

During the past two years, the enrollment in the high school grew from 137 to 208. The school is fully accredited with the North Central Association of Schools. Beginning next year, all of the high school teachers will be required to have at least a bachelor's degree.

One of Mr. O'Konski's most noteworthy achievements has been to build up a library of 4,000 volumes, with an "A-1" rating from the standpoint of supplementary material and fiction. Library cards are issued to the general public, and it is reported that people from as far as 14 miles away take advantage of this privilege. The library is also a branch unit of the Kellogg Public library in Green Bay.

Music was first introduced last year, and a 45-piece band developed under the direction of William Loebol, music instructor, The band appeared in several concerts recently and will take an active part in Pulaski's anniversary celebration. It is planned to organize a junior band in the grades next year, and to further increase the music opportunities available to the students through several other projects.

Mr. Loebel resigned his position as music instructor recently and will be replaced by Victor Zimmerman. Zimmerman comes as a graduate of the Oshkosh State Teachers college, and with two year's experience with the Chicago Symphony orchestra. Miss Shirley Layde, West De Pere, recently engaged to teach history, music, and Latin, will also assist with the music and band work.

Strong in Forensics

Other instructors on the high school faculty for next year will be Miss Annabel Carroll, Durand, Wisconsin, Miss Veronica Hemmings, Janesville, and R. P. Kennedy, Pulaski, with a science teacher still to be engaged. Teachers in the grades are the Misses Janice Kelley, Fond du Lac, Lois Brehmer, Manitowoc, and Edna Konsora, San Francisco. One other teacher for the grades has not been selected up to this time.

The extra-curricular program includes a highly developed program of forensics and public speaking. Last year's debating team won all of its scheduled meets with local high schools, including Oconto, Shawano, West De Pere, and Neenah. Numerous dramatic programs drew hundreds of people for each performance.

Football and basketball are the chief athletic activities, and during the past years the school always proved worthy opponents even against teams from comparatively larger schools. Next year teams will appear in games scheduled with the Catholic conference. R. P. Kennedy will begin his fifth year as coach.   A girls basketball team has been in existence for several years.