First Week of July 1875-2005
140 Years Ago (1875): Our citizens, one and all, have reason of gratitude for the pleasant and harmonious
Fourth of 1875. We saw no drunkenness on the streets, and everything passed off orderly, and much to the
satisfaction of all citizens and strangers. The committees worked energetically, and are entitled to credit for the
pleasant and agreeable manner they discharged their various duties.
130 Years Ago (1885): Talking with Messrs. Barnard the other day on the matter of building a tobacco
warehouse, they said they were ready and anxious to build but property was held so high convenient of location,
that they could not think of purchasing a warehouse lot. They said, from similar reasons, they knew of three
parties who were deterred from building. The railroad company would erect other buildings, warehouses &c.
necessary for the increase of their business here, but they could not think of paying the price demanded for lots
in proximity to their depot. We are sorry if this is the case, because an extensive business might be done if
proper facilities could be obtained for doing it. The tobacco business alone is no small consideration, and
dealers have an eye to this place and would come here if not forced away by a “dog in the manger” policy.
120 Years Ago (1895): N. C. Foster Lumber Co. of Fairchild Wis. have purchased the Dr. C. M. Smith acreage
lying west of the Baker works and will at once put in a large stock of lumber. The deal was made by Tuttle,
Fisher and Co. [Note: A lumberyard was on the site until the late 1930s. In 1940, the property was purchased
by Union Co-op. Today it is the site of Creekside Place.]
110 Years Ago (1905): Orville Green wife and family from Government School at Manderson, S. Dak., are
guests of Mrs. Lydia Green. Mr. Green and wife have long been connected with the Indian schools and rank
very highly in both their teaching and executive ability. Have you seen the pretty Indian relics in the Grange
window? They are owned by Orville Green and show some of the work done by Indian pupils.
100 Years Ago (1915): During the months of July and August the churches will unite in evening service. The
hour will be six-thirty. The place, the lawn between the Congregational church and parsonage. In case of rain
the service will be held in the Congregational church. Comfortable chairs will be provided for seats. All are
welcome. This week the service will be appropriate to the day, July 4.
90 Years Ago (1925): The rain storm of last Friday evening, which was just a good heavy rain in this locality
turned to hail northwest of town and damaged the barley and corn crops quite a little on the farms of Earl Allen,
Fred Rosenthall, George Emery, C. C. Goehl, Peter Templeton and Lloyd Hubbard and many of their neighbors.
80 Years Ago (1935): Owing to a recent change of ownership of the Hotel Central which has been owned for
many years by Mr. and Mrs. George Wolfe, who are now retiring from active work, the furniture and equipment of
the hotel was sold at auction last Saturday by Auctioneer Dan Finnane. There was a large crowd in attendance,
and the bidding active. Those who are posted on prices of such things state that as a rule the furniture brought
fair prices, though, as is always the case, some did not really bring their true value. There was a trace of
sadness about the sale, owing to the fact that many of the life-long friends of Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe regretted to see
them retire from an active business life, after so many years spent in catering to the wants and wishes of the
public. [Note: the Hotel Central was on the northwest corner of Main and Madison Streets, the current location
of Roger G. Roth, CPA & Associates.]
70 Years Ago (1945): Plans are being completed here this week by the leaders and members of the Evansville 4-
H club for their annual picnic to be held in the city park at 12:30 p.m. next Sunday. The committee is comprised
of Mr. and Mrs. John Kennedy and Mr. and Mrs. Ora Green. Each family attending the festivity to which all
leaders, members and their families are invited are requested to provide their table service, sandwiches, and one
or two items of food to share. Because of current conditions it will be impossible to make lemonade, therefore,
pop will be on sale or those who care for coffee may take their own beverage.
60 Years Ago (1955): After finding the bacteria count in Lake Leota too high for safe swimming last week,
Evansville board of health prohibited swimming at the lake until further notice. Dr. R. J. Gray, who made the last
bacteria count at the lake, said the unhealthy condition of the lake was probably the result of recent heavy rains
which stirred up waters considerably. Bacteria counts are made at the lake about once a week to determine its
safety for swimming. Most of the counts are made by Dr. Gray. Rock county’s sanitary engineer also checks the
50 Years Ago (1965): Students from Evansville who recently registered for classes at the University of
Wisconsin are Jane Viney, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lyle F. Viney; Jerome Polich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph
Polich; and Ronald A. Wood, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Wood, Terrance C. Collins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald
Collins; Norman C. Spersrud, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gilman Spersrud; Jo Marlene Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Wilson L. Brown and Margaret E. Crocker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Crocker..
40 Years Ago (1975): A State Supreme Court ruling was given last week which decision upheld the ruling of
circuit court Judge Arthur Luebke and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission ordering the city of
Evansville to recognize the Teamsters Local 579 as the bargaining agent for certain city employees. It is
believed to be the first time in the history of the state that a municipality has appealed such an issue all the way
to the Supreme Court and also the first time that an enforced bargaining order has been issued against a
30 Years Ago (1985): Becki Shoemaker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Art Shoemaker, and Marc Ortman, son of
Mrs. Karen Janes, represented the Evansville 4-H at the Rock County 4-H Fair Royalty Competition held this past
Thursday, June 20, 1985 at the Rock County Court House, Janesville.
20 Years Ago (1995): “Don’t rain on my parade.” Despite a downpour on July 4 in Evansville, the annual parade
went on as usual with the many participants braving the elements. The inclement weather may have dampened
or altered some of the other planned activities in the park, but not the parade. Veterans of World War II led the
parade with umbrellas still carrying on the World War II theme for the July 4 activities.
10 years ago (2005): Women of the Evansville community are invited to the Evansville Fund’s garden tea in
Millie Tait’s garden, 227 Garfield Ave. on Sunday, July 10. Picture this: a mid-summer Sunday afternoon, harp
and violin music provided by Ann Courtier and Sylvia O’Connor, a garden in bloom, tasty treats and drinks, a
silent auction and door prizes, all free except the auction items.
Second Week of July 1875-2005
140 Years Ago (1875): Married. In Evansville, July 11th, 1875 by Rev. E. Robinson, Mr. George L. Mc Coy, of
Decorah, Iowa, and Miss Ella Hollenbush, of Evansville.
130 Years Ago (1885): Frank Emery is going to outdo the best on tobacco barns. Messrs. Potter and Garfield
are doing the work. Its size is 28 x 56, and 16 feet posts. It will have a basement and be finished throughout in
the most complete manner.
120 Years Ago (1895): Evansville caught a narrow strip of the cyclone on the south side, Sunday. Mrs. Ella
Jones’ house was somewhat racked, two hard maple trees were blown down in front of Mr. James Powles’ a large
limb was blown from a maple tree in front of Mr. Stephen Baker’s, which barely missed the house, a large
tamarack in the Reese yard was laid low and about two rods and a half of sidewalk in front of the Rev. Mr. Detert’
s residence was picked up and hurled across the street. The roof was taken from Mr. Conry’s barn on south
First street and carried to Madison St; two freight cars were blown from the track at the station. There were other
minor traces of the storm but nothing more serious in this vicinity.
110 Years Ago (1905): The Misses Belle Denison, Bernice Franklin, Minnie Lee, Anna Meeley, Mae Moore and
Jennie McMurray from this place are attending the normal summer school at Whitewater.
100 Years Ago (1915): A resolution was passed by the Evansville City Council officially naming the street
running from the Snashall corner to the stand pipe, now known as North Main street, to North Fourth street. The
street now known as Fourth street on the plat of the Clifton addition to be changed to Clifton street.
90 Years Ago (1925): Last Sunday while diving in Bad Fish Creek, Henry Haakenson, of Cooksville, aged
twenty, struck a stone with his head at the bottom, making a bad cut which had to be given surgical attention at
once. His condition is not considered serious.
80 Years Ago (1935): At their last regular meeting on July 6, Mr. Ben Ellis, city clerk informed the council that the
administrator of Burr W. Jones estate, in accordance with the will of Mr. Jones, leaving the sum of $500 to
Evansville park Association to be used for furnishing playground equipment for that part of the park given to the
city by him.
70 Years Ago (1945): According to M. L. Ellis and Mr. and Mrs. J. I. Scott, custodians of Leonard and Leota
parks, one of the largest crowds in many years flocked to the city parks Sunday for picnic dinners, recreation,
swimming and to listen to the band concert. Groups were present from many cities and villages in southern
Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The weather was ideal for an outing and the recreational facilities offered by the
local parks attracted many in the area. Many of last Sunday’s visitors were here for the first time and were
favorably impressed with the scenic beauty of the spot. The park store is operated this summer by the city with
Miss Shirley Luchsinger in charge. She is assisted by Miss Ann Guilfoyle. Tables may be reserved in both parks
and the shelter house by contacting custodians. William Meredith is life guard for the summer.
60 Years Ago (1955): A magazine printed here in Evansville was on its way to President Eisenhower this week.
The occasion was the mailing of the Brown Swiss Bulletin, national magazine of the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’
Association. The President, now an honorary member of the Brown Swiss Association, was presented with a
purebred Swiss heifer at the recent Vermont Dairy Festival. The cover, as well as pictures with the lead story of
the August issue of the Bulletin, show the president receiving the heifer. The Bulletin, which goes each month to
more than 5,000 members of the association, is one of several agricultural publications done in Evansville at the
Antes Printing Company.
50 Years Ago (1965): With Phil Hamilton and David Fellows on the general committee for the annual Baptist
Church auction sale to be held Saturday, July 17, plans are underway. Other committee members, William
Benson, O. R. Devlin and Mrs. Lee Smout, report that calls are coming in regarding sales items.
40 Years Ago (1975): Some of the corn crops in the area were dealt a hard blow the night before the Fourth,
when a heavy rain, hail, and high winds swept through certain areas and wreaked havoc with the corn. The roots
of the corn were pulled from the ground, while some stalks were left standing upright. The Footville area on
County A was also badly hit. An additional storm on Saturday night brought heavy rains, wind and hail again as
well as lightning which illuminated the sky in a constant flashing. It was reported that Norman Heffel on Gibbs
Lake Rd. lost a barn during this storm. Electricity outages were reported both nights.
30 Years Ago (1985): Discussion was had by the City Council on the bridge at the south end of the park, which
has been closed to vehicular traffic for some time. Costs to repair the bridge for foot traffic would be $5,000.
Harland Miller, Chairman of the Park Board reports he feels it should be removed. Several comments were
offered that the area appears to be safer now without access on the bridge. July 4th traffic, it was reported was
very well controlled, with the bridge not being available. Sgt. John Whitmore suggested leaving the bridge for
foot traffic for another summer, to see the needs. The bridge originally came from the county back in 1934.
20 Years Ago (1995): A new Subway Restaurant is now under construction at the Citgo Quick Mart, located on
the corner of Union and East Main Streets. With an anticipated opening of mid to late August, the building will tie
into the present convenience store and will offer the popular nationwide fare of the Subway Restaurants.
10 years ago (2005): In celebration of Aunt Leota’s 11th Anniversary another Grove Chase Walk/Run was held
on July 4th. The race began, as always, at Lake Leota Park, RAIN or shine! Although a bit of a late start with
rain dampening the roadways, it did not dampen the spirits of the runners, young or older! Even Aunt Leota
herself said “Let’s just get this race runnin’!” Tom Blain, this year’s new coordinator, having taken over from long
time coordinator, Scott Brummond, took on the charge and the runners were off.
Third Week of July 1875-2005
140 Years Ago (1875): If you want a good picture, new style, call at Eldredge’s Gallery, over Griswold’s Drug
Store. Mr. F. N. Eldredge has recently fitted up his photograph rooms by adding side and sky lights, and has
everything in prime order for business. His work will bear the test of critical examination. [Note: Griswold’s Drug
Store was at 1 East Main Street.]
130 Years Ago (1885): Prof. Coleman is making the Seminary solid by the neat and substantially built residence
he is putting up just west of the Seminary building. He has a good barn with basement, and his house is one of
the most complete and substantially built of any in town. Mr. A. J. Snashall is doing the labor, assisted by M. P.
Walton and Geo. Roscoe. [Note: Prof. Coleman, head of the Evansville Seminary, had the house built at 109
South Fourth Street.]
120 Years Ago (1895): About 4 o’clock, July 21st, James Riley Whitney died. He was in his 72nd year. Mr.
Whitney was born at New Caanan, Connecticut, January 8th, 1824. When a young man he took ship from New
London on the whaling vessel “The Superior” and was twenty-two months on his first voyage. This voyage was
follow by three other voyages. After leaving the sea he married Catherine Letts and came to Wisconsin in the
Spring of 1856 and settled in Spring Valley, afterwards moving to Magnolia and began his occupation as
blacksmith. His mind was always active and of an inventive nature. He first produced the idea of the steel beam
plow and from him originated the riding plow now known as the “Flying Dutchman”. He made a plow for the C & N
W R R for the company’s use which was afterwards made patentable. Magnolia mourns the loss of an esteemed
citizen. The funeral was under the auspices of the Masonic order and took place from his late residence.
Interment at Magnolia cemetery.
110 Years Ago (1905): The Misses May Finn, Maude Gibbs, Maud and Grace Fessenden, Nellie Decker,
Katherine Lay, Mabel Hollenbeck, Etta Hollis, Elizabeth A. Miller, Lydia F. Crichfield, Lulu B. Howard, Alice
Roherty, Lula Fisher, Marie E. Green, Minnie J. Jones, Anna Meeley, Alice M. Copeland, Minnie A. Edwards,
Louise Newman, Mary A. Roherty and L. Vera Fuller went to Janesville Monday to attend the teachers’ county
100 Years Ago (1915): Failure to heed the warning of the iron policeman on the corner resulted in an injured
horse and a bent automobile. The sprinkling wagon was driving toward the east, and just behind came Warren
Rowley in his automobile. Both were on the wrong side of the traffic post. Rowley took it for granted that the
wagon would go straight ahead and attempted to pass it, when the driver, Harvey Sperry, turned the team to the
left in front of the auto. The horse near the car was hit and badly cut on the breast and had one rib broken.
One fender of the auto was turned back and a lamp bracket bent. The horse was taken from the wagon at once
and led to the barn of the owner, Mr. Leffingwell.
90 Years Ago (1925): The Wisconsin Telephone Co. has at last decided to give Evansville an up-to-date phone
system, doing away with the old fashioned local battery or ringing system and installing the non-ring or common
battery system, where the lifting of the receiver calls central by flashing a light on the switchboard which stays
until the receiver is replaced.
80 Years Ago (1935): Evansville’s FERA program, which has relieved the city’s unemployment situation
considerably during the past year, is now maintaining a crew of approximately 25 men who are completing the
new athletic field at the fair grounds and continuing their efforts in beautifying the city park which has become the
show place of southern Wisconsin. The crew at the fair grounds is this week leveling off the area for the gridiron
which will undoubtedly be ready for use this fall when the high school schedule opens. The park crew is
completing the riprapping around the island near the upper bridge and is pointing up the rock walls with cement.
The rock being used at the park is being secured at the Milbrandt quarry south of the city where operations are
in charge of Jacob Nihart, crew foreman. The men have been cleaning the quarry during the past two weeks in
preparation for quarrying more rock to be used in riprapping the park stream.
70 Years Ago (1945): Several farm accidents have been reported near Evansville during the haying season.
Recently Pliny Tolles sustained an injury to his knee when he wrenched it in an effort to keep from falling from
the load. Hugh Robinson fell from a load of hay the first of this week while attempting to cover it with a canvas.
He suffered a broken rib and bruises and shock. Orville Popanz, Sr. and Dean George have sprained ankles as
a result of haying accidents.
60 Years Ago (1955): Mr. and Mrs. Nimmer Adamany, of the new Grange store management, returned early this
week from their first buying trip to Minneapolis. While there, the Adamanys viewed the fall style offerings, and
placed orders for the store’s fall wearing apparel.
50 Years Ago (1965): The Eastern Star’s first adventure in sponsoring a strawberry shortcake festival was so
successful that there is already talk about making it an annual event. More than 200 were served and many
went back for seconds. Those at the ticket table reported that customers came from Stoughton, Edgerton,
Janesville, Brooklyn and other nearby cities and villages.
40 Years Ago (1975): The Rev. Joshua Crowell has resigned his pastorate of the Congregational United Church
of Christ here and has accepted a call from the First Congregational Church-U.C.C. in Essex, Conn. The Rev.
and Mrs. Crowell have been residents here the past eight years since he accepted a call to the local church. In
addition to their church activities they have contributed much to the civic life of the city and will be missed in many
ways. Mrs. Crowell especially by musical groups and he as a volunteer fireman.
30 Years Ago (1985): Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Benzinger have purchased the Charles Maas home on Badger
Drive. They plan to move to Evansville from Deerfield mid-August. Benzinger is Supt. of Schools in Evansville.
20 Years Ago (1995): Thanks to all of the individuals and businesses who contributed to the 1995 fireworks,
“Rhythm & Buffoons!” To the volunteers who helped during the fireworks display: Cliff Muchow, Jerry Beckwith,
Steve Hagen, Phil Kress, John Rasmussen and Duke Farnsworth; and to the Evansville Water and Light Dept. for
setting and removing the mortars, the Evansville Fire Dept. for providing fire protection and to Randy Luchsinger
for the use of his truck. Evansville Lions Club Fireworks Committee.
10 years ago (2005): The Evansville Community Band will hold its first rehearsal on Thursday, July 28th at 7 p.
m. in the Evansville High School Band room. All instruments are welcome. If you need an instrument to play call
Doug Zblewski as soon as possible and we will try to set you up with something to play. Concert at the Park,
Tuesday, August 9th , 6 p.m.
Fourth Week of July 1875-2005
140 Years Ago (1875): We saw dense clouds of smoke issuing from the tall chimney of Lehman Brothers for the
first time Tuesday morning, after an absence of a couple of weeks. They are making extensive repairs about
their Factory. But it is odd without the steam whistle to call us to the house of meals.
130 Years Ago (1885): Notice. Complaint having been made that certain parties practice shooting about the
Mill Pond thereby endangering the lives of persons living in the vicinity. And further complaint having been made
that certain persons practice an indecent exposure of person. Such parties are hereby warned that they will be
proceeded against according to law if complaint is again made. By order of the Board.
120 Years Ago (1895): John Reilly has made arrangements to solicit oil and gasoline trade at Brooklyn,
Magnolia and this place. The tank especially adapted for this business, furnished by the Standard Oil Co., has
110 Years Ago (1905): Sat. Brown and Emmett Reilly are laying the fine cement walks around the city hall.
These gentlemen recently laid walks in front of the residence of Nate Ballard and Wm. Flaum. These walks rank
among the best in our city. The city hall property is being greatly improved by new cement walks. The
necessary grading will place the building higher and improve its appearance. We hope the good work will go on
until the pretty little park is put in the form it merits, with dead trees removed and holes and ruts filled in. It ought
to be made an ornament to the city, rather than an unsightly dumping ground for unused tiles, lumber, tools and
100 Years Ago (1915): The Chautauqua week came to a close on Monday night when Senator La Follette gave
his address on “Representative Government.” The senator was delayed in reaching the big tent, but the crowd
of people from various parts of Rock and Dane counties were entertained until his arrival by the Evansville band,
assisted by Mrs. R. R. Edwards of this city and Miss Sadie Ames of Brooklyn, soloists, both of whom sang very
appropriate selections in a pleasing manner, and responded to encores. Mr. Earle Gillies was called on and
kindly consented to read Kipling’s “On the Road to Mandalay.” It was nearly a quarter to 9 o’clock when the
senator reached the tent greeting old friends right and left as he approached the entrance. Although somewhat
tired from giving a series of fifty addresses in as many days through the south, he has lost none of the old time
“punch” and held the closest attention of the audience for the two and a half hours of his address.
90 Years Ago (1925): Some time ago, the City Council went on record in favor of locating and paving Highway
13 around Evansville to the north and recorded the position taken by passing a resolution to that effect and
sending it to the State Highway Commission at Madison. Believing that this change would be detrimental to the
business interests of the city, a petition is being circulated this week asking the Council to reverse its decision
and appeal to the Highway Commission to send the highway through the main part of town. This petition will
probably be presented to the council at its next meeting, August 4.
80 Years Ago (1935): The Service Garage and Machine shop at 157 East Main street, distributors of modern
farm equipment, this week sold an Allis Chalmers’ high speed combine, the first machine of its kind in this locality
and the second in Rock county, to Charles Whitmore, local farmer residing seven miles southeast of the city in
Center township. The new machine, which is now in operation on the Whitmore farm where it is creating
considerable attention, has been specially designed for the corn-belt farmer who has small fields and unevenly
ripening grain. Due to its size and flexibility, the combine can be handled on rolling ground and through narrow
gates with any two-plow tractor as power with one operator handling both tractor and combine. The combine,
which represented the last word in modern farm equipment, cuts the grain, threshes it, and runs it into a bin
carried on the machine after which it is transferred to the grain wagon by a power elevator. It eliminates the
necessity of twine, shocking, threshing, and a considerable amount of labor.
70 Years Ago (1945): James L. Stone, Ripon, president of the Wisconsin Bankers Association has appointed L.
P. Eager, president of the Union Bank and Trust company, Evansville to serve on the public relations committee
during the association’s fiscal year ending May 31, 1946. W. A. Canary, cashier of the Footville State Bank was
named on the services for war veterans committee.
60 Years Ago (1955): Mrs. Willis Griffith, Miss Hattie Axtell, Mrs. Clyde Babcock, V. A. Axtell, Rev. Wendell
Marshall, Potter Porter, Miss Lillian Gibbs, Mrs. John Baker and Mrs. F. W. Hansen were guests of honor at a
recent fete held in the Congregational church for members of 50 or more years. In a talk given by Leonard Finn,
Mr. Axtell was especially cited for his long term of years as a member of the church. Many others are in the 50
year group but live in other cities.
50 Years Ago (1965): The members of the Evansville High School classes of 1935 and 1936 will assemble here
Saturday, July 24 for a joint reunion. Although the 1935 class has met several times since graduation, those in
the 1936 class will be observing their first reunion. Plans for the afternoon’s activities will be informal with a tour
of the new high school, swimming in the city pool, golf at the country club and calling on former classmates and
friends. Registration and a social hour at the Legion Lounge will begin at 6 p.m. Arrangements committees are
Mmes. Clayton Sperry, Leo Nehls, Ralph Crocker, Donald Rowald, Otto Klug, Claire Ehle and Mssrs. Lee
Ringhand, Harold Robinson and Robert Richardson for 1935 and Mrs. Lee Smout, Mrs. W. S. Spratler, Jr., Don
Thompson, Rollo Brunsell and Robert Erstad for 1936.
40 Years Ago (1975): Following the annual meeting of school Dist. No. 6, Monday night the Board of Education
held an organizational meeting at which they elected officers and welcomed new board members. Nimmer
Adamany, who has been acting president since the resignation of John Wyse, was named president. Dr. Roland
Jeans was elected vice president; Mrs. Vaughn Peterson was named clerk and Herbert Christensen was
30 Years Ago (1985): Checks were presented by the Evansville Lions to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation for
operation of Lions Lake Camp at Rosholt; to the Wisconsin Eye Bank Program; Leader Dog Program; and Lions
Club International foundation. Over $3,000 has been raised and donated to state and international projects, as
well as local organizations.
20 Years Ago (1995): Progress on the library addition during the first two weeks has included the pouring of the
footings and foundation walls of the new addition. A huge hydraulic saw was used to cut openings through the
existing basement walls. Brick and cement will be removed from the cut areas to create doors into the existing
basement rooms. Many questions have been asked concerning the beautiful stained glass windows on the south
wall of the main floor. The windows will be preserved and will become interior windows that can be viewed from
both the existing upper level and the new addition. Doors will be cut on either side of the fireplace for access to
the large room on the main floor of the new addition.
10 years ago (2005): The resignation of Mrs. Mary Koehl, Evansville school district’s director of instruction, was
accepted at the special school board meeting on Monday, June 27. Mrs. Koehl has worked with the district for 28
years, under three different school administrators (four counting an interim). She was originally hired in 1977 as
an art teacher. In 1992, she established the Gifted and Talented Program in Evansville. In 2000, she accepted
a position as Evansville’s Director of Instruction. Mrs. Koehl began her new position as principal/director of
instruction at Hartford Union High School on July 1.