Monday, January 31, 2011

Methodist Church

United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is one of the oldest churches in town. Early members made their own bench pews which were carried wherever they worshiped. The lighting problem was solved by individual members taking specially prepared candles with them to evening services. The first organized meeting took place in 1857.

When the present building was erected in 1862, the U.S. soldier boys who were stationed here to suppress the Indian outbreak following the Salter massacre, assisted in raising the building.

This building still stands next to Kwik Trip in New Lisbon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

School History

The first school building in New Lisbon was constructed of slabs in 1858. Mr. Tyler was the first school master. Delos Secor and Charles Shafter were two of his pupils. In a matter of discipline, Mr. Tyler broke Charles' arm and was not rehired. Can you imagine?

In 1860 the first frame building was erected on a lot which Amasa Wilson donated for school purposes. The picture to the left shows the Kindergarten House which was located behind the Public Library site where the old tennis courts used to be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1903 Fire

This picture shows what remained of the old home town after a conflagration leveled a big section of it back in June 1903, the era when fringed surreys, dirt streets and bucket brigades were still in vogue.  The fire broke out in Stinson Bros. Store which was located where the M&I Bank building now stands and spread beyond the control of the local bucket brigade and a similar organization of fire fighters from Mauston. A block and a half of business places were wiped out in a single night. The burned area extended from the present M&I building to the corner of the Opera House. Fire swept across the street and destroyed the F&M building and buildings which were situated across the street. It was a serious blow to New Lisbon. (NOTE: If you were standing at the corner in front of Hardware Hank today, this would be the view looking towards M&I)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flour Mill

New Lisbon Flour Mill in 1858

Built in 1858 by O. H. Harwood, the New Lisbon Rolling Mills was owned and operated by J. Smart-Bierbauer.   It was one of the leading industries of its time and sold various types of flour to local citizens.  Many will remember the daring feat of Frank H. Marsh when he jumped from the 4th story window into the churning waters of the Lemonwier and swam ashore unharmed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Carr Store

W. P. Carr Cheap Store around 1869
(From New Lisbon Centennial)

The first general store was kept by Messrs. George and Reynolds who had established Indian trading posts at different points north of New Lisbon. Right at this time Surdam and Carr opened up a general store where you could purchase anything from a pitchfork to a cambric needle, a calico dress, tin plate or hundreds of other items needed for the settlers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Brief History (Part 4)

Until 1837, their wigwams were the only structures that ever graced the Lemonweir River. In the fall these Indians migrated from their summer homes on Lake Winnebago and pitched their winter camps at this point. The present site of New Lisbon was used as the winter stopping place.

It wasn’t until 1880, that the federal government realized the futility of hunting down the Winnebago and deporting them. Recognition was made of their right to own homesteads and live in this area. The tribe was allowed to own and claim land under the terms of the Indian Homestead Act. This law granted homesteads to the Winnebago and exempted them from property taxes.

As the years passed, the Winnebago left a valuable collection of artifacts in our area that is state and nationally recognized through historic societies and the National Registry of Historic places.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Brief History (Part 3)

The Winnebago were natives of the west, but always considered Wisconsin their true home. So-called “non-treaty abiding” Winnebago refused to leave Wisconsin. A village known as Indian Gardens, near New Lisbon was home to several hundred Winnebago in the 1850s. Hundreds more were scattered throughout the county.

The leader, Roaring Thunder, called “Dandy”, and Yellow Thunder contended that the Indians who went to Washington were not empowered by the tribe to sign a treaty and the agreement was invalid. In their eyes, the tribe still had legal title to Juneau County.

The Winnebago held their ground here in Juneau County and began coexisting with more and more white settlers. Even the Winnebago, who were deported west, began filtering back to Juneau County. Old Chief Lemonweir who told his neighbors he wore out six pair of moccasins on his walk back to Juneau County from Nebraska made their feelings for this area clear.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Brief History (Part 2)

The treaty in which the Winnebago gave up Juneau County was signed in Washington D.C. in 1837. This treaty opened all of Juneau County for settlement. The Winnebago were given reservation land across Mississippi, but left unwillingly. The tribe was forcibly removed to reservations in Iowa, then in Minnesota, and finally to Nebraska.

In 1850, the federal government hired Moses Paquette and other agents to flush over a thousand Winnebago out of the woods in Juneau County and take them to LaCrosse, where riverboats carried them to new homes. Railroad cattle cars were used to transport the Indians west in 1873.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Brief History (Part 1)

The history of New Lisbon begins several thousand years ago as four main glaciers traveled over our area. As a result of these glaciers, most of the area remains hilly and smooth on its land surface with a moderate temperature. The bluffs unharmed by the bulldozing glaciers left bluffs for shelter for the local natives.

The first “settlers” were the HoChunk tribe, or Winnebagos. The New Lisbon area was known as “Wa Du Shuda” which stands for “rest your canoe here”. This region of Juneau County included many families from this tribe. In 1820s, Wisconsin Native Indians signed treaties by which they relinquished their land here.

In the time of the Black Hawk War in 1832, Black Hawk brought his band into Juneau in hopes of the Winnebagos joining him in his fight against the U. S. Army and Illinois militia. The Winnebago Prophet, White Cloud, joined him to take up arms. It is believed that Black Hawk took refuge in our Twin Bluffs to hide from the enemy.

One night two Winnebago recognized him and ultimately turned him in to the U.S. army ending the last armed Indian resistance to White settlement east of the Mississippi. Black Hawk’s two captors were rewarded but the Winnebago people gained nothing from their alliance with the Americans in the Sauk War.

Roughly one quarter of the tribe died from smallpox brought to Juneau County by the white settlers. The survivors became subject to the new United States policy of removal across the Mississippi for all Wisconsin Indians.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

School Burns 1907

Another view of the school fire in 1907. This building would be rebuilt and become the Juneau County Teacher's College that stood for many years educating the area's youth. In the 1980s, this building would be razed and become the New Lisbon City Pool. St. Luke's church can be seen in the background so we know this photo was taken from the corner by the public library looking west.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bridge Street

An old look at Bridge Street in New Lisbon. Those of us who have been around awhile, can still picture all the shops that used to stand on Bridge Street - Keating's grocery store turning into Rabuck's Realty, a bar, shoe shop, Ace Hardware, bakery and Boudreau's Antique Shop. This entire block of buildings would eventually be replaced with the current post office building that takes up the entire block. Even the old water tower in the background has now been replaced.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Harvesting Ice

In the late 1900s, ice harvesting on the Lemonweir River was a pretty common sight to local residents.  Cutting began when the ice froze about two feet thick.  To hasten freezing, snow was plowed off the ice as soon as it was about six inches thick and strong enough to support a team of horses and plow.

Ice to be cut was marked off in a regular checkerboard pattern, two feet by three feet. A slightly wider channel was cut to the icehouse so the blocks could be easily floated and hoisted up a chute. The first line marked had to be straight and accurate.  It was cut with a long plow with serrated teeth pulled by a team making repeated trips until about nine inches of ice was left at the bottom.  Then  the cut was completed by hand. The ice was stored in Rothe's icehouse. In the summer, the ice would be packed in sawdust and delivered to local residents.

Workers delivered ice to homes.  Residents would put a sign in their windows as to the amount of ice they wanted - 25#, 50#, etc. Kids would often follow the wagon eating chips of ice. This probably wasn't the most sanitary water coming from the Lemonweir but a delicious treat on a hot day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Barnes Opera House

The Barnes Opera House was built in 1904 following the devastating fir of 1903.  This buildingreplaced the Wolf Mercantile Store (Hurd Block) and several other businesses.

The Opera House was a popular place to attend vaudeville shows or other performances by many talented musicians.  The auditorium style hall with brass and red velvet seating was arranged on an incline to view the stage area better.  Traveling shows and the Chautauqua circuit of educational topics, campaigning politicians, school plays, and local bands were standards shows.

In later years, the hall housed the Fox motion picture theater, with the movies projected on a white square painted on the stage curtain.  After the closing of the Fox theatre, the local vocational school used the hall for electrical wiring and upholstery classes. 

Today the Opera House looks much the same on the outside and remains popular and is famous for it's delicious pizza.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Police Chief Warning!

(1922) Warning to auto owners! I will once more ask they you do not drive your cars faster than fifteen miles per hour within the city limits, and eight miles per hour when passing school grounds. Don't park at any curb any longer than fifteen minutes within the business section. Always make turns at the intersection of streets and not in the center of the block. B. T. Tucker, Chief of Police

Monday, January 17, 2011

Frank J. Bunker

Frank J. Bunker (on right)
Frank J. Bunker was only 17 years old when he started the F. J. Bunker Ford Agency in an old livery stable.  Many Model T's were sold in the wintertime and delivered by horse and bobsled.  The auto would then be put on blocks until spring.  Frank was known for giving his driving lessons to buyers with every sale.  Frank's side hobby was playing the piano for silent movies.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Velocipede Sitings

(1869) The "velocipede", or two wheeled tread invention for substituting for horse services on land or ice, has made its appearance in New Lisbon. It is now undergoing training in all its requirements to human convenience. How convenient it may become it yet to be proven.  We'll bet the velocipede will not attain the popularity among the masses of sensible folks that the inventors predict and promise for it.  We prefer the possession of a mule or a Kansas Indian pony for our own use.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blueberries Galore!

(1915) It is estimated that by the end of the season over 3,000 bushels of blueberries will have been brought to market here.  Blueberries are now plentiful in market and range from $1.00 to $1.50 per bushel.

Friday, January 14, 2011

1867 News

  •  A flying machine is said to be in course of construction in the east. It is being made "on the model of a wild goose". Who could imagine such a thing?
  • Cat's milk has been found to contain highly nutritive and medicinal properties.  It will soon become an article of some importance. This may furnish employment for those lads in New Lisbon who are idle.  They can round up the cats and milk them morning and night.
  •  Messrs. David & Winters, having leased the house formerly known as the New Lisbon House, have opened the same as a hotel under the name of the American Hotel. New Lisbon has now three first-rate hotels.
  • At a meeting last night, it was determined to build a new schoolhouse. This new building will be 30 by 50 feet and two stories high.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Curtis Block

Curtis Block - erected in 1869 by Joseph Curtis, Sr., father of Joseph C. Curtis, retired Superintendent of New Lisbon Schools. Rebuilt after the big fire by Wm. R. Barnes and later owned by Victor A. Robison which housed Muenzer's Store and Herbert Robison's Tavern.  The earth removed from the excavation for the Curtis Block was used to fill in a Cranberry Marsh between Division and Monroe Streets from Liberty to Park Street in order to provide a direct road to the Railroad Station.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Boynton's Candy Store

Boynton's Candy Store
Imagine our very own candy store! Well, in the late 1800s, New Lisbon did have their very own, known as Elias Boynton's Candy Store. This building was located where the present day American Family office is standing. Standing left is John H. Crandale; at right Elias Boynton. This shop to the right is John H. Crandale's Jewelry Store The shop on the left housed a feather renovating business.

So I know you are wondering what kind of candy would be for sale at this time in New Lisbon... 


1880s - Candy corn was created by the Wunderle Candy Company.
1890 - Hershey milk chocolate bar was made.
1893 - Juicy fruit gum was made
1896 - Named after his daughter’s nickname, Leo Hirshfield introduces the Tootsie Rolls.  
1896 - Cracker Jack popcorn was invented (prize inside was invented in 1912)
1898 - Goelitz Confectionery Company also begins making candy corn.
1893 - Juicy fruit gum and Wrigleys Spearmint gum was introduced by William Wrigley Jr.

1990 - The first Hershey milk chocolate bar is invented by Milton S. Hershey.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Commercial House

Commercial House


After the burning of the Railroad House which was built by Peter Klein south of the Depot in 1867, the Commercial House was built on the site and was operated for many years by B. T. Serrurier. This building burned in 1900.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Georgia House

Georgia House
The most pretentious hotel was the Georgia House which stood on the corner of Bridge and Monroe Streets.

In 1856 William McKnight came from New York state purposely to build this hotel.  It was named in honor of Georgia Surdam who later married W. H. H. Cash.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gill's Hardware

Gill's Hardware
Gill's Hardware was a popular hot spot in New Lisbon in the early 1900s. This historic treasure still stands across from Kwik Trip at the corner of Bridge and Adams Streets. I love this photo as it shows the gas lanterns used before electricity. Fred Rabuck told me stories about the job of the lamplighter was to ride his horse around town every evening and light all the lanterns. You can see barrels used for wholesale goods, horse tie ups, iron plows, the boardwalk before paved streets and the gentlemen waiting to finish their business of the day. Little has changed with the basic looks of this famous building.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Postcard Greetings

Deltiology, the formal name in the U.S. for postcard collecting, is currently the third largest collectible hobby in the world. I will confess, I must have 200 postcards of Historic New Lisbon. It's taken years of snooping and searching through dusty shelves in antique stores and surfing the web. I've brought these little beauties "home" after traveling the globe. Many are 100 years old and in perfect condition. One of my favorite memories is finding a New Lisbon postcard addressed to a woman who was the grandmother of a gentleman in New Lisbon. When I handed this postcard to him, he was so thrilled to have retrieved some family history.

Postcard collecting is surpassed only by coin and stamp collecting (in the U.S. baseball collecting is greater, but that is a national past-time not worldwide). The popularity of postcards can be attributed to their broad subject appeal. Almost any subject imaginable has been, at some time, portrayed on a postcard. The broad subject range comes as a result of the social usage cards were designed for. Postcards continue today to be the most popular form of souvenir for travelers as well as economical means of communication both personal and business related venues.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Skating Pond


New Lisbon had a fine ice skating rink situated on the athletic field just south of the school grounds.  It was said to be the finest artificial skating pond in the northwest and one of the largest in the state.  It measured 250 feet by 160 feet. Electric lights lit up the pond for night skating.  A boxcar as brought to the site for a warming shanty

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daddy Salter

No history of New Lisbon would be complete without mentioning this character.  Daddy Salter was born in England. In 1847, he was married and broke his back. His physician said he would be dead within twenty-four hours.  He lived to whip his employer who refused him back wages for which he was sentenced to jail for four days.

He left for America in 1863. His wife soon died after coming over and he then married Amma Caucutt.  George operated a liquor store and was known for trading with the Indians at a time when no one else would.  One day while George was away, Indians came looking for liquor.  When his wife refused to sell to them, the Indians murdered her on July 13, 1863. The murder weapon was an axe.  In reprisal, Daddy used the same axe to kill the Indians. It is believed he then beheaded his wife's killers and placed their heads by the road to warn others.

Visit the Wisconsin Historical Link to the right to see more articles about Daddy Salter.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1866 Tibbits

Late 1800s New Lisbon Sawmill
  • A new sawmill owned by Sage, Warren & Co is going to erect a new steam sawmill on the point just above their stove factory.  Such a mill as this is greatly needed in this village.  New Lisbon is not excelled by any inland village in the State for enterprise and business thrift, and the general prosperity of her citizens.  We have sixteen variety stores, four splendid churches, a large schoolhouse, four first-class hotels, four saloons, three blacksmith shops, one harness shop, a bakery, three shoe shops, a flour mill, one cooper shop, a stove factory, machine shop, two meat markets, and well filled and well conducted cabinet ware room, wholesale dry good store, two carriage shops, a brewery, and all the minor trades usually followed in a thriving village.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1903 Fire!

In 1903 a catastrophic fire began on the corner of the present site of M&I Community Bank, then the Stinson Brothers Store. The building in which the fire began was the old kindergarten building moved to that location shortly before the fire. This forced the organization of hand-operated fire pumps after the failure of the bucket brigade. Cisterns were dug at street corners to catch rainwater to help put out the flames easily ignited by the wooden structures of the time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Lisbon Streetcar Service

Bet this photo got your attention! Actually, New Lisbon never had a streetcar, but was a fun trick of photography in the early 1900s.
You can identify the Corner Mall on the left and The Opera House on the right. The streets are still dirt so this places this photo somewhere around 1907-1915 before New Lisbon crews began paving the street. You can still see the boardwalks across the road.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Salt and Pepper

Salt and Pepper Shakers have a long and rich history. These salt and pepper shakers were popular souvenirs from local shops in New Lisbon in the early 1930s. The production of salt and pepper shakers really took off in the 1940's with the birth of modern ceramics. It became easier to make shakers in a variety of shapes and designs.
Before salt and pepper shakers as we know them today, people in the Victorian era placed their salt in open cellars. Salt came in rock form, and it had to be chipped off to be put on food.

Early salt shakers were actually salt mills. They contained a piece inside the shaker that broke the salt into pieces. This feature may also be found in some salt shakers now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Souvenir Custard Glass

Custard glass is called that because of it's yellow "custard" color. It gets that color from uranium added to the molten glass mixture. It will glow green under a black (UV) light. For some reason it was really popular with glass items made for the souvenir trade. There are all sorts of custard glass items stamped "Souvenir of ...". They tend to have more value as sourvenirs than as glass.
Little uranium glass has been produced since World War II, when the atomic bomb made it desirable for the military to restrict access to the element and glass workers became hesitant to use it due to its radioactivity. Though the military lifted those restrictions a decade later, few companies use the element in glass creation now.
Other chemicals have been produced that can create the same colors, and strict health regulations requiring special handling and storage of uranium in glass production make it highly unlikely that custard glass will ever be produced in any substantial quantity again. The pieces shown here are from my own collection. Do you know anyone with more souvenir glassware from old New Lisbon?