Monday, February 28, 2011

Dr. Hoyt

Dr. Hoyt was the first mayor of New Lisbon.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mr. White

Mr. Charles "Chuck" White in 1912 as a baby in his family's carriage. You can see the Opera House in the background. I have great memories of Mr. White in his store on Bridge Street. I would go to his store after school and buy penny candy. I loved the old-time candy display case and how nice Chuck and Margaret were to me. Their store was located at the corner of Bridge and Monroe streets where the Acuity Bank is currently located.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

1940 Boy Scouts

The Boy Scout Troop of 1940. Can you identify any members?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Art Rabuck

Art Rabuck shows off his horse on Adams Street. You can see the Opera House in the background. I believe Art was the previous owner of the Park Hotel. Let me know if this is accurate.  This picture has to be prior to 1920 as the streets are still dirt with the wooden boardwalk. Notice the huge windows on the Opera House that are no longer there.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Civil War Veteran

The statue in Heritage Park is of a great Civil War Veteran. Do you know why he was famous? Find out by visiting the park and reading the plaque.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I believe this is a picture of the White family camping at a local park. One of the favorite pasttimes for residents was camping and enjoying the outdoors. New Lisbon still has two beautiful parks, Heritage and Riverside, with the latter known for great camping sites throughout the year. An extensive remodeling was done to Riverside Park adding additional camp sites and a new bathroom facility.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1920 Heritage Park Bandstand

Remember the Heritage Park Bandstand? I have great memories of this as a child as my friends and I would perform plays there after school pretending to be famous Broadway actresses. This picture is from 1920. The bandstand was located on the north side of the park and the site of many show and performances by the local high school band.

Monday, February 21, 2011

First School Library

The first school library in 1917 is pictured to the right. Forget about searching for a book yourself. It was the librarian's role to get the book for you. Things have changed tremendously with the role of the library and I would encourage you to visit your local school library and see all the wonderful things that are offered for today's students.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

1985 Fire

Some of you may remember the gas explosion in 1985. I will admit, I remember it well. Such a shock to lose the heart of our city in a matter of hours. Several local businesses were lost and never would rebuild including Rabuck Realty, Ace Hardware, and Boudreau Antiques. Do you have memories or pictures you wish to share from this day? Let me know.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's All in a Name

How New Lisbon received its name is a matter of conjecture. One version is that Moses Kenyon gave it its name. He was father of George P. Kenyon, First Juneau County Superintendent of Schools.

Another version is that New Lisbon was named by Larmon E. Saxton who never missed a meeting of the county board at Quincy.  He had in mind his old home at Lisbon, Ohio; also that of his sister at Lisbon, Sheboygan County, Wis., thus proposed the name of New Lisbon. This was in 1858.

New Lisbon would become a center of transportation in its heyday when the population was 2,500.  It was the County seat and 8 hotels flourished.  The first one is presumed to have been the Juneau Hotel originally located on Monroe Street.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Here Come the Pioneers!

An unidentified hunter around 1850.
Juneau County was first explored around 1837 by Samuel B. Pilkington and John T. Kingston. They were interested in starting a lumber business because of the Lemonwier River and the promise of an abundance of pine. After a seven day exploration, the finally landed on the banks of what would one day be known as New Lisbon. John Kingston and Samuel Pilkington returned to civilization feeling that their extensive pine forest was a myth and their anticipated speculation a failure.

The first permanent settlement in Juneau County was made in the month of October in the year 1838. Amasa Wilson, C. B. Smith and R. V. Allen built a shanty at the Dells Eddy for the purpose of getting out square timber for the lower river market. In the spring of 1843, they drove the logs down the river and boomed them at the present site of New Lisbon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill made his frequent appearances in New Lisbon. William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman.  He was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872.

Buffalo Bill and his performers would re-enact the riding of the Pony Express, Indian attacks on wagon trains, and stagecoach robberies. Popular myth has it that the show typically ended with a melodramatic re-enactment of Custard's Last Stand.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Harry Mortensen

By 1964, New Lisbon's Harry A. Mortenson had collected over twelve hundred artifacts dating from 500-1200 A.D. They are the relics of what anthropologist call the Woodland People. These truly first human inhabitants of Juneau hunted, gathered and farmed in the county after the waters of glacial Lake Wisconsin drained down the Wisconsin River about 12,000 years ago.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011


Many men from our area died during the Civil War; however, disease was labeled as a more deadly killer. People suffered from typhoid fever, influenza, dysentery, "inflammation of the lungs", dropsy, diphtheria, scurvy, salmonella, and pneumonia.  Some were plagued with chronic diarrhea or rheumatism.  All loved ones could do was try home remedies and watch helplessly as their loved one succumbed to the disease.

Fred Rabuck shared with me that when a household would contract influenza, they were required to post a sign in their window to warn visitors to stay away. Often people would leave food on the street for families as everyone was deathly afraid of contracting the disease and spreading it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wagner's Blacksmith Shop - 1880
Public Health Awareness

Awareness of public health and hygiene grew as the 19th century drew to a close.  The outbreak of typhoid fever in town in 1899 illustrated the need for clean streets, and public water and sewer systems.  The outbreak of typhoid affected 120 people in our village and took the lives of several citizens.

Ordinances banning livestock within the city limits
were enacted to clean up the streets. Private trash dumps were banned and the regular cleaning of privies was mandated in town.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bierbauer History

The Bierbauer family has a rich history in New Lisbon as the owner's of the brewery in New Lisbon. You can visit a site that has digital images of the family history here.

Joseph Jausman founded the brewery in 1857; however, Bierbauer and his partner, Peter Fauerbach, purchased the New Lisbon Brewery in 1859. The brewery averaged about 600 barrels during the 1880s. Million Brewery purchased the Christmann Brewery Company while it was in receivership and averaged about 5,000 barrels per year.  In 1938, the brewery would expand to include a bottling operation for 12 oz. bottles.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bierbauer Mansion

The Bierbauer Mansion has made the headlines in local newspapers lately as it has recently been purchased by the Fun Company and may be demolished to make room for the owner's business. Local historians and community members are hoping the historic building can be saved and preserved as an historic site for future generations to enjoy a piece of New Lisbon history. The latest information on preservation is the offer from the Fun Company to donate $1,000 toward moving the building to another location. Anyone out there willing to make up the potential $250,000 estimate to move?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


The Woodland Indians have left Petroglyphs of the Thunderbird

According to Indian folk lore thunderstorms were formed when the huge wings of the thunderbird flapped and lighting was caused by the opening and closing of their eyes. They were supposed to be the carriers of the lakes on their backs, which spilled when they tilted their bodies in flight, causing a downpouring of rain. The eggs that they dropped were the thunderbolts that sometimes struck the ground.

Today these caves are privately owned, however you can see cast of these wonderful Thunderbirds and a huge collection of local Woodland artifacts at the New Lisbon Library, located at 115 W. Park St. New Lisbon. The Memorial Libray contains approximately 30,000 volumes plus internet access, audio,viedo and the Harry Mortenson collection of American Indian artifacts, Other Indian artifacts can be viewed at Raabe's Pharmacy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Indian Mounds

Native American Effigy Mounds

The Gee's Slough Group of Indian Mounds is placed on the National Register of Historic Places. These Mounds are located just outside of the City of New Lisbon. These mounds can be found throughout Wisconsin. The New Lisbon Area was a winter gathering place for the Woodland Culture Indians; they are the ancestors to the Winnebago tribe.

Represented in the Gee's Slough Group mounds are three basic types

  • Totem - this effigy usually is in the shape of an animal
  • Linear - a long, straight line of earth raised above the surrounding ground
  • Round or Oval - this mound is mostly used as the burial mound of an important member of the tribe
The effigy's represented at the New Lisbon Gee's Slough group are the panther or water spirit, the totem of the clan. The linear mound was an important setting for the Woodland Indian's religious rites. The round or oval mound is sometimes joined by a linear mound to form a dumbell shaped mound and were also sites of burials of other members of the tribe. The mounds are always open to the pubilc, located just off of U.S. Highway 12 & 16, turing onto Mounds View Rd.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NL Chamber of Commerce

 Visit the New Lisbon Chamber of Commerce website to get local information about our community on current events, businesses and local points of interest.

Monday, February 7, 2011


One of America's first circuses was organized at New Lisbon in 1858 or 1859 called Gilgeson's Circus. Gilgeson lived in what was then known as the Juneau House near the site of the former New Lisbon IGA.

The circus was a small affair but grew bigger as it met with successes. In those days all circuses were known as wagon shows. Mr. Mary (Hess) Thompson's mother was an actress in Gilgeson's Circus.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let Us Entertain You!

New Lisbon was the most musically minded community in the county with 23 keybaords within the village limits.  Community bands became very popular in the late 1800s and every public occasion was accompanied by homemade music of some kind.

Plays, recitations, skits, musical melodramas and various shows were often performed at the local Opera House.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

White Queen Tours

Although we were known as a railroad town, we were also the home port of Juneau County's only steamboat line.  The thirty-six foot "White Queen" carried passengers up river to Wigwam Point, Hog Island and the Buckley Bridge.  The boat operated daily when the season permitted with Lyman Sanderson as engineer and George Scott as captain. The boat was only 9 feet wide to negotiate the curves and bends of the Lemonweir River.

Fare Prices: Wigwam Point: 15 cents; HogHead Point: 20 cents; Three Rivers: 25 cents.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Time Pieces

The jewelry store and watchmaker's shop was one of the most important businesses in our town.  Mechanical watches and clocks kept time for the entire community. Not everyone was allowed the luxury of a timepiece. They were valuable personal possessions and measures of wealth that were taxed accordingly.  In 1869, New Lisbon had only 45 people with watches. This was a time when a watch could cost $24, which was almost a month's worth of pay.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

1900s Ad

Remember the days of 49# of flour for $2.15? Me neither. This ad was from Voltz's Bargain Store in the early 1900s in downtown New Lisbon. How do you like the form laundry soap came in? Bars? 6/25 cents. What a deal. Ever wonder what other items cost?

Here are some examples I found:
Bacon 1 lb. 52¢ 1920 - Beef Rib Roast1 lb 39¢ 1926 - Bread 1 lb. 12¢ 1920 Bread 1 lb. 1925 - Bread 1 lb. 10¢ 1925 - Bread 1 lb. 10¢ 1929
Butter 1 lb. 70¢ 1920 - Butter 1 lb. 55¢ 1925- Chicken 1 lb. 39¢ 1925 Chicken lb. 42¢ 1929 - Coffee 1 lb. 47¢ 1920 - Coffee 1 lb. 52¢ 1925 Cornmeal 1 lb. 1929 - Eggs 1 Doz. 47¢ 1920 WI

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

House Calls

Dr. Brand Starnes (far right) was New Lisbon's doctor for over 40 years. Here is a picture of him on one of his many house calls. His residency here began abruptly in 1910, as Doc was climbing off the train for a visit with his wife's family, Dr. and Mrs. Townsend. His mother-in-law thrust her husband's medical big in his hands and escorted him to a waiting buggy. The rest is history. Locals would say the only time the doctor got sleep was on his buggy between calls. It is estimated he delivered over 3,000 babies.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twin Bluff Carvings

Years ago as a child, climbing Twin Bluffs was a great afternoon adventure. I was never brave enough to explore the cave, but did spend countless hours laying on the top enjoying the view and admiring all the carvings by local youth.

On the southwest side of the north bluff, you can find petroglyphs. These carvings consist mainly of five thunderbirds thought to be carved in the rock with stones and have an interesting story. The picture to the left, shows the fourth thunderbird carving.

In Indian lore thunderstorms were supposed to be caused by birds of enormous size, which produced thunder by flapping their wings and lighting by opening and closing their eyes. They were supposed to have lakes of fresh water on their backs which spilled when they tilted their bodies in flight, causing a downpour of rain. The "eggs" which they sometimes dropped in flight, were the thunderbolts which struck the ground.

Thunderbirds were supposed to be friends of the Indians - they protected him from his enemies and showered him with blessings. The Winnebago Indians had a creation myth telling that their tribe had its beginning in four thunderbirds.