Communal Neglect: More buildings bite the dust

Four photos by David Farmbrough show old houses in Wisconsin Rapids before they were razed.

621 Saratoga Street, Wisconsin Rapids The fine old “farmhouse,” first on that block, was probably built in the 1880s. Neglected for years, tenants and landlord allowed sewage to flood the ground floor and the city demolished it in 2012.

Civil War era house from 1st Street North, Wisconsin Rapids. The city demolished it in 2012, in spite of its good condition and historical importance.

Another Civil War era house from 1st Street North, Wisconsin Rapids, also seen at left in previous photo. The city demolished this house in 2012.

The Love House, or Lamplight Inn, built when railroads arrived in 1872, was demolished in November 2016. (Note that (Uncle) Dave Engel obtained the Lamplight Inn sign when the bar of that name closed.)

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Greeting Cards from Christmas Past

written by Kathy Engel, SWCHC Librarian

Over the years, many greeting cards have been donated to the South Wood County Historical Museum. Here are some examples I have compiled.

Card #1: This Christmas card, from Claude and Ruth Aniol, dated 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, depicts what was on the minds of many during that time. A quick search for Claude and Ruth Aniol in city directories and online showed Claude and Ruth had lived in and eventually were buried in San Antonio, Texas. Who in Wood County received this card is unknown.

Front of card

Back of card

Inside of card

 

#2: A card with a copyright date of 1908 states on the back that it was from Grandma Spade.

 

#3: “A Merry Xmas To Fred From Mother Lessig” dated September 1920. This homemade card was possibly created by Eliza Lessig for her son Fred. It shows the Lessig family home in the town of Rudolph, where the Lessig family ran a brickyard.

Front of handmade card

Interior of handmade card

 

 

#4: Season’s Greetings from George W. Mead (Florida).

 

 

#5: Christmas 1888. This card was at one time glued into a scrapbook. The back states that it was sent to Pearl F. Forbes at Lounsberry, S. Dakota, from Richard Rezin, Centralia, Wisconsin, Christmas 1888. Richard and Pearl were later married, farmed in Rudolph and engaged in the cranberry business in Jackson County.

Front of card

Back of card

 

Merry Christmas from the South Wood County Historical Museum!

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Connected to One Another with History

written by Alison Bruener, Museum Assistant

As I prepare to welcome 2018, I begin to wonder what items will find their way to 540 3rd St. S. in the coming year. It’s been a busy year for museum staff. We’ve seen items unearthed from the attic and placed into exhibits for the public to see. New visitors ventured in throughout the summer, some with childhood memories of when the building was the T.B. Scott library. I’ve learned names of individuals who make up the history of our county, listened to stories from those born and raised here to those who moved here at some later point in their lives. I never know when someone I meet will have an event or time in their life when they  touched a historic part, not only their community, but the country as a whole.

I’ve countless times walked past a small lap desk on display under the Witter history in the back sun room of the Museum. It was only when SWCHC Director Emeritus Dave Engel gave me a brief history and assignment to find information of the original owner that I realized how interconnected everyone is.

Professor Chittenden, who came to the area in the 19th century, was a man of many interests. He was principal at Howe high school, worked on water quality in the area and discoursed at the Congregational Church.

But it was perhaps his life before Central Wisconsin that gained attention and took some further digging. Before moving to this area, Thomas W. Chittenden was a teacher in New York and possibly taught a young boy who would one day become a great figure in American history.

But, to learn that name you will have to wait for the next issue of Artifacts, where the story can be given in greater detail!

The past couple weekends, the Museum was open for the Christmas Tree Walk.  I am gladdened to see we had even more people walking through than we did for this event last year! Our Museum housed numerous trees in different rooms decorated by individuals, groups and organizations who are making history in South Wood County.

Here are some photos from this year’s event:

Upside-down tree from the 2017 Christmas Tree Walk

 

Billy Parker, military re-enactor, poses in the Buehler gallery

 

The Sun Room

 

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