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100 Years Ago

Life in Viroqua from the Vernon County Censor:


AUG. 31, 1921

The big steam shovel has invaded the business blocks and it looks now that another week will see the digging end of the paving job completed.

The big concrete mixer arrived Saturday and has been unloaded, but will not be used until the steam shovel is through with its work. The little mixer has started in at the Southeastern tracks and already a considerable stretch of paving has been laid.

WHEATLAND – August 24 – The neglected road from the farm of L.A. Wakefield, Ole Josvanger and Jim Snyder farms is very much improved due to the fact that several days were spent with grader and drag. The road has been badly neglected because no work has been put on it to speak of. If these back roads were taken care of and a little more time spent on them no complaint would be made.

FREEMAN - Heald Hollow – August 27 – Threshers are already making their way in this vicinity and tobacco harvest is at hand so farmers will be crowded with work for a while.

Chairman Albert Egrpress [sic] was in Monday, and tells us that Viroqua town is having the “devil’s own time” with the tractor hired to do their grading work. It has been broken several times, and being out of commission so much of the time has made it impossible to give the roads the attention they deserve.

The Censor Editor put in a harrowing evening Thursday. While working at his desk a dance orchestra was holding forth at the Opera House and the strains of the modern stuff they call dance music kept floating in...It was jazz music jazzed... Twenty five years from now no one will know that these compositions were written. To allude to them as music would be an insult.


AUG. 24, 1921

Last Friday afternoon, a fierce storm swept the southern part of the state, doing tremendous damage to wires, trees, crops, and wrecking some sheds and buildings. Vernon county fortunately escaped its ravages, only moderate thunder storms occurring. However, some hail accompanied the storm, two streaks being reported – one four miles south and the other two miles north of Viroqua.

Tenant Pratt on the Caster Nordrum farm near Newton noticed that one of his geese was sick. He killed the bird and found a good sized gold nugget in its craw. Finding of gold has occurred around Newton for many years, past, we are informed.

Monster crowd attends Rhoda Royal circus at Viroqua Saturday. What there was of the show was quite fair, but the size of the show was very much exaggerated and the price asked out of all proportion to the merit of the production... It was reported that they raised the price of their reserved seats to 75¢.

Painter Paul Keoppe has tackled another big job – that of painting several rooms in the high school and grade buildings.

If the party who stole three tires and the magneto and generator from Henry Anderson’s car in his tobacco shed will return the same to the shed within a few days, they will avoid an almighty mess of trouble for Henry is good and plenty mad, and intends to prosecute to the full extent of the law.

While excavating for the curb in front of the Censor office, the paving gang struck quite a snag in an old stump. It is the last remnant of a lordly maple tree which perished in the severe storm which hit Viroqua some twenty years ago.


AUG. 17, 1921

All of Viroqua’s youngsters and the adults of the community as well are looking forward to next Saturday when the first circus for nine years comes to Viroqua.

Police Officer Wm. B. Morris apparently has a very acute nose for liquor. When Saturday morning’s Southeastern pulled in, Berlie raided the baggage car and found in the locker a whole market basket full of perfectly good “moon”. As Conductor Henry Anderson appeared to be the responsible party in charge of the train, Officer Morris placed him under arrest and brought him before Judge Robert Parker, who placed him under $500 bonds. We understand that bonds were furnished by the Southeastern.

The steam shovel arrived last week and started Saturday to tear up the Main street of Viroqua preparatory to laying of the pavement... It is estimated that the big brute will require five weeks of good weather to dig out Main street. The curb and gutter will first be laid the entire distance; then the road rolled smooth and hard, and the reinforced concrete laid.

Engineer Kirkhoffer arrived from Madison today for the purpose of putting several “shots” in the new well. The drillers are now down 506 feet and officials are hopeful that with their treatment it will not be necessary to go any deeper.

Shooting a well consists of exploding several charges of dynamite at different levels where water-bearing sands lay. This enlarges the hole and increases the flow of water. Following this a pump is attached to see if the flow is sufficient.


AUG. 10, 1921

One of the largest social gatherings held in this section was pulled off by the ladies aid society of Viroqua Lutheran church last Sunday afternoon on the beautiful spacious lawn of Solfest Solverson’s across from Mason City store in Franklin town. Nearly a thousand people attended and enjoyed the refreshments and visiting... The ladies labored hard providing eats for the occasion and were rewarded by collecting about $175.

The Wisconsin-Minnesota crew of ten men finished their work of rebuilding the company’s distribution system here and left Tuesday, after five months employment. Poles and material for the high line are expected to arrive next week.

Tourists are going through Hillsboro by the hundreds every day and various means they have for camping out and the different outfits which they have is an interesting study. Some cars carry the family dog, cat, parrot and everything they can crowd in, load up and away they go to see the next-to-nature way.

Brookville, August 1 – Here’s for Brookville, Hurrah! We are all rejoicing over the lovely rain. Haying and stacking is almost a thing of the past... A number of Brookville people enjoyed a picnic at Black Bottom Sunday... Sheriff Grosline is in Brookville real often... Vincent Willinson got his car smashed up Sunday. Sone tough luck; seems to be a common thing.

Victory, August 1 – Fishermen from all over the country are coming to the Father of Waters to fish these days... Three cars of gypsies passed through town last Saturday.

Get your Bear Brand overalls and jackets at Surenson & Thompson.


AUG. 3, 1921

There is great rejoicing in Vernon County over the fine gentle rain which fell Monday. The rain was general, covering five states and while not more than an inch fell here, it all soaked in. It came too late for hay and small grain, but corn, tobacco, pastures and late potatoes will benefit tremendously.

Pastures and lawns are turning from brown to green. Corn is a wonderful crop and three weeks ahead of schedule. Tobacco will probably be about half a normal crop.

Contractor Anderson of the firm of Anderson & Lindstrom of St. Paul, and his foreman, Carl Ahlman, are now on the ground and active work on the new Masonic temple has commenced. It is the intention of the Contractors to have the concrete work done and the roof on the temple before freezing weather arrives, and in order to accomplish this they will have a force of twenty-five men at work in a short time.

Contractor Graham of the firm of Gund & Graham is here to take charge if the paving project on Main street, and excavation for gutters is now been well started. A steam shovel and other modern machinery is headed this direction, and when it arrives work will commence in earnest.

Clean towels, good workmanship, shaves 15¢, haircuts 35¢. Shop located under Bank of Viroqua. John B. Denning, Proprietor.

BUD, July 26th – Most people are busy haying, some having their crop in. The “toot” of the threshing machine will soon be heard as some of the threshers in the vicinity started today.


July, 1921