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100 Years Ago

Life in Viroqua from the Vernon County Censor:


FEB. 28, 1923

Rev. Finstad walked from Folsom to Viroqua on Monday. The roads were bad and the good pastor resolved to save the team, but he wouldn’t do it again for he was stopped on the road half a hundred times by anxious inquiries from friends and parishioners as to whether he had broken down or had an accident etc.

When we ordered ten spring chickens for dinner last Sunday we thot [sic] we had enough to supply the demand but it seems the popularity of our Sunday chicken dinners at fifty cents, with roast chicken, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings, has gotton all over town and we found we hadn’t enough to go around. We are ordering more for next Sunday so you’ll be sure to get yours. Come any time between 12 and 2 o’clock. The Eat Shop, Minnie B. Latta, Prop.

VIROQUA – Pleasant Ridge, February 26 – Mrs. Ole Swensoe took quite a spill on her way to the social. The cutter tipped and consequently some fellow was cheated out of a box which was known [to be] loaded with good things to eat.

People who received 6, 8 or 10 cents for their tobacco last year, get around 20¢ or above this year. Who said the tobacco pool is not responsible for better prices?

A funny piece of mechanism was seen on the ridge last week; wheels in the rear and bobs in front. We finally discovered it was a Ford.

Both Readstown’s basket ball teams went to LaFarge last Friday, where they lost both games, but were thoroughly satisfied with the decisions.


FEB. 21, 1923

Roads Opened for Automobile Traffic Between Viroqua and Viola

A bunch of young fellows wishing to do the general public a real service, opened the roads between the stated places after the storm. The service truck of the Buick garage carry[ed] the... young men.

The dedication program for the Colonel May school house will be postponed from February 23 to March 2. A basket social will follow the program.

In common with the rest of suffering humanity at the present time, Viroqua’s schools are in the grip of the epidemic of flu, students and faculty alike are falling victims to the prevailing malady.

Viroqua’s city schools report a sick quota of from 25 to 30 percent... In the Vernon County Normal the situation is more serious. Out of the total enrollment of a little more than fifty only nineteen were present this afternoon.

FREEMAN – Heald Hollow, February 17 – Monday and Tuesday of this week we had what might be called a blizzard, as it snowed and ended up with quite a windstorm and snowdrifts on Wednesday. Everyone was busy on Wednesday trying to keep warn... We understand that wolves have been in Coon Valley.


At the present time in Vernon county there is a need for quarantine. From January first to February third there has been reported to the State Board of Health twenty-seven cases of scarlet fever, nineteen cases of diphtheria, thirty-one cases of influenza, fifteen cases of measles and twenty-seven cases of whooping cough.

When a quarantine sign has been placed upon the doors of a home or other building it has been placed there for a purpose.


FEB. 14, 1923

One of the worst blizzards that has ever swept the northwest descended on this locality Tuesday afternoon. It was preceeded [sic] by two days of intermittent down fall of snow...and the howling blizzard from out of the northwest piled it up into hard beaten drifts head high in spots that have very effectively blocked every avenue of approach leading into Viroqua... Sixty boys from the high school were requisitioned as shovelers in the emergency... The rural carriers ventured out Thursday morning, but the best that the most fortunate of them could do was to make about half their routes. It will be several days before the roads are completely opened, and our auto roads have gone glimmering until the spring break up.

Tuesday night’s Milwaukee train battled the drifts and gale down from Sparta, arriving in Viroqua after midnight. There never was a more miserable night – howling gale piling up the drifts and bitter cold weather making it unendurable... Viroqua streets were blocked in common with the country roads, and on Thursday morning the Standard Oil truck, piloted by Kenneth Stewart and Fred Thompson, lumbered out and broke the roads to the Viroqua city limits in all directions – and it was some job, too.

On Monday morning of last week, February 5th, Merchant John H. Quick of Viroqua, left for LaCrosse with the intention of buying goods for this stores at Viroqua and Soldiers Grove and intending to go to Soldiers Grove the following day. He has not been seen or heard of since he left Viroqua on that date.


FEB. 7, 1923

Electrician Henry Seiler has a big job on his hands these days. He and his crew of men are rebuilding the Coon Valley lighting system, transforming the same from direct to alternating current. The change involves new switch board, meters, transformers and generator.

Last Friday the temperature dropped more than 50 degrees in less than 24 hours. Going from a period of case weather with the mercury above freezing point, the wind veered and blew a gale out of northwest and Viroqua awoke Saturday morning to find thermometers registering anywhere from 22 to 32 below zero.

The inbound Milwaukee train jumped the track Saturday morning and it certainly was a sweet job getting her on the rails again in the biting temperature. It did not arrive until late afternoon.

Minor damage to waterpipes, etc., was general throughout the city.

Madame Wonder is now in our city and can be consulted on all matters. She reads the history of one’s life from infancy to old age like a wide open book, by the palm of the hand. See her at 513 N. Center Ave. Across from Interstate Oil Station.

Heald Hollow, February 5 – The farmers who did not get their tobacco down before, finished the job last Wednesday, as they got the case weather which they were wishing for... The store formerly known as the P.V. Doyle store at DeSoto has now changed hands. A Mr. Diedrick of Minnesota is now in charge of it. Mrs. Fred Lawson is assisting them.

LOST – Chevrolet crank last Thursday, somewhere between my residence and the post office. Finder will please leave at Davis’ Drug Store. Dr. Lauder.


January, 1923