Using past issues of the Amherst Advocate, Tomorrow River Times, and Our Community Spirit for research, here’s a look at what was happening in the Amherst area 105, 75, 50, 25, and 10 years ago this month. At times, the language and grammar may seem odd, but we’ve left it the way it was printed, to retain the flavor of the era.
Here are the headlines from the Amherst Advocate dated 105 years ago
Petition for New Village Hall P.N. Peterson has been circulating a petition among the residents of the Village, to bring before the council the matter of selecting the proper site, and creating thereon a new village hall and jail. The paper was signed by a large number of village voters, which shows that the move is one that is very popular.
The Village is now out of debt and as a new Village Hall is greatly needed, it seems that this is the proper time to bring this matter before the voters. Since incorporizing, Amherst has made vast improvements and at no time has the burden been heavy on the taxpayers. With cement walks all over the village, fine cement and iron bridges, excellent fire protection and many other improvements that go to make Amherst a desirable little up-to-date city, it seems a new hall would be the next best thing to acquire.
Narrow Escape From Death Richard Capelle, section foreman, who resides at Nelson’s, was struck by a fast rain at about twelve o’clock on Monday night and though severely injured, he will undoubtedly escape with no greater hurt than the loss of his left foot.
Capelle was on a railroad velocipede, inspecting the track after heavy rain. He had been warned that a special would go through about midnight carrying a party of Foresters from Appleton to Marshfield, but evidently he did not hear the train as it came upon him and he was struck and thrown some distance. The accident happened at the curve near the Old Turner Crossing, and probably this curve is what kept Capelle from hearing the train.
The train stopped and picked up Capelle, and then came to the village, where they stopped for Dr. Dusenbury, who accompanied the injured man to Marshfield, and a thorough examination revealed only severe injury was done to the left foot and leg. Dr. Mason, of that city, and Dr. Dusenbury amputated the foot about six inches above the ankle and it is hoped that the injured man will soon be able to come home.
It seems miraculous that Capelle was not killed, as the train was running at a good rate of speed, but he was going the same way as the train and this is probably what saved him from a worse fate.
First Ball Game of the Season Sunday afternoon, the newly organized White Sox team, composed of the players of last year’s Rexall team, played a pick up team composed of a number of Amherst “regulars.” The contest was an exciting one from start to finish and wound up with a score of 7 and 2 in favor of the pick-ups. Both sides played good ball and but few errors were made. This game will undoubtedly stir up some of the sluggish ball players and make them long to get into the game in good earnest. Amherst has a bunch of ball players who know the game A to Z and although somewhat slow in forming an organization for the season’s campaign, it will undoubtedly be a winning team when perfected.
While the attendance of the game was rather small, this was in a large sense due to the extremely disagreeable weather which prevailed.
Enjoy Arbor Day Program The Arbor Day program, which was given on the High School grounds, last Friday afternoon by the pupils of the grades, was a most enjoyable and novel event.
Members of the local G.A.R. had been invited to attend, and eight of the old veterans were present to take part in the exercises, of which planting a tree in their honor was the most enjoyable part of the program. A beautiful elm had been procured for the occasion by John Hillstrom and John VanSkiver and this was planted on the school grounds in honor of Captain Eckel's Post. Each pupil of the school and the teachers’ names as well, were placed in a glass jar, in the ground at the foot of the tree. Then the soldiers, teachers, school children, and H. Aldrich, each placed a spadeful of earth on the roots of the tree. The veterans present were H.H. Hoffman, John Hillstrom, John VanSkiver, C.H. VanCott, R.R. Fryar, T.W. Czeskleba, Theo. Myers, and Jesse Lea.
The Amherst Advocate’s headlines from 75 years ago
Cows have to be Unloaded in Spillway to Liberate them from Truck A large semi-trailer truck, loaded with twelve cattle from the John Keener & Son farm at Lower Amherst, owned and driven by George Allen of this village, crashed through the wooden bridge over the spillway in the highway at the head of Lower Amherst Dam, on Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock, as Mr. Allen started a trip to Chicago with the animals.
The accident called many spectators, and for several hours visitors continued to visit the scene and inspect the gaping hole in the bridge and the large trailer which hung over the white water below.
Mr. Allen said the week started out very badly for him. Only the night before, when he was driving a short distance north of Friendship, a doe ran from the roadside directly in front of his heavy truck and was struck and killed by the large machine. Mr. Allen notified the county authorities of the accident before continuing on his journey.
Program to be held in the Community Hall The usual observance of Memorial Day in Amherst will be in accordance with the program as printed in last week’s Advocate, and the American Legion and Auxiliary have now completed all arrangements for the day.
The program will be held in the Amherst Community Hall, commencing at 9 o’clock, after which the graves of the soldiers and sailors in the local cemeteries will be decorated. The line of march will form in the usual manner and the march will be made to the Mill Street river bridge and then to the Greenwood Cemetery.
All children are invited to join in the march to the cemetery. A large number of youngsters are desired and they should meet at the Community Hall at 8:30 a.m. with baskets of flowers for the graves. This is a patriotic duty which the children will enjoy doing, so see that your children are in the line of march on this day.
Amherst businesses will close at 10 a.m. and reopen at 6 p.m.
Amherst School Band at District music festival The Amherst School Band and the High School Glee Club participated in the District Music Festival, which was held in Stevens Point last week Saturday and a number of parents and band friends accompanied the young musicians.
Twenty high school bands were represented, and the parade in the afternoon was a most impressive one. The Amherst Band, under the direction of Wm. C. Johnson, made a favorable showing at the festival. The band placed first in concert in Class D, first in marching in Class C, and first in maneuvering in Class C.
The High School Glee Clubs, under the direction of Miss Helena Torkelson, also won honors. The girls’ glee club placed first division in Class C, the boys’ glee club in 2nd place, and the mixed chorus in 2nd place.
All in all the school made an excellent showing and Amherst may well be proud of these musical organizations that have created so much interest among young people of the community.
The Amherst Advocate’s headlines from 50 years ago
Trout Season Opens Saturday, May 13 The annual ritual of planning and getting ready for the opening of TROUT SEASON in Wisconsin has already begun and will continue until 5 a.m. next Saturday morning, May 13. At that time it will become legal in this state to fish for trout with hook and line.
Note the time is five o’clock in the morning and not at the stroke of midnight as it has been in other years.
Reassessment of all property in Village of Amherst for tax purposes now underway Reassessment for tax purposes of all real estate (land and buildings) located in the Village of Amherst, Wisconsin has been authorized by the Village Board and the WI Department of Taxation.
Expert help, Donald W. Kegler and Myron P. Duginski of Wisconsin Rapids, have been approved to work with the local assessor, Welton E. Johnson, to completely reassess all the property in the village.
This is an equalization program with the intent that each and every property owner pay his fair share of the taxes paid in the village, and only his fair share, no more and no less.
4-H Band Rates 1st in County-District Music Festival The 4-H Band under the direction of Jack L. Kueter, placed 1st in the County Music Festival held at Stevens Point, and 1st in the District Festival in Weyauwega.
Band numbers played were “Sugar Town,” by Lee Hazelwood, and “Chanson and Bourree,” by Frank Erickson. Band members participating were: Flute - Gail Onan; Clarinets - Judy Wimme, Cyanne Otto, Janice Jensen, Carole Kussman, Peggy Shatters; Baritone Sax - Jane Anderson; Cornets - Gary Onan, Joan Wimme, Susie Leppen; Trombone - Ray Palmer; Tuba - Tim Loberg; Percussion - Mike Onan, David Allen, Duane Jensen.
The Tomorrow River Times headlines from 25 years ago
Amherst area hit by tornado A barn containing an alfalfa sprout farm located at 5882 County Q was destroyed by a tornado at 7:10 p.m. Saturday May 16. The barn was owned by Tom and Barbara Krutza.
“A branch lit up just like a Christmas tree and we’re out of power until about 12:30 a.m.,” said Dean Nelson who owns the property adjacent to the barn.
“Two pines and two apple trees were knocked over and our camper was tipped over,” said Darleen Nelson, Dean’s wife. “We think it was a tornado. Dr. Quinn who lives on Clinton Road said he saw a black ball touch down.”
A barn located at 9069 County JJ and owned by Edward Swenson went down. A tent of unsold quilts and merchandise from the Amish Auction was toppled. Numerous barns sustained damage. A tree limb went through the windshield of a car owned by Tom Clinton.
Portage County’s Emergency Director Sandra Smolen reported that the tornadoes caused more than $510,000 in damage.
Pipe School reopens as gift & antique shop
by Jodi Ott
The first school board meeting for School District #1 of Lanark was held on Dec. 9, 1856. The members voted to build a schoolhouse on the south side of Main Road (now Pipe Rd.) The building cost was $130 for materials and $25 for labor.
School began on May 25, 1857, and the first session ended Aug. 31. The one-room Pipe School operated until 1960.
Pipe School will once again open its doors on May 22, 1992. Lois Sorenson and Debbie Pinchard bought the old Pipe homestead, on Pipe Road three miles east of Amherst off of Highway 10. They had originally bought the seven-acre property to turn the farmhouse into a bed and breakfast. The school and the house are on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The old schoolhouse was in such bad shape that it just came with the property,” said Sorenson. The schoolhouse is located across Pipe Road from the house. A bed and breakfast is still planned for next year.
“We went to the Dept. Of Transportation meetings and found out that over 12,500 cars travel pass this spot daily. We had the schoolhouse so we said why not (open a shop),” said Sorenson. The shop will feature Pipe School souvenirs including a miniature of the school and canvas bags with an imprint of the school. “We will have a lot of one-of-a-kind” items.”
Our Community Spirit’s headlines from 10 years ago
Amherst ambulance contract finally approved by County
by Steve Ellingboe
After nine months of discussion and debate, Portage County officials have finally approved a new ambulance contract that will put an ambulance in Amherst on a full-time basis.
The Portage County Board approved the measure at its April 17 meeting by a vote of 19-8. Under the board’s directive, the county will extend its contract with the Stevens Point Fire Department to provide ALS ambulance service to the entire county for another two and a half years, and as a separate measure, will sign a new two-year contract to put a BLS ambulance unit in the Amherst Fire District. Under the contract, the Amherst Fire District will be paid $197,000 to provide the service.
Youth Soccer Program attracts record numbers
by Steve Ellingboe
The new Jensen Community Center Youth Soccer Program kicked off in April with a record number of participants. The youth soccer program, started seven years ago by a local group of dedicated parents and volunteers, was taken over this year by the Jensen Community Center in Amherst. The month-long program serves area soccer players from kindergarten through high school. The games are played on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings on six soccer fields set up behind the Tomorrow River Schools.
This year’s program, which runs from April 19 to May 19, has attracted a record of 290 participants. “That’s an increase of 15 to 20 percent over last year.” says Dr. Linda Chapin, a volunteer who has been involved with the youth soccer program for the past several years and who also recently became a board member of the Amherst Area Foundation, the group that oversees the operation of the Jensen Center.
Susan Reiderer Wins the Central WI Reading Council’s Celebrate Literacy Award
by Mrs. Cheri Polster
Susan Reiderer recently received the Central WI Reading Council’s Celebrate Literacy Award. This award is presented annually to the individual who supports literacy development with adults and/or children. The reading council’s geographic area consists of Wood, Portage, Waupaca, southern Marathon, and northern Waushara counties.
Susan has been working with students in a variety of grade levels for the past five years. She has assisted in the fourth grade classroom with helping students apply reading science information and applying it to hands-on activities. She worked with Kindergarten students to help them develop early reading skills such as listening, retelling, and letter-sound relationships. She is currently working with a couple of secondary at-risk students in the area of math.