All Those Years Ago—June 2020

by Brent Frankenhoff

Using back issues of the Amherst Advocate, the Tomorrow River Times, and the Community Spirit, here are some historical highlights as reported in the respective June issues of the paper. Do you remember them?

100 Years Ago—June 1920

• During recess at school, Ralph Ebert was playing near the road when he was struck by a Ford car near C.N. Fenton’s home. The car, driven by Haylor Koziczkowski of Amherst Junction, struck the boy on the hip, which was severely bruised. In addition, Ebert suffered an injury to his throat from the car’s fender and had a tooth knocked out. Koziczkowski’s car was speeding in a race with another car driven by Walter Miller. Both men pled guilty before Justice of the Peace L.J. Carey to going more than eight miles per hour, the then-legal speed limit when passing schoolhouses. Each young man was fined $10 plus costs of $2.

• Long-time Amherst resident Myron H. Philips died June 4 from complications of asthma. Philips was born in 1857 in Jefferson County, New York, and came to Amherst in 1885 where he was a cattle buyer for many years. His asthma confined him to his home during the winter months.

• Seventeen students in the Amherst High School class of 1920 held their commencement exercises at the Amherst Opera House on June 10.

• The Portage County Guernsey Breeders’ Association held their annual picnic at the aptly named Guernsey Park in Nelsonville on June 17. Thirty-one purebred Guernsey calves were sold as part of the event.

• The Portage County Holstein Breeders held their annual picnic at the Amherst Fairgrounds on June 23. The picnic featured a large showing of purebred Holsteins, speakers, music, and a big basket picnic dinner.

• The Gurholt-Peterson Garage on Main Street in Amherst advertised Goodyear and Lee Cord tires.

• A special ad for the Yellowstone Trail appeared in the June 10 Amherst Advocate. Unusual for the day, it featured photographs of some of the sights one might encounter on the route, which ran through Waupaca and Amherst on its way west.

• The Shepherd of the Hills, the movie based on Harold Bell Wright’s novel of life in the Ozarks, was shown on June 25 at the Colonial in Amherst. Admission was 25¢ and 50¢ with “war tax extra.”

• The International Bank of Amherst advertised an interest rate of 4% on all deposits left in the bank for a minimum of six months.

60 Years Ago—June 1960

[Note: Due to there being no local paper from 1968 to 1975, we’re jumping 10 years further back in time.]

• Larry Hansen, 14, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hanson, had his leg fractured above and below the ankle when a crop sprayer tipped over on him in his family’s farmyard.

• Richard Shaver of Lanark found stones on his property that he believed carried ancient carvings and markings from prehistoric times.

• Work continued on the new grade school behind the Amherst High School. The 192x70 foot school with an adjoining 34x60 foot music hall was being built at a cost of $200,000 and was expected to open in the fall. With that opening, all rural schoolhouses in the district would close.

• Improvements to several Main Street businesses were noted in the June 16 Amherst Advocate. The Texaco service station had been repainted white with green metal trim. Large red Texaco letters were added to the front of the business. The metal siding on the R.M. Jungers Funeral Home was removed and replaced with dark brown paneling above the lower brick structure. And a new door was installed at Sandbergen’s barbershop.

• Vernon Pieper, who had been the band director at the Tomorrow River Schools for the past seven years, resigned to take a position at the Middleton High School.

• Thirty Amherst High School students were enrolled in a driver education course. In addition to classroom study, at least six hours of behind-the-wheel training in a dual control-equipped car was included in the course.

• The Amherst Garden Club held its annual Flower Show at the Community Hall on June 18. The theme was “Candlelight Around the World.”

• The Amherst FFA chapter received a Superior award at the annual State FFA Convention in Green Lake June 13-15. The award was based on activities that the chapter participated in during the preceding year. In addition, Ray Biadasz and Thomas Groshek each received State Farmer degrees, the highest award a member can receive at the state level.

• Pat Alm of Nelsonville was among the 411 girls attending Badger Girls’ State on the UW-Madison campus June 15-22.

• A notice to landowners in area townships to control noxious weeds was published in the June 30 Amherst Advocate. The noxious weeds cited were Canada Thistle, Leafy Spurge, and Field Bindweed. Landowners were asked to prevent such plants from maturing to the bloom or flower stage.

25 Years Ago—June 1995

• Four Amherst High School seniors shared valedictorian honors for the class of 1995: Jill Dombrowski, Katy Orthwein, Heather Sannes, and Melissa Suski. The class’ senior pictures were featured in a multi-page section of the June 1 Tomorrow River Times. A photo of the class was also featured on boxes of Hometown Stars cereal, as part of a promotion recognizing local communities.

• Amherst senior Ben Garthus represented the Falcon track team at the WIAA State Track and Field meet in LaCrosse June 2-3. He placed 10th in the 3,200-meter run.

• The Amherst Village Board deferred the appointment of a new clerk-treasurer pending review of a Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance study on the duties and responsibilities of the position in municipalities of similar size to Amherst.

• In other Village Board news, the contract for road construction on High Street, First Street, Second Street, and South Street was awarded to American Asphalt of Stevens Point for their bid of $12,250. Additional work on South Street, involving grinding up the then-current surface to solve a cracking issue, was estimated to cost the Village an additional $574.20.

• “Broadway Bound” was the theme of a talent show put on by New Hope Productions at the Jensen Community Center June 4. Proceeds from the two shows were used to send members of the local troupe to the Partners for the Planet Youth Environmental Summit in Utah in July.

• Ground was broken for the $3.3 million wastewater treatment facility and utility reconstruction project.

• A benefit for the Platta family, who lost their cattle to a mysterious disease, was held at the Jensen Center. The event featured a pig roast, raffle, and silent auction with more than 240 items donated by businesses from Amherst, Stevens Point, Iola, Junction City, Wittenberg, and beyond. The fundraiser was organized by Diane and Robert Biadasz, with the help of Louise and Leonard Schulist and Marie and Jerry Rozek.

• Six Amherst High School students—Jason Blenker, Steve Schmelling, Melissa Suski, Jason Borski, Andrew Klingenberg, and Amy Dean—participated in a business simulation contest at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The team took top honors at the event, which attracted more than 40 teams from area schools.

• The Nelsonville Village Board inspected the village’s sidewalks and made plans to repair or replace those sections in need of such work.

• The Sun Star Café, owned and operated by Jane and Mark Kraklow and Gretchen and Don Bren, opened in Rosholt.

• A recumbent bike rally, organized by Hostel Shoppe owner Rolf Garthus, visited the Amherst area June 10-11.

• The Village of Amherst raised its water rates for the second time in two years, after no increases since 1981. The increases were due to the shutdown of an existing well, which forced the drilling of a new well, and the building of the new wastewater treatment plant, as well as a need to create a reserve fund against future needs.

10 Years Ago—June 2010

• The Tomorrow River Lions Club held its fifth annual “Gone Too Soon” Memorial Softball Tournament on June 18-19 at Nelson Park with eight teams competing. The Klements/Milwaukee Brewers Racing Sausages made an appearance the first night of the tournament to compete in a local version of their famous sausage race.

• Deena Gordon opened Vision, an interior design/home décor shop with an ice cream and smoothie parlor in the rear, in the former television repair shop on Main Street in Amherst.

• The Friends of the Lettie Jensen Library raised more than $1,100 for the library through a silent auction.

• The Tomorrow River Chautauqua held a “Rolling Chautauqua” bus tour of area lakes and rivers April 9. Ray Reser and John “Crow” Wright shared their knowledge of local Native American history of the area.

• Submissions were being sought for the fifth annual Central Wisconsin Film Festival, scheduled for November 5-7. The Jensen Center was one of the theaters used to show the films later that year.

• UW-Stevens Point professor of water resources George Kraft received the American Water Resources Association (Wisconsin section) Distinguished Service Award. It’s the organization’s highest honor given to water resource professionals, scientists, and policymakers who have made exceptional contributions to enhance the water quality of water resources in Wisconsin.

• UW-Stevens Point professor of global conservation Michael Dombeck received the Ansel Adams Award from the Wilderness Society. His work to restore balance to the management of 155 national forests, making clean water, recreation, and fish and wildlife priorities, as well as much other conservation work, were cited as the reasons for his award.

• The Spirit presented a two-page feature on the amazing model railroad layout of Amherst Junction’s Gordy Sauve. He and Amherst’s Dennis Cook are two local members of the Waupaca Area Model Railroaders Club, which was preparing for an exhibition at the June 19-20 Strawberry Festival in Waupaca.

• Kathryn Jeffers shared the story of converting the Amherst Coffee Company into Morning Star Coffee & Bistro. (The building now houses The Landmark.)

• As its 40th anniversary approached, area residents who attended the Iola Rock Fest/People’s Fest in 1970 shared their memories.

• Paragon Potato Farms of Bancroft and the Portage County Literacy Council received the Outstanding Achievement Workplace Literacy Award from Wisconsin Literacy for their work in teaching English to their Spanish-speaking employees and vice-versa. Much of the teaching was coordinated by Desiah Melby.

• Jenna Pitt was named the 2010 Scholar Athlete in Division 3-Girls by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The Community Spirit continues to search for a local writer/historian to produce future installments of this column. Interested? Contact Bonni at or Brent at A small stipend for the work is available.

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