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Town of Elcho, Langlade County, Wisconsin

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Elcho Town Hall
N11234 Dorr Street, Village of Elcho

elcho school
Elcho Graded
lakeside school
Lakeside or Lakeview?

Elcho District No. 1 (Elcho)
Published in the Antigo Daily Journal, August 20, 1917
By Alice Warg

I.J. Millard was the first man to settle in Elcho. He lived on a farm known now as Mr. Carlson's place, but did not live there very long before Mr. Nelson came. They both took up homesteads. In a little while a man by the name of Clarence Grave came. He settled on a farm known as Mat Litzen's place. This was about in 1881. Adams who settled on Burnett's farm came here about the same time as Mr. Nelson. He did not live here long before he moved to Green Bay. "Nig Weaver," as they called him settled near Burnett's.

Richard Cave came here and settled near the lake. He took a homestead and after a time Mrs. Cave taught school here. In 1886 Mr. Simberg came. He settled near Enterprise. There were no roads at that time and they had to cut a way to get through the woods.

When Clarence Grave came to Elcho, the Hart Frost Veneering Co., owned a mill and store. This was about in 1881. They worked steady on this plant for awhile.

In 1900 Jones Lbr. Co. bought them out, and began working on the plant.

In 1903 the mill burnt down, but was rebuilt again.

Fish and Johnson bought the mill and store in 1904.

In 1905 the mill burnt down again.

Mr. Fish bought Johnson's share in 1908 and began operating as the C.W. Fish Lbr. Co.

In the year 1912 Mr. Fish put up a planing mill.

Quite a while ago Mr. Weaver kept a hotel in the old Weaver house. After a time he built the hotel he still owns. In 1911 Mr. Fish built a hotel and called it the "Muskie Inn."

In 1912, the old M.W. hall was made into a bank. It was organized in 1912. When they had made the old M.W. Hall into a bank they built a new one in 1913.

In 1882, a railroad ran through Elcho known then as the Milwaukee Lake Shore. It was only a short railroad. The Chicago and North Western bought out the Milwaukee Lake Shore in 1895. They made it longer and worked on it and made many improvements, and they still own it to this day. It starts from Milwaukee and goes through Wisconsin.

There was also a little railroad in Post Lake. They used it for taking logs out.

The first school was held in 1885, in a hall. While they were having school over there, the lower part of the school house was built. This was in 1902. In 1912 the upper part of the school house was built.

The first Methodist church was built in 1900. The first minister was Reverend Jaquith.

The first Catholic church was built in 1908. Their first priest was Father Saile. The Catholics had been using the Union church before.

The first Post Office was held by Mr. Sandberg, where the Muskie Inn now stands. The second Post Office was held by Mr. and Mrs. Cave at their home. The third one to have the Post Office was Mr. D. Burton, and he held it over in his store, but when he moved away from the store, he built a new one which is the same one in use now. He built this in the year of 1914.

In 1912, the town of Elcho was lit up with electric lights. The cement side walks reaching from Mr. J. Schuk's corner to Mr. W. Knuth's corner were made in the year 1914. And also the cement walk reaching from Burton's store to the school house was made in 1914. The first telephones were put in the houses in 1913.

Mr. Anton Follstad owns a farm near Elcho Lake. He has about the largest farm in Elcho. His father owned the farm before he got it. He has made many improvements on it in the last year.

Mr. Dorr also owns a large farm. It is known as the Dorr Dairy Farm. He has many cows which are of the same kind. He does not run the farm himself, but has people to run it for him.

Mr. Guptill who raises so many chickens, also has a large farm. He lives near Enterprise Lake. He has cottages which people come and rent in the summer time. They come from the city and stay at the lake to pass the summer.

Anton Follstad has a silo on his farm also. He is the only one in Elcho who owns one.

Elcho District No. 1, (Elcho)
Published in Dessureau's 1922 "History of Langlade County..."

This district includes all of township 34 North, of Range 10 East and some of township 34, Range 11 East. The western part of the district is sparsely settled. The village of Elcho, second largest community in the county, is located in the northeast corner of section 13.

The village of Elcho was surveyed and platted by B.F. Dorr, first City Engineer of Antigo, and pioneer county surveyor. This survey was made in 1887, being recorded march 21, 1887. Streets were named Dorr, Elmo, Riordan, Rumele, Echo, Elk and Owono. Dorr's addition to the village was recorded February 20, 1904.

Before the Frost Veneer Seating Company moved their plant from Elmhurst, Rolling township to the present site of Elcho village in 1887, Elcho had but few settlers. Col. Byron Cole and William Cole, came from Colebrook, Waushara County, in 1885 and erected log cabins in the district, south of the village plat. John Nelson settled in the district about the same time. Other early settlers were: Richard W. Cave, Sigvart Solberg, Thorwald Solberg, Anton Follstad, Clarence Graves, Charles Graves, Anton Schuh, Charles Beard, Peter Tappan, John Gormanley, Wm. Brantner, and E. Youngbauer. Charles W. Fish, prominent lumberman, came to Elcho in 1895.

Elcho's first general store was opened in 1886 by Thorwald Solberg, a Norwegian, who had, before then, lived a short time, on a homestead in Antigo township. This storekeeper was also the first postmaster of Elcho. When the Jones Lumber Company came to Elcho, the Solberg store was taken over by them. Solberg & Niels Anderson, first Antigo merchant, followed the Jones Lumber Company. The Solberg & Anderson store was then taken over by Charles W. Fish, who, with the exception of an interval when it was sold to W. Litzen, still owns it. The original Solberg store was near the site of the Muskie Inn. Solberg first kept supplies at his home on section 12.

The Elcho House, first hotel, was erected in 1886 by N.F. Weaver. It served for many years as a hotel. It burned in 1919.

La Fayette Weaver, Harry Stewart, Frank McCormick, and the Frost Veneer Seating Co., all conducted boarding houses in the village primarily to serve the transient laborer.

The Muskie Inn, located in the village on highway No. 39, was erected by Charles W. Fish. It has been the scene of many notable banquets and convention meetings. Wm. Litzen manages the Inn for Mr. Fish.

The Frost Veneer Seating Company erected the first manufacturing plant in Elcho in 1887. They operated until 1893, when the plant was moved to Antigo. The company located on Otter Lake, now known as Elcho Lake. The Jones Lumber Company of Manitowoc purchased the site and property of the Frost Veneer Seating Company in 1893 and erected a saw mill, the first Elcho saw mill. Charles W. Fish and Thomas Mullen, a traveling salesman, organized a $20,000 concern known as Fish & Mullen. They operated a planing and saw mill. The planing mill burned, was rebuilt, and shortly afterwards the saw mill burned. This left the concern with a planing mill and a saw mill site. At this time C.W. Fish purchased the interest of others in the business, but not until 1910, was the saw mill rebuilt. The rise and progress of Elcho since then has been interwoven with the success of the Charles W. Fish Lumber Company, which now operates five mills.

Postmasters at Elcho since 1886 have been: Thorward Solberg, Mrs. Byron Cole, Richard W. Cave, G.W. Jones, George Burton, Dudley Burton, R. Hanson. The present post office building was erected in 1915.

Elcho has splendid educational facilities. The first frame school still exists. It was built in 1887. Early teachers were Mrs. R.W. Cave, Flora Wilson and Dora B. Benedict. The pioneer school was used until 1902, when a new school house was built in block 14. It was a one story two room building originally but a second story has since been added.

In November, 1921, a high school was added to the educational institutions of Elcho. Dedicatory services were conducted in 1921. The principal address was given by Hon. Arthur Goodrick, municipal Judge of Langlade County. J.W. Bluett was the first H.S. principal.

Elcho has two churches, The Holy Family Church in which those of Catholic faith hold services. The congregation organized January 31, 1905. Organizers were: J.H. Wigman, Bishop J.J. Fox and Rev. Conrad Saile. The Free Union Church is located in block 8. Rev. Fred Harvey, Congregational Pastor conducts services in this edifice. Rev. J.A. Snartemoe of Rhinelander conducts Lutheran services in this church.

There are two cemeteries - a township cemetery and a Catholic cemetery, both located on section 18.

Elcho has a band of twenty-two pieces, led by Gustav Hanke. The band was organized in 1921.

the Elcho State Bank was organized in 1912 and a complete account is given in Banks and Finance chapter.

Most of the residences of Elcho were erected by the Charles W. Fish Lumber Company.

Present business places are: The Charles W. Fish Lumber Company mills and lumber yards, Muskie Inn Hotel, Wm. Litzen, manager; A.J. Carnahan Boarding House, The C.W. Fish General Store and Market; J.F. Steel Grocery; C.W. Fish Hardware Store, J.L. Olmsted, billiard hall and confectionery; The Elcho State Bank; Elcho Garage; and the Rothenberger Garage; a Drug Store, operated by R.G. Germanson, a neat market run by Earl Weaver and a barber shop run by Wm. Eastabrook; Anton Thomas, shoemaker.

Elcho physicians have been: Dr. Williams (first); Dr. Owen; Dr. La Coont; Dr. Seymour and Dr. J.P. Daily, present physician.

The first citizens to vote in Elcho township were: D. Callsen, Ed. Rosfach, W.H. Hinkey, J. Rutinger, B.E. Cole, George Behling, A. Follstad, R.W. Cave, C. Callsen, C.F. Graves, Louis Hansen, Otto Oleson, Ole Wesley, N.G. Waver, John Konz, Moses Hinkley, J.N. Nelson, C.W. Maney, Peter Higgins, Ernest Youngbauer, C. Madsen, A.C. Sindberg, T. Solberg, N.F. Weaver, Anton Schuh, Wm. Berger, S. Solberg, Otto Walters, G. Erne, A.Herman, R. Edwards, S. Aleff, Ed. Hinchley, August Kewweter, H. Anderson, J. Shand, J.A. Adams, T. Edwards, A.K. Hadel, A. Delimater, M. Weiss, G.Walling, Jos. Herb, R.A. Cole, M.W. Eke, H. Anderson, John Swartz, H. Klan, H. Wolfgram, H. Hrisk, C.Klien, H. Barr, Louie Weller, H. Oleson, R. Peterson, E.H. Hansen, C. Beard, L.A. Harrington, G. Wright, J.W.Gormaley, Julius Follstad, Frank Herman, A. Schwab and John Qeualman - 64 in all.

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post lake school
Post Lake
kosciousko school
sunset school

Elcho District No. 2 (Post Lake/Kosciousko/Sunset)
Published in the Daily Journal, January 18, 1922
By Louise Addison

District No. Two, Town of Elcho, was organized in 1894. From 1888 until 1895 it was run under the township system covering an area 12 miles long and six miles wide. In 1918 the township system was changed for the district system.

Under the township system the men who comprised the school board were chosen from different parts of the township. The first man that was on the school board from post Lake was Mr. Burdett. Mr. W. Maney and Mr. H. Peters also represented Post Lake for a number of years under the township system and also under the present system. Mr. Maney as clerk and Mr. Peters as treasurer.

The person who first came up here to teach the Post Lake school was Miss Retta Bishop from New London. She taught a term of six months, which was the length of a school year in those early days.

When Miss Bishop taught there were only eight pupils enrolled: Isabell, Minnie, Grace, Nellie, Jennie and Gilbert Maney and Nellie and William Dagl. They went to school in a little log school house. In the middle of the room was a box stove and around it the children were seated in the old uncomfortable double seats. Of course those near the stove were too warm and those farther back were too cold. There was no ventilating system and the lighting space was poor. They had no nice playground as the cabin was built in the woods. But we can imagine how much fun it was playing hid and seek among the tall pine trees.

Two other school houses have been built since pioneer days. The present one is an up-to-date frame building. It has a good ventilating system, proper lighting space, good slate black boards, single adjustable seats and a little kitchen where hot lunches are prepared and served to the pupils during the winter. A large play ground surrounds the building. There is a room for a good size baseball diamond for the boys, a large square where the little folks may play unmolested and a number of good shade trees for those who wish to rest during the recess period.

One of the old settlers came from Birnamwood. They came from there to Elcho on the Lake Shore railway. Then from Elcho to Post Lake by an Indian trail. They had their supplies sent in from Pratt Jct. An accommodation freight came from pratt Jct. To the old Hull place or Pratt's landing several times a week and carried supplies for the settlers. From the landing they took their goods to their homes in boats. Now the state highway connects Elcho with Post Lake.

For several years after the first settlers came to Post Lake there were neither roads nor postal routes. When a road was made it was very rough. The first postal route was from Elcho. They got mail three times a week. In 1911 succeeded in getting the R.F.D. from Pelican. William Henke has been rural mail carrier for ten years.

The Sunday School at Post Lake was quite a live wire. The first Sunday School superintendent was Mr. Harmon. The Sunday School was organized in 1902. For a while they had student ministers from Lawrence College come out each Sunday and preach. One of them was Mr. Pfeifer who is now a noted minister in New York City. Three of the teachers were Mrs. Harmon, Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. John Marten.

One of the historic places in this district is Post Lake. It was a trading post between the French and the Indians. On the east bank of the lake are the ruins of an old Post which was used by the early traders. A large birch tree has grown up in the center of the ruins which shows that the building is more than a hundred years old. It is from this fact that Post Lake derives its name. The Military road is also important because it is an old road connecting Milwaukee and Lake Superior. It was used to transport troops during the Civil War. Many Indians of the Potawatomi tribe still came to Post Lake to their dances and feasts. When Mr. Maney first came here and it was not an uncommon sight to see several hundred wigwams pitched on the east side of the lake. Several people have dug up old Indian mounds and found many Indian relics. It is also said that a great many Indians are buried near the post Lake School. Many mounds may still be seen south of the school house.

Mr. Harry Graves, Mrs. Thompson's son found a curious ring on the east shore of Post Lake. It resembles a signet ring and is engraved with the letters "I II S" and a tiny cross. It was identified by Mr. Edict as a Jesuit Missionary ring, which proves that the early French Missionaries must have visited the Indian tribes at Post Lake.

Elcho District No. 2, (Post Lake)
Published in Dessureau's 1922 "History of Langlade County..."

District No. 2 is subdivided into three divisions with schools at Post Lake, the Sunset subdistrict and the Kosciousko (Polish) settlement. The Post Lake region is the most densely settled and the oldest in the point of habitation by white settlers. Sunset subdistrict is situated nearer to the village of Elcho than the other two. It is well settled. The Kosciousko district has been settled since 1897.

District No. 2 was organized in 1894. From 1887, when Elcho township was organized , to 1895, the schools were conducted under the township system. This system was then continued from 1895 to 1912.

Post Lake is one of the most picturesque places in Wisconsin. The beautiful lake, stretching north into Oneida County from the center of section 23 of East Elcho township, affords excellent boating and fishing for the sportsman and tourist. Its shore line is dotted with the cottages of men and women, who, tired of the constant and incessant grind of the commercial whirl, come here in "The Heart of the Whispering Pines" to hold communion, so to speak, with God and His handicraft. The Narrows are bridged at section 11 by one of the best iron bridges in the county.

But Post Lake held an attraction for more than the modern tourist. Long before the first pine was cut in East Elcho township, bands of Menominee and Chippewa Indians camped on the shores of Post Lake. At the narrows of Post Lake on the farm of Charles Thompson, section 11, Charles Thompson dug up the skeleton of a man, who was buried in a sitting position. Harry Graves once found on the same site a signet ring bearing the insignia "I.H.S." and also of a tiny cross. David Edict identified it as a Jesuit Missionary ring, thus proving that this was once the trading post of Indians and French missionaries, who probably traveled in small bateau down the Wolf river, portaging the rapids and impassable places.

This was once a strategical point. Before the Charles Thompson farm was cleared and plowed the walls of a general defense works, broken and crumbled by time and disintegration, were clearly discernible. David Edick, who has been in this region for a half century, was one of the first to observe this defense work. This point commanded both arms of Post Lake and the Wolf river as well. The ruins of the old trading post on the east bank of Post Lake are still visible. The trading post is probably one hundred years old. A large birch tree has grown up in the ruins. Early settlers at Post Lake can recall when the east bank of Post Lake was dotted with the wigwams of the red men. It was among these tribes that the pioneer fur traders and supply merchants of pioneer days lived. Many married (term deleted for Indian women) who proved to be thirfty and industrious housewives.

The first school at Post Lake was a log building on section 10, erected by C.W. Maney. A second log building was erected shortly after the first one by Knute Anderson. This was used until the frame school was built on section 11. Early teachers were Loretta Bishop, Tillie Schultze, May Cornish, Anna Beard, May Taylor. Others were Ada Jersey, Lucy Miller, Margaret Deleglise, Margaret Moss, Otelia Person, Madge Hoyt, Edna Dumjohn, and Florence Helgerson. Pioneer school children in the Post Lake school were Isabell, Minnie, Nellie, Grace, Gilbert and Jennie Maney and Nellie and William Dagl.

From 1900 to 1901 Frank Wagner operated a sawmill on section 11. Charles Thompson built a sawmill on section 11 in 1903 and operated it until April 17, 1905, when it burned down. John Monroe had a sawmill on section 12 for one year. George McNinch, who operated a sawmill on section 14, sold it to Crandon people in 1922.

In 1900 Thomas Bradnock erected a dam on lot 3 on the Wolf River at the outlet of Post Lake.

The Post Lake post office was opened in 1902. Harry Harmon was the first Postmaster. He was succeeded by Sim Jones. In 1903 Mrs. Charles Thompson was appointed Postmistress. She retained the office until 1913, when the office was abandoned. The rural free delivery system has been extended to this district from Pelican Lake. The pioneer settlers obtained mail from Elcho and those who settled in this vicinity before Elcho was established, from Lily, (New) on the old Military Road.

The first store in this vicinity was erected in 1922 on section 11 by E.G. Benfield, who came from Chicago, Ill.

The Kosciousko or Polish District is situated south and west of Post Lake. The first settlers were Michael Mickezkak, who homesteaded on section 21 in 1897. The second settler was Valentine Dzewski, who came from Milwaukee in 1900 and located on section 21.

The school is located in the northern part of section 21, not far from the main highway from Post Lake to Elcho. It was erected by the Jones Lumber Company, once established at Elcho. The children attended school at Post Lake before this frame building was erected. There are about ten settlers in this region. The land is hilly and rolling. The school is in charge officials of District No. 2. Marine Javorsky was the 1921-22 teacher. The school may be abandoned in this subdistrict.

System of School Government

May 31, 1912, the Elcho township officials met at the town hall to change the system of school government from township to the district system. The notices for the meeting were posted at prominent places in the township May 21, 1912. Two school districts were formed. District No. 1 consists of all of Township 34, Range 10 East, and sections 6, 7, 18, 19, 30 and 31 of Township 34, Range 11 East. District No. 2 consists of sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36 of Township 34, Range 11 East.

Valuation of Property

The valuation of real estate and personal property in the two school districts at the time of the change to the district system was: District No. 1, $396,787.00; District No. 2, $227, 272.00. Assessed value of Elcho township, $624,059.00. The township indebtedness was apportioned as follows: District No. 1, $1,590.00; District No. 2, $910.00; Total, $2,500.00.


On October 7, 1893, District No. 3 was set off after the township board had voted favorably on taking territory from District No. 1 and No. 2. The first meeting was held at the home of C.W. Maney on October 18, 1893. (Webmaster's note: This paragraph is very confusing! No other information on a "District No. 3" can be found. I wonder if this might actually be referring to the organization of District No. 2 in 1894?)

Final Settlement.

Final settlement was made April 1, 1886, between Summit and Elcho township officers. The Elcho officials went on record December 6, 1887, favoring an immediate payment of their township's proportion of money due Lincoln County from the old original Ackley township, of which Elcho township (as it then existed) was once a part, as soon as the settlement was made.

New School in 1902

In 1902 the people of Elcho erected a new school house. The first township official meeting in the old school house was held on June 17, 1902.

New Bridge Across Narrows

The Wisconsin Bridge & Construction Company of Milwaukee built an iron bridge across the narrows of Post Lake in 1902. The span of the bridge is 100 feet. The bridge was completed before December 1, 1902, at a cost of $2,490. The wooden bridge, previously used, was erected in December, 1895, by Gust Schmege. It was completed in February, 1896, at a cost of $500. J.W. parson and Walter Dorczeski, County Commissioners, looked after the bridge during process of construction.

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