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Village of Elmhurst,
Town of Rolling, Langlade County, Wisconsin

A Ghost Town of its former self.

elmhurst village
Village of Elmhurst circa 1890

elmhurst school

Rolling District No. 5 (Elmhurst Graded)
Published in the Daily Journal, August 15, 1921
By Mabel Carley

Elmhurst is a pretty little village of about one hundred and fifty inhabitants, nestling quietly beside a small lake. It is about in the center of the school district, which is in the town of Rolling. The trunk line highway crosses the village, and also the Chicago & Northwestern Railway. Its nearness to Antigo makes it a desirable place for one's home.

The first men that came here found the land covered with large trees mostly of elm. Late the village was named "Elmhurst" after the name "Elm."

The high wages of men working on the railroad attracted many men to the village. The railroad was just being laid at the time. Also many came to work in the sawmills of northern Wisconsin. This is a good shipping out center for farmers' products so many came to take up homesteads and farms. Some other attractions were the rich soil and excellent drinking water.

Frank Barnes, C. F. Schroeder, Richard Gardy, and George O'Connor came to Elmhurst to work for the railroad company.

Two years later James Empy took up a one hundred sixty acre farm or homestead which now belongs to Mr. Pleoger. He was the first settler of the village. He kept a boarding house for railroad employees so did not live on his homestead.

One year later Fred Spoehr and family moved here from Shiocton, where they had a grist mill and grocery store. Their home and store were burned so they moved to Elmhurst. He built a grocery store, barber shop and hotel and boarded railroad employees, mill workers and transients. Mrs. Spoehr died in 1905. Mr. Spoehr is now living with Mrs. Carley, his daughter, who operates the store. He is the only one of the pioneers left is the village.

The next year Joe Hawes and family moved to the village and took up a homestead of one hundred sixty acres. He kept a saloon and hotel for transients. The same year George Wunderlich, Ernest Pleoger and son moved here. Mr. Wunderlich bough a two hundred eight acre farm and put up a sawmill where laths, shingles and lumber were made. Because Mr. Empy was not living on his homestead, Mr. Pleoger contested his right to it and took it. Mr. Pleoger moved to Milwaukee. Later his son, Simon married a daughter of Mr. Snell. They bought a farm in the village and are residents of Elmhurst at present.

First School
The same year a one-room school house was built. The first teacher was Miss Root and about twelve children attended school.

A little later the Schuster family moved here. Mr. Schuster fell from a windmill, while oiling it, and was killed.

A year later Adam Schmall moved here. He bought a forty acre farm. He is now a prominent farmer of the district. That same year Fred Frederick moved here and put up a blacksmith shop. Later he moved to Clintonville and started a shop there.

Soon a depot was built. The first depot agent was a man named Budd Long. That depot was burned, but soon after another one was built about a hundred rods farther south.

A year later the Frost Veneer Seating Co. put up a veneer mill using basswood and birch. They stayed about five years, then went to Elcho. Later they moved to Antigo and are still at work there.

About two years later Leonard Reidberger took up a residence and worked in the mill. Later he was elected town treasurer.

That year Syms and Jones stave and heading mill from Appleton put a mill up at Elmhurst and worked five years. They did not succeed in business and went bankrupt, selling out to the highest bidder.

The same year Nelson put up a cheese box factory on the side of the mill. E.V. Nelson married a daughter of Fred Spoehr and moved in as superintendent of the mill.

One year later Mr. D. Brown and Wilcox brought in a portable mill, stayed two years and then moved to Mattoon.

Simon Ball started a little grocery store and stayed about three years, then moved to Aniwa.

Gust Strasser moved here with his family, also M. White. They now own large farms on the state road to Antigo.

Four years later Fred Snell came to work in Nelson's mill. Later they bought farms and are operating there today, he and his brother who came later.

About the same year Frank Tosh came here. In a accident his arm was cut off. His only son was called to war so Mr. Tosh did work all alone. They live at Elmhurst at present.

The year of eighteen ninety three, Mr. Frank Reiminger came to the village and bought a farm. At the time of purchase the farm was very hilly and stony. He lived there for about four years, clearing and picking stones from the land. He was then married and is still a farmer of our village.

Church Erected
The next year a German Lutheran church was built. The members of the church all helped in building it. Mr. Fred Spoehr bought an organ bell and baptismal stand. The younger folks collected the donations for carpets and other needs of the church. The first minister was the Rev. Mr. Grimm.

In four years Mr. Frank Peterlick moved here with his family to get work on the railroad. He is a resident of the village now.

Five years later Mr. Jessie moved here with his family, from Mattoon. He erected a hotel, dance hall and saloon. When he first moved here, he just built a home, later he built the saloon and dance hall. At that time dances or corn husking bees were all the amusement they had. At one time a baseball game for amusement was to be played by Antigo and Elmhurst . Young men were to play in the game. An engine was sent down from Antigo to get the boys and girls to go. At another time the Aniwa and Birnamwood hand cars brought the boys and girls from there to a dance at Antigo. At Elmhurst another one was added. Although there weren't many public buildings, the people had many enjoyments that we do not have.

Three years later the Koltz family came to the village. They moved here from Europe. Mr. Koltz worked in Wunderlich's sawmill then. Now he has a farm.

Wunderlich Farm
About the same year Mr. Wunderlich built a large dairy barn: it is one hundred forty-four feet long, eighty feet wide and sixty feet high. Both house and barn are furnished with electric lights and running water. A wing on the south side of the barn was built. Below it is a large chicken coop and pig pen. This can be entered through the cow barn. Above is a granary. By the side of the barn is a large silo. It is built of cement. The house is a three story building, very large and roomy. The Wunderlich family live at Antigo. At present Mr. Sindel and family live on the farm.

Two years later Mr. Lensing and family came to the village. Soon after the Prosser family moved here. Mr. Lensing took up work in the sawmill. Mr. Prosser bought a farm about a half a mile from town. Both are residents of Elmhurst at the present time.

Next year the Klopstein family moved here. Mr. Klopstein worked on the railroad for awhile and boarded at the Jessie hotel. Later he brought his family to the village. Mrs. Klopstein and children had been living on what is now known as the Frank Nichols farm.

The same year the Cera family moved here. Mr. Cera took work on the railroad as a section foreman.

About the year of 1911 another room was built onto the one-room school house. At the time of building there were sixty pupils attending school.

Four years after the Cera family moved here the school house burned. It happened Friday, Dec. 19, 1919. In 1920 a new school was built. A two-room brick building. It is one of the finest in the county. The sawmills have all been removed excepting the small mill owned by Mr. Wunderlich which is operated a few weeks during the summer. Most of the people of the district own farms or carry on a dairy industry. Many of the older people have moved away, but their children, who were married here, still reside in the district.

Rolling District No. 5, (Elmhurst Graded)
Published in Dessureau's 1922 "History of Langlade County..."

Before the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad pushed their main track north into the territory of Langlade County, a hardy optimistic prospector came into the wilderness of southern Langlade County and settled at what later became the thriving village of Elmhurst. This man Frederick Spoehr, came from Shiocton, Waupaca County. He planned to locate at Antigo, but in his own words, "I decided not to because of the swampy land and marshes," and in 1880 came to section 21, township 30, range 11 east. Mr. Spoehr was preceded by W.J. Empey.

Many settlers followed. The pioneers of this district were W.J. Empey, Frederick Spoehr, Dan Butler, J. Wunderlich and sons, Mrs. Schraml, M.W. Brown, E. Ploeger, Sim Ball, James Pentony, Adam Schmoll, E. Schuster, Walter Strong, Joseph Haas and others.

As new settlers homesteaded or purchased land from land agencies or the Northwestern railroad (which, while not operating in the county then, owned large tracts of railroad land grants within it) the education of the young became a paramount necessity. Therefore a school was erected on the site of the present modern structure in the village of Elmhurst. The first school served until December 19, 1919, when it was destroyed by fire. The new school was erected at a cost of $13,000. The officers of the district in 1922-23 were H.A. Carley, Clerk; G.H. Wunderlich, Treasurer and Frank Prosser, Director. The district was organized following a petition presented by W.J. Empey and others on March 28, 1882. This territory in the township previously belonged to another district.

June 26, 1882, the town board appointed Daniel Buttler of Elmhurst to notify the electors of the newly created District No. 5 to meet at the home of James J. Haas for the first school meeting, July 18, 1882. This district was officially organized April 18, 1882, and consisted of sections 20, 21, 28, 33, 32, 29, 30, 31, 19, or the southwest quarter of the township. July 10, 1889, the boundaries of both districts No. 2 and No. 5 were changed. The northwest quarter of section 22 was placed in District No. 5.

The district experienced various changes from then until now it consists of all of sections 19, 20, 21, 30 and the west half of section 29, the northeast quarter of section 29 and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 29, the northwest quarter of section 28 and the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 28 and the northwest quarter of section 22.

Pioneer industries in this district were many. The J.S. Wunderlich & Sons industries were launched in 1881. J.S. Wunderlich and sons moved to Elmhurst from Stevensville, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, in August, 1881. They operated a saw and shingle mill for many years. George H. Wunderlich now owns considerable property in Elmhurst. He is proprietor of a sawmill, the large Bear Lake farm and a general store. His home is in Antigo, Wis. M. Brown and W. Saxon of Appleton conducted a mill in Elmhurst in 1884.

Sims & Jones, of Tuston and Appleton, Wisconsin, respectively, erected a barrel head and cheese box factory in the district in 1888. They sold out in 1894 to the Menasha Woodenware Company, which in turn sold to J. Clark of pine River, Wisconsin, and Niels Nelson of Oshkosh. Sorenson Brothers of Tuston, Wisconsin, were then financially interested in the project. The latter owners sold to E.F. Nelson and Frank Deveau. The industry was discontinued in 1908.

The Frost Veneer Seating Company located in Langlade County first in Elmhurst in 1886. They moved to Elcho in 1887-88. Jaeger Brothers of Berlin, Wis., had a stave mill on the same site for three years later.

Frederick Spoehr conducted a small hotel and store from 1881 until 1888, when it was taken over by H.A. Carley. Other earl hotel keepers were Thomas Irwin, who started in 1889, Wunderlich Brothers, P. Near, Frank Busch, Fred Kalkofen and E. Ploeger. Joseph Haas, Jake Fischer and Charles Abet were the three early saloon keepers.

Present industries in this district are H.A. Carley and George H. Wunderlich stores, two soft drink stands run by August Meisenhelder and C.F. Jessie, two boarding houses, a C. & N. W. depot, and a post office. The postmasters have been Frederick Spoehr, Hesh Tyler, George H. Wunderlich, John Zellmer, B.F. Vander Bogart, and Sim Ploeger, present incumbent.

The Modern Woodmen of America have a camp at Elmhurst. The Good Templars and F.R.A. lodges were once active in the village. Elmhurst at one time reached the high mark of 460 inhabitants and was for a short time a rival to Antigo. (However, Elmhurst at no time was as serious a contender for the leadership of Langlade County as was that historic region in the Wolf river country where the Lily river joins the Wolf.)

The German Lutheran faith have a fine church located in the village. It was erected in 1891. Antigo and Birnamwood pastors serve the congregation. The Elmhurst cemetery is located on section 28.

Elmhurst received its name because of the great elm forests that impressed the first settlers.

The 1922-23 teachers were Erna Below, principal, and Maude Smith, assistant principal.

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