Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

B.F. Carter

Back in the heyday of excursion boats on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River, the sternwheel B.F. Carter was a popular craft.  Named after a pioneer brick manufacturer in Oshkosh, the boat was built in Oshkosh in 1876.   At 110 feet long and 24 feet wide, it was partially remade from a Menasha boat called the Island City, which saw its demise when it smashed into the Menasha lock in 1872.  The B.F. Carter saw service until 1910.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Early Settlements

This map from the book, Prairies, Pines, and People: Winnebago County in a New Perspective (1976) shows the Lake Winnebago area in the days before formal settlements were established with the names we know all too well.  Note the many Indian villages, to include the one on Doty Island.  It wouldn't be too many years after the publication of this map that major changes would occur to shape the area and make it more recognizable to modern eyes.

Friday, May 22, 2015

New Banta Credit Union Location

  May 22, 1972 NM Northwestern

Having been headquartered off Mill Street in the Hotel Menasha building since 1962, the Banta Credit Union opened a new facility at the corner of Ninth and Warsaw Streets, forty-three years ago today. I'm sure the new facility was a vast improvement over the cramped second floor offices at the old location.  

This being Memorial Day weekend, I will take a short hiatus and return to the blog on Tuesday, May 26th.   

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Henry E. Trilling

"HENRY TRILLING, a retired merchant and respectable pioneer citizen of Menasha, was born in Prussia, Germany, March 6, 1833, the son of Frederick and Francis Trilling. He remained in his native country until he reached the age of nineteen. Between the age of six and fourteen he attended school, and afterward learned the dyer's trade. In 1852 he accompanied his father, mother and other members of the family to America. On reaching this country they came directly to Wisconsin and made their home at Sheboygan. There his father became the owner of a grocery store and in this, Henry Trilling clerked about four years. Before the expiration of that period, he was married December 1, 1855, to Margaret Shubert. She was born in Bavaria, Germany, May 31, 1838, the daughter of John and Anna Shubert, with whom she came to America in 1844. In this country her father and mother were first located at Buffalo, N. Y.  A year later they moved to the Lake Superior region and resided at Copper Harbor and Eagle River; two years afterward removing to Sheboygan. 

In 1856, Mr. and Mrs. Trilling came to Menasha, where they have made their home. Soon after coming here Mr. Trilling engaged in store keeping with an elder brother, and he continued mercantile pursuits exclusively until December, 1875, since when he has been interested in various other branches of business, including foundry and milling. In most of his business enterprises he has had good success, and he is now permitted to enjoy a retired life in comfortable circumstances. Mr. Trilling and wife have had nine children: Maggie F., Matilda F., Augusta L., Hermina J., Henry, Arthur J., Theodore W., Richard J., and Alvina M., of whom Augusta L., Arthur J. and Theodore W., are deceased. Mr. Trilling and wife are members of the Catholic church. He has been treasurer of Menasha two terms, has been a member of the council and is at present a member of the school board. Besides other property, he and wife have a pleasant home in Menasha, where they enjoy the happy fruits of a well-spent life, respected and esteemed by a large circle of friends."

source:  Randall, Geo. A. / Illustrated atlas of Winnebago County, Wisconsin : containing outline map of the county, map of each township in the county, with village and city plats. Also maps of the world, United States and state of Wisconsin, together with other valuable information (1889)

Among his other civic achievements, Henry Trilling was a beloved member of the library board.  Upon his passing in 1929 at the age of 95, the library provided the following testimonial: 

February 5, 1929 Oshkosh Northwestern

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gardner Colby

Mr. Gardner Colby, a Bostonian, was the first president of the Wisconsin Central Railroad, incorporated in 1871 at the National Hotel in downtown Menasha.  Aside from that connection though, Mr. Colby remained a Massachusetts resident for most of hs life.  He took over a store his father had started in Charlestown, Massachusetts and eventually started his own store in Boston.  He made his fortune furnishing dry goods to Union forces during the Civil War.  He later became involved in various other businesses including railroads, shipping and manufacturing. As a lifelong Baptist, Colby was very involved in various Christian causes. During the Civil War in 1864 the college in Waterville was facing hardships, so Colby made the first of several large donations to the college and it was renamed "Colby College" in his honor. He served as a trustee from 1864 to his death in 1879 and many of his descendants became involved with the school. Colby also served as treasurer and made several large donations to what is now Andover Newton Theological School, which was a Reformed seminary located near Colby's home in Newton, Massachusetts.

The city of Colby, Wisconsin, west of Wausau in Clark and Marathon Counties, came into existence because the government gave Mr. Colby certain rights through that area for establishing the railroad from Menasha to Ashland.  As towns often did in those days, it named itself Colby after the biggest benefactor, or industry, in town. 

In later years, around 1885, Colby (the town) became the namesake for a new kind of cheese developed at a local cheese factory.  Today, Colby cheese is known throughout the US as a product of the only major natural cheese process native to America.  The name "Colby", lives on in perpetual fame, perhaps more so because of the cheese's popularity than due to the man's beneficence in education and other works of charity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MHS Centennial Grads

May 19, 1975 NM Northwestern
Forty years ago today, the Northwestern published this list of upcoming MHS grads, an extra special list as it marked the centennial year commencement exercises for the high school.  Exciting, too, for me, in that this was the year I also graduated, though from St. Mary's.  But I grew up with a lot of the names on this list, I had had many of them as classmates through the grade school years.  As I approach my own 40th high school reunion later this summer, my hat's off to all of them; I hope all their lives have been as gratifying as the promise they anticipated on their graduation day. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cigar Box

 Historical Review of the State of Wisconsin: Its Industrial and Commercial Resouces (1887)
April 7, 1915 Paper
April 29, 1921 Oshkosh Northwestern
 January 11, 1937 Appleton Post-Crescent
With a smattering of articles, today we entertain the life of John Wise, citizen and cigar maker to Menasha.  Back when tobacco was a more acceptable vice, to be a good cigar maker was a valued profession.  It seems Mr. Wise fit the bill and was an inventor, to boot.