Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tandem Cabooses

Two Wisconsin Central cabooses sit side by side on the tracks near Fourth and Appleton Streets in this 1971 photo.  Because of the time frame, the thought occurred to me that perhaps this was one last inspection to see which caboose would be accepted by Menasha to display in Smith Park.  I cannot vouch for that idea but magnifying the picture indicates that the caboose on the right is indeed labelled as "104," which IS the caboose number of the one in Smith Park.  The gentlemen pictured below just might be the same fellows exiting caboose no. 104 in the photo above. 
June 19, 1972 NM Northwestern
The caboose is in need of repairs and there is currently a fundraising drive to provide for its upkeep.  The article at this link showcases this effort:
Any donations you may want to contribute may be sent to the Menasha Historical Society, P.O. Box 255, Menasha, WI 54952.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cleaning Up

From the human interest files at the Menasha Public Library, this gentleman was the janitor at Menasha High School, circa 1913.  The back of the photo listed him as "August," no last name given.  I remember my grandfather having that very type of shovel, which he used to shovel coal to heat his house, the one I grew up in. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Name Changes

June 14, 1968 NM Northwestern

Wisconsin is certainly awash in unique place names- French, German, and Indian influences among the origins of place names In 1908, P.V. Lawson sought to explain some of these in his History of WInnebago County and the Northwestern was only too kind to give us this concise guide in 1968.
Some of these make me scratch my head, particularly his explanation for the name Menasha. But others make much more sense, such as Tecos Point as the most likely root for Tayco Street, for example, even though it's not said here. The word Neenah for "water" is pretty consistent throughout the sources I've read but as for Menasha, I've seen it referenced in other works as a Winnebago word meaning "the settlement on the island," "thorn," or just "island."
"Mini-ha-ha," as used by Lawson here is close to the fictional Native American woman Minnehaha, as documented in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1855 epic poem The Song of Hiawatha and seems a bit too convenient to use here. A recent reference I've found states that the name is often incorrectly said to mean "laughing water", though in reality it translates to "waterfall" or "rapid water" in Dakota. Dakota is the parent language of the WInnebago or Ho-Chunk nation, so that part falls into place, but still, I'm skeptical that this is the definitive explanation for the name of our fair town.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stroebe Island

This 1977 photo shows Stroebe Island, looking southwest towards US 41.  The 441 Bridge over Little Lake Butte des Morts is in the upper left of the photo. 

The article below from August 30, 1964 about a marina (farina?!) being built on Strooebe Island also gives a little history of the island.  What it doesn't say is that prior to 1866 when Mr. Stroebe bought the island, it had been known as Caldwell's Island.  I've provided an interesting story below about Mr. Caldwell. as told by P.V. Lawson in his history book.

from P.V. Lawson's History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin: Its Cities, Towns, Resources, People (1908):
As the tribesmen were gathered about the mission in 1835 an epidemic of smallpox broke out among them which swept over about one-third of the tribe. Col. George Boyd, then Indian agent at Green Bay, sent to their relief a surgeon of the regular army, stationed at Fort Howard, to give them the benefit of vaccination. But Mr. Archibald Caldwell, a trader at the settlement, benevolently took charge of the sufferers, nursing and nourishing the sick and watching by them night and day at the risk of his own life. He took the disease himself, suffered severely and barely escaped the fate of many of the unfortunate victims." He remained a resident and was still living in Winnebago Rapids many years after. He once lived in one of the block houses on Blair's farm, and once maintained a trading post on the sixty-acre island at the foot of Little Lake Butte des Morts, since known as Strobey island, but then and for many years known as Caldwell's island. He is said to have had six Menominee wives at the same time, but his Mormonism has been forgiven on the recollection of his heroic acts during the smallpox plague.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Brighton Beach Hotel

A postcard from 1908 features the familiar hostelry at Brighton Beach at the east end of Third Street. This card was from the end of the era where only the address was allowed on the back of the card.  All that changed around 1907/1908.  

As detailed here previously, the Brighton Beach Hotel lasted from 1899 until 1927 when it was demolished and a private home was constructed on the grounds. In later years, the acreage was sold to a religious order for use as a retirement facility for retired sisters.

Friday, September 12, 2014

50 Years Ago Today

September 11, 1964 Appleton Post-Crescent
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Calder Field.  In past years, we've commemorated that day.  You can read about it at the following link:
Oh yes...and Menasha beat Berlin 25-0 that day.  Nice beginning. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Super Valu Travail

September 28, 1963 Appleton Post-Crescent
WIth the coming of a new supermarket on the site of the old Doering's/Ninneman's Super Valu, I found it interesting to look back when the idea was new.  Although the current residents of Menasha eagerly await the reopening of a supermarket on the site of the old market, the original version wasn't so welcome, as evidenced by the above 1963 news article.
In late January, 1964, the supermarket opened to much fanfare and served the community for the next 40+ years, eventually closing in March of 2005.
January 29, 1964 N-M Daily Northwestern