This Month in History
The following material was compiled by Gerald Neath for the Oregon Area Historical Society from material published in the Oregon Observer.
100 years ago (1914)Notice was received that one of the first pioneer settlers of the area had passed away. Garret Runey (1832-1914) came to the area with his father, Bartley Runey in the fall of 1841 where the family built the first log cabin (homestead/tavern) in the Town of Oregon at the junction point of the mail route between Madison and Janesville and along the “old lead trail” between Mineral Point and Milwaukee. Garret continued to occupy the family homestead until 1882. At the time of his death he was residing in Cincinnati, where his son, Clarence, lived. His remains were brought back to Wisconsin where a funeral service and the burial was held at The United Brethren Church in the Town of Rutland; the church where he had been a member for over 50 years.

What was termed “a mass meeting’” was held at Daniel’s Opera House to address the issue, “Are Saloons a Good Thing for Oregon?’ Members of the local clergy speaking to the issue were Father Condon, Rev. Nelson, Rev. Allison and Rev. Foster. A joint choir of the local congregations provided music along with Mr. Joslin who played two cello selections with organ accompaniment. The issue was resolved at the spring elections when the Oregon electorate voted 127 to 98 in favor of keeping Oregon “dry” and against the issuing of liquor licenses.

Criddle & Kellor, a local implement dealer, announced that they had just received a car load of new Moline and Flying Dutchman Manure Spreaders with return and endless aprons.

The old blacksmith shop, recently occupied by J. F. Ginin, was torn down to make way for the Village Hall which will be moved onto the site. (This is in reference to the former wooden structure serving as the Village Hall) The lot now occupied by the Village Hall was purchased by T. H. Grady who will build on the site a modern brick commercial building.

Village President, R. C. Richards along with the Chairmen of the Towns of Oregon, Fitchburg, Dunn and Rutland called for a referendum vote on May 9th. concerning a decision to proceed with a proposed union high school.

The special events listed on the billing of the local opera house were wrestling and athletic exhibitions; a three mile walking match between W. H. Brown and Nels Quale (I assume walking around the outside of the opera house?); a catch-as-catch-can wrestling match between Chas. Brown of Rutland and Eddie La Roy of Dayton, Wash. LeRoy would also perform feats of strength and acrobatic jumping.

Frank Daniels announced that he was installing an electric dynamo in the opera house to operate a moving picture machine. He intends to present moving picture shows every Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

Rev. E. M. Nelson, who had been pastor of the Danish Lutheran Church (now St. John’s) for the past three years, accepted a call from a church in Sycamore, Michigan will be leaving Oregon in the mid-May.

50 years ago (1964)

Milton J. Wischhoff celebrated 50 years in the jewelry business in Oregon. He started his apprenticeship in 1912 at the H. H. Ratcliff Co. Jewelers in Madison after which he furthered his education in the trade before coming to Oregon in 1914 and buying a local jewelry shop from Mr. H. Laughlin, whose store was located on the west corner of the Netherwood Bldg. (the present location of Murphy Dental Office). In 1950 he moved his store to the north end of the Bank of Oregon Bldg. where he and his son, an optometrist shared a store front.

During “Speed Queen Week” Billings & Fahey Hardware of Brooklyn advertised Speed Queen Model 50 wringer washers for $99.00 plus a trade-in. The washers would do up to seven loads per hour. However, if customers wished to invest a bit more money they could purchase a twelve pound capacity Automatic Multi-cylce Washer for $195.00.

OHS hosted a section of the Madison Suburban League Music Festival which included 503 events (327 solos and 176 ensembles). Students from Oregon participating as “Class A” entrants were Nancy Jallings, Carol Manion, Kathryn Ringhand, Betty Knox and Rich Olson.

An old tobacco shed on the Clarence Johnson farm located north of and across from the HMC Church and school was torn down. It was noted that the view from the school grounds would be much improved as a result of the shed’s removal. The farm is being operated by Leo Crapp.

Lee Hendriksen, owner of the Home Owned Grocery Store (Firefly Coffee House today), expanded his refrigeration system including a self-service meat case which will enable him to introduce several new lines of meat and produce. It was also noted that the store was opened every Sunday morning.

The OHS senior class presented a production of the play “The Man Who Came to Dinner”. The cast included Dean Nelson, Fred Brown, Bob Ace, Rich Olson, Richard Larson, Carolyn Olson, Roger Barger, Sharon Powers, Janice Rutherford, Margaret Tarkenton, Bob Everson, Penny Pawlisch, Tom Leiber, Bob Kocovsky and Mike Kellogg.

Green Bay Packer star defensive halfback, Hank Gremminger, spoke at a Rotary Club meeting. Welcoming him to Oregon was the OHS coaching staff, Jack Statz, Dave Dess, Erwin Kissling and Fred Lehrke along with Program chairperson, Russ Bavery and Junior Rotarian, Bill Outhouse.

The newly organized Chamber of Commerce elected a board of nine directors with the following serving as officers; Allan Gasner, president, Norman Champion, vice-president, Paul Kohlman, treasurer, and Butler Delany, executive secretary.

OHS FFA held their Annual Father-Son Banquet. Those receiving awards were Kerry Denson, Bill Outhouse, Bernard and Bill Lobeck, Gary Ace, Ron and Claude Klein. Trygve Nelson was named “Honorary Farmer of 1964”. Fenton Abrams was the FFA Advisor.

25 years ago (1989)

Florice Paulson purchased and gifted the former lumber company building on West Lincoln Street to the Oregon Area Historical Society. The Society plans to remodel the building for use as a museum.

The Oregon Middle School held an Invention Convention. First place was awarded to Michael Brumm (6th grade) for an engine able to be recycled by using electrolysis separating water into hydrogen and oxygen. Second place went to Mark Chilson (5th. grade) for a retractable mailbox and third place to Andrew Kubai for a remote control lounge chair.

Erin Farrar was named Miss Oregon for 1989. Debra Bossingham was the first funner-up. Those serving on the Chamber of Commerce’s committee for the 1989 event were Charlie Hagstrom, Trish Allen, Dawn Grinnel, Buzz Hanson, Peg Hanson, Arlene Colburn, Bob Gannon and chairperson, Pauline McMannes.

The Mandt Conoco Team is the 1989 Champion of the Oregon Golfer’s Bowling League. The team members were Jay Winter, Dave Mandt, Mark Lundey, and Kerry Henriksen.

The fourteen OHS wrestlers qualifying for the State Tournament, were Craig Behnke, Kyle Weaver, Brad Pernot, James Hynes, Karsten Spilde, Chad Sturdevant, Jeremy Ace, Brek Burgweger, Jason Rowley, Jamie Franklin, Travis Hynes, Ryan Kjellstrom, Rodney Glassmaker, and Cory Sturdevent.

An OHS student group presented a production of George Batson’s mystery/comedy, “Rehearsal for Death”. Duane Draper directed the production with the assistance of Mary Larson and Jenny Uphoff. Members of the cast included Kurt Schnabel, Marsha Mortensen, Jace Nichols, Angie Clark, Bethany Cox, Audrey Baumeister, Jason Crapp, Dawna Wright, Chad Kopenski, Chris Phistry, and Andrew Seaborg.

School Bus Driver’s Appreciation Week was observed. Those drivers in 1989 with 20 years or more years of service were Lois Bavery, Lois Hagemann, Casey Neath, Allen Wiedel, and Judi Wiedel (20 yrs.); Dick Sheil (21 yrs.); Bill Hagstrom and Al Marshall (26 yrs.); Wilfred Wendt (28 yrs.); Russ Bavery (29 yrs.); and Ken Hagemann (32 yrs.)

10 years ago (2004)

Preserve Oregon, a group of citizens with concerns about the future growth of the Village and how to control it, established standing committees to take charge of various issues. One particular issue at the time was the building of a Wal-Mart store in the area and the impact that a large-box store has on a community. The Village Board was encouraged to take action on any future attempt to establish such a business in our locality.

Art student, Rolf Severtson, a OHS Junior, entered his self-portrait in the Scholastic Art Awards Wisconsin Regional Competition where it was selected as one of the 125 Gold Key Winners out of the 1,695 entries that had been entered from around the state. After being on display at the the Milwaukee Art Museum, it was sent to the national competition in New York City.

The local chapter of the Red Hat Society, known as “Rojo Pant’ Hat’ers” , meet. Members in attendance were: Blanche McCallum, Fran Thatcher, Barb Daane, Mary Ricker, Jean Brindley, Marilynn Rebman, Nell Mittelsteadt, Vera Finley, Sharon Joswiak, Lora Cameron and Sherry Lange.

The DO IT GROUP is formed by downtown business owners to promote and revitalize the downtown business district.

OHS students perform in a production of “Hello Dolly”. The cast consisted of Tara Hillebrand (Dolly Levi); Jeff Roche (Horace Vandergelder); Shelby Kisling (widow Malloy); Eric Tissot (Cornelious Hackl); William Kneehtle (Barnaby Tucker); and Kelly Pfeifer (Minnie Fry).

The Oregon School Board approved construction of a 600 seat visitor bleacher addition in the OHS stadium for an estimated expenditure of $247,000.

The Village rezoned the properties on Florida Ave. and Prairie View St., and Soden Drive from residential to conservancy. The properties had been purchased by the Village in 1999 following a flooding situation in the area and along Bad Fish Creek.

The faculty and student body at The Oregon Middle School welcomed back teacher, Jen Schiffman, from her active duty in Iraq with a special program and presentation.

The Oregon District School Board voted 4-3 to approve the Oregon High School Administration’s request to purchase and install 18 video surveillance cameras in the school at a cost of $36,000.

Oregon’s Michael Hill, Nathaniel Loeb, Lindsay Nytes, Richard Pang, Julia Potter and Matthew Skiles were among the top scorers in the State in Talent Search sponsored by the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth.

At the OHS Panther’s Track and Field Team win in Waunakee, Senior, Jeff Chandler, broke the school’s 31 year old discus throw record that had been set by Jack Jensen in 1973, with a score of 160-08). Jeff went on to break his own record in a meet against Monona Grove.

If you enjoyed this column, consider getting involved with the Oregon Area Historical Society: Phone: (608) 835-8961 or e-mail: oahs@frontier.comAlso check out our website at OREGONAREAHISTORICALSOCIETY.ORG or become our friend on Facebook.