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 (1910)
The Observer urged residents to buy locally during the Holiday Season with the following warning: “The Holiday Season is near. Do not be led away with catalogues and flaming ads of mail order houses to the detriment of your own home merchants and loss to yourselves. Remember that all kinds of fish are caught by baits, and suckers that bite are generally landed. Every dollar you spend at home does contribute to your own welfare.”The OHS basketball team won a pre-season game against the Town Team, 34-24; but loss their regular season opener to Brooklyn High School, 22 to 12. The games were played in Cronk’s Opera House (located on the site of the present day Fire Fly Coffeehouse). The Observer reported that the crowd at the Brooklyn game was the largest ever witnessed for a basketball game in Oregon. A dance followed the game.

50 years ago (1960)
The final census returns were released. The local area results were as follows: Village of Oregon 1,701; Town of Rutland 933; Town of Fitchburg 2,880; and Town of Dunn 2,433.

Coach Elmer Duerst commented that if his OHS basketball team were to have a successful season their speed would have to overcome their deficit in height. By the end of the month his team was well on their way to having a successful season with six wins and only one loss; that being to Sun Prairie by three points. The varsity squad included Bud Ricker, Tom Meyer, Morris Haukereid, Dale Manion, Ron Lange, Marlin Bavery, Kent Cohee, Dick Noyce and Darrell Christensen.

The Oregon Post Office personnel were gearing up for the seasonal deluge of mail. The staff and carriers included Post Master Gordon Hansen, Stella Beason, Gordon Beason, Charles Lundey, Ervie Olson and ” Babe” Custer.

The Rev. Robert H. Thomas was recently transferred to Oregon to serve as pastor of The People’s Methodist Church.

Paul Kohlman celebrated the 16th Anniversary of his operating The Corner Store Super Market. (The building was located in the present day area of Madsen Park and William Torhorst’s building and was The Portland Hotel years ago.) Employees highlighted in the advertisement were his father, Jack Kohlman, Sr., looking after the meat department; Hazel Freitag shown using a new automatic checkout operation; Jack Copeland taking care of the bakery display, and Bob Mandeville assisting customers with their carry outs, etc.

Among the bow deer hunters who spent a weekend at Necedah were David and Angus Owen, Robert Curless, Elving Kjellstrom, Norman Erway, Jim Larson, Louis Spink, and Halvor Bjornson. Others from Brooklyn who joined the group were Ted Curless, Lowell Neath, and Roger Krueger.

Glen Campbell, Village Superintendent of Public Works, reported that work is progressing on the new lift pump station at the sewer disposal plant. The contractor working on the sewer line across the marsh has completed the installation under the road and creek and is into the field, but surface water is a continuous problem.

Mike and Phil Barry were constructing a new 36 x 72 foot addition to their operations of Barry’s Stables. The addition would accommodate ten more horses. At the time they had eleven boarded horses that were in training plus their own which included thirty American Saddle-bred horses, mares, colts and three sires.

Gary Frederickson took over the proprietorship of the Sinclair Station located on what is now U.S. Hwy 14 near the junction with State Hwy. 106 (now Hill Road).

The Gefke Brothers recently exported one of their registered Holstein cows to Lima, Peru. This was facilitated through their association with the Holstein-Friesian Association of America.

25 years ago (1985)
Dean Blatterman and Barry Treichel were named to the first team of the All-Metro Conference Soccer Team. Teammates Ian Martin and Brad Schultz were named to the second team. Blattterman, MVP for the Oregon team, received the most votes of any player selected for the first team. All four players started their soccer careers in the Oregon Soccer Club, coached by Howard Martin.

The operations and programming of the local cable community channel was under review following an assessment of the village’s system by a Middleton consultant firm. The channel had started to function daily, with its usage being shared between the school district and village. The results of a recent survey of cable subscribers suggested ways to improve the service and programming. Liz Harlow was the program coordinator and Bob Wickhem was serving as the chairperson for the Village Cable Committee. Rosemary Lehman, Oregon’s cable administrator, announced that she would not request a renewal of her contract because there would be less need for her job after the a new franchise contract was signed with CCTV.

A dangerous chemical-related fire occurred at the Spectra-Chem plant on Market Street, Sunday, the 15th of December. The building was formerly the Oregon Creamery and at present—whatever is left or rebuilt of the structure— is being occupied by Dependable Auto Glass. Fire departments from Fitchburg, Stoughton, and Brooklyn arrived to assist the Oregon unit. The noxious fumes from the burning chemicals required that all nearby residents had to be evacuated from their homes. It was estimated that more than 200 village residents, including their pets, took shelter at the village hall. Twenty-five to thirty other residents were cared for at the Masonic Temple. Over half of the residents of Oregon Manor Nursing Home were sent to the nearby elementary school. Others needing special care were taken to the Skaalen Home in Stoughton. EMS units from all the surrounding communities assisted in the evacuation. In the following days an EPA unit arrived to start the long process of cleaning up the contamination.

The OHS Marching Percussion Unit placed second at the Sixth Annual Spartan Marching Percussion Arts Festival in Northbrook, Ill. Oregon was the only unit from Wisconsin. The other participating units were from Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Mark Lindsey was the director of the Oregon unit, assisted Ken Christen.

The OHS basket ball team won the Memorial Holiday Tournament, defeating Portage and Madison Memorial. Oregon’s Dan Lyons was named the tourney’s MVP with an average of over 23 points a game. Coach Pribbenow’s team went on to end the month of December with a season record of eight wins and no defeats.

The OHS production of “Grease” was presented at the high school cafetorium. Cast members included: Laura Mahr, Rob Severson, Steve Severson, Marlissa Kopenski, Craig Secker, Lynn Lizak, Elizabeth Justice, Eric Finhert, Ken McGlauchlin, Julie Binger, Catherine Miller, David Welch, and Monica Engel.

The Oregon FFA responded to President Reagan’s request that December 15th. be observed as a “National Care and Share Day” by donating boxes of fruit and apples to the Oregon Manor Nursing Home. Members participating in delivering the food were Jason Marshall, Renee Frank, Miles LaFlash, Randy Stone, Jerry Ace and Fred Clark.

10 years ago (2000)
OHS stringed instrument students, having attended a number of workshops given by members of the Southern Wisconsin Bluegrass Association, presented the program Bluegrass Along the Oregon Trail. Among those students participating were Maggie Brown, John Riffle, Micah Nierode, and Molly Debilzen.

Art Thornton retired as rural mail carrier for the Brooklyn area after 27 years of service. At one point his route covered 75 miles, but later was shortened by 13 miles with the addition of another route. He continued to work part time at the post office.

The OHS boy’s basketball team rolled over Monona Grove 88-59 giving them sole possession of first place. Mark Johnson had a career high of 36 points. Coach Kevin Bavery’s team went on to beat Monroe 71-40; DeForest 53-43; and Verona 54-51.

The Village Board approved a Historic Preservation Ordinance and the formation of a Historic Preservation Commission. Joan Gefke had been a prime mover in getting the ordinance and commission established.

Village finance director, Renee Hoest, was instructed to write a policy on how to deal with residents who were delinquent in paying their utility bills. It was reported that there was more than $27,000.00 due in unpaid utility bills, $7,000.00 which were from the year before.

The OHS girl’s junior varsity basketball team remains undefeated with eight straight wins. Members of the team include Jenny Drake, Heather Goodall, Carina Saunders, Jana Stough, Sarah DuPuis, Erin DuPuis, Jennifer Hans, Krysia Utzig, Jessica Klein, and Katie Frisch.

The Village’s newly formed Community Development Authority met for the first time. Scott MacWilliams was serving as chairperson and Tim Nikolai, vice-chairperson.

Oregon Lioness Club held their annual Holiday Tour of Homes. The homes included were those of Jo and Jon Temte; Larry and Donna Mahr; Diane Zimmer and Ralph and Beverly Lance.