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)Hoof and mouth disease was taking its toll in the area. The following notice appeared in The Observer: “At a meeting of the Oregon Business Men’s Club and a large number of farmers from the surrounding territory. . .[it was] voted that in view of the danger of the spread of hoof and mouth disease that all residents of the Town of Oregon and surrounding towns be urgently requested to keep all dogs and other domestic animals in strict confinement and that all hunters be warned to refrain from trespassing in the vicinity during the maintenance of the quarantine. All residents are requested to promptly notify the proper authorities in case of unlawful trespass by hunters.” On the following day the Village Board passed an ordinance to enforce the quarantine.

Area farms where foot and mouth disease had broken out included the William Lamont farm, occupied by Walter Rasmussen, where 36 head of cattle and 70 hogs had to be slaughtered and buried; the Wolfe farm, occupied by Arthur Tilley, where 58 head of cattle, 52 hogs and 300 sheep had to be slaughtered and buried; the Jesse Hall farm where 13 head of cattle, 70 hogs, and 90 sheep were destroyed and buried; and the C. J. Coggins farm where 49 head of cattle, 60 hogs and 130 sheep were slaughtered and buried. Crews of local people were hired to dig the trenches to bury the infected animals.

A popular item for Christmas this year was the Victrola. An advertisement by local merchants, Hughes and Wischhoff, stated that “Its delightful music not only helps to make a ‘Merry Christmas’ but keeps right on giving pleasure throughout the year” There were a variety of models ranging in price from $15.00 to $200.00.

Stanley Cowdrey reminded area residents to place their orders in early for a brick of Shurtleff’s delicious ice cream for their Christmas dinners. The Cowdrey Confectionery and Candy Shop marketed a variety of lunches, fruit, as well as a selection of cigars and pipes.

With the coming of the winter months, anyone wishing to have “seasoned” cord wood at $6.50 per cord should leave their orders off at C. H. Hamilton’s Barber Shop located in the Netherwood Block.

Leaders of the various fraternal organizations in the community for the coming year included William Bossingham (Modern Woodmen); G. L. Booth (Masonic Lodge); Emma Fisher, (Eastern Star); Eupheme Barber (The National Women’s Relief Corps); and H. A. Stone, (Fraternal Order of Beavers).

Taxes were a little less in 1914 than what they had been in the previous year. The assessed valuation of all property in the village was $923,884.41. The tax rate for 1914 was about $11.51 on a thousand dollars. In 1913 it had been $12.70. It was noted that Oregon had one of the lowest tax rates in Southern Wisconsin.

The various churches in the community had published in the paper their special Christmas Programs for the Holiday Season. It was interesting to note that ALL the participants in the Danish Lutheran Church (later n/a St. John’s Lutheran Church) had surnames ending in “sen”, i.e., Hansen, Andersen, Christensen, Larsen, etc. Truly a Danish event!

50 years ago (1964)

The Oregon Civic Boosters re-elected the following officers at their annual stockholder’s meeting: F. E. Madsen, president; P. H. Dvergedal, vice-president; F. E. Kivlin, secretary; and Earl M. Wheeler, treasurer. In addition to these, Carl Otteson was re-elected to the board of directors.

The Village of Oregon’s proposed budget for the coming year was set at $69,000 which would included payment to the Wis. Highway Dept. for the Village’s portion of resurfacing Hwy. 14 which ran through the Village (present day North Main Street and Janesville Street).

Joan Wethal takes over her duties as the new librarian at the Oregon Public Library, taking over from Mrs. Charles Stearns. She had been working at the library for the past 20 years under both Miss Hazel Russell and Mrs. Stearns.

The Chicago, Northwestern train depot in Oregon is being demolished. The current depot had been built around 1897 and was remodeled and expanded in 1916. The structure has been sold to a private party for demolition.

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Dorman of Freeport, Illinois purchased the DaWalt Printing Company from its owner, James DaWalt. The business, located at 115 North Main Street, will operate under the name Dorman Printing Company.

George Hecox, former TV service manager at Montgomery Ward in Madison, opened a new TV Sales and Service Business in the front office of the Dorman Building. In addition to repairing all brands of TV’s, he was an authorized dealer for Setchell-Carlson TV’s.

Bill and Helen Kenney held the Grand Opening of their furniture store located at the corner of Jefferson Street and South Main Street (present location of DeBroux’s Diner) They also owned and operated The Kenney Funeral Home (formerly located near the site of the UW Health Clinic). Both of these businesses had recently been owned and operated by Evelyn Mortensen and many years prior to that, by the Booth families.

Santa Claus arrived in downtown Oregon on a fire truck. When asked where his reindeer were he responded, “The trip [from the North Pole] was so long that my reindeer got all tired out, and I had to leave them in Madison. The fire department came to my rescue and brought me the rest of the way!” It was estimated that nearly 600 kids got their photos taken with Santa. The two local drug stores, Lawson’s and Schroeder’s, handled the film processing and distribution of the photos. The event was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

The Rotary Club announced the winners in their first holiday home decorating contest. The panel of impartial judges were Maurice Smith, Russ Spilde and Lowell Johnson, members of the Brooklyn Boosters Club. The winners selected in the Religious Category were, 1st. place, the Dr. Frank Dukerschein home on Hayler Court; 2nd. place, the Vernon Mitchell home on Kierstead Lane; and 3rd. place, the Ralph Cross home on Dewey Street. Winners in the Decorative Category were 1st. place, the Charles Pledger home on East Lincoln St.; 2nd. place, the Gerald Knobeck home on North Main St.; and 3rd. place, the Norman Champion home on Hayler Court.

25 years ago (1989)

Shoppers were encouraged to register at Oregon businesses between now and Christmas for the chance to win turkeys or gift certificates. Free turkeys were given away every day throughout the Holiday Season. The Chamber of Commerce awarded the first prize of the Season to James Cowin of Brooklyn( $50.00 worth of $5.00 gift certificates to Oregon businesses). The first two winners of turkeys were Liz Smith of Poynette and Carol Johnson of Oregon.

South Main Street was relocated and extended, bypassing the former train viaduct that connected it with Union Road.

Caryn Williams is headed to Cologne, Germany with the International Sports Exchange to participate in the International Cross Country Road Race. She was the only girl from Wisconsin to qualify for the opportunity to participate in the event.

St. John’s Lutheran Church continued a Christmas tradition that began in 1966 of decorating their Christmas trees with decorations called Christmons (Christ’s monogram). Clarice Christensen and Clara Brown came up with the idea and along with their husbands Roy and Art were responsible for making most of the decorations.

The Oregon Junior High wrestlers ended their season unbeaten with an 8-0 record. In matches during the season they won 109, lost 55, and tied 5. Members of the team were Kent Thompson, Ryan Glassmaker, Jeff Reisdorfer, Travis Powers, Steven Klein, Jeremiah Nelson, Cody Reed, Jason McPherson, John Kaether, James Hynes, Randy Disch, Jason Kruger, Ross Hermanson, Jamie Franklin, Cory Manix, Ricky Disch, Jeremy Ace, Dan Dent, Karsten Spilde, Tyler Ruchti and Rich Forsberg.

OHS senior, Aaron Mittelsteadt, was named to the Wisconsin Soccer Association’s All-State Team. He was only one of two players in the Badger Conference to be named to the team.

The Oregon Bible Church and Southside Chapel of Oregon merged. The two congregations had recently voted to merge and become “Hillcrest Bible Church”. Rev. Glen Gray of the Oregon Bible Church and Rev. Scott Ziegler of the Southside Chapel became pastors of the merged congregation. Plans were being made to build a church on property owned by the Oregon Bible Church on Union Road, just south of the village.

The Oregon Video Shop were offering new movie releases: “When Harry Met Sally”, “Star Trek 5” “Road House” and “Renegades”.

10 years ago (2004)

The letter winners on the OHS wrestling team returning for another year of competition were Brian Zimmerman, Adam White, Alan Hady, John Marchant, Chet Goplin Tyler Johnson, Mike Hockett, Zach Jensen, Donnie Beers, Steve Nelson, John Jones and Jordan Mandli.

The Oregon Lioness sponsored a Holiday Tour of Homes. The homes included an Alpine Meadows Town House Condo decorated by Pam Raschein and Marcie Ingham of Oregon Floral and Stained Glass; and the homes of Holly and Dave Rausch; Susan and Gerald Brabender; and Carol and Robert Clark.

The Rising Gael Celtic band debuted selections from their newly released CD in a performance at the Oregon High School. Local members of the band were OHS graduate, Eric Tissot, who assisted on vocals and the mandolin, and OHS student, Peter Tissot, who played the rhythm guitar.

Students performing as toy soldiers in A Leap Above Dance’s production of “Nutcracker Dream” were Sarah Dawcy, Courtney Cox, Julia Schmidt,, Callyn Schmidt, Ellianna Milz, Sydney King, McKenzie Peters and Tenna Gombar.

OHS golfers, Erik Johnson and Ryan Parks, were named to the 2004 WHSGCA Wisconsin Boys’ All-Academic Golf Team. The honor is given to golfers who have a 3.5 GPA or better and have played in at least 75 percent of the varsity golf team’s matches.

Two Oregon School District teachers, Tracy Leider and Sandra Owens, were awarded certifications from the National Board for Processional Teaching Standards. They were two out of only 63 Wisconsin teachers to earn the certification.

The Village Board agreed to sell land to the non-profit organization Oregon Community Sports Arena, Inc. for $1.00 for the purpose of constructing a hockey rink.

The Wisconsin and Southern Railroad received a grant of $399,497 from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for upgrading a six-mile stretch of track from Jefferson Street in the Village to north into Fitchburg. The upgrade would facilitate the establishment of a business park and meet the needs of Lyons Ready-Mix Concrete Co.

Ed Borke, Oregon postmaster since 1992, announced that he will retire as of 31 December after working 25 years for the Postal Service.

A “Downtown Holiday Walk” was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. All businesses stayed open later on Friday the December 10th and Saturday the 11th. The 14 South Artists Group hosted the special event, coordinated by Gary Walker of Woodland Studios. Miss Madison 2004, Kelly Jo Stauffacher, a special guest of honor on Friday, was greeted by Santa Claus, who served as her escort during a horse and carriage ride through Oregon’s Historic Downtown District and during tours of several downtown businesses.

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