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Welcome to our historical timeline of past events.  Here we will share tidbits of news that happened 25, 50 and 75 years ago in the Oregon area.

May 2024 Timeline

75 Years Ago - May 1949

Local News


Important Notice to Parents

The village officers have received many complaints from residents in all sections of the village relative to the almost unpardonable actions of children who, against Village Ordinances, are shooting air-rifles at people, songbirds, chimneys, windows, chickens, in fact are going just about as far as they apparently dare without deliberately bringing down the law upon them. They trespass with no regard and consideration upon lawns and gardens of others and have no intentions of obeying the slightest request from property owners.  If these offending children WILL NOT take this warning, along with the co-operation we feel should come from their parents, then the Police Department will take drastic means to put an end to this situation. The parents are urged to look into the activities of their children and help counteract this growing disrespect for law and order in the village.

Henry Gilbert – Chief of Police

FE Madsen, Village President



Commencement week activities began Sunday evening at the high school gymnasium when the baccalaureate address was given by Rev. A. W. Barnlund to the graduating class. The commencement exercises will be held at the gymnasium Friday night with the following program:

Processional – Pomp and Circumstance – Elgar High School band

Invocation – Rev. George Conner.

Salutatory – Neil Denton

Sousaphone Solo – The Village Blacksmith – Weiss – Marjorie M Elroy, accompanied by Ramona Otteson.

Address – Dr. Francis Shoemaker, assistant professor of education, University of Wisconsin

Vocal Solo -Florian’s Song

Presentation of American Legion medals – Robert Curless

Presentation of awards – E. A. Kozlovsky

Benediction – Rev. Van Berkel

Valedictory – John Barger

Ressessional – Pomp and Circumstance

The members of the graduating class are Neil Denton, John Barger, Marjorie McElroy, Edith Alme, Dorothy Sorenson, Doris Anderson, Barbara Gerber, Lee Henriksen, Delores Inman, Mary Alice McCann, Lorraine Knipfer, Edna Mick, Stanley Larson, Norraine Peterson, Gene Olson, Delores Lawry, Francis Killerlain, Winn Adele Shinnick, Roberta Powers, Mava Newton, Waunette Rowe, Sally McGaw, John Oncken, Helen Niederklopfer, Gerald Schwenn, David Rewey, Carol Johnson Crapp.

The class motto is the door to knowledge is labeled “push”.  The class colors are blue and white, and the class flower is the white Carnation.


Random Shots

Some men get more fun out of grinding their axe than in burying the hatchet.

In the good old days, a man could be down to his last buck and still know where his next three meals were coming from.

Does anybody read the ads on paper match books except wives who are curious about their husbands’ meanderings?


Marriage Success

An expert says our high divorce rate is unnecessary – that marriages will stick if young couples follow her tips for marital happiness.  The advice comes from Mrs. Emily B.H. Mudd, director of the Philadelphia marriage council. She lists these requirements:

  • The ability of the husband to obtain and hold a job that provides enough income to support a home and children.
  • Knowledge on the part of the wife on how to maintain a comfortable home.
  • Knowledge of cooking balanced diets.
  • Ability on the part of both to budget income and knowledge of what is necessary for financial protection and security.
  • Knowledge of health and sexual needs and behavior.
  • Knowledge of childcare and what planning for a baby involves.


Local News

Mrs. Laverne Ringhand entertained the Post Office group at a surprise birthday party for Mr. Ringhand Saturday evening. They had a potluck dinner followed by cards at which prizes were won by Mrs. Dave McAvoy, Ted Elliott, Jean Paulson and Elmer Nelson.  The special prize was won by Mr. Ringhand.


Mrs. Ira Johnson returned last week from the Methodist hospital where she was taken for back and chest injury.


Mr. and Mrs. Roger Murphy have moved into their new home on Oak St.


Lost – Three white Muscovy ducks and two drakes. Anyone knowing of these ducks will please call 94F15


Lost – Lady’s pin with clasp, gold with small green leaves and a pearl pendant – Reward.  Will finder please leave same at Oregon Heating Co.


For Sale – Bids for purchase and removal of house next to Texaco Service Station on Main St. in Oregon will be accepted up to May 21, 1949.  Bid to include or exclude foundation.  House to be moved between June 1 and 11.  Write PO Box 129, Madison, Wis

50 Years Ago: May 1974

Village News

Lynn Carlson is the winner of the 1974 Miss Oregon contest. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Okey. She will receive a $200 scholarship from the Chamber of Commerce and a $100 wardrobe from the Bank of Oregon. First runner-up is Kim Sheil, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sheil, who receives a $75 savings bond from Wisco Industries. Second runner-up is Terri Winch who receives a $50 savings bond from Oregon Heating. Each of the remaining contestants receive a $25 savings bond contributed by Oregon-Brooklyn Jaycees, Hagstrom Insurance and Wendell Smith Insurance.

Rev Duane Bottjen will be new senior pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Having received his seminary training, he has previously served in parishes in Dallas, Wisconsin; Cashton, Wisconsin; and at Luther Valley, rural Beloit, Wisconsin. The Bottjens will reside in the church parsonage at 575 Soden Drive.

Mrs. Frieda Lease of Oregon, WI has authored a fictional story which appears in the current May issue of Farm Wife News magazine. The story, “It’s an Ill Wind” is a humorous narration of a bride trying to make soap for the first time. Farm Wife News is the only publication in the country edited exclusively for farm women. It is a colorful publication which carries no advertisements – supported entirely by 150,000 subscribers throughout the United States and Canada.



Teacher Appreciation Week, a program initiated by the Board of Education was created to show appreciation to all teachers for their service to the children, school, and community. Teacher’s aides, student teachers, and administrators shared the daily excitement in each school. It was a week in which everyone was made aware of the excellent quality of teaching in the Oregon Consolidated Schools and had an opportunity to recognize outstanding teachers.

Pupils in grades kindergarten through third grade participated in their annual tree planting project in observance of Arbor Day. The project was funded through the PTO and by the nickels and dimes contributed by pupils during the past four or five years.

Bands from Evansville, Lake Mills, Columbus, Orfordville, Clinton, Beloit Turner, and Oregon, including both senior and junior high schools, will compete in the Conference Band Concert and Parade in Oregon on Saturday, May 11th. The marching competition will start at approximately 3:30 p.m., beginning at Lincoln Street, down Main Street through town and then up Park Street. The Senior High School band is under the direction of Mike Davis and the Junior High School band is under the direction of Richard Churchill.

Oregon High School Principal Henry Appel announced that 179 seniors will graduate on May 30th. Commencement will take place in the High School gymnasium. Speakers will include valedictorian Nancy Haak, salutatorian, Lorna Zach and AFS student Osama Amano.



Live music by “Los Hombres” was announced by the Sportsman’s Bar on Main Street for Friday, May 3rd from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Paul’s Supermarket advertised fresh whole fryers at 37 cents/lb. Armour’s smoked, fully cooked boneless ham at $1.19/lb.; 200-count Kleenex facial tissues, 3 for $1.00; and 1-1/2 lb. loaves of Shurfine bread at 2 for 75 cents.

Bergey Jewelry features extra-special gifts for Mom including Mother’s birthstone pins, Bulova watches, lovely glassware gifts, charms and bracelets, pendants, and Hallmark Mother’s Day cards.

The Waterfall Restaurant was presented with an award as being selected by the Executive Committee of World-Famous Restaurants International which honors prestige dining establishments. Dave and Donna Brown have been the owners of the Waterfall Restaurant for the past nine years.



The Saddle Club rolls out the red carpet for over 600 exhibitors at its Madison Charity Horse Show, Thursday through Sunday May 23, 24, 25 and 26 at the Dane County Coliseum. Oregon area residents competing in the Charity Show include Kris Frye, half Arab and Saddlebred classes; Ray Antoniewicz, half-Arab division; William Olson, half Arab division; Lee Dunn, Saddlebred, and halter classes.

The Oregon Girl Scouts and Brownie troops had a neighborhood encampment at Camp Brandenburg the first weekend in May. While at camp they worked on outdoor badge

requirements, cooked meals outside, had a night hike, slept in tents, and were entertained at an evening campfire by Boy Scout Order of the Arrow Indian dancers.

The Oregon FFA reported on the tree planting project this year. The chapter had over 4,800 trees from the Department of Natural Resources planted in the community this year. Mike Dunn gave a report on the FFA hayride held at the Roger Frautschy farm. The FFA will enter two exhibits in the Summerfest Parade this summer.



The Oregon High School golf team won their first dual meet of the season. The team also placed fifth in the second conference meet and fourth place in the third annual Viking-Spartan Invitational Tournament held at the Stoughton Country Club.

The Oregon Panthers dominated their own invitational. This is the sixth in a row for Coach Mueller’s tracksters in the Panther Invitational meets. The Panthers dominated the sprint events and placed in all but one event on their way to victory.

The Oregon Home Talent baseball team opens its season against Orfordville with Larry Amidon starting on the mound.

Dick Trickle set a new track record in time trials at the Capitol Super Speedway on Friday night; but was nosed out in the Trophy Dash.



A delicious salad buffet was enjoyed by nearly 200 women on May 16th at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Co-chairmen of the luncheon were Mrs. William Kracke and Mrs. William Stoneman. The program “Symbolism in Flowers” was presented by Mrs. Bobbi Ecker of Waverly, Iowa. She made arrangements of fresh flowers and foliage depicting the festivals of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Trinity in the church year.

25 Years Ago: May 1999

Local News

Blue sky returned to the area late Tuesday morning, but it will be a while before the clouds hanging over local flood victims clear away.


For the third time in the span of six years, the village was struck by a major episode of flooding.  Torrential rain fell in two waves Sunday and into early Monday morning, forcing the evacuation of an estimated 12-18 homes and causing extensive damage.  Local rain gauges indicated roughly five inches of rain fell, some during a late afternoon storm and more still when another storm cell moved through just after 11 p.m.


The hardest hit was the flood prone neighborhood of Prairie View and Lincoln streets just east of Soden Drive, where a number of dwellings were rendered uninhabitable, and water damaged virtually all of the belongings of several families.


One resident of a Prairie View Street duplex, Jeanette Sergent, said the family was preparing to leave when water burst through a window, “and after that we couldn’t even save anything.”

No one was injured in the flooding or aftermath, according to fire and EMS chief Randy Sellnow.


Authorities began arriving on the scene just before midnight.

Police Chief and Emergency Government Director Doug Pettit said there were three and a half feet or more of water in some of the structures, and the Village Public Works department was stymied because “you really can’t discharge that water back into the stormwater system – it comes right back into the basements.


Alliant Energy was summoned to disconnect meters of the most severely affected dwellings, about eight of them.  Twenty volunteers and staffers from the American Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at Oregon High School.


Historical Museum

It’s one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets.  The village has a historical museum.  And a very good one.  The museum, located on the corner of Lincoln and Market Streets, is filled with thousands of items, many of them dealing with Oregon’s earlier days, all of them dealing with an earlier period of history.


It all started in 1987 when the Oregon Historical Society was formed.  The first meeting, headed by Eeda Lumley, the society’s first president, was attend by 18 members. In attendance was Bob Keenan, who still devotes time to the museum on a daily basis, and other stalwart members like Bill Baumgartner, Wes Wethal, Stan Gefke and Max Gefke.  The organizers didn’t have any money, any historical items to speak of, or a building, however, they did have dreams.


At a subsequent meeting Lumley gave each member a sheet of paper and asked them to write down their short and long term goals for the society.  All long-term goals were to eventually establish a museum in Oregon. 


There were some buildings available, but even the most modest cost $70,000 to $80,000.  Then in 1989 the building at the corner of Lincoln and Market became available at its assessed value.  Although the price was right, the destitute society still couldn’t afford it.  Enter Florice Paulson.  She said she would buy the building and donate it to the society.  Thanks to her, the society was one step closer to its foremost dream.


As it turned out, the next step was not easy.  Lumley said when they opened the door the first time, they were overpowered by the stench. Then once inside they discovered a hundred years of dirt. “What have we done?” she wondered.


At that point Keenan and the other stalwarts in the society went to work.  They cleaned, tore down, put up dry wall, poured concrete, all depicted in a photo album kept by Lumley.

On October 31, 1992, there was a grand opening.  Since that time the building has been stocked with more and more items collected by members, and many others generously donated by area residents.


Society, never short on dreams, has a complete plan for future improvements.  Current President Norm Champion and his wife Pauline displayed the plans that call for a three-stage improvement.  Champion said they first want to install a new ramp and steps to improve the entryway, then put in an elevator so members can take heavy items up to the 2nd floor display area and finally put in a library and meeting room.


To get money the society serves luncheons to businesses, holds card parties and ice cream socials, enlists members and solicits donations.  Individual memberships are $5, household memberships $10 and donations of $25 and $50 are sought.  Anyone interested can send a check to the Historical Society, Box 262 Oregon, Wi.



After having almost a week off after their last track meet, the Oregon boys and girls track teams used all of that stored energy to turn in a good showing at the Janesville Parker regional on Monday.

The girls did the best, taking third with 113 points, with Monroe winning with just 30 more points.  The boys weren’t quite as good, earning sixth with 66 points, Monroe also winning that meet with 133. The lady panthers advanced participants on to sectionals in nine events.  Just five girls, Allison Schnelle, Jena Outhouse, Katie Freis, Christy Torhorst and Briana Schnelle, make up the Oregon representatives in those events.  


“We finished pretty much like we expected to”, said girls head coach, Jim Hanson.


Allison Schnelle had the best day, winning the long jump with a 16-8 ½ mark and the triple jump with a leap of 34- 2 ½, both good enough for personal bests. As if that wasn’t enough Allison also won the high jump (5-2) and ran the opening leg of the 1600 relay team that placed first in 4:07.5. Joining Allison on that team were Briana Schnelle, Outhouse and Freis.


Street Talk

Question: Is the spirit of Memorial Day as strong as it once was, or is it becoming just another 3-day weekend?


Rick Olson– Oregon Assistant Executive Housekeeper says, “I’d say 50% strong. There are a lot of people who don’t care about it or it’s just another weekend”.

Nikki Pribbenow-Oregon 8th grade says, “I think it’s kind of becoming a long weekend for a lot of people.  I know my family always goes up north for the weekend. We don’t really think about why we’re together – it’s just going together”.

LuAnn Thering – Oregon teacher says, “It’s another three-day weekend. When I was a kid, I remember that was my birthday.  We always had off school and we had a parade and a flag. Now kids don’t know what it means”.

Peter Groth – Oregon college student says, “I think it was stronger after World War II and some of the other wars.  I think it is because the general population was more involved in the conflict and felt more a part of it”.

Kelli Outhouse – Oregon CNA and student says, “It’s not as strong as it once was. Our veterans are not as appreciated as they once were. It is essentially a commercial holiday for sales”.

Leo Drabek – Oregon retired says, “I think a three-day weekend is what they are trying to make every weekend”.