Here is another item about the history of Campbellsport
Village of Campbellsport
By Catherine Weld, September 1954
The history of our village is rather unique because of the fact that for a number of years there were actually two small villages within the same area -- the division having been made by the town line between Ashford and Auburn. Each had its own Post Office for a number of years and the first newspaper edited by a Mr. Johnson was named “The Twin-village News”.
The first group of pioneers settled in the eastern part of the town of Auburn near the river in 1843. They named their little village Crouchville, in honor of Ludlam Crouch, one of their leaders. This group had come from the East and were of Yankee origin.
A few years later, in 1849 and 1850, a group of German emigrants, including the Breymans, settled there. They came from Kassel, Germany, and they changed the name of Crouchville to New Cassel in memory of their former home in the ‘vater landt’. Mr. Breyman built the dam and erected a grist mill to be run by water power. After his death, J. H. Reysen became owner of the mill and he enlarged it to meet the demand for flour and feed. Later on Mr. Colburn became its owner who, with his sons All and Will, operated it successfully for many years. In the meantime young men interested in farming came from the East, and emigrants from Ireland, Germany, and other European countries settled in this area. They purchased land from the Government and immediately began clearing it. They cut down the trees to build log cabins for their families and shelters for their stock. They broke up the sod and planted crops and because of their hard work, the land became more fertile and yielded better crops year after year.
This added to the growth and prosperity of New Cassel, which during the next twenty years that followed the first settlement, had grown into a thriving little village. During these twenty years three churches with parsonages were built – the Reformed, the Baptist and the Catholic church. The Catholic congregation also built a parochial school which was taught by the Sisters of St. Francis, who, a few years later built the original convent which also served as a girls boarding school where the sisters taught music, art, and needle-work.
The one-room public school was a stone building located on Forest Street. One of the first business places was the New Cassel Brewery, built and operated by John P. Husting. Directly opposite the brewery, Casper Schneider planted a vine-yard modeling it after the vineyards of his hometown in Germany. He and his brother-in-law John were coopers by trade.
The most imposing structure on Main Street was the ‘Adams House’, a hotel conducted by Adam Holzhauer. The upper story contained a hall and ballroom which was the scene of all social activities, not only of the village, but surrounding country as well. Next to this the Findeisen general story was located, which also housed the Krembs and Schulten millinery shop. Then came the Martin Herbert Boot and Shoe shop, and at the corner James Kremer (Notary Public and Realtor) conducted a harness shop as a side line.
On the northern side of Main Street a meat market, a tailor shop, the Paul Tillack hardware store, and the Pool and Harter general store were located. The New Cassel Post Office was in this building at all times except during Cleveland’s administration (second) when J. P. Husting was appointed Postmaster and moved the office across the street into the original Husting building.
Beyond the bridge Orson Raymond conducted a blacksmith and wagon maker shop; and W. R. Folts, a veterinarian, had his office and livery stable there also.
New Cassel’s first doctor was Rudolph Zimmerman, who, after his retirement was succeeded by a young graduate of a Chicago medical School, Dr. Louis Eidemiller, whose spacious home on upper Main Street, which contained both office and living rooms, was considered the show place of the town for many years.
Shortly after the Civil War had ended there were rumors that a railroad would soon be built in this area; and New Cassel had dreams of becoming a large city sometime in the future. Building a railroad those days was an arduous task for most of the work had to be done by hand, with pick and shovel. After months of waiting the Railroad Company finally reached this area, but by this time, they had decided to route their road on the west side of Lake Winnebago to go through Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. This meant that right here the road would be located one mile to the west of where it was originally planned to go and New Cassel was passed by.
The Railroad Company purchased the land for its right-of-way and the location for the depot from Stuart Campbell, who laid our plans for the future village which was named Campbellsport in his honor. Mr. Campbell was born in North Ireland in 1818 and at the age of 23 he sailed for America and located in Orange County, New York. There he married Julia Southern in 1848, and 1850 the young couple came to Wisconsin and settled on a farm in the town of Ashford.
While the railroad was under construction many young farmers sought employment with the company. Among them was James McCullough son of Michael and Ann McCullough, natives of Ireland, who after living in Duchess county New York, emigrated to Wisconsin and settled on a farm in the town of Auburn in 1849. While working for the railroad James met with a serious accident, while unloading timbers. One of them fell on his leg, breaking the bones and injuring the flesh to such an extent that amputation was necessary. After his recovery, he decided that he would not be able to continue farming so he broke the first sod and established the first business in Campbellsport. In 1873 he opened a grocery sto4re on a small scale but with his natural thrift and close attention to business he soon had an extensive trade. In 1882 his younger brother Michael joined him as salesman and bookkeeper, after which James devoted most of his time to operating the large grain elevator which he had built near the depot. He was Campbellsport’s post master during both of the Cleveland administrations. He was born in Duchess county New York in 1848 and died in his home here in 1910.
The railroad no doubt contributed much toward the development of Campbellsport for soon trains were running north and south, loaded with freight, grain and cattle; and sheep and hogs were being shipped to the stockyards in Chicago. Daily passenger trains were soon added to accommodate transients and pleasure-seeking travelers. The first station agent was T. M. Johnson, and Martin Boeckler was the first baggage man. S. L. Marsden was the first doctor in the new village. He was succeeded by Dr. S. S. Stack, the founder of Sacred Heart Sanitarium in Milwaukee. When he left to study in European universities, Dr. P. A. Hoffmann took over, who, with two of his sons, practiced medicine here for many years. He lived to celebrate his 50th anniversary as organist of St. Matthew’s Church.
As time went on new places of business sprung into existence. On the Main Street, the first place of business next to the depot was the Jacob Degenhart saloon and hotel, then the Kohler shoe store, the Wedde Hardware and Tinshop, the drug store operated by Platt Durand, who also was postmaster. At the corner Jacob Schlaefer Sr. had a jewelry store and also did watch and clock repairing. The First National Bank occupied the corner rooms in this building. Diagonally across the street a Mr. Ziegelbauer owned and operated a large hotel which was destroyed by fire in the mid-eighties. The two lots were vacant until 1894 when the McCullough Brothers built the two-story brick store, one side of which was used for groceries and the other for dry goods. There were a number of blacksmiths, wagon makers and harness makers in Campbellsport at this time. The Loebs and Knickels general store, the Helmer grocery store, the C. R. Vande Zande Insurance agency which was established in 1895, and which he operated successfully until his death in 1921, when the business was turned over to his two sons, Alfred and Charles, the Boeckler Hardware store, two meat markets, the Durand and Paas Drug store, the Becklinger Furniture Store and the E. F. Martin Lumber Company – all these were doing business in the new village. In 1901 the Brittingham and Hixon Lumber Co. bought the Martin property and has conducted a lumber yard there continuously. In 1903 W. Warden established a soda pop factory near the bridge, which at the age of 84, he is still operating.
In 1875 the Methodist church was erected on land donated by Stuart Campbell. The Good Templars Hall was built on the corner of Main and Poplar Streets, where the Weld home now stands. The Odd Fellows Hall located on Main Street, was destroyed by fire in the early winter of 1911. The Odd Fellows rebuilt the hall and the first floor has been continually occupied by the Postal Department. Due to their small membership, the top floor has been remodeled into two apartments.
In 1902 the two villages decided to unite, and as a result, they incorporated as one under the name of Campbellsport. Since the incorporation Campbellsport has progressed in many ways. The population at the present time is about 1250. Cement walks have replaced the old wood sidewalks and electric lights have been installed on every street. Recently all of the village streets have been black-topped and most of them have curbs and gutters. Sewer and water works were constructed in 1935 and 1936. The Wisconsin General Telephone Company installed a new dial system in 1953.
A new Methodist church was constructed on the old site, under the direction of Rev. A. N. Henne, in 1904. The Immanuel Lutheran congregation was organized in 1918, but their church was not built until 1942. It is located on the corner of Forest and Elm Streets, and on December 20, 1942 it was dedicated with three special dedication services. In 1900 the Rev. B. July became pastor of St. Matthews Catholic congregation and during his long pastorate the present church and a new parsonage were built.
In 1932 the [School] Sisters of St. Francis built the new five-story home for retired sisters of their order, on property purchased from the Reformed Church congregation, and the Husting estate. On January 6, 1933 the first sisters moved into their beautiful new home. The convent, with its landscaped grounds and well-kept gardens is one of the beauty spots of our town.
After the old Reformed church had been razed, the congregation united with the Elmore congregation and together they built a new church and rectory on Forest Street. It was dedicated November 20, 1932.
There was no public school in Campbellsport, so the children of school age who lived in the township of Ashford had to attend the district school located on the Fellenz farm one mile west of the village. This building was destroyed by the second of July wind store in 1882. It was replaced by a gray frame building east of the railroad tracks, which was remodeled into a home in 1895, when a new 4-room grade school was built. In 1907 the first high school classes were organized in that building by George Ritter, who was the first high school principal. Classes were discontinued in this building in 1936 and begun in the new high and grade school in the fall of 1937. A course in Agriculture and Shop was added with Lyle Viney as teacher.
In 1949 several districts consolidated and formed the Campbellsport Union Free High School District. A new addition was built and a Home Economics course was added with Miss Mildred Sackett as teacher. We now have a modern up-to-date high school with a large gymnasium and class rooms for all courses. There are four grade teachers, each teaching two grades. In high school there are eight teachers besides Mr. Leo Lang, the principal. About 250 students are enrolled in the high school this fall.
Many beautiful new homes, modern in every detail have been built and new business places have been constructed. The old time smithies have been replaced by auto show rooms and modern garages. The modern Bauer Hotel stands on the site of the former Schoofs saloon. The hotel has become famous throughout the state because of its culinary art and its genial host, Ed. M. Bauer. The Campbellsport News, owned by Harlow Roate, occupies the former Kohler building, which has been re-built to contain the three modern apartments besides the print shop.
The Campbellsport cheese factory originally owned by Sam Grossen, maker of American cheese, was sold to the Stella Cheese Company in 1927. The Castiglianos enlarged, re-built and remodeled the factory to suit their purposes for the manufacture of Italian cheese with markets all over the United States. In 1950, L. D. Schrieber Inc. became the owners of the company. Dante Camilli is the present manager.
The First State Bank replaced the former First National Bank about 1908. A new building was erected on the site of the Loebs and Knickel store which had been destroyed by one of Campbellsport’s worst fires. The bank was completely remodeled in 1952 and now is one of the most modern bank building in the state. Loebs and Knickel erected a new building on Fond du Lac Avenue. This building now houses the spacious Guenther IGA super-market. A Funeral Home was added to the Smith Furniture Store in 1937, when A. E. Berge purchased this business place. Its present owner is David J. Twohig.
Some of our later industries include the Elwing broom factory, the Time and Jewel shop, established by Herbert Wehner, Hensen’s modern store and Tinshop built in 1940, the Gilbert Shoe Co., the Campo Theater established by Mr. & Mrs. W. C. Fisher, the Campo Grill, the Melody Inn, Raymond’s Grocery, Know-Mahl Grocery, Barnes Appliance Shop, and the Locker Plant. The Thoma Bakery and the Howard Variety store are located in the Frank J. Bauer building; and an apparel store and Sports Shop are located in the Schill building.
Campbellsport’s most recent recreation spot is the King Pin Bowling Alleys built in 1949 by the Salajas. Socially, the men have their Lions Club, which was organized in 1931. They devoted their early efforts to promoting the installation of waterworks and sewer in the village. For many years they have sponsored the Halloween and Christmas parties for the children and have contributed toward the swimming program in the summers. The Mothers Club was organized in 1927. Their object was primarily to promote child welfare in the community, and to bring closer relationships between the home and school. They sponsor the library and contribute to many charitable institutions. Since joining the Federation of Women’s Clubs their name has been changed to the Campbellsport Women’s Club.
The Village’s latest public improvement is the new municipal building which was completed this year. It is located on the corner of Main and Poplar Streets and contains the clerks’ office, council room and library. It also houses the fire department’s engines, the village trucks and the ambulance.
The fire department has done much to beautify the Village with its park at the west limits. They have added slides and swings and other playground equipment for the children and sponsored the building of the Boy Scouts’ Cabin.