From Our Early Files Feb. 24, 2021




Feb. 29, 1996

A divided Whitehall school board district board of education voted to hire a new boys’ baseball coach Monday, but not without debating how the school goes about filling such a position. The board voted 4-2 to approve the school administration’s recommendation to hire Damon Lisowski to succeed long-time head coach Dave Hendrickson, who resigned the position last year. Lisowski, a 1993 Whitehall High School graduate and a member of three Norse state tournament teams was chosen over former teammate Curt Schmidt, who graduated a year earlier. They were the only applicants for the job. Appearing at the meeting to object to the hiring recommendation made by district administrator Jerry Freimark and WHS principal Bruce Ausderau was Caren DeuVall, Schmidt’s mother. She said that the hiring process was not conducted properly and asked that board members put off action until they could look into the matter. Friemark defended the hiring process, noting that both applicants were interviewed using the same set of questions.

A Whitehall-area family nearly returned home to find themselves homeless Friday. When Paul, Florence and Spencer Kjos came back to their mobile home in the Riverside Trailer-Tel shortly after 7 p.m. that evening, they smelled smoke. The Whitehall Volunteer Fire Department was called, and the firemen prevented a serious fire from developing. “It was close…we got lucky,” Fire chief Randy Olson said Tuesday.

The Franciscan Skemp Healthcare-Arcadia nursing home was recently presented with an aviary, which contains seven different types of birds. The aviary was donated to the facility in memory of David Shepherd, in honor of his mother Florence, who is a resident of the nursing home.  

The barn on the Duane Suchla farm was destroyed by a blaze which raged out of control. Fire departments from Arcadia, Independence, Dodge and Fountain City helped fight the fire. Several drivers along the new section of Highway 93 could see the large amount of smoke rising from the fire as hay and the barn were totally engulfed by flames just as firefighters responded to the blaze. No one was injured.

Arcadia High School junior Matt Chambers finished second in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament while teammates Jim Dabelstein was third and John Giemza finished sixth.

An informational meeting that drew more than 100 parents Tuesday night also drew the prospect of some changes in the all-day kindergarten plan proposed for the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau School District. The plan has drawn criticism mostly on two fronts: Lack of self-contained half-day program for students whose parents want to exercise the half-day option promised by the school administration and long bus rides for some of the preschoolers to a central location in Galesville.

Perrot State Park Manager Jim Thompson looked out at the audience of some four dozen anxious sportsmen and tried to reassure them that hunting is almost certain to resume on Trempealeau Bay. The sportsmen representing about a dozen conservation clubs countrywide, had asked for the hearing because hunting has been banned on the bay under the old rule that prohibits hunting on park land.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department continues its investigation following two break-ins at the Blair-Taylor Middle School. Twice last week, during night hours, people entered the school building in the village of Taylor.

A Trempealeau County board supervisor from Strum has resigned because of health problems. District Three Supervisor John Radcliffe recently submitted his resignation to the full county board.


March 4, 1971

The valedictorian and salutatorian of the 1971 Whitehall High graduating class were announced this week by principal John Monson. They are Elizabeth Fischer and Pamela Koepke.

During Friday’s stormy weather, Lorraine Blank of Whitehall had unexpected guests: four students en route home from Eau Claire to Luther College who decided they could go no further, and stopped and asked for shelter. One of the four had stayed with Miss Blank when Luther’s concert band played here several weeks ago.

Four area farmers and one community resident were honored at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce annual awards night banquet. Those honored were Richard Haines and his mother, Mrs. Mary Haines; Mr. and Mrs. Quintin Pronschinske; Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Zabinski and Mr. and Mrs. Marcel Feltes. Stanley Wiersgala received the Outstanding Citizen Award.

Three pretty girls will be among participants in the third Indianhead Sunshine Snowmobile Trail Ride on Sunday, March 7 in Arcadia. They are Wisconsin Snowmobile Queen Janet Pfeifer of Stout State University, Menomonie; Charlotte Sims, a former Miss Minnesota and currently Miss Ski-Doo and Barbara Jean Haines of Arcadia, Miss Trempealeau County.

The 1970-71 Galesville City Bowling Touranment is now history as Ristow Insurance team won the title.

The Verdin Piepers of South Beaver Creek, six miles east of Ettrick, lost their two-story house and all of its contents by fire early Sunday. They discovered the fire when smoke and flames came from the registers on the ground floor, where Mr. and Mrs. Pieper and their three children, ages one, three and four, all slept.

The Blair Cardinals ended their seven-year jinx with Whitehall when they defeated them 68-54 in their final conference game.


Feb. 28, 1946

Miss Janet Swenson, R.N., daughter of Mrs. Clara Swenson of Whitehall, has been engaged by the public health committee as Trempealeau County nurse, effective March 1.

Fair Oaks Dairy, which at one time served only Whitehall with milk and cream, has now expanded its territory to include Blair, Hixton, Independence, Northfield, Pigeon Falls and Taylor. To supplement the product of their Holstein herd, Ernest and Reuben Rasmussen are purchasing milk from Clarence and Harland Schaefer, A.E. Nehring, Hjalmer Foss, Henrik Herness and Mrs. Arne Rasmuson here, and from Lloyd Nehring at Taylor. Four men are employed by the Rasmussen brothers.

It isn’t every 18-year-old boy who can hop out to Nebraska for dinner of a Sunday and still do his daily farm chores, but that was the achievement of Morris Evenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Evenson of Pigeon. Morris, who recently obtained his pilot’s license, drove to Winona after completing his morning duties, rented a plane and flew to Plattesmouth, Ne., in time to have dinner with his girlfriend, Delores Ruse. He hopped the plane in time to get home to Winona and return by car to do his evening chores.

The Rev. Harold Huff, who was discharged from Navy service on Feb. 16, has been engaged as pastor of the Whitehall and Independence Methodist churches.

Independence took first place in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association district tournament held at Whitehall last week, defeating Galesville 50-29. The best game of the tournament was the Whitehall vs. Hixton game for third place, one by the home team 25-21. Independence went on to defeat New Lisbon at Sparta Tuesday and will enter sectional play at Reedsburg next week.

The Leo Haines house in Arcadia suffered extensive damage in an early morning fire Saturday, the cause of which is not known. Appraisers have not estimated the damage as of yet, but it will come high. The loss is fully covered by insurance. The fire started in the attic of the eight-room house and probably had been burning slowly for some time. No one was injured.

Arcadia High School’s 98-pound state wrestling entry, Jim Haines, finished third in his weight class in the state wrestling tournament in Madison Friday and Saturday.

Plans are to give away an automobile for the Fourth of July celebration sponsored by the Blair American Legion post.

The “Womanless Wedding” will be presented by the Hegg men in the Beach School on March 1.


March 3, 1921

At a meeting of the village board Monday night, the bid of the Lincoln Farmers Telephone Co. for the removal of all of the electric light poles, cross arms and wires was accepted.

The Whitehall Cow Testing Association has recently been organized, with Chest Ouwenweel as tester and the following officers: Peter Speerstra, president; Raymond Lamberson, vice president; Dr. A. Vold, secretary/treasurer; and board of directors C. Schaefer, Melvin Evenson, L. Rasmussen and E.A. Hegge.

Nels Gunderson, of the new firm of N. Gunderson and Son of Pleasantville, was at La Crosse last week buying office supplies and arranging for an enlarged stock of merchandise.

Herman Herb has sent to his mother a diploma of initiation issued to him by the Ancient Order of the deep, a secret organization of the Navy boys, citing him for crossing the equator in the U.S.S. Florida on Dec. 15.

Chas. Payne is back in this section again. He is putting on a home talent play at Blair March 11. Mr. Payne is well known here, and his ability as a director is the best.

Pigeon Falls — The program and basket social that was to have been given in the schoolhouse of District No. 4 a couple weeks ago was postponed on account of sickness and will be given this Saturday evening.

Mrs. Frank Schank was painfully injured when she was thrown from the surrey in which she and her three children were riding.

R.H. Forsyth sold his farm in the town of Glencoe and moved into the former R.F. English house on the west side.

Jos. F. Danuser and Wm. Smith formed a partnership to go into the real estate and insurance business, having rented an office on the second floor in the Fugina Bros. and Fertig Block.

Increasing business demands more room for the Trempealeau Mercantile Co., and the large store building is being remodeled to meet requirements.

The prize winners for the handsomest costumes at the Farmers’ Club mask ball, held at the Caledonia Town Hall, were Merle Beardsley and Lois Gilbert.


Feb. 27, 1896

The passenger train going east last Saturday morning, with Charles Baker as engineer, hit and instantly killed one Ingevald Peterson on what is know as the Breed curve about two and a half miles east of Whitehall. The curve is a sharp one, and the man lay between the rails, evidently in a drunken stupor, unobserved by the engineer until it was too late to stop. Peterson was a relative stranger in these parts, and nothing was found upon his person to establish his identity.

J.O. Gilbertson and Co. have purchased A.F. Reitzel’s entire stock of goods.

Judge Odell’s office in the courthouse has been supplied with a new book and blank case. It is the handiwork of Archie Wood, and a fine piece of work.

Miss Letitia Wright, who has been teaching at Coral City the past four months, closed her school last Friday with a temperance program. The young lady has been engaged to teach the spring term.

Peder Nelson of Pigeon, treasurer with the Whitehall and Pigeon Trading Association, has accepted a position as grain buyer and salesman with this corporation. Mr. Nelson is well and favorably known to the farmers of this section, and will prove a valuable acquisition to the employees of the above association.


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