History: Granton, "History of Granton" (to 1976)

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Granton, "History of Granton" (to 1976)


 For a small town, Granton is one of the biggest places in the universe. It may be small in size and population, but there is no limit to its hopes and ambitions there are high dimensions to the things it has already accomplished. The first settler to come to Granton was Eli Williams in 1856. J. D. Wage was next, followed by Levi Marsh, all taking up war claims of 80 or 160 acres. Early settlers took turns each month walking to Stevens Point to get the mail and to La Crosse for provisions. In 1857 Nelson Marsh settled in the area. He spent his first five years clearing land. He joined the army and served for several months. Just before discharge he bacame ill and was hospitalized. He helped establish the post office which he had in his home in Mapleworks, of which he was the postmaster until 1890. Mapleworks was an area on the southeast corner of the Village. The name of the community was Maple Wood, but because of the poor penmanship the powers at Washington deiphered the name as Mapleworks and it had that name for many years. In addition to his duties as postmanster, Mr. Marsh went to Neillsville to pick up the mail. He also fixed shoes, pulled teeth, fiddled for all the neighborhood dances and was the Justice of the Peace. J. D. Wage had the job of going to Neillsville to bring in supplies for which he received 10 cents per hundred for hauling. Mapleworks was also the site of a general store owned by A. Reichert a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop, saloon, hardware store, clothing and shoe store and the Lutheran Church. The first white child born in the area was Sylvester Marsh, son of Nelson Marsh. He was one of the well known people in the community and was known as Vet Marsh. Gottlieb Garbisch came shortly and is the ancestor of many families of Garbisches still living in this area. On the O'Neill creek between Mapleworks and Windfall Corners, John Mason built a small mill. Windfall Corners was established a mile north of Mapleworks. It derived its name from the fact that several years before any settlers came to Clark County, a wind storm had passed though that section of the country and for about a half a mile to the east timber had been blown down and second growth timber had attained a sizable growth, so the name Windfall was designated to this particular spot in the country. Windfall was the location of the first area school. Soon an Adventist church had been built to the east of the school and to the west a blacksmith shop with living quarters in the rear and a dance hall in the upper story. In 1891 or 1892 the Northwestern Railroad Co. chose the site of Granton as an extension of their line from Neillsville to Marshfield. Railroad men named the site Granton because of its establishment in the town of Grant, and also to be named oafter the great general of the Northern Army, General Grant. It was located near the banks of the O'Neill Creek instead of at Mapleworks because of the presence of larger springs near the depot so trains could secure plenty of water at a very low cost. In 1912 it was recorded that there were four daily passenger trains from Merrillan to Marshfield and two night trains from Merrillan to Junction City and back. In 1890 Philip Kemmeter built the heading mill which was used for sawing basswood bolts into staves for barrel and pails. The annual output was 2,000,000 pieces and he employed 15 men for 10 months of the year. The mill closed on 1916. The first Opera House was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1895. Before it was rebuilt community functions were held upstairs in another building, Phillip Kemmeter's (which is now the Spaete's Store and Locker plant). Efforts to incorporate the Village were first made in 1903, it having a population of 313. A census taken July 7, 1916 recorded a population of 321. The petition to incorporate the Village of Granton was granted by the court in September 1916. Four platted additions were added to the original 6 acre plat of 1890. Several buildings were moved from Mapleworks to the new platted site. The Windfall Cemetery Association was organized in 1882 and perpetual care started in 1938 when the Village of Granton took over maintenance and care of the cemetery. The first caretaker in 1938 received 15 cents an hour and furnished his own mower. In 1900 the community felt a need for telephone service and their efforts resulted in the establishment of the Lynn Telephone Co. It originally served 12 people and the switchboard was in the Knorr home. In 1914 the Smith Telephone Co. purchased the telephones in Granton. The Farmer's State Bank started in 1903 and continued until 1929. Then the Citizens State Bank of Loyal opened a branch in Granton in 1934. A small hospital was started in 1906 by Dr. Schwarze in the old Marsh house located on the southwest corner of 3rd and Main. It was in 1906 also that Dr. R. R. Rath started practicing medicine in the village and served the area for 51 years. Other doctors were Phair, Ross, Soles, Castle, Slate, Wink, Overman and Thompson. At the present time Granton has Doctor service from Marshfiel and Neillsville. Dr. McLane and Dr. Rose were the Dentists in the village at one time. One of the first saloons was located at the northwest corner of Fisrt and Main Street and in 1901 was purchaed by Mr.and Mrs. George Beaver. They continued to operate it as a saloon for awhile and later as a restaurant. It is still operating as a restaurant today by thier daughters. The Storm Saloon building was the second building built in the village and was used as a potato warehouse with lodge rooms upstairs. In 1900 Mr. and Mrs. William Storm started the saloon business and continued until 1927 when the present operators Mr. and Mrs. Carl Storm took over. An excerpt from the Granton News -- Sept., 1915 On the banks of O'Neill creek, on the main line of the Omaha railroad between gentle hills on either side is as pretty a village as one wants to see. It is between Neillsville and Marshfield, the metropolis of an adjoining county, and has 2 hotels, a bank, 3 general stores, a drug store, started in 1900 by George Amidon a furniture store, a harness shop, a cheese factory, a heading mill, a Methodist Church and 2 German Lutheran Churches close to town, 2 automobile garages amd repair shops, 3 hardware stores, 2 doctors, 1 dentist, a livery barn, feed mill and elevator, a lumber yard and an opera house. The first annual election was recorded on October 28, 1916. Elected officers were: President, P. J. Kemmeter Trustees, H. C. Witte, R. R. Rath, A. J. Knorr, O. C Peterson, Price Lee, F. G. Hart and D. S. Rausch Supervisor, W. Winn Justices of the Peace, Dr. H. L. Rose and W. J. Thayer. The volunteer fire department was organized in 1916. In 1920 electricity was installed by the Village. The electric lines were owned by the Village and in 1926 after a hotly contested election it was sold to the Northern States Power Co. In 1938-49 a village sewer system was installed. Curb and gutter were installed in 1951. Two serious fires occurred in the village in 1923 and 1926. ----Source: Granton Community Memories 1856-1976

The early postcard below was contributed by Virginia Elmhorst "History of Granton" (to 1976)



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