Clark County, WI



Colby Township   

Clark County, Wisconsin   


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Colby, Mayville and Hixon were all authorized by orders of the county board on the same day - Nov. 12, 1873. They all were organized and held their first town meetings on the first Tuesday of April, 1874.


The town of Colby took its name from the railway station on the Wisconsin Central Railway, which had been built through that country a short time before, and the station was named for Gardner L. Colby, father of Charles L. Colby, who was so long identified with the railway.


Source: Robert McBride's History of Clark County, WI.

Birthplace of the World Famous Colby Cheese!

At his father's cheese factory about one mile south and one mile west of here, Joseph F. Steinwand in 1885 developed a new and unique type of cheese. He named it for the township in which his father, Ambrose Steinwand, Sr., had built northern Clark County's first cheese factory three years before. The town had taken its name from Gardner Colby, whose company built the Wisconsin Central railroad through here. Colby is a mild, soft, moist cheese. Its taste became known in the neighboring areas and an 1898 issue of the "Colby Phonograph" noted that "A merchant in Phillips gives as one of the 13 reasons why people should trade with him, that he sells the genuine Steinwand Colby Cheese." After the turn of the century this area became one of the great cheese producing centers in the nation and Colby cheese a favorite in countries the world around.


Source: Historical Plaque in Colby, WI.


Ambrose Steinwand passed on his cheese making art to his son, Joseph F. Steinwand, who perfected a washed-curd process which produced Colby's characteristically mild, pleasant flavor. His process replaces whey with water and reduces acidity.  It takes slightly more than a gallon of milk to produce just 1 pound (454g) of cheese.

Colby, Cheese Champion.
The Town and City which Wrested the Honors From Herkimer County, New York


Colby is one of the thriving towns on the line between Clark and Marathon Counties, dividing a glance between them. It has a. population of about 1,000. Formerly the Marathon county half was called Hull and there was a lack of harmony which prevented the best development but a village organization overcame this defect and now Colby presents a united front in the line of progress. It Is near the Big Eau Plaine River one of the Tributaries of the Wisconsin river and was a station On the old Wisconsin Central, now the Soo Line— in the early logging days of 1873 and so was a prominent place before some of the rest of the county was known.

Colby is the Cheese Champion of the world. It was Battling Nelson who gave that title to one of his rivals In the field of fisticuffs but that was in derision, while the championship which ii defended by the city of Colby is an honor and a profit worthy of the best localities In the world. From Herkimer county, New York. was wrested not only the quality of output of flue cheese but the quantity too, and now Colby Cheese Is demanded by the epicures everywhere.

Colby was named after Gardner Colby of Boston of the Colby-Philips Construction. Company who built the railroad for the Wisconsin Central company, of which his son, Charles L. Colby, was president. R now has an electric light and water plant representing an investment of $3,000 and which has been In operation since 1903. There is a good city library. The present officers are James E. Lyone, mayor; John Pribnow, treasurer; R. G. Salter, clerk; Joseph Frane, assessor; H. Reeves, H. A. Krepsky, E. D. Loos, and Ben Riplinger, aldermen; H. L. Blanchard, postmaster.

One of the main features of the town Is Uncle Joel Shafer, who came from Beaver Dam to the then Colby In 1878, or 1888 no one can rightly tell which, and with his brother started a paper and tried to organize a new county embracing part of Clark, Marathon and Taylor counties. The movement after a sharp clash of Interests subsided and left the Shafers stranded in Colby where they have run their paper, The Phonograph, ever since,— until the death of Sam Shafer a number of years ago, and now run by’ Joel Shafer.— well known and highly re spouted throughout the state, the patriarch of newspaper men in Central Wisconsin and the preceptor of many bright young journalists who have made their name famous throughout the world.


The Home of Colby Cheese



It was at this cheese factory that the father of the present proprietor, A. M. Steinwand, first made the product which today is known thru out the world.  Mr. Steinwand himself has been in the cheese business 16 years.  He is a director of the Lynn Mutual Fire Insurance Company and of the Abbotsford Bank and a member of the firm of Young & Steinwand, agents for Overland Cars at Abbotsford and Colby.


Source: Granton News, "Clark County the Heart of Wisconsin" 1915






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