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From the files: Dunn County slot machines destroyed in 1944
From the files

From the files: Dunn County slot machines destroyed in 1944

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From the files 22019

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1982: It's the dog days of winter. A dog rambles on snow-covered Lake Menomin while the winter sun tries to melt some of the snow which surrounds the ice fishing huts.

135 years

Saturday, Feb. 23, 1884

The narrow escape of the Central school building from destruction last week, recalls to the minds of the older residents of the city the fact that this community had previously lost a school building by fire.

In 1861 the town bought the two lots that now constitute the northeast corner of the Central School block. On this, in 1862, fronting on Main street, was erected a one-story building, 30x40 feet, with a belfry, at a cost of $1,500.

In November, 1867, one evening after a religious meeting had been held therein, the building was discovered to be on fire, and was destroyed in spite of the utmost efforts on the part of the citizens to save it.

The only other buildings then on that street, were a carpenter shop owned by Wm. Huber, standing in the rear of the location of his present brick block, Mrs. Fowler’s old store, which was only partly completed, and the Vance House which occupied the ground where now stands Perrault’s Union Hotel.

Huber’s shop being the only available building, was at once secured and fitted up for school purposes. This was occupied until 1869, when the new building was completed at an expense of $10,000.

125 years

Friday, Feb. 23, 1894

Those of our citizens so inclined have been entertained this week with a series of lectures on and exhibitions of hypnotism at the opera house by Prof. Roche, who is said to be the peer of Bishop and Johnstone, who have in times past produced sensations in this line in different portions of the country.

Prof. Roche describes hypnotism as a science, having for a basic principle, concentration of thought.

Given a subject with powers of concentration, whose mind is passive, and the professor really performs a number of acts quite wonderful to the layman.

For instance, by a few passes of his hands and apparently by a powerful effort of the will he puts the subject into an hypnotic condition wherein there is speechlessness, loss of memory, loss of power of locomotion, rigidity of muscles, or imaginary scenes become real as life, or an hypnotic sleep is produced wherein the subject is insensible to pain—as he chooses.

A specimen of mind-reading was given Thursday. At the noon hour Prof. Roche, carefully blindfolded, accompanied by a committee composed of G. L. Hatter, Geo. Farnsworth and S. L. Heafield, starting from the court house, drove a team at break-neck speed through Main and Broadway to the Hotel Royal.

There, still securely blindfolded, the professor proceeded straight to the register and without hesitation marked with a pencil a name the committee had previously selected. It was an exceedingly interesting experiment and was witnessed by a large number of our citizens.

100 years

Thursday, Feb. 20, 1919

A Stout Institute graduate has been made Chief Dietitian at a Mammoth, New York hospital.

Appointed chief dietitian at one of Uncle Sam’s largest and most modern convalescent hospitals is the honor which has been conferred by Washington officials on Winnifred Short of Superior, a graduate of Stout Institute with the class of 1913, who is well-known to many Menomonie people.

The Superior Telegram recently published the following article concerning Miss Short and her work:

Miss Short, known as “Winnie” or ”Shorty” by her intimate friends and hundreds of Superior High school students, is short in stature but positively towering in executive ability.

When she received her appointment from the Red Cross as army dietitian and was sent to Colonia, N. J.. to organize the diet kitchen at the Colonia hospital. Miss Short set out with all the aplomb of a seasoned veteran of army work.

Of course she was well prepared for her new duties for in addition to her training at Stout institute and experience as domestic science instructor at the Superior High school, she had taken a postgraduate course at Columbia University and a special course in dietetics at the Battle Creek sanitarium.

When the U. S. Debarkation hospital at New York was built Miss Short was selected from a number of expert dietitians for the position of chief dietitian which requires great ability.

The hospital is known as the Grand Central Palace. It is a building of thirteen stories, occupying an entire city block, and containing 4,500 beds. A staff of 750 people, doctors, nurses and attendants is required. It is said to be the most up-to-date institution of its kind in America,

75 years

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 1944

Three 5-cent slot machines, often referred to by the public as “one-armed bandits,” met their doom on the concrete driveway leading into the county jail shortly after noon Tuesday when Sheriff Fred Einum dealt a series of devastating blows with a hammer that smashed the mechanical money makers to smithereens.

The machines, confiscated by the sheriff late Monday afternoon at the Lois Kewin tavern, off of STH 64, in the Town of Otter Creek, will neither “pay out” or “take in” anymore—for they have “eaten” their last buffalo nickels, or other nickels that are faced with other historic figures.

Dist. Atty. Clarence E. Smith received a complaint that slot machines were being operated in the Kewin tavern and so he issued search warrant with the approval of the county court, and Sheriff Einum, armed with the warrant, made a visit to the tavern and found the three machines in a back room.

He took them, and directed Mrs. Kewin into county court where she pled guilty to the charge of being in possession of a gambling apparatus.

Judge Peterson fined her $25, and ordered the sheriff to smash the machines in the presence of at least one representative of the press, and turn the money over to Clerk of Court Deloris Brown.

As far as the sheriff knows, Dunn County is now free of slot machines.

50 years

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 1969

The groundwork on which future decisions will be based was laid Tuesday night when the Menomonie board of education met.

Discussion centered on district-owned versus contract carrier transportation.

Supt. William Terrill reported the district should either purchase a new bus or have a contract carrier transport students.

Figures presented indicate the cost would be approximately the same. The district is now operating a 1963 model bus.

Cost of a new unit is estimated at $8,200 and deducting the federal tax and trade-in gives a cost of $6,000. The cost of operating a bus by the district is $4,286 annually with major expenses being $1,000 for depreciation, $1,175 for drivers salary, $650 for gas, oil and grease, and $570 for labor and repair parts.

Contract carrier service cost $4,262 annually in the city. The cost is $12.50 per day for the bus, $5 for salary and $6.18 for mileage. The board decided to table the matter for a month to allow a study of the cost figures.

25 years

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 1994

With President Theodore Bissell casting the deciding vote, the Boyceville Village Board Monday night approved a Municipal Hall improvement project costing some $2,500.

The hall houses the public library and a restroom in this section of the building will be converted into a handicapped accessible facility. This work will cost about $1,900.

Additionally, two upper level windows where frames have rotted will be replaced for $600. Mclntyre Construction of Boyceville will do the work.

Joining Bisseil in supporting the project were Trustees Gilbert Krueger, Arthur Nelson Jr. and Gilbert Sykora. Opposed were Robert Marlett and Alien Froiland; Maynard Pittman was absent.

The projects were forwarded by Sykora, who represents trustees on the Library Board. He said the original estimate for making the restroom accessible to the handicapped was $1,203.

However, he continued, the cost jumped to $1,900 because it was decided to replace the floor and ceiling. Replacing the windows was endorsed by Bissell. “If we are going to keep the building, we have to do something with the windows,” he declared.

Besides the building improvements, the board voted to install an electronic air cleaner on the furnace that serves the library. This project, too, was forwarded by Sykora who said the librarian suffers from allergies.

“I think a number of people suffer from this type allergy,” he added. Estimated cost of this work is $745.

In other action, the board awarded an $11,200 contract to Century Fence to install new fencing at Pafko Park.

15 years

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004

The Menomonie Police Department has embarked on a program to have trained chaplains work side-by-side with police officers.

Sgt. Rick Hollister, who is the chaplain coordinator for the department said this is a first for Menomonie.

“The chaplain program will be a huge resource for the department and community,” Hollister said.

Thus far, four chaplains have been sworn in. They are all pastors and include David Whelan of Peace Lutheran Church, Geoff Scott of Christ Lutheran Church, Marilynn Rushton of United Methodist Church and Rolf Morck of Christ Lutheran. All four pastors have gone through the department’s Citizens academy, have three years experience in the ministry, are ordained pastors and are familiar faces in the community.

“The Chaplaincy Program will strive to enhance the Menomonie Police Department as a caring institution,” Hollister said.

The program has already proven its worth. When a motorist recently died at the I-94 rest stop, the police officer called ahead and a chaplain was at Myrtle Werth Hospital when the family arrived. The chaplain was able to comfort and assist the family, and they were most grateful for the assistance.

10 years

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

Menomonie’s Army National Guard unit, Alpha Company of the 1-128th Infantry, is expected to depart on Monday, Feb. 23. The company will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas, for two to three months of training prior to being deployed to Iraq for the second time.

To show support along the route Company A will be taking as they leave town, residents and businesses are being asked to fly flags and display signs- bidding them farewell and good luck-before and on the day of the unit’s departure.

Company A will join an approximate 3,200 Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers deploying with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat team for a tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

According to Maj. Jackie Guthrie of the Wisconsin National Guard public affairs office, units will travel from their local armories to Ft. Bliss, Texas, where they will spend about two months in mobilization training before heading to Iraq. The expected term of service in the current deployment is expected to be about one year.

5 years

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014

The heavy wet snow that turned the western Wisconsin into a winter wonderland was anything but wonderful.

The system hit around mid afternoon Thursday and continued until well into the evening in most parts of Dunn County.

Heeding National Weather Service warnings about the storm, school kids in Dunn County were sent home around mid-day on Thursday and evening activities were cancelled.

Yet another snow day was declared by the Boyceville and Colfax school districts on Friday, while Menomonie was already scheduled to be off and Elk Mound began its mid-winter break.

The weight of the white the stuff took its toll on the roof of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Store in North Menomonie. Shortly before 9:30 p.m Thursday, two employees were closing up shop lat when a load-bearing beam gave way and a portion of the roof caved in.

According to Menomonie Fire Department Battalion Chief John Entorf, “The roof fell about three feet before it caught on some shelving.” No one was injured, and there was no damage to water or gas lines as a result.

Sofi Doane is the Collections Manager for the Dunn County Historical Society. She can be reached at 715-232-8685 or


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