As I am now wrapping up putting together chapters of the Ellsworth history book, I thought I’d write about it and the two publications that have come out so far under Ellsworth’s 150th celebration.
The book that I am working on will be coming out this summer under the Pierce County Historical Association. The book has two main parts to it. I have researched and written about a variety of topics from Ellsworth history that are all going into 10 chapters.
1) Ellsworth Beginnings and County Building Evolution – This chapter covers Ellsworth before the county seat when for about 10 years it was known as Perry. It also covers why the county seat was moved to Ellsworth and the history of the county buildings that have been built in the village.
2) Civic Improvements – Electricity, Sewer, Water, Paving, Village Incorporation, and other improvements like a fire department are in this chapter.
3) West Ellsworth Business History – This chapter was the longest to write, but not necessarily the hardest to research. It attempts to put Ellsworth business histories in order, building by building (even if they don’t exist) from the corner where the Freedom Station is to the Midway Mall. It contains about 50 pages without any photographs yet.
4) East Ellsworth Business History – This was similar to chapter 3, except it involves East Ellsworth. I had some excellent help in this part, for Marvin Struve did similar research and writing in the 1990s. Earlier versions of Chapter 3 and 4 were given to Cal Butts, Jim Peterson, Jack Hines, the Ellsworth Care Center and Ellsworth Chamber members to make sure the information is as accurate as possible. Changes were made and these chapters are nearing final form.
5) Historic Homes – I have this chapter up as a test chapter on my blog. I did not get any feedback on anything wrong in this chapter except some spelling mistakes on current owners. This was an attempt at researching most homes built in Ellsworth before 1960. When where they built and by and for who? Historic photographs will be a highlight of this chapter along with something about renowned architect Cass Gilbert’s connection to Ellsworth.
6) Medical History – This chapter covers all doctors who practiced in Ellsworth from the first, Dr. Dempster Woodworth to Dr. Jonas and Dr. Klaas. Judea Klaas and Dr. Jonas contributed greatly to this chapter. It also will have something on Ellsworth Hospitals (yes there were two!), nursing homes and clinics.
7) Ellsworth Schools – Ellsworth School district history is recounted, not only in a new narrative about the village schools that cover previously unrevealed information, but also histories of all township schools which were: Clayfield, Freier, Maynard, Murphy, Sleepy Hollow, Iverson, Cudd, and Lantz Schools.
8 ) Ellsworth Churches – This chapter will cover histories of all churches past and present in the village and Ellsworth Township. Many of the histories were submitted by long time members and pastors of the churches themselves.
9) Ellsworth Organizations – This will have some histories of organizations in Ellsworth, both active and inactive. Everything from the Hesperian Society to Lions Club, to Masons, to G.A.R. to Girl Scouts, with many others as well.
10) Ellsworth Recreation – This chapter covers some of the fun events and places in Ellsworth over the years. The events include the harvest festivals, 4th of July, Circus, Sno Fest, and Cheese Curd Festival among others. The places include the infamous Ellsworth Pavillion a.ka. Proch’s Pavilion. Other places include the fairgrounds, the Fireman’s Opera Hall and even the East Ellsworth Pavillion.
These are the chapters I have been working on for the past four years. It feels good to be so close to handing them over to my editor, who is Darleen Schommer. The remainder of the book will be about pioneering Ellsworth families. These are families that came to Ellsworth village or township before 1880. Why 1880? If we try to cover everyone who ever lived here it would be the never ending story. This is the format that other local books have used as well when publishing family histories. The books with family history information so far include volume 7 on the Cherma area, volume 8 on El Paso Township families, and volume 9 on early Beldenville families. These are all still in print and available through our office. Other books that also have extensive family genealogies include The History of Prescott by Beeler and Ahlgren (1996) covering Prescott and surrounding area families and Is there Any Lefse and Ludafisk Left? by Wiff covering Martell Township families (1994). Both of these are also available through our office. Pat (Winn) Mory has been working on a lot of these families for years and has been working diligently and has most of them completed at this time. This section is not only interesting to the families included, but I would think to others who want to know more about the early history of the county and some of their current neighbors families for sure.
Sesquicentennial publications so far.
So far there have been two publications put out as part of the sesquicentennial celebration in Ellsworth: The Ellsworth 150th Calendar put out by the Sesquicentennial committee and the Ellsworth Visitor’s and Residents Guide Sesquicentennial Edition put out by the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce through Helmer Printing. While both of these publications are good in their own ways, there are a few mistakes in them that I feel like I need to share here, because I feel accuracy is important. Once a history is in print, many who read it assume that it is correct and will not check a original source to see if it is really correct.
The Ellsworth 150th Calender
The Calendar has three major mistakes and a few minor ones. Mistake 1: The Pierce County Historical Association was under the impression from our agreement that we would get credit for the photographs used for the calender individually. Instead the powers that be created a list instead. Photos are important view into our past and it is too bad they were not credited individually. Here are the individual photo credits by month.
Cover: Photograph by Ken Close. This is part of the Ken Close collection at PCHA.
January: Pierce County Historical Association photo
February: From the Kathy Deiss post card collection
March: Provided by Brickner’s service station
April: Photograph from the Pierce County Historical Association Collection. This is one of two photos with the incorrect description with the photograph. The cut line talks about the Methodist Church in town, while the photograph is an early one of the Presbyterian Church with Arthur Travis in front of it delivering mail.
May: This is from the Pierce County Historical Association
June: This is provided by the Co-op creamery in East Ellsworth
July: This Main Street view is a Hakkon W. Lawrence photograph out of the new Lawrence negatives in the Pierce County Historical Association collection.
August: This photograph is a Pierce County Historical Association photo. The cut line is incorrect on the first four high school students that graduated from Ellsworth. They list teachers and a principal in the cut line. The correct 4 students are: Mark Terpenning, Lizzie Peterson, Etta Rounce, and Alice Crownhart
September: This also is a Hakkon W. Lawrence photograph from the Pierce County Historical Association.
October: This is a Pierce County Historical Association photograph. It also exists in the Kathy Deiss post card collection.
November: I am assuming this photo of the Ellsworth pavilion was provided by Dick Proch, since he is credited in the list of where they got the photographs from.
December: This a some what common post card of the community Christmas Tree of 1916. It is hard to say where their source is for this.
This was my major problem with the calender : citing sources and having bad information for the cut lines. It was lucky that they did have some of the cut lines proofed, or there could have been more mistakes. There are some minor mistakes in the information on some days as well, but only one serves mention. On August 28 it states: 1855 Anthony Huddleston, cousin of Daniel Boone, was the settler who bought the land where the creamery now stands. First of all, no research has ever linked Daniel Boone to Huddleston. The family has looked into this in great detail and found it is NOT true. Also no mention of the fact that Huddleston is the first settler is made here. The ladies did great work with it, and put together something that it would have been hard for me to do. I am just slightly disappointed in the final product, but not so much that I have not bought more than one!
The Ellsworth Sesquicentennial Edition Community and Visitor’s Guild
Now what is wrong with the Ellsworth visitors guide, you might ask? There are two major problems with it in my estimation. Mistake 1) There are numerous historical photographs including the front cover that are not of Ellsworth at all, but of River Falls! The front cover shows Thomas Tomlinson and Matt Simon’s meat market on it. The proprietors are in the white outfits and Earl Foster is the boy in the center of the photograph. This meat market partnership lasted between 1904 and 1906 and was located where Steve’s Pizza is today on North Main Street in River Falls. On page 10 there is a photograph of Langwear plant in River Falls during 1931. This was located on Second Street where the Fire Department is today. Langwear was never in Ellsworth! On Page 22 there are a series of photographs, one clearly marked Fred Johnson. This Fred Johnson never lived near Ellsworth, but at Maiden Rock. Finally on page 37 there is a clear half page image of the Park View Dairy truck with the Bartosh boys shown beside it. The truck is clearly marked River Falls! This was located on today’s Church Street before that area became full of residences as it is today.
The other major problem I have with the book is that it includes 42 historical photographs. None are individually credited anywhere. On Page 1 it says the Historical Photographs were supplied by the Ellsworth Historical Society. This organization does not even exist! It is very clear that the photographs are almost all from the Pierce County Historical Association. This is news to our organization. The authors of the Ellsworth book and the board can not find any documentation showing they could use these photographs or any photographs in a publication. I am sure the information is right within the pages, but these two things put a damper on this publication.
Anyway, hopefully we are on the right track in putting out the Ellsworth History Book a.k.a. Pierce County Heritage Volume 10, by June. It will be over 500 pages and if you pre-order with our office you can get a special rate. E-mail or call our office at 715-273-6611 to reserve a copy. Thank you to everyone who contributed to its creation! You are all on the list to be contacted when the book is completed! We had information, photographs, and artifacts submitted from southern California to Connecticut to Florida as well as many local contributions. You can also e-mail me if you have any questions about the book’s contents