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On the cover...

A MEMORIAL GARDEN
Between the old Depot and Ted Landon's ne\v home
there is a pond that was dug out in 1978
by Clarence Gratz and his Farmers Store crew.
It was lighted by Kiwanians for a skating rink.
Now no longer a skating rink - just a pond -
it becomes the frontspiece
for a memorial to industries past:
THE smokestack.
Visible ben.veen the trees behind and beyond the pond
is THE stack that served the rubber plant and woolen mill.
The original "mineral point" across the road is signed
and there are remnants of a sign on Commerce Street
that dimJy identify the first "industrial park."
Perhaps old timers don't need the reminder.
They know what THE smokestack stands for -
and now - so do you.

Cove1~ design by Jim Kraft, Madison


Would've ...
Could 've .. .
Should ve .. .

By George H. Bechtel

Published by The Associates


9 Hemlock Trail, Madison, WI 5371701 506
Copyright (c) 1997
George H. Bechtel
9 Hemlock Trail, Madison, WI 53717
AJI Rights Reserved

Printed in the United States of America


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ForeWORDS
Warning to Readers
ON STAGE
Days come red-lettered, black bordered
1--28
A CAPITAL LOSS
The BIG ONE got away 27-40
COURTIN' WAS GOOD
Until voters rejected the suitor 41-50
BANKNOTES
In Point, almost all went broke 51-70
INDUSTRIALIZED?
Almost a rubber plant like Akron 71-88
THE ZINC WORKS
Lived longer than its mines. .. 89-106
PLUMBING NEW DEPTHS
Almost a question, how low? 107-116
MAKING A COMEBACK
Here are the basic essentials 117-136
SOLUTIONS
You gotta do what you gotta do 137-150
FREE ADVICE
... and worth every penny! 151-158
After-WORDS
A few final, post-editing thoughts 159-165

REFERENCES
INDEX

(c) by the Author

PUBLISHER
THE ASSOCIATES
9 HEMLOCK TRAIL
MADISON . \liJSCONSIN 53717- 1506
ILLUSTRATIONS
HENRY DODGE and JAMES DUANE DOTY 26
THE IOWA COUNTY COURTHOUSE
IN MINERAL POINT 40

MACillNE SHOPS AND BAG ROOMS


AT THE ZINC WORKS 106

TWO VIEWS OF CENTENNIAL PARADE 116

PENDARVIS BEFORE RESTORATION 136

BACKYARD AT THE FERNEKES 158


Fore-WORDS
A warning to all readers

TIDS IS A BOOK ABOUT MINERAL POINT, a unique


small town in Southwestern Wisconsin. In many ways, it
could be about a small town in Maine, Nevada, or your
home state -- except that yours probably didn't have as
many "should 'ves."
Citizens of most small towns have had to pull them-
selves up by their bootstraps and tighten their belts. But so
many? Read on.
I write this, in part, as a tribute to Mineral Point's
pioneers and to their successors.
I write it, additionally and especially, as an object
lesson for men and women who are leaders today in small
towns beset by economic and social reversals. To each and
all I suggest: heed the Mineral Point example. The fat lady
has to sing sometime. Never give up.
About all that follows, I confess about this book:
Scholarly, it ain't.
Accurate, it is mainly (some "assumptions").
Opinionated? You bet!
Interesting? It is, to me; I hope, to you.
A lot of people helped get this all together. Please
see the acknowledgements in the appendix. Thank each
and all, as do I, for their direction, encouragement, and ex-
pertise.
I add special thanks to Laura (Mrs. Harry) Nohr.
For months, she urged,
"Please hurry. I want to read it before I die."
Well, Laura, here it is.

George Bechtel
Madison, Wisconsin
Sununer, 1997
Would've. Could've, Should 've

ON STAGE
Days come red-lettered, black bordered

FIRST OFF, LET'S SET THE SCENE. Where was (and is)
this Mineral Point? Who were (and are) its leaders and
some of its people? How ever did they get into so many
would've-could 've-should 've scrapes? How did they get
out of them? And what's it to you?
Let us count the ways.
First, the Good Lord laid down the land. He fended
off the mighty glacier during the Ice Age, sealed the Pointer
corner into a "driftless" area bereft of natural lakes but
unscarred by the rasping gravel that rolled warmly south
from the frigid north.
On the ground, near the surface and underneath, He
deposited treasures in the form of minerals -- lead, zinc,
and tantalizing smidgens of copper. Over all, He laid some
good earth, mixing the rich soil with a lot of odd vegetation
in some crevices, as clues about where He hid the ore.
There it lay waiting for discovery by some curious,
enterprising, or just plain lucky humans.
In a while "Native Americans" -- they were called
and called themselves Indians in those days -- wandered
into the realm. In due course, they scratched the surface
and scrabbled up some lead. Being more intelligent than
recognized by their nomadic White Brothers, and a lot more
intelligent that ever recognized by their Great White
Fathers in the Big White Wigwam in Washington, D.C.
(then or now), they found practical use for their discovery
by heating it into malleability in crude fire pits. They
naively left their scrabbling and pits in plain view for
"discovery" by subsequent newcomers.
The first "discoverers" were French explorers. In
the 1700's, a Frenchman named Nicholas Perrot mined an
abandoned Indian works overlooking the Mississippi River
near what is now Dubuque.
Englishmen succeeded the French in 1781 as the
area's predominant people, except for the Indians.
Americans succeeded the English. All, eventually,
succeeded (if that was "success") in ousting the Indians.

1
Would 've. Could 've. Should 've

Ultimately, prospectors of all nationalities joined in


Ye Great Early American Sport of usurping old diggings
while ousting Indians from their happy ore-hunting
grounds. Mining was in, Indians were almost out by 182 7.
Not so co-incidentally, 1827 was the year that the
area destined to be Mineral Point was settled. It was a sort-
of multi-national action that included an English-American
with a Baptist bent, Elder William Roberts, who built a
cabin and preached in "Jerusalem Park" while a German,
Christopher Law, was a neighbor in the valley that became
Shake Rag Street. Cornish came along a little later.
The shape of future ups and downs was formatted
even in those early days.
Boom No. I was red-lettered in 1828 when nearly
5,000 tons of lead were extracted from area mines. That
was up from a mere 200 tons in the preceding year. But it
was black-bordered within another year when lead prices
dropped.
The ebb-and-flow of mining continued for nearly
eight decades. It peaked in 1917 when nearly 60,000 tons
were produced to support the first World War effort. Am-
erica spent its lead reserves in WW I just as it depleted its
oil reserves to float the Allies to victory in WW II.
Mr. and Mrs. John Hood became Mineral Point's
"first family" by building a cabin near Shake Rag in the
subsequent "government springs" cul de sac.
Erasmus Wright built a store. Competitors John D.
Ansley and John F. O'Neill challenged him. In 1829, Dan
(father) ands Peter (son) Parkinson built a hotel.
The good times rolled. Pioneer style "urban sprawl"
led to haphazard growth. During the first boom, the settle-
ment's population reached probably 1,000 to 1,500 although
some say even 3,000.
When the good times slowed, population was
affected, too. The first bust saw it shrink to 300.
There you have the pattern.
You can see blossoms of good times nipped in the
bad times like rosebuds that come out too early during Wis-
consin's unpredictable Spring.
Those "rosebuds" reached an early maturity in 1915

2
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

when High Street teemed with dry good stores, groceries,


meat markets, drug stores, jewelers, hardware dealers, furn-
iture emporia, and two banks that had survived their
predecessors' embezzlement and/or economic reversals.
You can see the area economy grow, glow hot and
blow cold through a myriad of enterprises including the
ultimate Zinc Worlcs that became the largest plant of its
type in the U.S., possibly the largest in the world.
You can see it come back after reversals, regenerate,
and build on its past with tourism, arts, crafts -- even a
stable industrial base plus business services and suppliers.
Call it a model for community survival and you will
be right.
To paint the broad picture and establish a perspec-
tive, the following chronology traces -- in brief -- of
Mineral Point's "ti.me-line" from before its begirming up to
1997.
It is not completely detailed but, hopefully, it is
com-prehensive enough to help you place the transpiring
events in context and in contrast with the old times and
these times.
1600's
Frenchmen explored area, found crude Indian surface mines
and fire pits. Nicholas Perrot, first miner, worked near
Dubuque.
1753
English succeeded French as area's predominant people
(except for Indians).
1825
Federal government, after making land deals with two
tribes but not Winnebagos, issued 69 permits for legitimate
mining in area.
1827
Henry Dodge and family settled 011 Indian land at
location between current Mineral Point and Dodgeville.

Big lead vein hit at "mineral point" near current depot.

GENERALLY ACCEPTED DATE OF FIRST


SETTLEMENT IN MmERAL POINT.

3
Would 've, Could 've. Should 've

1827 coot.
Elder William Roberts, a Baptist preacher, built cabin near
Jerusalem Springs. Christopher Law, a German, built in
area that became Shake Rag. The mix of nationalities, with
Comish to come, was significant.
1828
Population of area that had been estimated a 200 in 1825
was reportedly between 1,000 and 3,000.

FIRST BOOM WITH INCOl\1ING WA VE OF MmERS


SAW CITY GROW with mainly temporary housing
because of federal policy to lease, not sell, mineral rights.

Erasmus Wright built log-cabin store at "mineral point."


1829
Federal government issued 4,25 1 permits for mines plus 22
for smelters.

Dan and Peter Parkinson built hotel at the burgeoning


"point."

John Hood and family become first settlers.

FIRST BOOM GOES BUST with Black Hawk War and


National Financial Panic that cut price of and demand for
lead. Point-area population declined to 300.

Interest in farming increased as mining waned.

John D. Ansley and John F. O'Neill opened stores.

Wisconsin's fust "non-Indian" school established m the


Mineral Point area.
1830
MINERAL POINT DESIGNATED IOWA COUNTY
SEAT (Apr. 2). First session of County Board convened.

Grist mill constructed in city as farming develops in area.


1832
SECOND ECONOMIC BOOM follows Black Hawk War.

4
Would 've. Could've. Should 've

1832 cont.
First official land survey conducted in Point rural area.

1834
Federal government established land office in Mineral
Point. More than 800,000 acres were sold, about 75 per
cent to speculators. No land was sold in Mineral Point,
however, because there was no official plat available.

First Methodist Church congregation organized.


1835
Belmont selected as site for first session of Territorial
Legislature.

Work started on first Iowa County Courthouse in Mineral


Point.

Charles Bracken conducted first "legal" survey of 80 acres


in city.

Copper mining started but proved unprofitable.

Federal law authorized establishing banks in Wisconsin


Territory. One of first three was the Bank of Wisconsin-
Mineral Point.

First brewery established m Mineral Point but it closed


shortly.

CORNISH Ilv1MJGRANTS ARRNED, mainly from Chad-


bourne and Redruth, bringing skills in deep mining.

St. Paul's Church organized, first services conducted by Fr.


Samuel Mazzuchelli.
1836
First Iowa County Courthouse completed in Mineral Point.

Henry Dodge sworn in as Territorial Governor in


ceremonies held July 4 in Mineral Point.

Madison selected to be the capital of Wisconsin.


5
Would've. Could've. Should 've
1836 cont.
Western Iowa county cut off to form Grant county.

Garret Vliet and George W. Harrison hired by city to com-


plete official plat. This was in response to federal
demands.

Bank of Mineral Point chartered.

Episcopalians met as mission church.


1837
George W. Featherstonhaugh described Mineral Point in his
oft-quoted, un complimentary diatribe.

Miner's Free Press, Mineral Point's first newspaper, was


published but was moved to Galena, then returned and re-
established three years later.

Mineral Point Tribune published first issue.

Spur highway constructed connecting Mineral Point with


the Military Road.

Mineral Point government organized as a "borough."


1838
Vliet-Harrison completed first official survey.

Rash of road building connected Mineral Point with Janes-


ville, Rockford, and Galena.

Point reverted from "borough" to "unincorporated."


1839
Presbyterian Chµrch organized. Members built house of
worship on High Street that was ultimately sold to Knights
of Pythias. Building was later Epworth Hall, then razed.
1840
For the first time the number of farrners in the area equalled
the number of miners.

After a fourth examination in August of the Bank of


Wisconsin-Mineral Point fo llowing three "whitewashings,"

6
Would've. Could've. Should 've
1840 cont.
inspectors found that the vaults were empty and the
operators had fled carrying cash and negotiable assets. A
posse followed the fleeing owners, recovered the funds.

Banks were prohibited in Wisconsin from 1841to1853.

First St. Paul's Church was constructed.


1843
Mineral Point City Band organized, founding a continuing
musical tradition in the city.
1844
MINERAL POINT INCORPORATED AS A VILLAGE.
1845
Trinity Episcopal Church meeting held in courthouse.
1846
Southern part of Iowa County lopped off to form Lafayette
County.
1847
Federal govenunent sold lead mines outright for the first
time.

Mining declined from high in 1843 when 24,325 tons of


LEAD were produced, going into doldnuns from which it
never recovered until ZINC became the ore of choice.
1848
LEAD MINES PLAYED OUT ALMOST COMPLETELY.

Wheat farming boomed.

Congregational Church -- first called Primitive Methodist,


now United Church of Christ -- organized.
1849
ABOUT ONE-FOURTH OF MINERAL POINT'S POP-
ULATION LEFT FOR CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH. The
departees, most of whom returned, included John Ross,
William Tilley, Alexander Turner, Henry Butler, Oscar
Paddock, "Sailor" Vance. Point served as "staging area"
supplying transients passing through from the East.

Cholera plague killed four to seven Pointers every day.

7
Would '>-e, Could 've. Should 've

1849 cont.
First Board of Health in state was organized in Mineral
Point in response to cholera epidemic. Its members --
Samuel Thomas, Eber Polk, and P. W. Thomas -- were
credited with stemming the disaster.

J. Lanyon and Brother launched their highly successful


foundry that, for many years, supplied their patented mach-
inery to miners throughout the U.S. At its peak, the foun-
dry was one of Wisconsin's major industries. It declined
only when mining declined.
1850
The firm that ultimately became Mineral Springs Brewery
built first plant.

City's first fonnal school system was organized.


1851
ECONOMIC RECOVERY in the area was, for the fust
time, based on agriculture.

Mineral Point Railroad organized. Work was started, then


stopped by foreclosure and bankruptcy.
1853
Washburn and Woodman -- Cadwallader and Cyrus, re-
spectively -- established bank in Mineral Point.

County approved bonding for Mineral Point Railroad with


understanding that the company would meet all future
finan-cial obligations. The failure of the company to do so
became another factor in the relocation of the courthouse to
Dodgeville.

Lanyons started water mill and plow manufacturing works -


-- along with foundry -- that was steadily expanded until
forced out of business by pressures of the Civil War.

1854
First warehouse built in Mineral Point for buying and
selling fann produce. It also served farm implement
dealerships.

8
Would've, Could've, Should 've

1855
First petition circulated seeking move of courthouse from
Mineral Point to Dodgeville. Although supported by 1,300
signatures, it was tabled by a Pointer-dominated committee
in the State Legislature.

Trinity Episcopal Church building consecrated.

Cornerstone laid for St. Paul's Catholic Church which was


completed and occupied in 1860.
1856
Washburn-Woodman liquidate their interests in the only
pioneer Mineral Point bank that operated and closed
without causing any losses for their depositors. The Iowa
County Bank replaced Washburn-Woodman operating
under direction of L. H. Whittesley for one year when he
formed a partnership with Joel C. Squires, a state bank
comptroller. Squires became sole owner in 1861 .
1857
MINERAL POINT INCORPORATED AS CITY. Charter
prescribed a separate school system.

Scientist T. S. Allen predicted area lead mines would devel-


op into "greatest in the world" if given adequate financial
support.

Mineral Point Railroad began service on June 15 over the


33-mile route to Warren, IL. Passenger depot constructed.
1858
Proposal to move courthouse from Mineral Point to Dodge-
ville was resubmitted to voters in November and adopted
by a 350-vote margin.
1859
Supervisors appoint committee to prepare for building a
new courthouse in Dodgeville but Mineral Point stopped
further action by obtaining an injunction from the State Su-
preme Court.

TI1ere were 800 permanent buildings in Mineral Point, half


of them made of stone or brick.

9
Would've, Could 've. Should 've

1860
Fonner Black slaves, the Early family, settled in Point.
1861
By a vote of 2,310 to 2,157, voters on April 2 directed re-
moval of the courthouse from Mineral Point to Dodgeville.
All officials' offices and their records were transferred to a
temporary location in Dodgeville on July 2. CoWlty Board
met in the new, but unfinished Dodgeville courthouse in
same month. New structure was designed by Ernest
Wiesen of Mineral Point.

Iowa County Bank, the continuation of Washburn-Wood-


man -- buffeted by depressed land values and "wild cat"
money -- became the second Mineral Point bank fai lure. B.
F. Thomas, however, maintained operation and the W&W
reputation, by persisting for three years in order to pay off
all liabilities in full.

Grist mills proliferated as city's businessmen focused in-


creasingly on attracting farm trade.
1866
Iowa County Democrat founded.
1868
Mineral Point bought old courthouse for $6,300 to use as
City Hall.

Farm implement dealers sold more than 1,000 seeders and


cultivators plus 1,400 reapers and mowers.

Second Ward school constructed.


1869
Cornerstone laid for First Methodist Church.
1870
St. Mary's Catholic Church organized.
1971
Stratman Carriage Works cited for production of quality
rigs.

Mineral Point Cotton Works produced twine, yam, and


carpet warp until impacted by shortage of raw material.

10
Would've, Could've, Should 've

1873
St. Mary's parish school and rectory completed.
1874
William T. Herny organized new bank.
1878
Tornado struck city and area.

Charles Gillmann rebuilt brewery at head of Hoard (now


Shake Rag), renamed it Tornado Brewery. It was later
named Mineral Springs.
1880
The Milwaukee Road purchased Mineral Point Railroad.
1882
State Chief Geologist Thomas Crowder Chamberlain
pointed out importance of ZINC, rather than lead, as the
most desirable product to be found in area mines. This
started the modem era of Mineral Point mining.

Local citizens raised $35,000 as capital to support construc-


tion of the Mineral Point Zinc Company.
1885
First National and new Iowa County banks organized.
1890
Feasibility study started for pulp and paper mill.

Capital fund of $35,000 raised to develop woolen mill.


1891
Capital fund of $100,000 raised among Mineral Point bus-
inessmen to construct pulp and paper mill.

Zinc Company provided power to city for street lights.


1892
Woolen Mill reportedly producing at full capacity with I 00
per cent sales .

.MINERAL POINT DECLARED TO BE ONE OF THE


WEALTHlEST CITIES IN WISCONSIN.

1893
David Benton Jones, with brothers Thomas and William

11
Would \ ·e. Could've. Should 've

1893 cont.
Arthur (W.A.) purchased and expanded the Zinc Company,
raised capitalization to $400,000, positioned operation to
create the largest oxide factory in the world drawing sup-
p lies from local mines as well as those in other states and,
finally, from Mexico.

MINERAL POINT SUSTAINED ANOTHER SETBACK,


however, because of a national economic crash. Ore prices
remained stable but paper mill, which had barely started to
produce, failed.

Congregational Church building completed.


1894
Zinc Company imported workers from Sicily, adding a new
ethnic factor to city's demographics.

William T. Berny's private bank failed, a victim of money


market fluctuations. Joseph P. Gundry named receiver.

New, First National Bank chartered in July.

Woolen Mill received major order for skirts, cashmeres,


and flannels from Marshall Field's, Chicago.
1895
Iowa County Bank established by James W. Hutchison.

Woolen Mill smokestack blown down, replaced.


1897
Fire on May 7 ravaged seven buildings on High Street.
Volunteer Fire Department organized. It was composed of
80 men equipped with a $1,200, 14-man, hand-and-chem-
ical engine capable of throwing a 3/8-inch stream 150 feet.

Mineral Point Zinc Company affiliated with New Jersey


Zinc.
1899
Zinc Company converted abandoned Paper Mill building
into a sulphuric acid plant.

12
Would 've. Could've. Should 've

1899 cont.
Dairying industry started in city with three cheese factories.

All-night street light service begins. Mineral Point Electric


Company added transmission lines to provide power to
nearby rural customers.
1901
First National Bank robbed, robber captured.

Asbestos factory, capitalized in Mineral Point, was merged


with similar Iowa and Minnesota firms, then all were
moved to New York.
1901
Independent company sold rights for rail connection be-
tween Mineral Point-Highland to Zinc Company, route
completed, service began as Mineral Point & Northern.
1905
New high school completed. (Later converted to grade
school, middle school, closed in 1996, sold to developer for
conversion to condominiums ..

tvfINERAL POINT BOOMED. Cement sidewalks laid, 25


new homes constructed, population estimated at 3,500,
many local businessmen invested in mines.

First National Bank started construction of new building at


comer of High and Chestnut streets.
1906
Badger Rubber Works took over building formerly
occupied by Mineral Point Woolen Mills; produced
vulcanized fiber-board for use in electrical machinery.

Of 2 12 mines operating in Southwestern Wisconsin, 100


were in close proximity to Mineral Point.
1907
Rubber Works suspended production because of fiscal pro-
blems associated with First National Bank.
1909
City rocked by bank failure, national depression.

13
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

1909 cont.
Number of mines declined from 112 to 88 because of in-
creased cost of sophisticated equipment that small operators
could not afford.

First National Bank closed permanently on October 11.


Phil Allen, Jr., cashier, ultimately sentenced to 10-year tenn
at Leavenworth, KS.

Farmers & Citizens Bank, established as First National's


successor, moved into latter's building at corner of High
and Chestnut streets.
1910
Badger Rubber Works reopened as Ross Rubber Manufac-
turing Company, making belting, packing, tubing, fruit jar
rings, plumbers' supplies, AUTOMOBILE TIRES, ETC.
1911
Fire destroyed Badger Rubber Works plant. It was not
rebuilt.
1914
Ownership of mines concentrated down to seven corpora-
tions of which Mineral Point Zinc was one. Total produc-
tion increased to 31, 115 tons compared to 23, 109 in 1909
when more, but smaller, mines operated.

Mineral Point Bottling Works started by Walter Groth and


Willard Noble who ultimately sold to Albert Appert.
Business was closed in the 1980's.

MUNICIPAL BUILDING C01\1PLETED on High Street,


occupied by city council, other officials, police, library, and
theater.
1917
Responding to demands of World War I, the Zinc Works'
production set all-time records. Similarly responsive, the
mines produced nearly 60,000 tons.

U.S. Supreme Court, in landmark decision, absolved all


officers and directors of the First National Bank of any
liability or complicity in conjWlction with the failure.

14
Would 've. Could've. Should 've
1918
With the end of World War I, zinc prices dropped and pro-
duction declined to 41,000 tons in 1919, to 21 ,000 in 1920,
and to 3,200 in 1921.
1920
Small broom factory operated on Point's south side.
1920
Two small cigar factories functioned on High Street;
several farms grew tobacco for them.

The national depression reduced demand for all products.


The Zinc Works was forced back to "dead center." The
"boom" that the mines and processing had sustained for 40
years was all but "busted."
1922
Lower ward school abandoned.
1923
First cutback in rail service: run suspended permanently
between Mineral Point and Warren, IL.
1924
Wisconsin Power & Light purchased Mineral Point
Electric. WP&L subsequently acquired the Wisconsin
Service area of Interstate Power Company, established the
district office at Mineral Point, bought Gundry building for
headquarters office, became major economic and social
factor in the community.
1925
New high school completed on Ridge Street where it func-
tioned until 1996 when it was replaced by a new middle
and high school complex. In 1997, the old school began a
new life as a private enterprise office building and activity
center called Point Place.
1926
Canning company started in Mineral Point, operated until
shortly after World War II.
1927
MJNERAL POINT CENTENNIAL of founding was
celebrated with four-day pageant at Fairgrounds, daily par-
ades, displays of antiques, and homecomings. Attendance
included 6,000 visitors daily.

15
Would \ ·e. Could 've. Showd 've

1928-29
Good times in mining rolled for the last time. Zinc Works
operated at capacity, employed 200 men, produced 350 bar-
rels of oxide daily. But virtually all of the ore processed
was imported from Missouri and Old Mexico because area
mines were running out. The Mineral Point Zinc Company
closed all of its local mines in 1928.

So much ore was imported that the federal government des-


ignated Mineral Point as a "port of entry" and stationed a
full-time customs agent in the city.

The first out-movement of the Zinc Works was taken when


the sulphuric acid plant was dismantled and its production
moved to DePue, IL.

THE GREAT DEPRESSION HAD, INDEED, HIT


.MINERAL POINT, months before hard times were
experienced throughout the nation.
1930
Oxide plant closed at the Zinc Works.

New Jersey Zinc announced plans for Mineral Point plant's


closure "for an indefinite period ohime. "

Service was suspended on the Mineral Point & Northern,


rolling stock was sold and dispersed, rails were salvaged for
junk.
1931
Twice-daily passenger service suspended between Mineral
Point and Monroe.

McCormick family support of effort to convert Mineral


Point to a "midwestem Williamsburg" ended when city
council permitted construction of a steel-storage building
on Shake Rag.
1932
Farmers & Citizens and Iowa County banks merged to be-
come Consolidated Bank of Mineral Point in preservation
move but effort failed, new bank closed in July.

16
Would've, Could've. Should 've

1935
Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum started Pendarvis. initiating
the "tourism mode" in Mineral Point.

Search for new bank succeeded in recrmtmg Farmers


Savings fro m Edmund to headquarter in Mineral Point. It
was located in the former First National-etc. building.
1937
WP A workers completed swimming pool at Soldiers
Memorial Park.
1938
D, M. Morgan purchased and consolidated The Iowa
County Democrat and Mineral Point Tribune.

Hope Lutheran Church organized.


1940
Max and Ava Fernekes moved to Mineral Point from
Milwaukee, pioneering the city's "arts and crafts mode."

All rail passenger service to city switched to "mixed" trains.


1944
Burgess Battery leased former Gorgen building on High
Street. Plant was closed in late l 960's.
1945
Hope Lutheran Church members, who had been meeting in
Legion Hall, moved Oak Park cheese factory to location
near Water Tower park and converted it to church.
1947
Nelson Muffler opened branch plant in former cannery
building, employed four persons.
1961
Mineral Spring Brewery closed.
1968
Farmers Savings Bank sold to W.R. Redmond and Johnson
Greedy who, in 1974, sold to present owners.

New grade school constructed.


1970
Neal and Hellum sold Pendarvis complex to State
Historical Society of Wisconsin.

17
Would 've, Could 've. Should 've

1971
Mineral Point Historic District is first in Wisconsin to be
listed on National Register of Historic Places.
1980
The Milwaukee Road abandoned Mineral Point branch,
end-ing all rail service after more than a century.
1983
For all practical purposes, mining was totally over as an
area industry.
1991
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cleaned up the
Zinc Works area, erasing forever the remnants of the great
Mineral Point industry by cleaning up what had become an
environmental eyesore of eroding slag piles. Steps were
taken to clean the stream that had been polluted for gen-
erations.

Mineral Point's population was between 2,000 and 2,500, a


level it had maintained for more than 50 years.
1994
Nelson Muffler expanded in city's Industrial Park in
building that covered 125,000 square feet with work force
of about I 72 persons.

Main Street Program initiated.


1995
Wisconsin Power & Light moved from High Street to
newly constructed facility on Shake Rag Street overlooking
the brewery.
1996
New middle school-high school complex opens at
northwest comer of city.

This "time-line" is not -- nor is it intended to be -- a


complete chronology. It is aimed only at setting the stage
so you may place, in general, the events that are covered in
subsequent chapters.
The chronology also contains the names of some of
the individuals who have contributed to the corrununity's
successes and failures. Some of these merit elaboration.

18
Would've, Could've, Should 've

One of the early "lows" in Mineral Point's many was


a commentary of an individual with an almost unspeakable
name who made some almost unspeakable observations.
The individual was George W. Featherstonhaugh
who visited the community in 1837.
He returned to his native London where, in 1841, he
published his diary entitled A Canoe Voyage Up the Mina-
Sota.
In part, he wrote:
"Mineral Point... built upon the edge of c coulee...
an exceedingly miserable place... built there, apparently,
on account of a small rivulet which is a branch of the
Pecatonica River. It contained two, filthy looking taverns.
Food was expensive, tasteless, and unhealthfid.
"The population seemed quietly to have resigned
itself to an everlasting and unva1ying diet of coffee, rice,
treacle [molasses], and salt butter -- morning, noon, and
night -- without any other variety than that of occasionally
geuing a different cup and saucer.
"Mineral Point's citizens were dull and had but two
interests, mining and [land} speculation. In fact, the village
was a complete nest of speculators with workmen follow-
ing in their train: traders in their traces selling goods and
provision -- plus doctors, to give physics and keep board-
ing houses, and lawyers -- all trying to get a living out of
this motley and seedy population."
Featherstonhaugh found mining methods "unso-
phisticated and, with few exceptions, superficial. Diggings
were quickly exhausted and diggers flocked to another
quarter."
He concluded:
"A more dreG1y and melancholy place than this
Mineral Point I never expect to see again."
C. W. Butterfield, in his 1881 History of Iowa
County. (reprinted in 1996 by the Mineral Point Historical
Society), indignantly denounced Featherstonhaugh as "an
irresponsible meddler... evidently an erascible personality
imbued with vasty notions ofhis own merits and ability. "
Featherstonhaugh was featured in the historical play
that was planned as an annual July 4 feature but presented
only twice.
19
Would 've, Could've, Should 've.

Mary Kate Tews, who scripted the presentation


called "Shake Rag," made Featherstonhaugh a lead charac-
ter, standing as a candidate for admission into Heaven, con-
fronted by Mrs. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton with positive
facts about the city.
Mrs. Hamilton was the 80-year-old mother of
William Hamilton and the widow of noted Alexander
Hamilton. She was visiting her son in Mineral Point.
Whether she or Featherstonhaugh ever met makes
little difference. What does make a difference is that she
was the epitome of grace and charm, making a big social
splash (according to the WPA history).
Featherstonhaugh was in Mineral Point as a
geologist, specifically to check on the area's copper mining
potential. He was representing some interested
Philadelphia capitalists. He found, accurately, that the
copper deposits were scattered and not worth much.
He exercised a dual pleasure: stating his
professional opinion and his personal aversion to John
Ansley, who was promoting copper. The ensuing negative
report was dam-aging enough to get Ansley jailed for
misrepresentation.
In the play, Featherstonhaugh recanted his opinion
about Mineral Point. But that was only in the play.
William Rudolph Smith, a lawyer and politician
from Philadelphia who settled in Mineral Point in 1838,
disagreed with Featherstonhaugh saying "the city is
delightful." In his Wisconsin Hist01y that stressed
economics and politics, he accepted the rough-and-
readiness as typical of the times.
Mainly what Featherstonhaugh failed to anticipate
was the basic quality of the men and women who settled
the area. They included tradesmen, lawyers, doctors,
invent-ors, and entrepreneurs who came with vision,
courage, and enthusiasm that was commendable, even
though sometimes misdirected and ill-advised.
They came also in generational waves of aggressive
and indomitable leaders with trusting followers who
dedicated -- and sometimes wasted -- time, energy, and
money for projects that again and again looked great but
stumbled -- except for the Zinc Works.
20
Would 've. Could 've. Should 've

There were the likes of Henry Dodge, John Gray,


Montgomery Cothren, Calvert Spensley, and Joseph Gun-
dry. There were Amasa Cobb, Geoge Cobb, William T.
Henry, Phil Allen, Sr. and Jr, the Brewers, the Hutchisons,
the Lanyons and -- up to more recent times, Bob Neal,
Edgar Hellum, Dr. Harvey Huxtable, D. M. Morgan, the
lveys, Bert Bohlin, Max and Ava Fernekes, Harry Nohr,
and dozens more whose names arise in connection with
other activities.
There are mixes that this writer will not attempt to
sort out comprehensively.
For example: Neal and Hellurn are generally
credited with prompting the city's "tourism" but Morgan
was promoting "the Berkshires of Wisconsin" long before
Bob returned from London.
For another: Max and Ava Fernekes are called the
launchers of arts and crafts colonization but Harry Nohr had
his bowls on tour with Smithsonian and Harry was
preceded with similar recognition by Ena Eunice
Hutchison, daughter of the banking family, who was cited
by Smithsonian in 1894 as one of the top I 00 artists in the
U.S.A.
Some were mayors like Benjamin J. Bollerud and
George Branger.
Bollerud served a number of terms. He wore "ante-
bellum" vests, custom made by a Mt. Horeb tailor, adorned
with a log-watch chain. He frequently said that "when I go
to a state meeting of the League of Municipalities, I want
them to know that not only is the Mayor of Mineral Point
on hand, I want them to know it is Mayor Ben Bollerud."
Bollerud's long reign as Mayor ended in a loss to
Branger in a closely contested campaign that closed with a
Democrat-Tribune feature that asked each candidate the
same pointed questions about their plans for the city and in-
cluded their answers verbatim.
At the inauguration, Bollerud blamed the newspaper
as being responsible for his defeat to which Branger
replied, "They didn't help me either."
New leadership was demonstrated in 1996 when the
new middle-high school complex was dedicated.

21
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

It was a hotly contested referendum that approved


the enabling bonding but on platform with Dr. Jeffrey M.
Gruber, system superintendent were both advocates and
loyal opposition: Steve Gorder, Michael J. Marr, Marla
Mitchell, Dr. Eugene J. Hohler, Richard J. Gribble, Edward
A. Kane, and Joseph Palzkill. No cold shoulders. It's
settled, let's get on with it.
The point is: Mineral Pointers came and come in all
shapes, sizes, dispositions, and ambitions. The same is
likely in your town.
Early Point builders, by chance, put the Cornish
stamp on local architecture although they preceded the
mass influx of Cornish men and women by a few years.
James Cathis and Richard Thomas, for example,
came from Cornwall in 1842-43. They started cutting stone
in the style that persisted to the 19SO's and '60's when one
of the last, "Uncle" Charley Curtis , still practiced. Carbis
and Thomas worked on the original Pendarvis buildings.
Curtis -- who was also a favorite of Frank Lloyd Wright --
helped Neal and Hellum preserve Pendarvis.
Mineral Point had its share of racial and social de-
velopment, too.
There was always a mixture of nationalities but the
people from Cornwall were the first to become a majority.
The depletion of mines in Cornwall, Devon, and Wales --
combined with the prospect of riches in new mines in
south-western Wisconsin -- lured the Cornish.
What's more, their skills were needed. The Cornish
were experts in working deeply underground.
The Cornish formed a distinct enclave, clustering in
more-or-less isolated groups. They were not as gregarious
as a lot of the early, "wild west" type of pioneers but they
stamped their nature on the community for all time.
The Cornish zest for seeking rich lodes almost did
Mineral Point in when gold was struck in California.
At the peak of the gold rush in 1849, some 60
wagons left in a single day.
First to leave were John Ross, William Tiller, and
Alexander Turner. They, and others, followed a circuitous
route via Galena, down the Mississippi to New Orleans, by

22
Would 've. Could 've, Should 've

boat to the Panamanian Isthmus, overland to the Pacific,


and finally by ocean steamer to California.
Three who took a unique way were Henry Butler, a
carpenter; Oscar Paddock, who had money; and a sailor
named Vance, who knew boats. They put together a 30-
foot-keel by 7-foot-beam boat near what it now the Mineral
Point depot. They had the vessel carried by wagon to
Galena, floated it down the Mississippi to New Orleans
where they took on supplies. They cast off without benefit
of clearance papers. Shortly they were captured by a
Spanish gunboat and the Mexican coast guard. They
escaped, slipped up a river they thought led to California.
Instead, it led to a trader who bought the boat, paying
enough to finance the rest of their journey. No record of
their striking gold. No record of returning, either.
In all, about 25 per cent of the total Pointer popu-
lation 33 per cent of the miners. and 50 per cent of the
Comish rushed to the West. Most returned. Most had left
their families behind. Most came back a little wiser but a
lot poorer.
They returned to an area devastated by a cholera
plague that had killed an average of four to seven area resi-
dents daily. The plague was halted by counter-measures set
up by Mineral Point's -- perhaps Wisconsin's -- first Board
of Health composed of Samuel Thomas, Eber Polk, and P.
W. Thomas.
William Arthur Jones, a Welshman, headed the
Mineral Point Zinc Company in 1864 after a career in
education and banking. Needing strong and willing hands,
he imported laborers from Sicily, thus adding another
national-ity to the local scene.
Until the Italians, Mineral Point had no "minorities"
except for the Early family who, with possibly one other,
was Black.
Walter Goldsworthy, a Barreltown native and a rec-
ognized historical authority in Three Rivers, WI, recalls
that Ed and Effie Early, children of either escaped or freed
slaves, attended Mineral Point schools. The senior Early
ran a har-ness repair shop. Son, Ed, worked for the Zinc
company, moving up to a responsible position in the firm's
New Jersey offices.
23
Would 've, Could 've. Should 've

Another Black, Goldsworthy remembered, lived in a


cabin up a valley paralleling what is now Hwy. 151 .
Named "Nigger Henry," he lived his life doing farm work.
Blacks were not segregated. Italians were,
They lived on the far south side, kept to themselves
by choice and by invisible force . Many Italians will tell you
that they preferred this life style. It helped them maintain
family ties and traditions.
The segregation gradually broke down through the
public schools, however. Italian and non-Italian competed
for academic honors, cooperated as members of athletic
teams. Many were standouts in all endeavors.
The fading "color line" was shattered when, in the
late 1930's, Vito Galle married Phyllis Lightbourn and the
couple took up residence in the central part of the city.
In due course, the segregation was forgotten.
Italians established successful, independent businesses,
won leading political offices, and succeeded to top
leadership in many areas.
There have been a few Jewish families, the most
memorable being the Meads. The father, Sam, ran a
grocery, backed a furniture store, and was an expert in the
stock market. llis daughters -- Rose, Bess, and Shirley -
excelled scholastically and socially. His sons -- Morris,
Art, and Billy -- were outstanding students and athletes.
There may have been undercurrents of prejudice in Mineral
Point but there was so little that the children. Art especially,
were surprised and unprepared for the problems they faced
in the "outside world." All persevered and each had
successful careers.
But Mineral Point was not prejudice-free. There
was a time when the Ku Klux Klan was so active that it
owned a building on High Street -- the old, now razed
Epworth Hall -- as its headquarters.
The KKK, at least once, burned a cross on Mineral
Point hill for all Saturday night shoppers to see. Many "old
timers" still feel the chill of seeing that.
Blacks were a remote target.
The late Clay Schoenfeld recalled that his father, as
minister of the Congregational Church, annually sponsored

24
Wouid 've, Could've, Should 've

a week of evangelistic services conducted by a Negro


preacher from the South.
The KKK felt obliged to remonstrate by sending a
delegation to the Congregational parsonage where several,
all in robes and hoods, confronted the Reverend
Schoenfeld. At the high point of their threats, Reverend
Schoenfeld recognized a familiar voice. Calling him by
name, he said, "Mr. _ _, I want to see you in church next
Sunday." Denuded of their anonymity, the delegation
slipped quietly away.
Without races to challenge, and with generally
amicable other local ties, the KKK targeted Catholicism.
Eventually the novelty wore out. The robes were
stored away in Epworth Hall lockers to be seen for the last,
ignominious time when the building was born down to
make 'way for a vacant lot.
Typically, early history mentioned few women.
Matilda Hood was the exception. A somewhat complete
review of women's activities is found on page 152.
In a word, during its 150 years, Mineral Point has
run the gamut and overcome racism, sexism, and
intolerance. Like most of the rest of successful America,
intolerance generally disappeared as social progress
improved.

25
H1ould 've, Could've, Should 've

Henry Dodge James Duane Doty


Photographs counesy State Historical Society of Wisconsin

The two dissimilar rivals


in pre- and post-statehood politics
were not as unlike in appearance
as they were philosophically.
About their only area ofagreement
was that neither wore the beards
customary in their competitive days.

26
Would ·ve . Could ·ve, Should 've

A CAPITAL LOSS
The BIG ONE got away

YOU DON'T NEED MUCH IMAGINATION to envision


Col. Henry Dodge and James Duane Doty pushing and
shoving for political position during the October, 1836
session in the Supreme Court building at Belmont.
This was just one of many confrontations but it was
probably the most far-reaching of all they had during their
lifetime rivalry. They had been jousting, in either fact or
mind, long before Dodge took his oath of office as the Gov-
ernor of Wisconsin Territory on July 4, 1836 in Mineral
Point. Actually, they were rivals almost since Doty was the
first non-Indian to ride horseback with another explorer and
their native guides from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien in
1818.
It was no match at Belmont. The backgrounds of
the two had prepared the way for Doty to win and Dodge
to lose.
Doty had been casing the state, accompanied by
friendly Indians, since the year that Dodge, as a Colonel of
the Iowa County Militia, was preparing for battle with un-
friendly Indians.
They were diametric opposites. Dodge came to
Wisconsin from Missouri to seek his fortune by mining
lead. Doty came to Wisconsin from his home in upstate
New York to seek his fortune in real estate. Politics was
mostly a "side show" for Dodge. It was "center ring" for
Doty.
Alice Smith, who was chief of research for the State
Historical Society of Wisconsin, in her book James Duane
Doty, Frontier Promoter. described his first visit:
"Along the rough road. .. pack on back, plodded a
tall, gaunt y outh. Jr was late summer, a blistering
hot season, but it was not the August heat that
produced the ashen face, the sunken eye, the
lagging gate ofthe solitary wayfarer. Here was a
victim of the scourge of the frontier, fever and ague.
Mastering his fatigue, he pushed on doggedly,
driven by his determination."
27
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

Clearly, Doty knew what he wanted. He had coolly


calculated his future, according to Miss Smith. "carefully
weighing the presumable advantages of the various states
before choosing Wisconsin. "
Doty's first trip to Wisconsin was part of his contin-
uing education. He was a member of Michigan Territorial
Gov. Lewis Cass's exploratory party. Forty-two men in
four canoes crossed the lakes and up the Mississippi to
Prairie du Chien. 111ey then moved, in smaller canoes to
expedite por-taging, across Wisconsin to Green Bay. In
effect, Doty was Cass's press secretary, reporting the party's
progress in dispatches to the Detroit Gazette. Thus he was
not only basking in the good light of politics, he was
polishing his public relations skills and personal image.
"During this expedition, " Miss Smith wrote, "Doty
learned more about negotiating with Indians while ob-
serving Cass who was an accomplished administrator and
dealer."
Miss Smith also noted, "The tour was a preview for
Dory of the area where he was to serve the greater part of
his life as a judge, governor, and representative to Con-
gress ... and over whose destiny he was to exert, during the
next quarter century, an influence that was probably
greater than ofany other individual. "
In his comparable early days, Henry Dodge was
growing up in Missouri Territory. He had emigrated there
with his parents from his birth city of Vincennes, IN.
Just as Doty's career began as a teenager, Dodge
was appointed a county sheriff when barely of age. He
served in that capacity until Missouri became a state.
He grew to manhood in an atmosphere of Indian
warfare while discovering lead and working in lead mines.
At the start of the war between the United States
and Great Britain, he raised a company of volunteer
cavalry. He performed so distinctively that he was
promoted through the ranks by President Monroe to Briga-
dier General. Subsequently he rose to Major General and
Marshall of the Missouri State Militia, positions he retained
until migrating to Wisconsin in 1827.
In addition to fighting Indians and British, Dodge

28
Would 've. Cculd 've. Should 've

earned his bread and butter in mining, smelting, and salt


manufacturing.. He dabbled in politics as a member of
Missouri's 1826 constitutional convention. He continued in
all but the salt making after moving north.
His timing for moving to Wisconsin was just right
for continuing as an Indian fighter. Dodge arrived just a
few days before the Winnebago War erupted. He was at
once chosen to conunand the lead miners' forces at Galena.
With a body of 30 men, he developed key, block-house
fortifications at Galena, Mineral Point, Gratiot's Grove, and
New Diggings.
Between the two Pecatonica rivers, Dodge encoun-
tered Chief Winneshick's braves who were en route from
the Wisconsin River to the mining region. After a brief
skirmish, the Indians fled but Dodge's force captured Chief
Winnishick's son who, after his father's death, became
Chief of the tribe.
Using the captured young Winnishick as a guide,
Dodge trailed the band to the Winnebago camp. There he
negotiated a treaty.
In October, 1827, Dodge settled himself and family
between Mineral Point and Dodgeville at a site where
Indians had been extracting lead from shallow pits. He set
up a smelter and resumed his Missouri life-style.
Dodge had a dual association with Indians of the
area. On one hand, he exchanged gifts, conciliated, and ne-
gotiated treaties. On the other, in keeping with the times,
he organized to fight: using arms he "somehow" obtained to
train volunteers. He did, indeed, fight and -- also in tune
with the times -- literally stole Indian land for mining.
In the History of Iowa County, Peter Parkinson, Jr.
wrote of hearing "the old General relate the circumstances
of cajoling Indians, fighting Indians, using Indian lands
without consent from either Indians or the federal govern-
ment -- all the while emitting some of the fire that was no
doubl kindled in his memory. "
His use of Indian property brought a representative
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs all the way from
Washington to urge Dodge to move peaceably off the land
he was occupying. After he refused, the official threatened
to have troops throw him off.

29
Would've, Could've. Should 've

Parkinson said Dodge's answer was, "Let them


march from Prairie du Chien, sir. With my miners, I can
whip all the sore shinned regulars stationed at Fort
Crawford."
In 1829, Dodge was elected by popular ballot to be
Colonel of Militia and Chief Justice of the County Court.
This was the first move toward the civil organization of
Iowa County. A delegation was dispatched to Detroit to
seek official approval from Governor Cass because the
action was taken during an unofficial, mass meeting. This
led to the first head-to-head confrontation between Dodge
and Doty with the latter favored as one of Cass's fair-haired.
Parkinson's essay about Dodge continued:

"In 1831, General Dodge was elected to the Terri-


torial Legislature but, owing to the threat of war
with Blackhawk, could not attend.

"Instead, he was placed at the head of all forces


and movements for the defense of our country...
families were secured in forts ... all the men who
could be armed and mounted were put in the field.

"With this force, never numbering more than 100,


Dodge was constantly in the field, scouring the
countryside.from the Four Lakes to the Rock
River... securing protection from the Sacs, Foxes,
and Winnebagos.

"No serious damage was done until June 14 [1832]


when the Spafford family was massacred near
Wiota. Two days later, Dodge's force of 21 men
overtook the band and killed all 17 during the
Battle ofthe Pecatonica... with only three militia
casualties. "

The skills he demonstrated catapulted Dodge into


new prominence. Immediately he was appointed by
President Jackson to command two regiments of Dragoons
and assigned to "explore, visit, and negotiate peace treaties
in the Rocky Mountains. "

30
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

After three years, he returned to Wisconsin to


become Wisconsin's first Territorial Governor. He held the
position until Wisconsin achieved statehood.
Subsequent to statehood, he was a U. S. Senator for
two terms.
Dodge's service as an Indian fighter was the
gateway to all these political plums. Once bitten, he
aspired in politics as avidly as he sought satisfaction from
the Indians.
While Dodge carved out his political career using
hammers and steel wool, Doty was gliding along using
scalpel and fine-grained sandpaper.
Doty took advantage of his youthful connections
with the Cass administration in Detroit and with his
broader, White House connections in Washington, D.C.
Doty picked plums of patronage and literally paved his
highway into the future along those lines.
Reference to "highway" is deliberate because among
his political and exploratory achievements was Doty's lay-
out of the Military Road between Green Bay (Fort Howard)
and Prairie du Chien (Fort Crawford) by way of Portage
(Fort Winnebago). He was involved, a couple years later,
in planning the road between Fort Howard and Fort
Dearborn at Chicago.
Parenthetically and ironically, Doty's assignment
from Washington to work on roads was a "moral" victory
for Dodge. As an Easterner, Doty's transportation prefer-
ence was for waterways rather than highways. Dodge, a
land-lubber, liked overland routes. This was only a philo-
sophical issue that probably neither recognized or, if they
did, found it pale when compared to their other divisions.
Of greater symbolism, demonstrative of their dis-
similar natures, were their respective reactions to their
major appointments. At the time Dodge was elected to the
Territorial Legislature in 1832, he was too busy to attend
because of the exigencies of the Indian uprising at home.
On the other had, Doty dropped everything, borrowed
money, and trekked to Washington to further solidify his
political prowess.
Their respective family trees were additional
evidence of differing backgrounds: Doty's traced back to
the Mayflower, Dodge's was just plain nondescript.
31
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

Doty attended an exclusive Eastern academy.


Dodge sweat out his formative years tilling Midwestern soil
for lead.
Doty enjoyed the graces of society that placed him
and his family on an esteemed social pedestal. Dodge had
no choice but to accept his lot, grubbing for livelihood.
Doty could have remained in his native New England, snug,
smug, and safe in a staid, comfortable, established environ-
ment. Instead, he left the easy way and drove himself on a
disease-stricken plunge into the wild ntidwest. Unlike
Dodge, he had a choice.
H. Russell Austin, in his book The Wisconsin Story,
tells it like it was:

"The politics of the Wisconsin Territo')' were a


Virginia reel in which two opposed figures stepped
forward. The two were Henry Dodge, rough and ready
Democrat of the mining region, and Jam es Duane Doty.
suave, elegant, and shrewd federal judge at Green Bay, a
Whig in sympathy. "

Doty and Dodge fought each other constantly for the


two top political offices of the Territory, that of Governor,
appointed by the President of the U.S., and of delegate to
Congress, elected by the people. In the ensuing 12 years,
Dodge was Governor for eight and delegate for four. Doty,
of course, was just the reverse.
The two men, despite their family genes, were
similar physically. Each was a six-footer. Each looked
pioneer-rugged. Each stood proudly erect. Out of keeping
with the times, neither had a beard.
Without doubt, each genuinely detested the other. It
is a wonder that their rivalry did not conclude with a duel,
especially in view of Dodge's vitriolic personality.
Dodge was a John Wayne-style frontiersman. He
was painfully honest and frankly direct. He was cut out of
a one-of-a-kind mold, as Austin put it, "a successful
sheriff.. when a sheriff had to draw fa stest and shoot
straightest. "
Austin wrote further: "He had a keen mind and a
tongue bathed in anger..

32
Would 've. Could've. Should 've

"He could outswear any mule skinner.

"He frequently carried a pistol in his belt, as was


common on the frontier.

"Once, while Governor, he left a wicked looking


Bowie knife under his pillow in a Milwaukee hotel, much to
the horror of the chambermaid who made his bed, and to
the delight of his political opponents.

"Dodge could defend himself well enough with his


bare hands. A grand jury in Missouri was once rash
enough to indict him for treason because he joined Aaron
Burr's abortive expedition against Mexico. Dodge an-
swered their summons. peeled offhis coat. and floored nine
of the jurors with his fists . The rest fled. The indictment
was thusly squashed."

The electorate knew about his refusal to accede to a


federal order to get off Indian land where he was mining
despite the threatened use of federal troops to oust him. No
wonder he was a popular favorite of the lead region's
miners.
But there, in contrasting opposition, was Doty.

Austin wTote:

"He had a veneer of courtly manners, polished


speech, and ingratiating smile. Underneath, he was ambi-
tious, ruthless, opinionated, self-willed. sly, and un-
scrupulous.

"He was one of the slickest grafters and lobbyists in


early Wisconsin politics. Even a partner, Gov. Stevens T
J\1.ason of Michigan, called him a 'calumniator [malicious
li01) and swindler."

At age 25, Doty was appointed by his D.C. friends


to hold his first federal court session at Green Bay. That
was in 1824. He presided over that court for eight years.

33
Would've. Could've. Should 've

He frequently travelled by horseback from Green


Bay to Prairie du Chien and Mineral Point to hear cases.
Dodge and Doty tangled at one of these sessions
when the former appeared as a litigant, belted with his
usual pistol and Bowie knife. Then-Judge Doty openly
criticized Dodge, claiming that the show of weapons was
intended to intimidate the proceedings. Dodge denied the
charge and, according to Austin, never forgave the affront.
The comparison could go on for pages but the de-
tails get in the way of this account as to why Madison
became the capital.
The denouement arose in the selection of Belmont
as the site for the first session of the Territorial Legislature
on October 23, 1836.
The choice was Dodge's first mistake, according to
William F. Thompson in Wisconsin, A History. The
selection was made because Dodge sought to do a favor for
the man promoting Belmont as a townsite.
Accommodations at Belmont were perhaps ade-
quate to the taste and eyes of an outdoorsman and Indian
fighter, used to the hardships and discomforts of a field
campaign -- but hardly suitable for the kind of men who
comprise a legislature.
Around the so-called capitol were clustered a few
other crude buildings including a tavern, two grog shops, a
printery, three lodging houses, and an unfinished stable.
Criticism of Dodge ran rife. It reached Dodge's ears
and roused his temper. He hadn't counted on the desire for
creature comforts of the 13 members of the Senate and 26
members of the House of Representatives. Nor of the
lobbyists whose number included James Duane Doty. Un-
doubtedly Doty encouraged the critical clamor.
One of the delegations, significantly from Green
Bay -- Doty's "home town" of the moment -- wrote: "Our
whole delegation lodged in one 11-by-20-foot room and
OUR LOBBY FRIENDS ROO:MED WITH US (author's
caps)." Another delegate said the bill of fare at the tavern
left much to be desired, adding "empty stomachs may make
clear heads but not good laws. May the Lord deliver us
from a set of hungry legislators."

34
Would've. Could've. Should 've

Doty, always the opportunist, moved to make the


most of a bad situation good for his personal cause. He
had, even before the session, confided by letter to a friend
in Washington, "I think we can make something happen out
of this."
Also, before the session, he had tilted the see-saw in
his favor by promoting a clause in the "organic act" that es-
tablished the Territory that the Governor could select only
the temporary seat. The permanent capital had to be de-
termined by a vote of the legislature. Doty was confident in
his ability to sway the vote.
Mineral Point was one of several under consid-
eration. Others, in alphabetical order: Belmont, Cassville,
fond du Lac, Green Bay, Helena, Koshkonong, Madison
(a/k/a City of the Second Lake and City of the Four Lakes),
Platteville, Portage, Racine, and Wisconsin City. Since
Iowa was still part of the Territory, Dubuque was also
mentioned.
Doty had hedged his bets by putting Green Bay on
the list, but his blue chips were elsewhere.
Alice Smith, in her Doty biography, revealed how
well he prepared for the shootout at Belmont. "He had set
out from Green Bay for Belmont on a chilly October
morning -- as Doty, the land speculator."

Accompanied by a former teacher, newspaperman,


and sometime surveyor (name not given), he camped first at
an outcropping overlooking Lake Winnebago. There he
\ laid out the townsite of Clifton.
Following the Military Road, he paused again at a
point about 18 miles south of Portage where they laid out
another village. That was probably Kentucky City, later
named Dekorra.
Thirdly, they moved to the northwest side of Lake
Mendota, not by coincidence into the only cabin there. It
was occupied by Michael St. Cyr and his Winnebago wife.
It was not mere coincidence because, by registration at the
Green Bay land office, DOTY WAS ALREADY ONE-
THIRD OWNER in partnership with a friend, of the very
land on which St. Cyr was squatting.

35
Would've. Could've, Should 've

All told, Doty and associates owned some 1,000


acres of swamp land among the four lakes.
While in the Madison area and before proceeding to
Belmont, Doty staked out a village between the fourth
(Mendota) and third (Monona) lakes. In honor of the late
President -- who just happened to have belonged to the
"right" party -- he named it Madison City.
Finally, at Belmont, Doty wheeled and dealt. Astute
at finding weaknesses, he found many of Dodge's men were
not above making a deal with the devil when the terms
were right. He persuaded some reluctant delegates to
accept deeds "to some choice, Madison City, lots."
Doty and Dodge sparred during the uncomfortable
42-day session at Belmont.
Dodge, belatedly, realized the implication of the
clause that required a legislative vote to select the capital
city. He sought to have it rescinded and failed.
Came the 43nd day of the Belmont session.
By a vote of 20-19, Madison City was selected.
Some older, sports-minded readers will recall the
1927 boxing match in Chicago that pitted Jack Dempsey,
an unrefined slugger, against Gene Tunney, a college-
educated, ex-Marine boxer.
Dempsey, striving to regain the title of "heavy-
weight champion of the world," stormed to an attack that
knocked Tunney, semi-conscious, to the mat. But the
slugger did not go to a neutral comer as rules required. In
the confusion, Tunney was able to rest on the canvass for
14 seconds instead of being counted out in 10. He got to
his feet, backpedalled while clearing his befogged brain,
and boxed his way to another decision.
In a way, at Belmont you had Dodge -- the
Dempsey-type slugger, up against Doty -- the clever,
Tunney-type boxer.
The boxer was the winner.
Mineral Point lost.
The die was cast for l 00 years.

36
Would've, Could've, Should 've

The devil was in the details of confirming the selec-


tion. It was within Dodge's power as Territorial Governor
to exercise a veto. He didn't. It was also within the U. S.
Congress' power to direct recission. It didn't.
But the Dodge-Doty feud -- and Doty's dirty doings
-- continued.
For example, using his Washington "pull," Doty got
himself appointed to the three-man capitol building
commission in charge of work to be done in Madison.
The commission had a $40,000 appropriation.
The money disappeared, no capitol was built, and
Doty refused an accounting. Investigators found that Doty
was in partnership with the contractor hired to build the
structure and was in a position to share the profit.
Dodge, by then a delegate to Congress, introduce
legislation to authorize another investigation. He wrote a
friend saying, "I have been nailing Doty. Nothing saves
him but the influence of his friend, Daniel Webster, has
with President Tyler. I shall keep a good lookour while I
am here, and will make Mr. Dy [DotyJ a heavy weight for
Tyler to bear before I am done."
In the meantime, back on the home front, Doty
drove another nail in the Mineral Point coffin by arranging
to charter a bank in which he had an interest. The bank
failed, sticking its hard-working miner-depositors with a
loss of $200,000.
At long last, the first Madison legislative meeting
was held Nov. 26, 1836. It was held n the basement of a
hotel because the capitol was not finished.
Dodge delivered an address in which he called for
improved tax measures and investigating wildcat banks.
He also petitioned Congress for $250,000 to improve har-
bors and river ports.
Fate intervened when William Heruy Harrison died
shortly after he was elected President. Doty's good friend,
John Tyler, moved up from the Vice Presidency,
Doty, by then a delegate to Congress, asked for and
received the appointment to replace Dodge as Territorial
Governor.

37
Would 've. Could 'i:e. Should 've

Doty's administration was so controversial that


Dodge and many others sought to have him removed. Even
Doty's friendship with President Tyler could not save him.
but his replacement was still "in the family." Tyler
appointed Doty's Eastern friend, Nathaniel P. Talmadge.
When James E. Polk was elected President, he reappointed
Dodge.
Statehood, advocated by both Dodge and Doty was
finally achieved. Because of this appointment, Dodge --
who had been the first Territorial Governor -- became the
last, with the privilege of presiding to usher in statehood.
Dodge and Doty had similar personal and family
lives.
Dodge was especially dedicated to his family and
they to him. He and his wife, the former Christiana
McDonald of St. Louis, were married 65 years. They
parented 13 children of whom nine lived to maturity.
The strength of their family ties was demonstrated
by an anecdote in the WPA Story of Mineral Point. It said
when friends urged l\1rs. Dodge to seek refuge during the
Blackhawk War, she responded, "My husband and two sons
are in the forces between me and the Indians. I am safe as
long as they live. "
Henry Dodge died June 19, 1865 at age 84, less than
three months after his wife died at age 80. Each died at the
home of their son, Augustus C., in Burlington, IA.
Doty was married 42 years to the former Sarah
Collins of Westboro, NY. Their honeymoon was a west-
ward business trip to Detroit and on to Mackinac where her
23-year-old husband laW1ched his career as a federal judge.
She, too, had great faith in her husband. She re-
jected the sympathy of her Eastern friends who, as Alice
Smith put it, "were sorry that she was leaving her family
and them to winter west of Lake Michigan."
With her workaholic husband, Sarah did not enjoy
as many of the homebody experiences that were Christiana
Dodge's. Even so, Sarah never complained, admitting only
that ''Mr. D is always going or coming."

38
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

The Doty family consisted of two sons and a


daughter.
In the penultimate stage of his career, Doty was
appointed by President Lincoln as Territorial Governor of
Utah. Stricken by a heart attack, he died JW1e 13, 1865, in
Salt Lake City.
After burying her husband in Salt Lake City, Mrs.
Doty returned to live out her life with her widowed
daughter in Wisconsin. She died February 21 , 1871.
The Dodge-Doty era saw Pointer area influence
exerted right up to and inside the White House. Although
Dodge lost the capital, there were frequent flashes of
Pointer power in high places for many years.
Moses Meeker, William R. Smith, Moses M.
Strong, and Daniel Parkinson were pivotal persons in the
quest for statehood.
Henry Dodge was one of Wisconsin's first two U.S.
Senators.
Strong was a speaker in the Assembly during the
third state legislature, and Amassa Cobb succeeded him
before moving to Washington as a Congressman.
Cadwallader C. Washburn was elected to three
terms in Congress while still living in the District. He had
moved out, however, before his election as Governor.
But the presence of Mineral Pointers in high places
of political power did not continue after the Civil War.
That lack of influence has been accompanied by a
deatth of political favo rs.
Despite the yoeman efforts of elected officials
repre-senting the area, there are many examples of neglect.
Highways are an example.
It is a credit to the people of Point that the city has
managed without extensive governmental "pork."
Looking back, realistically it might have been a
little difficult to locate a capitol in Mineral Point. But the
hills that might have stood watch over the seat of
Wisconsin's government could hardly be worse than the
traffic management mess caused by Madison's isthmus.

39
~ ·~ ~
Q ~ f.Q"'rm'l'! "ti:
.,-
.<•
~
"~
fo..
~
()

"~
~-

The Iowa County Courthouse, as it stood in Mineral Point,


was significant as the seat of early government -- and as
an architectural departure from typical "western" buildings.
Photo courtesy Mineral Point Room
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

'COURTING' WAS GOOD


Until voters rejected the 'suitor'

THE LOST "BATTLE FOR THE COURTHOUSE" was


the second of the one-two punches that knocked Mineral
Point out of the governmental headquarters business.
In a way, the whole issue was connected to adj ust-
ment of the Wisconsin Territory from the way it was
established in 1830. At that time, the Territorial Legislative
Council isolated all of the lead-bearing lands south of the
Wisconsin River and designated them Iowa County, Michi-
gan Territory.
Shortly, President Jackson appointed Robert
Dougherty Justice of the Peace for Iowa County~ James P.
Cox, Sheriff for Iowa County; and Henry Dodge, Chief
Justice of the Iowa CoWlty Court. Each was from Mineral
Point.
The community's initial role was thusly detennined.
Three months later -- April 2, 1830 -- Mineral Point
was officially designated the Iowa CoWlty Seat where a
new court for Western Michigan would sit once a year.
President Jackson, in this action, also named another
Mineral Point "hall of famer," Levi Sterling, as deputy clerk
of the U. S. District and its Circuit Court.
All this boded well for Mineral Point but
subsequent actions did not.
First shape of things to come formed in December,
1836, when Territorial officials lopped of the western part
of Iowa County to ultimately form new Grant County. At
the same time, they gave part of eastern Iowa County to
Dane and Green COWlties.
An even more significant geographical move was
made in 1846 when the Territorial Legislature formed
Lafayette County out of the southern portion of Iowa
County. Nobody really noticed then but Mineral Point's
location in the central part of Iowa County was no longer
centralized. Nine years later, however, a lot of people saw
that Dodgevi11e, while only eight miles north, was much

41
Would 've, Could've. Should 've

more centralized. This was the genesis of the


"Courthouse War."
In the meantime ...
There was no courthouse for the first Iowa County
Board meeting in May, 1830. The Court and Board rented
a private Mineral Point residence for its initial session.
In keeping with the times, the County needed a jail.
The County Board first bought a small structure for $50. It
was not a good deal. The Board had to spend another $50
to repair the building but it was still inadequate. So the
Board ordered it tom down and an entirely new jail was
erected. Residents used logs from the old one to build a
blockhouse at Fort Jackson in May, 1832.
The first Iowa County Courthouse was erected in
1835-36.
Typical of Mineral Pointers' traditional support for
community projects, locals subscribed $575 to help defray
costs of construction.
The result was a 24-by-24 foot, two-story, square
timber, hewn log structure with a wood shingle roof. It was
on the village square, generally in the area occupied by the
1997 "Opera House," nee Municipal Building.
Encased winding stairs connected the two floors.
The courtroom, with eight-foot ceilings, was on the first
floor. In it were a judge's bench, a seven-foot-long table for
lawyers and clerks, plus seats for the jury. A window
opened into this room.
On the second floor, with seven-foot ceilings, were
four rooms. One had seats for jurors. The others were for
county officials
Floors throughout were made of 1-114-inch oak
planks over oak joists. The ceiling on the second floor was
also oak planked.
The new jail was nearby, a one-room log building
with a single, barred window.
The first of essentially an ultimate three structures
served only two years. Supervisors moved in 1838 for
improvement with installation of laths and plaster on the
walls of both floors along with wainscoating, lath-and-
plaster on the first floor ceiling, residing, and new shutters

42
Would 've. Could've. Should 've

In another four years, 1842, they decided to build an


entirely new edifice.
The result was dedication, in 1844, of a buff, locally
quarried, sandstone building with a pitched roof and an
impressive, wide, decorative facade.
Five steps led to the front porch with fluted, two-
story columns. There was a cupola atop it all housing a
large bell. The cupola was not completed until 1857.
The courtroom was on the second floor.
The jail, overlooked in the initial and fancy design,
was built like a log cabin, except for a lining of iron plates,
in a comer of the basement.
Judge George Fiedler, in his book Mineral Point, A
History, observed that the new courthouse was especially
significant because it marked a change from the log build-
ings of a frontier town to a dignified, stone public building.
The permanence of the building, however, was not
indicative of the permanence of Mineral Point as the county
seat.
There were reasons, right from the start.
One, as mentioned, were the successive Territorial
Legislative acts that eroded the city's status as a centralized
location.
Another factor was the old Military Road that made
Dodgeville more accessible to northerly parts of the county.
Mineral Point, up to and including 1997, suffered from a
lack of adequate connections with the outside world, es-
pecially after the loss of railroad service.
The revision of Wisconsin's criminal justice system
that accompanied statehood, had its impact. The state
constitution directed that all of the officers of supreme, cir-
cuit, probate, and even the county sheriff, were to be elect-
ed. Appointments to these offices had generally favored
Mineral Point. The elections, in view of the shnmken Iowa
County, were not as favorable.
Most importantly -- as noted in The Story of
.Mineral Point, "residents of Dodgeville had been watching
the growth of Mineral Point with envy and dismay. Almost
unanimously they had opposed issuance of the Iowa County

43
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

railroad bonds. Though they lost that fight, they bided their
time and awaited a chance for vengeance."
The chance arose in 1855. Two petitions were cir-
culated "almost before Mineral Pointers were aware of any
danger," again according to the WPA Story of Mineral
Point.
Results were reported in February. One petition,
with 1,300 signatures, proposed removal of the courthouse
from Mineral Point to Dodgeville. The other, with 600 sig-
natures, proposed removal to Linden. Many considered it a
subterfuge promoted by Dodgeville, intended to divide
south-north county interests.
This was enough of a wake-up call for Pointers that
they organized a cow1tering petition, containing 1,200 to
1,500 names, that urged leaving the courthouse location un-
changed. The totals of the respective petitions, not
counting the one for Linden, were virtually even and
presaged the taut turbulence to come.
The appeals went to Madison where, on March 11,
they were referred to a State Senate committee chaired by
Amasa Cobb of Mineral Point. With understandable
prejud-ice, Cobb's committee refused to take any action
stating "no good object would be obtained... (we)
recommend that it (the bill) be indefinitely postponed."
This was only a delaying action. On March 18, the Senate
overrode the committee and voted to require a special
election.
The delaying action continued when the measure
went to the Assembly. There it was tabled by a 49-31 vote.
Once again, the action was reversed. Both Houses
adopted an Act in April requiring the popular vote. Copy
for the ballot was late getting to the state printer and he
erred by including a wrong date. Reprinting, in tum, was
late.
There followed a summer of intense campaigning.
It was a summer of foment and discontent.
Mineral Pointers and allies to the south, argued that
the county seat should stay put because that is where it had
been since 1829, and removal would place an unnecessary
tax burden on the people to pay for a new courthouse.

44
Would've. Could've, Should 've

Dodgers and north-coWlty residents based their


request for change on need to improve centralization and
accessibility.
Dodgeville citizens countered the cost-factor by
posting an $8,000 bond with the county treasurer to offset
the expense to tax-payers for a new building.
By a 350-vote majority in the November, 1858
balloting, the electorate directed removal to Dodgeville.
The County Board of Supervisors accepted the de-
c1s1on. In January, 1859, they appointed a building
committee to prepare plans for a courthouse and jail in
Dodgeville. Later in the year, the Board set up temporary
offices in, most offensively to Pointers, the Dodgeville
town hall.
One Mineral Pointer wrote:
"Dodgeville provoked this embittered struggle...
always acted offensively. By astute generalship and
liberality of her citizens, the superior natural advantages
of Mineral Point were relegated to insignificance, and its
officers were reluctantly forced to involve themselves in the
conflict. "
Back on their defensive heels, the Point leadership
sought loopholes that could alter, or at least delay, action,
They foillld the loophole in a technical error -- the
election notice had not been published in two county news-
papers. Judge M .M. Cothren represented the city before
the State Supreme Court.
He won, sort of.
The Court didn't say, "Don't move." It simply said
that the vote was illegal and would have to be polled again.
This set off wild celebrating in Mineral Point.
The Mineral Point Tribune on July 12, 1859, con-
tained an oft-printed "chortle."
It said:
"Our paper is a little behind-hand this week for var-
ious reasons, but we think our patrons will excuse us as. by
the delay, they get the glorious County Seat news. The
County Seat Question {is} settled. .Mineral Point Ahead.
Dodgeville Gone Under. The Pointers Jubifant. The Big
Guns Brought Out. Hurrah! Hurrah! "

45
Would've. Could've. Should 've.

A less-reported portion of the report added:

"Early this morning we received the following dis-


patch from the Editor through the hands of T J. Otis, esq.
saying 'arrived about three o'clock this morning, and in a
few minutes thereafter the whole city was aroused by the
firing of cannon, ringing of bells, and with the tin-trumpet
band marching through the different streets of the city
presenting a very grotesque appearance, making the air
ring with their huzzahs.
"Our City cannons not being loud enough to suit
our citizens, a messenger was dispatched on the train to
Warren to procure a I 2-pounder belonging to that place
and returned with it on the noon train.
"A delegation of our citizens have gone out in the
direction of Dodgeville with the Big Guns for the purpose
of giving our neighbors in the would-be County Seat a
salute. We understand our Dodgevlfe friends may look
considerably down in the mouth today, and well they may
be for the decision sounds the death knell to Dodgeville
ambition and Countyseatism. "
Tue celebrators might have been better advised to
chortle a little less and organize a little more.
As with the proverbial Mark Twain quote, "the re-
port of my death is a bit premature," so was the report of
the demise of Dodgeville "countyseatism."
The proponents of removal of the courthouse from
Mineral Point paused only a little, if at all, to lick their
wounds and resent the Pointers' ribald taunting.
Instead, they started ringing doorbells, knocking on
doors, and twisting arms in classic campaigning for the
change.
In 1859, immediately after the first, aborted order to
move, operation of county government must have been
nearly chaotic.
For example, while the appeal was pending, the
Register of Deeds moved his records to Dodgeville. Judge
M. M. Cothren, representing the city, called the Supreme
Court's attention claiming an illegal move. The Court said,
"Move 'em back!"

46
Would've, Could've, Should [ve

In 1861, the Wisconsin Legislature again passed a


law -- this one completely valid -- resubmitting the issue to
the Iowa County electorate.
The election was held on April 2, 1861.
The result:
For change to Dodgeville -- 2,319.
To remain in Mineral Point -- 2, 151.
The margin of 162 was closer than the 350 of the
first vote but close does not count in deciding where a
courthouse should be located.
On July 2, 186 I, the county records and offices of
the county officials were moved from Mineral Point.
So ended a Mineral Point era that had lasted 31
years.
But, as the WPA St01y of Mineral Point contin-ued:
"The election did not end the civil strife. It merely
shifted the battle lines ... the 'war' raged on. ..
"A major quarrel was over title to the old Court-
house. As early as 1848, Mineral Point claimed that the
land on which the old courthouse was built was in the
public domain, vested to the city as a donation from the
U.S., and that the County's title was valid only as long as
the building was the courthouse. "
This debate went on for years.
At an early stage, seeking to avoid litigation, the
City of Mineral Point offered to buy the land and old court-
house for $6,400 payable in four, equal installments. The
County countered, seeking fuil payment for the full value of
the property. Mineral Point countersued.
Finally, in May of 1868, the County accepted a
"bar-gain" offer. Mineral Point bought the square, with the
courthouse on it, for $1,500 plus $500 interest.
Mineral Point used the former County building as a
city hall with public meeting facilities and as a "sometime
opera house."
Dodgeville had moved quickly to build the new
structure.

.47
Would've. Could've. Should 've

But there was still a little of Mineral Point in the re-


placement at Dodgeville because it was designed by Ernest
Wiesen of Mineral Point.
What's more, it bears a striking resemblance to the
old courthouse.
According to Bob .Neal's History of the Court-
house, Wiesen was a man of cultivated taste ... a graduate of
the University of Berlin (who wrote and conversed in seven
languages) ... was aware of architectural trends and tastes.
He knew that the then-current era of "Greek Revival" was
popular.
Neal continued:
''The design called for a two-st01y, 85-by-42 foot
structure to be built (as at Mineral Point) of native cut
stone with walls 24 inches thick.
"An overhanging frame Doric pediment, sur-
mounted by a dome-shaped cupola, supported by four
fluted columns forming a 10-foot portico, comprised the
classic facade.
"The jail in the southwest corner was to be escape-
proof NOT LIKE THE JAIL IN MINERAL POINT (our
caps) where a prisoner once sawed his way out through the
hand-hewn logs. Two-foot thick stone walls were lined
with iron plate and an inside lining of oak planking.
"The front entrance was designed to show the
ability of Cornish stone masons... "
Wiesen won $50 for his prize-winning work. A
runner up received $25.
Progress lagged after workmen got the structure un-
der roof. The County Board had to return to Mineral Point
for two sessions before finally meeting officially in Dodge-
ville for the first time in July, 1861.
There have been three additions to the original
structure. One, in 1893, provided a judge's office and three
fireproof vaults. The second, in 1927, added administrative
offices. The latest, in 1996, is especially significant be-
cause it strives to preserve the classic lines of the original
and because it is the first named -- this after Richard M.
Scullion, long-time County Board Chairman
Finally, in 1918, the Point courthouse was razed.

48
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

Dismantling the old courthouse grieved Judge


Fiedler. In Mineral Point, A History he wrote:
"For some unfortunate reason, the people of Min-
eral Point had no interest in the historic old courthouse.
They were blind to the fact that they had in their midst an
important monument... The old limestone building was
taken down, stone by stone, until towards the end nothing
remained but the jail standing in the northeast corner. The
great hewn squared timbers, iron plates, and latticed iron
cells resisted the wrecker until they were the last demol-
ished. The [70-yearJ old building, which had been import-
ant to the community, faded into history."
The replacement was the Municipal Building,
"opera house," and library. Architecturally significant, it
continued to serve in 1997 with city offices, still the library
with its Mineral Point Room, and as an entertainment
center. The theater featured movies, stage productions,
and was the home of the Shake Rag Players. Continuing,
aggressive volunteer efforts were raising funds to restore
the structure to its original grandeur.
The accow1t of the "Courthouse War" does not end
with the move made from Mineral Point to Dodgeville. It
continues through generations.
The old tradition runs deep. The rivalry is intense
in athletic competition, in business, even in personal
relations.
WP A's StOJy of Mineral Point contains a demon-
strative anecdote that emphasizes. It surfaced at a high
school football game where Mineral Point was winning and
a Pointer was "chortling." He was silenced, however, when
a Dodgeville 10-year-old -- at least five generations
removed from the initial move -- sing-songed, "Yeah, yeah,
yeah. You won the stupid game all right, but we've got the
courthouse."
The Democrat-Tribune recently recalled in its
"From the Files " column a 1921 outbreak of the "War" in
which The Dodgeville Chronicle opposed construction of a
new road between the county seat and Mineral Point,
claiming that "the old road is good enough... it should not
be improved until taxes are reduced." The Pointer
response:
49
Would 've. Could 've, Should 've

"The Chronicle, a powerful newspaper with heavy


support in Mineral Point, is ungracious when it seeks to
block an attempt to give us one decent road connecting us
with the outside world."
As recently as the early l 960's, the author as co-
publisher of The Democrat-Tribune, editorialized in favor
of consolidating Mineral Point and Dodgeville high schools
in a new building near the Dodge-Point golf course. The
number of angrily opposing letters and phone calls was
exceeded only by the vehemence of the opposition.
In 1992, Pointers lured the J. I. Hahn Company
away from Dodgeville where it had operated since the late
1880's. A subsidiary of Chambers & Owens, Janesville,
the firm constructed a 20,000-square foot warehouse on
Hwy. 151-North.
This was a "plum" and the current Pointer genera-
tion, perhaps subliminally or even audibly, may have
"chortled" once again, and the response from current
Dodgers could have been "yeah, yeah ... "
Unfortunately, once again, Pointers may have
"chortled" prematurely. The J. I. Hahn parent company
announced in January, 1997, that the Mineral Point
operation was closing.
In 1997, Dodgeville had the massive Lands End
mail order house, that employed thousands from throughout
the area; the courthouse, the county's only hospital, and
many other thriving businesses that served the employes,
residents, and visitors at nearby Governor Dodge Park.
Mineral Point had steadily growing allied arts,
crafts, and antique shops, housing for visitors, Wisconsin
Power & Light headquarters, Nelson Muffler, and a parallel
number of thriving merchandising and service businesses to
handle visitors and area residents.
Both communities were doing very well, thank you.
Mineral Point may still have been wishing that they
still had the courthouse and Dodgeville was glad it is on
their main (Iowa) street.
But don't ever think the hatchet will ever be entirely
interred.

50
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

BANKNOTES
In Point, almost all went broke

PART ONE
The Pioneer Debacles

UNTIL TODAY'S INSTITUTIONS, all of Mineral Point's


banks, except one, fell victim to thievery, or poor
management, or hard times, or all of the above.
Until the current bank was established in 1935, each
except the second cost the people of the community dollars
and despair.
The historic exception was the second. It neither
succeeded nor failed but was liquidated after a relatively
brief and semi-profitable existence.
The worst was probably the First National although
it may have had a couple of near equals in chicanery if not
in magnitude.
In 1835, Federal law authorized establishment of
banks in the Territory.
The first was the Bank of Wisconsin at Green Bay.
inherited when the Badger Territory was sliced off
Michigan.
Seven others were chartered Three couldn't raise
required capital. Unfortunately, one of the two that were
able to raise capital immediately was the Bank of
Wisconsin Mineral :Point.
James Duane Doty, who helped move the capital to
Madison, also helped get the bank to Mineral Point. With
help like that, who needed friends.
According to the book Century of Banking in Wis-
consin by Theodore A. Anderson:
"No provisions were made for the pledge of specific
assets as collateral for bank notes, and the materials on
which bank notes were printed was pfaced under the
control of the respective bank officials. No system of
examination was established to insure that banks were
living up to their charters. "
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Would '"e. Could've. Should 've

Anderson concluded pointedly, "Thus, a director of


a bank began operations with only his conscience to guide
him." Many were lacking guidance systems.
The non-restrictions, combined with the impact of
the Panic of 1837, beclouded the Wisconsin Territorial
banks in Green Bay, Dubuque, and Mineral Point. There
was also a general distrust of banks. Gold hoarding was a
popular indoor sport.
Henry Dodge, at the time Territorial Governor
again, was among those who distrusted the banks. This
was another part of his running feud with Doty who was
pro-bank.
Doty liked and promoted banks. Dodge didn't like
either one. As a Jacksonian Democrat, he wielded enough
power to spur investigations of the Mineral Point bank.
Tim Kelly, in Good As Gold, a commemorative
book sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Association,
said:
"Dodge's politically motivated suspicions were
borne out in fact when government receivers took over
assets of the Bank ofMineral Point in 1841."
The bank was seized only afier three Dodge-
directed examinations. The first and second, in 1839 and
'40, found the bank "in a solvent and safe condition."
Examination said "it is able to pay all debts and liabilities."
Even the third, according to the WPA Story of
Mineral Point, virtually whitewashed the bank by making
no mention of solvency.
But in August, 1841 , the State Supreme Court
named two receivers who personally called on the bank,
took possession of the keys to the property, and found
empty vaults.
Not only had the managers suspended payments
against their stock issue, they had issued notes in amount
three times their chartered, $200,000 capital.
Further, the bank's cashier, his brother, and a teller
were long gone. Their trail was still traceable by a posse
who followed them from Mineral Point to Rockford where
a most imaginative capture occurred.

52
Would've. Could've, Should 've

The posse, according to the WPA book, found


Samuel B. Knapp -- the owner who had fled with his
brother and the cashier -- in a hotel. He was surrounded by
meager belongings that included five or six books.
Knapp is said to have welcomed his captors pleas-
antly. He made no attempt to escape or resist. Agreeing to
return to Mineral Point, he asked only that he have a few
minutes alone with his friend, John A. Brown, editor of the
Rockford Pilot. After the visit, captors and captive returned
to the Point.
After they had departed an alert Rockford citizen
thought that it was odd that Brown had gone into the room
empty-handed but left laden with books.
The books were sequestered. William Ban.ks was
sent back from Mineral Point to Rockford. to look for them.
He broke open their sealed pages whereupon $96,776.75
spilled out in the form of cash, certificates, drafts, notes,
and bills of lading for lead. These assets were returned to
Mineral Point and Knapp was bound over to court on a
charge of embezzlement.
The story of thievery did not end at this point.
William Banks, who had brought the money back from
Rockford was deputized and sent to St. Louis, MO to nego-
tiate for the return of other assets. But he disappeared,
never to be heard from again.
Most financiers agreed that even though the territor-
ial banks were mismanaged and violated their charters, they
would probably have failed anyway,
Not only were they victims of managerial thievery,
they were up against "the times." Their notes had to be re-
deemable in gold to be acceptable, yet the communities
they served needed notes in excess of the ban.ks' gold
reserves .
Thus the banks were doomed by striving to finance
the early development of Wisconsin.
Mineral Point's loss, according to an estimate by
Moses M. Strong, was at least $200,000. Some notes were
redeemed at 50 per cent but many subscribers realized only
10 cents on each dollar.

53
Would 've. Could 'vt. Should 've

The 1881 Hist01y of Iowa County had this version


of the fiasco while covering public meetings held to de-
nounce Knapp's conduct of the bank's business.
At one of the meetings, Strong made a bitter speech
that prompted Knapp to demand satisfaction, at the same
time drawing two pistols, the history said. Strong demurr-
ed, stating that he did not care to kill Knapp much less run
the chance of being shot himself.
The 1881 Hist01y had a slightly different and
somewhat more lurid description of the bank closing, how-
ever, saying:
"... General dissatisfaction became so great that
official examination... began to be mooted. "When Mssrs.
Knapp, and Brace heard of this they quietly fold-ed their
tents. locked up the bank, and stole away."
The 1881 History said the trio fled toward Galena
with the Pointer posse hot on their trail. It had Knapp
carrying "two volumes of Dicken's novels." It also said an
Iowa County deputy sheriff, J. P. Tramel, took the books
from Knapp and found notes and bills of exchange worth
"not less than $50,000 pasted in the fly leaves."
The 1881 Hisr01y confirmed that "one W. F. Banks,
who had been in the posse, was deputized to go to collect
on the securities." It added, "Banks turned out to be the
greatest rogue and, by his conduct aptly illustrated the aph-
orism 'there's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip' for he
never retwned."
The backlash was general and severe.
Banking was prohibited in Wisconsin from 1841 to
1853,
As the years Wlfolded, it might have been better for
Mineral Point if banks had been banned forever -- or at
least until the latter part of the 1900's.
As soon as a new state law permitted resumption of
banking again in the Badger state, another young man in a
hurry -- Cadwallader C. Washbwn -- burst on the scene.
He joined forces with equally ambitious Cyrus Woodman.
Unlike their predecessors, they were honest.
The pair started, like many Mineral Pointers, in the
East.

54
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

Washburn was from Maine. Woodman was a Har-


vard man. They had been in business together down East.
Every reference describes Washburn as a "man with
a burning ambition to become known as a man among
men." With a moniker like Cadwallader, that seems
reasonable.
Some of Washburn's previous audacious investment
schemes had alarmed Woodman but he could not resist
joining in trying to take advantage of the opportunity
opened in 1853 by Wisconsin's new bank law. Both Wash-
burn and Woodman believed that this was a way to get rich
fast.
Together, from various resources, they raised a
required $50,000 in bonds and securities. They established
the first bank in Wisconsin since Territorial days July l,
1853.
In many respects, the Bank of Mineral Point was a
branch of Washburn's bank at Hollowell, l\1E. Through
convoluted shuffling of papers, operations in Wisconsin
were intertwined with similar facilities in Indiana, Illinois,
and points South, as well as Maine.
With the demand for capital in the new State of
Wisconsin so great, it was possible to charge interest rates
on loans as high as 50 per cent. Sometimes more. No
usury consideration in those days.
No conununity services, either. A bank was meant
to make money -- for the bankers. Although Washburn was
anxious to build his own wealth, he nevertheless acted
enough in his clients' interests to win their confidence as a
manager and as a savvy marketer.
He also played the financial game well. According
to Tim Kelly, the profitability of pioneer banks depended
on keeping notes in circulation. If holders redeemed too
many notes too fast, the bank was drained of its assets and
put in jeopardy. Washburn staved off this problem by
issuing his notes in small denominations, circulating them
far from home so they were hard to cash in. For example,
Mineral Point notes were paid as wages to lumbering crews
from Maine who worked along the Upper Mississippi, as
far from Point as possible.

55
Would've, Could 've. Should 've

He also favored circulating in areas where paper


money was gaining acceptance as a substitute for hard cash,
thus increasing chances that the noteholder would pass the
papers on to someone else rather than redeeming them for
precious bank specie or script. Like all other banks,
however, Washburn still found it hard to keep large
amounts of notes in circulation for long.
Washburn's and Woodman's dreams of big profits
and fast bucks became nightmares during the national Panic
of 1854. The impact of this hit Wisconsin in November.
The Panic closed many banks but Mineral Point's survived
by obtaining loans in the form of script.
At the same time, the ambitious Washburn was run-
ing for Congress. A Milwaukee newspaper printed a story
saying his Maine bank had failed. The story, circulated by
rival Eastern bankers, was false but it tarnished Washburn
and Woodman's up-to-then impeccable reputation.
On top of all this, Washburn engaged in cutthroat
competition with a tycoon named George Smith, founder of
a Wisconsin insurance company and other banks. Smith
was circulating most of the paper money in the state.
Washburn wanted to have a bigger share in Southwestern
Wis-consin.
Washburn worked directly against Smith by
claiming the latter's paper was not solidly backed by gold or
securities. Smith retaliated by gathering Bank of
Wisconsin notes to stage a run on Washburn. Washburn
countered by organizing a run on a bank Smith owned in
Atlanta. GA.
Smith had staged runs that closed several Wisconsin
banks or forced them to accede to his demands. Only
Washburn stood firm. He also stood firm when Smith tried
to make peace. Eventually, Washburn not only pushed
Smith out of Southwestern Wisconsin, he pushed him into
retirement all the way back to his native Scotland.
The victory was rewarding only as a morale booster.
Washburn beat his heaviest-hitting rival, he survived the
national panic, he won the respect of his fellow man, he
even overcame some of the general public's aversion to
paper money, but he wasn't making the big profits that he
expected when he came west.

56
Would've. Could've, Should 've

In June, 1858, barely three turbulent years after they


started, Washburn and Woodman liquidated their interests.
They hadn't stolen a dime.
Until 1935, they stood alone in Mineral Point's
banking history.
It was too bad that Washburn left Mineral Point for
greener pastures because he had a bright future. When all
the chips were stacked, he may have been the best of a dis-
tinguished pioneering lot -- as ambitious and even as greedy
as others, but distinguished by honesty uncharacteristic of
his times.
Washburn went on from Mineral Point to a political
career that culminated as Governor of the State of Wiscon-
sin in 1872- 74 before he emigrated to Minnesota where he
at last found fortune as a partner in the Washburn-Crosby
Mills.
The Washburn-Woodman Bank struggled on after
the original partners' departure as the Iowa County Bank
under direction of L. H. Whittesley until 1857, and as a
partnership of Whitlesley and Joel C. Squires who, at that
time was the State Bank Comptroller.
In 1861 the same bank again changed hands into a
company headed by Squires. During the same year, it
failed because of depressed land values and "wild cat"
money. Before it was closed forever, B. F. Thomas
operated the bank for three more years. He paid off all his
liabilities in full, the doors were shut and sealed.
It was 1864. Mineral Point was without -- again.
Perhaps the people of the community were fed up
with bankers, or maybe it was just a preferred way of life
for awhile but the city got along without any banking
services for two decades.
Several private bank-types operated during the per-
iod but none was a large success or a big failure.
Only one had any real trouble.
In 1894, William T. Henry's private bank failed. It
was a victim of money market fluctuations. As of April,
1874, the facility had assets of $100,000 and liabilities of
only $70,000 but it lacked sufficient cash flow. Examiners
found it was suffering from $6, 134 in overdrafts, $20,392 .

57
Would've, Could 've. Should 've

in doubtful loans, and had only $2,361 cash on hand.


Joseph F. Gundry took over as the official receiver
on Apr. 18, 1894.

PART TWO
The Drastic Middle Years

In July, 1894, the to-be-INfamous First National


Bank was founded.
At about the same time, the privately owned Iowa
County Bank was launched by James W. Hutchison. In
addition to banking, he wrote abstracts, dealt in real estate,
sold insurance. He was very successful for a long time.
Even after the Iowa County Bank demised, the Abstract
Service continued in the same location . It was operated last
by Gordon Shepard, another of the more recent community
leaders.
The First National, capitalized at $50,000, was
larger that the Iowa County Bank, and was the only one
federally chartered.
Dr. John H. Vivian was the First National's charter
president, and -- significantly -- W. A. Jones was the first
cashier.
The Jones connection was important because, short-
ly after the First National was chartered , W. A. wrote to his
brothers David P. and Thomas, who were successful attor-
neys in Chicago. W. A. was concerned that his bank and his
banking career were in big trouble.
According to a previously unpublished (until now)
letter from, a distant cousin written to Ed Bennett of Miner-
al Point, W. A. confided that he had overextended the
bank's financial support of the Mineral Point Zinc
Company. The company was suffering financially because
the national business slump of that time had curtailed
orders and it was not able to pay off its notes. Something
had to be done or all three -- the Zinc Works, the bank,, and
W. A. -- would suffer.
David came to Mineral Point, personally assessed

58
Would've, Could've. Should 've

the situation, saw an opportunity to save two "birds" with


one loan. By investing in the Zinc Works he was able to
save both it and the bank. Concurrently, the Jones Boys
were able to take control of the Zinc Works to their future
good fortune, and Mineral Point's as well.
W. A. concluded his banking career at that juncture,
casting his career -- that had started in teaching -- into the
business of zinc smelting.
When W. A. concluded his banking efforts, he was
succeeded by Phil Allen, Jr. He continued as cashier until
promotion to vice president of the First National in 1907.
That was when F. E. Hanscom succeeded Allen as cashier.
On the surface, the First National was highly
successful.
In 1898, for example, Allen -- as cashier -- reported
a $28,000 surplus on its capitalization of$100,000.
Directors, whose names were listed on the report,
were Charles W. Mcllhon, R. J. Penhallegon, A. L. White,
Dr. Vivian, James Brown, and Joseph Gundry.
In 1906-07, First National built the magnificent
structure at the corner of High and Chestnut streets. It also
housed Penhallegon's mining company office, plus the law
offices of Spensley-Mcllhon-Priestley, and ofR. J. Jackson.
First National supported all Mineral Point
commercial and civic ventures. Allen was personally in-
volved, using bank assets, in the Mineral Point Woolen
Mills, Badger Rubber Works, Mineral Point Linen and Flax
Company, and many area mines.
There was a minor bump in the road shortly after
the new building was occupied. The bank was robbed. It
was no ordinary heist.
According to detailed accounts in the Mineral Point
Tribune on May 23, 1907, the robber climbed to the bank
building roof using a crude ladder consisting of a 10-foot
green oak pole with strips of pine board nailed across at
convenient intervals.
At a point about 14 feet above the ground, shielded
from observation by the roofs eaves, he used an auger to
noiselessly drill a 14-inch hole through the shingled roof in-
to the bank's attic. He squeezed through into the attic
where he sweat things out for an entire day.
59
Would've, Could've. Should 've

The arched roof of the bank vault extended into the


attic. Came evening, he carefully removed bricks atop the
vault, then cleared an opening big enough to access the
safe's door.
There he used nitroglycerine so skillfully that he
smashed the door and opened the safe but muffled the ex-
plosion so no sound was heard, The vault's walls were
shattered and books in the law offices were jarred off their
shelves, but not a pane of glass was broken.
All this was done under cover of darkness after
working hours on a Friday night. The intrusion was not
dis-covered until 4 a.m. Saturday when William Clark came
to work in the Spensley-Mcllhon-office. He was joined by
William Sanders. Together they notified Penhallegon, the
ban.k's president; Mcilhon, vice president; Allen, cashier;
and Hanscom, assistant cashier.
Quick police work turned up "a mysterious
stranger" as a suspect. They found he had lived at a
rooming house on Hoard (now Shake Rag) street, had
received mail from Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, and had
disappeared after leaving a note saying he would return in a
few days.
True to his word, he was found a couple days after
the robbery, walking two miles east and toward town.
By then, Charles Bell had come from Platteville
bringing a blood hound and information. Bell had lived in
Ripon. He recognized and identified the suspect as Stewart
Jelliff of Ripon. Jelliff had a record as a yegg. When con-
fronted, he readily confessed. He was sentenced promptly
despite Allen's appeal for clemency.
The bank lost $34, Spensley and Mcilhon, $13. The
rest of the loot was recovered: 84 pounds of gold, worth
$34,000, found under the board sidewalk along Hoard
street, and $4,200 in currency, found near Jonesdale.
That was the scene in the early l 900's.
Mineral Point was wallowing in prosperity gener-
ated by mining, the Zinc Works, and several industries. As
is usual, folks thought the good times would never end.
The fall of the First National brought back virtual reality.

60
Would've. Could've, Should 've

The reason for the First National's failure was sim-


ply Phil Allen.
In 1907, he was 53 years old, at the peak of his
career as a banker, community leader, pillar of his church,
and super civic promoter.
He was a born and bred Mineral Pointer. It is not
clear how the son of a successful local merchant got into
the banking business. Records do not reveal his education
other than that he was a graduate of Mineral Point schools.
Folks who knew him, liked him -- and almost
everyone knew him. He inspired confidence in young and
old alike. Like a pioneer predecessor, Cadwallader C.
Washburn he had the drive and skills. Sadly, as time told,
he did not have Washburn's conscience.
One wag said, "When they made Phil, they threw
out the mold. Maybe they should have tossed out the mold-
maker, too."
The WPA Story of Mineral Point added:
"[Allen} was well-liked, highly respected, implicitly
trusted... a Sunday school superintendent who occas-
ionally took the pulpit. It was not until deep into his
scandal that anyone even brought up a smidgeon of stain
on his escutcheon.
"He was prominent, too, in secular organizations.
He was a charter member of the Mineral Point Lodge of
Good Templars and, in 1878-80, had been the Grand
Worthy ChiefTemplar ofthe State of Wisconsin."
Rotten lemons spoil great lemonade, especially
those stirred up in shadows. Two suspicious erasures
started unraveling Phil Allen's tapestry. A bank examiner,
conducting a routine review, noticed erasures and
alterations in the certificate of deposit register.
According to the WPA story:
"The figure 'l' had been erased to make $1,300
read $300, and the figure '6' had been altered to make
$6, 100 read $ 1, 100. Then it was discovered that there
were glaring discrepancies between the certificate register
and the general ledger balance. "
Allen was confronted with this evidence, the WPA

61
Would 've. Could 've. Should 've

added. He first denied, then admitted complicity. Finally,


he confessed his sole role in the whole, nasty mess.
When the dominoes started to tumble, the effect
spread literally throughout the nation.
According to George Fiedler:
"Allen had expanded his illicit and clandestine in-
vestments of First National Bank money beyond the failed
Mineral Point woolen, paper, and rubber plants into spec-
ulative enterprises from Maine to California."
By 1909, Judge Fielder said, Allen owned more
than two million shares of stock in more than 100 highly
speculative enterprises including rubber, fiber, and textile
works; copper, silver, gold, and zinc mines; and telephone
and electric power companies.
The story of forgery, falsification of books and re-
ports, larceny, and embezzlement was both devastating and
intriguing. The devastation was, first, of the bank. Worse
was the devastation of the conununity.. The intriguing part
was how could one man have accomplished so much evil
while evincing so much good.
The records finally revealed that Allen made his
first foray into a future of financial failure as early as 1893,
shortly after he succeeded W. A. Jones as cashier. Early
on, all money-monkey business was local -- backing up a
plant that went bad.
Estimates vary about the total ultimately reached but
the WPA claimed it was more than $400,000. Other
charges in I 909 court estimates placed it even higher but
just $400,000 -- expressed in current dollars -- would rank
the First National scandal right up with any of the late
1980's Savings and Loan mismanagement.
During those nearly two decades of Allen's decep-
tion, there were only extremely isolated rumors. As a
mem-ber of his church opined, after the whole stink
pervaded the city's atmosphere, "I can't believe it. He
always gave such nice prayers."
Even in 1909, with everything that had been under
the table on the table, there was no run on the First

62
Would've. Could've, Should 've

National. The records show that some $10,000 was with-


drawn on the day the news broke, but an equal amount was
deposited.
Local residents were wont to woefully intone, "Say
it isn't so." So great was the public confidence that many
long-time customers and Allen's fellow church and lodge
members refused to believe that he was guilty until he
finally confessed.
During the week after closure, the entire community
was dazed -- almost comatose.
On the ensuing Sunday, it was horror-stricken as
well when Frank E. Hanscom, cashier and Allen's brother-
in-law was found to have committed suicide while sitting
on his father's grave in Graceland cemetery. After taking
poison, he had shot himself. It later proved out that
Hanscom was innocent of any wrong-doing with Allen.
He was simply overcome by the violation of his trust, and
possibly his failure to note the shenanigans himself.
Almost concurrently, Allen's mother-in-law died at
her home. Mrs. John Gray, age 85, died of natural causes
but she had been suffering from a severe heart condition
and could not withstand the shock.
The daily papers, even the international press, had a
field day. In fact, they went on for weeks. Clearly, this
story had all the elements of impure sensationalism. The
facts needed little embellishment but they got it anyway
from some of the "yellow" journalists.
The bank closed on October 11, 1909.
Allen surrendered and admitted guilt on Thanksgiv-
ing Day.
In December, according to The Iowa County Demo-
crat. he also implicated the Bank's president, Calvert
Spensley who, along with other directors, was subsequently
charged. All were exonerated.
Indicted on charges of conspiring to conceal assets
but also exonerated, were Allen's wife, Edith; her sister,
Addie Jackson; and her brother-in-law, Guy Rice of
Winona, .MN. The courts claimed that property listed in
bankruptcy proceedings at $25,000 was actually worth
some $527,000. The charge proved false although Addie
admitted Allen worked hard to conceal his true worth.
63
Would've, Could've. Should 've

Mrs. Allen later sued her husband, seeking to have


their property returned to her name. She said, in the suit,
that she had unwittingly signed the property over to her
husband without reading a paper which, he told her, would
help clear him of some problems at the bank.
The anguish in the courtrooms was no match for the
pain and suffering in the community.
As the WP A project reported:
"Hundreds of depositors were left impoverished.
Widows and children were robbed of their legacies. Bus-
inessmen who had sent drafts through the bank to pay their
bills were forced to pay again. When the First National
went into receivership, it had obligations amounting to
nearly $ 700, 000, most of them to residents of Mineral Point
and of Iowa County ... "
The community shuddered under the impact. Then
it cleared its head and plunged back into doing business at
the same old stands.
Allen was indicted on 26 counts. Appearing in
court "debonair and cheerful," according to the Wisconsin
State Journal, he plea-bargained them down to four for
which he accepted guilt. The four counts: embezzlement,
abstractions of money, false entries in books, and false
reports about the bank's condition.
He was sentenced to 10 years in the Federal prison
at Ft. Leavenworth, KN.
In a Milwaukee Sentinel interview following his
sentencing, Allen protested, "I am not a thief. It was just a
rush for wealth."
On his way to Leavenworth, according to one of the
"yellow" rags, he inquired about serving as a prison
chaplain. That may or may not have been true.
In Leavenworth he was a model prisoner, according
to both press and prison reports. He was not so great a
model in the eyes of the parole board. Denying him a
release in 191 3, they called him a potential menace to
society.
Ultimately he was granted two years off for good
behavior. Thus he served eight years of his 10-year term.
Allen did not return to Mineral Point.

64
Wouid 've, Could've. Should 've

He moved to Chicago where he died on April 20,


1921. The last four years of the life that began August 20,
184 7 in the town he nearly made great, then nearly broke,
ended in the Windy City.
During his last years, according to Beth Tucker
Boardman of Madison, he was a door-to-door salesman.
Mrs. Boardman, widow of a prominent ex-Pointer attorney
was 94 as this was written,. She was growing up in
Mineral Point during the Allen debacle. She remembered
that Allen cared for the less fortunate and was always
generous.
The terse report in the Mineral Point Tribune said
his remains were brought from Chicago by train and
interred at Graceland cemetery. It said Mrs. Allen
accompanied the body and returned immediately to
Chicago. No other survivors were listed.
There was only a hint of recrimination in the brevity
of the obituary. Even in 1947, the centennial edition of The
Tribune was printed, recollections of the First National
tragedy were circumspect in deference to the remnants of
relatives still living then in Mineral Point.
The failure of the First National Bank sent shock
waves around banking circles through the U.S.
In his painstaking, · legalistic coverage, Judge
George Fiedler quoted U.S. Comptroller Lawrence 0.
Murray as saying, "Allen came nearer violating every
statute in his looting than any other official of a failed bank
in the history of the comptroller's office.
Judge Fiedler also quoted from the book Romance
and Tragedy of Banking in which the author, a deputy to
Murray, said "Allen was a genius in the art of fraud and de-
ception."
Curiously, two current banking references in the
Madison public library do not mention either Allen or the
First National.
One, A Cenrury of Banking in Wisconsin, was
published by the State Historical Society .
The other, Good As Gold, was a centennial com-
memorative sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Associa-
tion.

65
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

Each had fairly comprehensive information about


the success of Washburn-Woodman.
George Fiedler, who grew up in Mineral Point and
was graduated from Mineral Point high school in l 9ll, had
a vivid, personal recollection ..
He wrote:
"Beginning with the closing of the bank... and for
nine dreary years thereafter, the receiver of the bank. .. the
lawyers... and the courts systematically and methodically
unravelled the many problems, proceeded against the
shareholders for their double liability, collected the assets,
and pressed the claims against the esrate ofPhil Allen, Jr.
in bankruptcy for the benefit of the bank's depositors and
all, despite their fuming and seething impatience... bitter
criticism... and constant carping."
On November 3, 1909, the Wisconsin Comptroller
assessed shareholders 100 per cent of their holdings and
ordered the receiver to enforce each one's liability -- in oth-
er words, pay up.
The result was a legal case that was fought right up
to the U. S. Supreme Court. Directors of the bank were
highly respected and substantial families in the city, Fiedler
observed, but the receiver filed suit alleging that they
should have detected Allen's dishonesty.
The high court's decision completely exonerated the
directors, thus negating the receiver's assessment,
In July, 1918, the receiver paid a final dividend to
the depositors. Each got back 57 cents of each dollar they
had in the bank when it closed. There was no Federal De-
posit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection in those
days.
This was not the end of bank failures in Mineral
Point. There was one more to come. The next closing was
not due to criminality, however. Just bad luck in hard times.
The Farmers and Citizens' Bank was organized to
replace the First National. It was headed by Josiah Lanyon,
Louis Graber, E. M. Bailey, R. T. Prideaux, E. C. Fiedler
and the Hutchisons, E. T. and James.
The new bank moved into the grand old First Na-
tional building at the corner of High and Chestnut. It co-

66
Would've, Could've. Should 've

existed and competed with the Iowa County Bank for a


decade.
But the mines closed, the Zinc Works was disman-
tled, 311.d the Mineral Point and Northern was suspended.
These losses brought the Great Depression to Mineral Point
two years before Black Friday hit Wall Street in 1929.
With both nation and city plunged into the econom-
ic depths, the ominous murmurs about bank instability were
heard where the hills stood watch. As Fiedler observed,
"from 1929 to 1932, the economic life in Mineral Point was
alternately in panic or at a standstill."
The stolid and solid leaders of both Farmers &
Citizens and Iowa County banks were solemnly aware of
the problem. They tried to solve it through unity, merging
as the Consolidated Bank of Mineral Point.
It didn't work. Combining two weaknesses did not
produce one strength.
The new bank's organizers were good, sincere, cap-
able people. R. C. White was the president; E. C. Pen-
hallegon, vice president; Anne James, assistant vice pres-
ident; Bert Ketter, cashier; J. P. Hutchison, assistant v.p.;
and Dorothy Huxtable, assistant cashier.
Their slogan was, "Where there is union, there is
strength." The battle cry: "cooperation."
Stockholders and depositors gathered Jwie 22, 1932
in the Municipal auditorium with every one of the 700 seats
occupied. Mayor Charles Ivey presided. Atty. E.. C.
Boardman .and Bill Hack reviewed a proposal that
included a 150 per cent assessment of stockholders, and a
15 per cent waiver of deposits.
Again, "cooperation" was stressed. Again, it didn't
work. Instead, in July of 1932, still another Mineral Point
bank closed.
One of the ironic sidelights of the Consolidated
closing concerned the "little savers" program in the public
grade schools. Periodically, little savers brought their coins,
mostly pennies and nickels, to school, handed them to a
teacher and received a credit in their bank book. The pro-
gram was to teach thrift. Instead, it taught a generation to
distrust banks. They lost their all.

67
Would've, Could've. Should 've

PART THREE
Out ofthe Ashes...

1n baseball, get three strikes and you're out. 1n Min-


eral Point three bank strikes did not end the inning. The
Pointers were not out.
Almost immediately, a search began for a replace-
ment. A search committee was formed composed of Dr. H .
D. Ludden, E. A. Soderstrom, J. E. Engels, and Alice
Collins.
One of their fust thoughts was to get the Bank of
Linden moved to Point. Didn't work. Good thing.
Linden's bank was soon to fail.
The focus turned to the Farmers Savings Bank at
Edmund. There a tough-dealing, cigar-smoking, savvy
young man -- name of L. K. Peterson -- was cashier.
The bank was stable. It met the specs of "strong,
strict, di sciplined, well-managed." It exhibited all of the
good things, had been operating since 1917, it c leared all
the hurdles.
A deal was cut in April, 1935. Still maintaining Ed-
mund as a branch, Farmers Saving defied the ghosts of fail-
ures past and moved into the old First National building at
the corner of High and Chestnut.
A picture of individuals taken at moving time in-
cluded Jerry Humbert, Point's last surviving Civil War vet-
eran who had seen virtually all of the previous banks come
and go; W. C. Skillicorn, president; Edna Bruni , a cashier;
Oscar Munster, a director; Peterson; Henry Beck, another
director; and D. M. Morgan, civic promoter.
Within a year, assets had increased from $280,000
to $658,000.
A branch was added in 1940 at Hollandale, and in
1995 at Ridgeway.
By 1944, resources topped $2 million. Leaders then
included Dr. H. D. Ludden, president; H, A. Watson, vice-
president; Peterson, cashier/executive officer; Charles L.
Ivey and L. N. Redell, directors.
A lot of this success was credited to Peterson who
had joined up at Edmund in 1927.

68
Would 've. Could've, Should 've

Peterson was not an easy grantor of loans. He ran a


tight ship but his secure bank contributed to a safe, con-
servative community. By the time he retired in 1965, his
bank's assets had grown 10-fold.
The success has continued.
In 1968, the bank was sold to W. R. Redmond and
Johnson Greedy. They sold their interests in 1974 to a
group from Lake Geneva. Redmond carried on the Peter-
son style with his own flare and, even though retired, con-
tinues active involvement in its operation.
Leaving the last monument to the sad past of Point
banking, Farmers Savings moved in 1992 from the historic
and still architecturally magnificent structure at High and
Chestnut to a modem, computerized, gleaming location a
block off High, generally behind the postoffice on Doty
Street.
As this is written, the bank that came to Mineral
Point with a little more than a quarter-million in assets was
worth well over $70 million.
The official family in 1996 included Michael K.
Keefe, chairman of the board; R. A. Nortman, president;
Mathew J. Tuss, vice president; and Mary Jo Ceniti, vice
president and cashier.
Directors were Nortman, Everett Thomas, Harry
Ivey, Redmond, and Thomas Spellman in addition to Keefe
and Ceniti.
An attribution for success was also due the folks in
Edmund who dared to transfer their holdings to the "city
from hell" or the graveyard for banks -- and to the people of
Mineral Point who took just one more chance. Good
fortune is a just reward.
As history is reviewed, with all of its banking
travail, it is reasonable to ask "why?"
Why the failures? Looks like the community in the
past was blighted by avarice and greed, and in the penul-
timate, simply by tough, economic breaks over which there
was no local control.
Why the success? Just plain courage.
With all these losses -- totaling millions upon

69
Would've. Could 'vt'. Should 've

millions in terms of today's dollars -- the town "should 've"


sluivelled up and died. Others, throughout the U. S. did
just that, becoming ghost towns or worse.
To be sure, there were three strikes on Mineral
Point's banking. But, by catching on to a reviving
economy, and latching onto a sound little bank with
continuing, strong leadership, Mineral Point went to bat
one more time -- and hit a grand slam.

70
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

INDUSTRIALIZED?
Almost, even rubber-making like Akron

THE "ALMOST" TOWN NEARLY MA.DE IT in the


1900's. But, like banking, Mineral Point's efforts to
become an industrialized town met with consistent fai lure.
Ironically, the three major industrial failures were
directly connected with the worst of the bank failures. Suc-
cess for any one of the three could have placed Mineral
Point in the vanguard of key industries throughout America
for all time, and in the same heralded rank that the Zinc
Works achieved before the mines ran out.
For example:

A RUBBER PLANT -- Mineral Point could 've


been an Akron;
A WOOLEN :rvrrLL -- could 've been a midwestem
New England;
A PAPER MILL -- could 've been Wisconsin's
orig-inal Fox River Valley.

Phil Allen, Jr. , he of the scandal-ridden First


National, was either the president or prime mover of each
of these efforts. Each of them -- either before, during, or
after he was exposed -- went down the financial tube.
Each was Widertaken initially in the 1890's, each
budded a little during the first five years of the 20th
century, and each was gone before 1910.
In a space of two decades, Mineral Point flirted with
industrialized magnificence and was rejected.
Details are sketchy about most but there is a lot in
the Mineral Point Room about the paper mill that was an
abject failure. The rubber and woolen manufacturing are
not as lucid nor as lurid in their limited success.
Each had similar beginnings.

71
Would 've. Could 've. Should 've

In November, 1890, the Mineral Point Tribune, re-


ported:
"Funds are being raised to make a feasibility study
ofa possible pulp and paper mill to be constructed here."
Phil Allen, Jr. was in charge.
It must not have been a very deep feasibility study
because on Valentine's Day -- scarcely less than three
months later -- it was concluded, "the paper mill is virtually
assured." Citizens had already raised $10,000 toward a to-
tal capitalization of $ 100,000. Even the City of Mineral
Point was in the pot for $10,000. W. H. Tower of Dela-
ware had come to Mineral Point to unveil his newly devel-
oped process for making paper pulp.
By mid-sununer, same 1891 , all local obstacles
were cleared, all capital was in place, machinery for testing
water supplies -- a sudden afterthought -- was on its way
from Cincinnatti.
The corporate organization was in place headed by
usual and familiar names: Calvert Spensley, W. A . Jones,
Richard Kennedy, Guy Cobb -- and Phil Allen, Jr.
Two funny things happened on the way to
producing paper for profitable marketing:
First, the water supply was found to be inadequate.
The big, heavy machinery kept over-heating.
Second, the market for paper products was affected
by a national depression that reduced demand some 25 per
cent.
The organization went into receivership with Allen
named the receiver.
To the entrepreneurs' credit, however, everybody
hung in there. What else could they do?
Operation finally began in May, 1893. Production,
it was reported, climbed to 10 tons daily in July -- but no-
body said for how many days. It couldn't have been many
because another shortage surfaced: there wasn't enough
pulp-producing timber in the area to keep the plant going.
They tried making paper from flax but farmers were
reluctant to grow the crop because it was too hard on the
soil.

72
Would 'e. Could 'v. Should 've

The paper "meal" regurgitated in 1897 when the


plant closed.
The building was stripped of its big, modem, costly
machinery, then sold in 1894 to the Mineral Point Zinc
Company for conversion into an expanded oxide plant. It
was, at least, convenient for this purpose located, as it was,
south of the Depot and alongside the tracks. One wall was
apparently hewn out of the rock hillside.
Court cases, demanding payment for debts incurred,
were filed long after the closure.
The fascinating fiscal fable is told in a 50-pound,
six-inch thick, almost unused ledger that reposes in the
Mineral Point Room. The debit colwnns are full, the credit
columns are virtually empty.
Investors and losers, the ledger reveals, included --
in addition to the City of Mineral Point and others cited on
page 72 - William Treweek, R. J. Penhallegon, J.P. Harris,
N. Treweek, R. A. Bishop, A. T. White, N. P. Whalen,
Brewer and Penhallegon, John Charles, John Toay, Ben
Blewett, Guy Cobb, and J. M. Hales. Virtually a "who's
who" of the entire city.
Among the plaintiffs seeking recompense was Stan-
dard Oil Company. John D. Rockefeller's lawyers were es-
pecially persistent. After all was said, SOCO collected the
last $2,480 around 1900.
Another plaintiff was John Charles, himself a stock-
holder, who was never paid for his work as the contractor in
charge of erecting the building.
Jim Jewell, while editing The Democrat-Tribune in
1982, wrote an explicit feature about the paper mill.
He reported, in connection with the water supply,
that one of the first difficulties was failure of the boilers to
deliver sufficient steam to the digesters.
Then there was the poignant note from Guy Cobb
to Calvert Spensley in October, 1894, that said:
"Cully, I made a hurried estimate of our liabilities
and make them to be $35,356.21. This does not include
overdrafts at the bank, the payroll. or L. White's bill and
there are some small, local bills that have not been paid.
Our total liabilities will run too high to justify trying to
make the concern run again. 11

73
Would 've. Could've. Should 've

Cobb was Secretary; Spensley, Treasurer of the


firm.
Phil Allen, Jr. , had an explanation. It was
"politics."
Speaking to a Young Republican meeting in the city
he said:
"If Harrison and a Republican Congress had been
elected [in I 892} instead of Cleveland and a Democratic
Congress. the widespread and disastrous depression would
have been avoided [and] the demand for paper would have
continued. "
Allen may have found some solace by blaming it all
on "politics" but any modem Economics professor would
point to more basic reasons: lack of a market survey and,
even worse, no advance study to assure adequate supplies
of water and raw materials.
The Woolen Mill and the Rubber Plant had more
success but, regrettably. there are not as many details
around about them.
The Woolen Mill got the same, rosy, start-up intro-
duction that presented the paper plant to Mineral Point.
The Tribune, on April 14, 1890, announced:
"Another new fac101y is almosr assured. ..
"A committee consisting of 1\!Jssrs. LaMalle, John
Charles, and P. Allen, Jr. has been in Milwaukee to investi-
gate a knitting works proposition and have submitted con-
clusions.
"They have looked at the success of several knitting
faciories ... and they have centered on acquiring a weaving
and woolen plant now operating near Milwaukee. 11

In due course, another committee composed of W.


P. Gundry, W. A. Jones, and W. J. Penhallegon was
appoint-ed to canvass the community about raising a
$25,000 in-vestment.
The plant they settled on was privately owned. The
owner was amenable to selling for $5,000. He was willing
to accept a balance, after paying off his indebtedness of
$1,000, in operating stock.
In a single afternoon, typical of Pointer aggression
in such matters, the committee raised $15,000 which, The

74
Would've, Could've. Should 've

Tribune said, "with what the owner of the plant puts in,
leaves but a trifling sum to raise."
The paper continued:
"There is no doubt... that those who have not been
seen yet... will gobble up the stock that is left."
The paper was right. There were eager "turkeys."
They did, indeed, "gobble."
With finances settled, construction a new building
began. The three-story, 85-by-85-foot structure rose quick-
ly in the area where a lonely smokestack -- not the original
but on the same site -- stood stubbornly in 1997 as a
memorial to the venture. It fronts a pond surrounded by an
unofficial city park to remind the few who remember what
once stood there.
The naive but eager Tribune concluded in its intro-
ductory story:
"Hurrah. Now for some other factory. Don't let's
stop here."
They didn't. Too bad.
In March, 1881, the woolen mill was producing a
variety of blankets, flannels, and similar goods.
It ran at capacity (amounts not stated) most of 1887.
It was running so well that J. W. Davis, its original
owner and first superintendent, moved on .
Sales suffered during the great national depression
of 1892 but came back, generating increased production,
with a general, economic recovery.
In 1894, W. J. Penhallegon, Secretary of the
company, reported placing 1,500 shirts, plus all the cash-
meres and flannels the mill could produce, with Chicago
buyers including the vaunted Marshall Field's.
Sales seemed to be assured through 1895 but the
original smokestack blew down in January. Work was sus-
pended while it was rebuilt.
A fire shut the works down in mid-1895 but pro-
duction came back.
Another gutted the plant in March, 1896. Plans
were made in April for another, entirely new plant. It
seems the new building was completed but continuing
success just seems to have never happened.

75
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

From that point it faded into obscurity. Was it


simply a victim of being in the wrong place during the
wrong times? Perhaps Mineral Point was not as favorably
located as the great plants in New England or the Car-
olinas. Or was it the impact of recurring national depres-
sions to which these plants are particularly sensitive?
Just what killed the mill is not clearly defined but it
did not survive long enough to benefit -- as it most certainly
would have -- from World War I.
Next on screen was the Badger Rubber Works, also
created by Phil Allen, Jr. who was its first president.
The rubber plant arose from the ashes of the woolen
mill, figuratively and literally. Figuratively because
Mineral Point needed an industry to replace the mill.
Literally, because it occupied the abandoned woolen mill
building.
When organized in 1906, the Rubber Works made
vulcanized fiberboard. It soon branched into producing
other rubber goods for use in electrical machinery.
The demise of the First National Bank forced
closure almost before production got into full sway.
Reincarnation in April, 1910 was greeted by the us-
ual Tribune effervescence that said:
"The Badger Rubber Works ... after a forced idle-
ness as a consequence of the tangled condition into which
is was thrown by Bank-Buster Allen's maneuvering, is
again a busy institwion. The new proprietors have a large
working force employed and the prospect for a rapid in-
crease in business is ve1;1 encouraging. These works will
prove a boon to Mineral Point."
The new owners as of March, 1910, included L. A.
Ross, R. G. White, and G. A. Graham.
It was renamed the Ross Rubber Manufacturing
Company. Its product line: hose for manufacturing, belting,
packing, tubing, gaskets, fruit jar rings, plumbers' supplies,
diaphragms, moulded goods, pump valves, and -- what
great timing -- automobile tires.
Then tragedy.
At 2 a.m. on March 1, 1911, fire completely des-
troyed the building that had been the Woolen Mill and was

76
Would 've. Could've. Should 've

the Rubber Plant. Firemen were handicapped in fighting


the blaze, as the press reported, "because of the untimely
hour and the plant's isolated location."
The cause of the fire was never determined.
Will Brenton, who was employed as an engineer at
the plant and who chanced to be there because the regular
night watchmen was sick, could not account in any way for
the start. There was some mystery about the point of the
begirming that was, The Tribune said, "in a nook of the
building which was seldom, if ever, opened but, for the
fateful morning it was, indeed, open."
Mssrs. Ross and White, speaking for the ownership,
said the plant was worth $30,000, not counting inventory
and work in progress. They had $18,000 worth of
insurance.
Nevertheless, arson was suspected.
Les Dunwidie, in his book about the whistles of
Mineral Point, remembered::
"There were always questions... the investigation of
the Rubber Plant fire continued for several years. Nothing
was ever proved. .. there were no official charges... "
Les as a lad on the scene, saw it all and pictured it
for his readers:
"The old rubber plant was a brick building located
about a quarter-mile south of the depot ... built back against
the hill on the east side of the valley ...
"It was a large building... one notable feature was
the tall, brick smokestack, used to supply the draft for the
large steam boiler that supplied power and heat for the
plant.
"There was a side track that switched offfrom the
main line enabling the loading of raw rubber in and prod-
uct out.
"! remember the excitement the night the plant
caught fire ... A locomotive was fired up and set offfor Dar-
lington to bring back fire-fighting equipment and help."
All was to no avail. All was lost.
The Rubber Works, and Mineral Point's future as
the U.S.A.'s Akron, went up in smoke and it was not
destined to rise from the ashes. The plant was not
reconstructed. The Company was disbanded.
77
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

Dunwidie recalled one whimsical aftermath:


"Some days after the fire, boys from town salvaged
sheets of rubber and cut them into shoe sizes. They nailed
them to the bottom of their regular shoes making the soles
a couple inches thick. "

***
OTIIER S01'v1ETIME INDUSTRIES run from "A" for As-
bestos to "Z" for Zinc Works. It is a long list that is short
on details.
According to the 1881 History of Iowa County, the
first industry of any magnitude was a foundry and machine
shop started in 1849 by William Lanyon. It operated un-till
1867.
In 1853, Lanyon also started a mill south of the De-
pot on the Mineral Point Branch river. Before it was com-
pleted, he sold it to John Robbins for crushing stone. This
was not very successful because the water-power was lim-
ited and so was the output.
Lanyon, with a partner named ''Win," started a plow
manufacturing works in 1853. It lasted two years, not long
enough to rival Peoria.
In 1860, the Lanyons constructed another mill in an
elaborately fitted, three-story building also near the Depot.
It was equipped with a 40-horsepower engine and other
machinery that was used to produce as much as 100 barrels
of flour daily. After a decade, this operation succwnbed to
the Civil War, was closed and the machinery dispersed.
Just about the most successful manufacturer was J.
Lanyon and Brother in their foWldry that they expanded
from their pioneer location to a new building at the comer
of Fountain and Vine. Two sons, John and Josiah, built a
big business making and repairing mining and milling
machinery and manufacturing their patented ore-crushers
and stone-breakers. The latter were used throughout
Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and
many other mine fields.
Another Lanyon invention was a large stone-breaker

78
Would 've. Could 've. Should 've

used to make railroad ballast. This 14,000-pound machine,


running at its full eight-horsepower, could crush 200 tons a
day. It could accept stones up to seven-by-eleven inches
and reduce them to the consistency of fine sand in a single
operation.
A smaller, four-horsepower version that weighed
11,000 pounds, could crush 70 tons in 10 hours.
All of the Lanyon products were made of chilled
iron that, according to the 1881 History, were pronounced
"by competent judges who subjected them to severe tests, to
be the best in the world." At its peak, the Lanyon foundry
was among Wisconsin's top industries The business died
when the mines ran out.
Foundry work and traditions continued well into the
20th century with the Golliner Machine and Boiler
Company. This firm was extremely successful as a supplier
of boilers to the burgeoning cheese manufacturing through-
out Wisconsin. It faded, of course, when rural cheese
factories declined and the new boilers were no longer
needed.
The Stratman Carriage Factory, launched in 1871 ,
became widely known for the quality of its rigs. As late as
1880, Stratman turned out "a double-seated, extension-top
carriage of which, it was proclaimed, "workmanship and
fin-ish would be a credit to any factory in the U.S." The
plant did not adapt to the "horseless carriage" trade, like the
Stoughton carriage makers, and ultimately faded.
The 187 1 Mineral Point City Directory also listed
the Uren and Penrose Soap Factory, Mineral Point Cotton
Works, and John Moran's vinegar. Records do not reveal
what happened to the soap or vinegar although the latter
was heralded for its "good quality." The Cotton Works
produced twine, yarn, and carpet warp but, falling into
"Pointer luck," suffered from a lack of raw materials, poor
crops, and shortage of investment funds. It probably
succumbed during the Civil War but it was important
enough to be listed in the 1872 national Directory of U.S.
Cotton Manufacturers.
A thriving building supply industry helped accomo-
date the city's periodic construction booms. Lumber yards

79
Would \ ·e. Could '»e. Should 'w

were prevalent. Sash, doors, windows, and board feet were


initially shipped in from the East via the Ohio and Mississ-
ippi rivers to Galena. They came the rest of the way over-
land.
The yards were more permanently established in the
l 850's. They sold Northern Wisconsin pine lumber, adding
to their lines when the railroad started running.
Clowney and Clark, in the early l 860's, used steam
operated lathes, saws, and molding machines to produce
comer boards, sashes, blinds, doors, flooring -- even spin-
ning wheels. This kind of manufacturing did not survive
into the 20th century, however.
Ultimately, the area around the railroad depot in-
cluded Eastman and James Hutchison The latter was
succeeded by the J. D. Martin, subsequently Mineral Point,
Lumber Company. The Eastman firm, sold to Gateway of
Richland Center, moved to Hwy. 151-North, before it was
abandoned. The Martin company closed after its owner
died and demands for its products, especially coal, had
waned.
Other building supply services involved locally
quarried stone, some locally kilned brick, and locally
manufactured ornamental iron and brass. Examples of
Lanyon work still persists including a section of a fence
that once encompassed all of the former Lanyon property
near the comer of Wisconsin and Front streets, plus
storefront decorations and stairways at High and Chestnut.
While the loss of many of these industries is regret-
able, Mineral Point may be fortunate that its tobacco manu-
facturing died before the modem attitude arose about
smoking. As recently as 1996, however, there were those
who remembered the cigar factories on High Street.
At the Springer factory, passersby could see as
many as eight craftsmen rolling cigars in leaves until
properly shaped, then sealing them with their personal
saliva.
A second manufacturer, J.M. Mulhaim, was in bus-
iness at the southeast comer of High and Chestnut streets.
His shop was distinguished by an over size wooden

80
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

Indian. The figure stood on the corner until Mulhairn went


out of business. Springer then acquired it, perhaps as a
symbol of victory for out-lasting his competitor.
Springer's top brand was "Major Wilson," named af-
ter a record-breaking trotter of the time. Among others, he
also had an "iv1P&N" in honor of the Mineral Point &
Northern.
Tobacco to supply this industry was grown in the
area. Some of the 1865 producers and their acreage were
Sam Ross and Mulhairn, 10; John Bohn, Robert Weisen,
Edwin Osborn, Horatio Wright, William Ross, four acres
each, and William Uren, two.
Les Dunwidie, in his "Whistles" book had another
recollection about the Springers:
"One, it was an early version of latter-day tobacco
shops in that they sold newspapers and the shop was the
only source ofSunday issues that arrived by bus on Sunday
afternoons. The shop was closed Sunday mornings but
opened in the afternoon to sell papers and cigars.
"Two, the Springers had a 'slot machine.' If you
were lucky you could win two free cigars. If you were ex-
tra lucky, you could win five. And you could collect, even if
you were a kid. They knew if you smoked them, you'd be
so sick you'd never get home with the papers."
The Point tobacco industry died when the elder
Mulhaim and Springer, died. The Springer scion, Henry,
was a World War I Marine hero who did not fancy cigar
manufacturing.
Mineral Point may have gotten another lucky break
about its asbestos factory. The Kelly Company of Mineral
Point, established just about the tum of the century by Phil
Allen, Jr., was merged in 1901 with the Northwestern Tow
Company of Iowa and Minnesota, the American Pulp and
Linen Fiber Company of Decorah, IA, and Cellular Insulat-
ing Company of Cincinnati, OH. All were merged into the
Union Fiber Company what was incorporated in New Jer-
sey with Allen as its president. The entire operation,
possibly not much more than a "paper tiger," was removed
to the East.

81
Would've, Could've, Should 've

Throughout all this, Mineral Point had breweries.


If natural resources had called the shots, Point
should have emulated Milwaukee. It had the proper water,
source of grain, ability to make ice, and talented braumeis-
ters direct from Germany. All it really lacked was adequate
transportation.
The first brewery in Mineral Point was short-lived,
however. Built by John Phillips at the east end of High
Street, it was started in 1835 but soon gone.
Mineral Point Brewery, later the Tornado and
finally Mineral Springs, was founded in 1850. Its first
structures were build, according to the 1881 History, "one
mile from the business portion of the city... on the
Dodgeville road. Two stories tall, 24-by- l 00 feet overall,
the stone structure cost $1,000."
Charles and Frederick Gillmann acquired the
property and continued with various partners until the pen-
ultimate operators, Frank Unterholzner and Otto K. Leider.
By 1878, the complex encompassed five structures.
Then came the fateful day of May 28, 1878. All
five of the brewery's structures were levelled by the tornado
that devastated the area. The Gillmans, still owners at the
time, estimated their loss at $20,000. After the storm, they
went to work with customary Pointer zest for combatting
adversity. They reconstructed during the rest of the
summer, reopened in the fall with a completely modernized
facility. Before the tornado, their beer was brewed "by
hand." After restoration, it was mechanized in a way that
tripled capacity.
There is a legend, worthy of the Burlington Liars'
Club, that grew out of the tornado. It said, "Mr. Gillmann
had just completed a letter to the Fauerbach Brewery in
Madison. The letter lay on his desk when the tornado
struck. The next morning, when a clerk opened the front
door at Fauerbach's in Madison, he found the letter laying
on the doorstep. Truly, in 1878, America's first air mail."
Appropriately, the Mineral Point Brewery was re-
named "Tornado which it remained until dubbed "Mineral
Springs" around 1900.

82
Would've, Could've, Should 've

Mineral Springs persisted, despite a shrinking


market, with Milton Unterholzner joining Leider and Frank
Un-terholzner to incorporate in 1921. A ft er World War Il
service, Otto's grandson, Bud, joined the firm and, in time,
became president.
Defying factual history as to the date of founding,
the company used a slogan "famous brew since '52" that
was coined by a local adman because '52 rhymed better
with "brew" than '50.
Competition from national breweries that oppress-
ively invaded the traditional markets, sealed the doom of
Mineral Springs in 1961. Before closing, the firm tried
specialized marketing practiced in Mornoe and Potosi.
with similar success. All failed.
James Argall started Garden City Brewery in 1854
and continued for many years distributing locally,
compared to Mineral Springs working regionally. Caves
used by Garden City behind the old Wisconsin Power and
Light gar-age remain as relics of this operation.
A similar mini-brewery was being started in 1996
by Jeff and Deb Donaghue in the most recently called
"Schimming" building
The former Mineral Springs buildings were being
converted by Tom and Diana Johnston into their home and
for their pottery business as this was written. It was also
home for the Mineral Springs Winery that subsequently
closed.. The Johnston Gallery features work by many local
artists.
Somewhat allied to the breweries was the Mineral
Point Bottling Works that Walter Groth and Willard "Stub"
Noble started as a soda pop operation in 1914. They com-
peted with Mineral Springs as distributors of some of the
national brands.
The Bottling Works was sold to Albert Appert who
moved .his fami ly and his house to Mineral Point in 1958.
The house, a former cheese factory, was restored and re-
modeled near the cemetery on Hwy. 151 . Finally inactiva-
ted, the Bottling Works in 1997 housed an antique store
with a restaurant nearby.
Still another "almost" -- and not generally known --
was the Graber drapery manufacturing company.

83
Would've, Could've, Should 've

John N. Graber, founder of the company, was a na-


tive Mineral Pointer and raised his family here, including
son and daughter, Joseph and Marie.
An imaginative inventor, the senior Graber tried
many of his inventions out on Pointers in seeking their
financial support and getting it now and then. None of the
inventions panned out.
So, in 1930, the Pointers -- perhaps disillusioned by
the previous failures or, more likely, without funds because
the city was already deep in the Great Depression --
rejected the drapery hardware proposal.
Graber found some financing in Middleton, created
a company that became one of the two largest of its kind in
the U.S. It employed as many as 1,400 people in Wiscon-
sin and 3,000 nationwide.
The firm was developed by Joe and Marie who in-
herited, then sold it for millions of dollars. The son and
daughter, now deceased, moved to Florida after the sale.
Upon her death Marie willed millions to Madison charities.
***
THE PRESS OF :MINERAL POINT dates from the pioneer
days with some spectacular activity but nothing was more
spectacular than the until-now untold "might 've."
The first newspaper in Point was the Miners' Free
Press, in 183 7. Since equipment then consisted of "a shirt-
full of type and a printer's apron," papers were moved with
alacrity. This one moved to Galena in 1838.
Almost immediately another paper with the same
name was launched by Henry Plowman and Henry Welsh.
They sold to John Delaney and Samuel Knapp who held on
until 1841.
Vol. 1, No. 1 of the venerable Mineral Point
Tribune, initially the Wisconsin Tribune, came off the
presses of founder George W. Bliss in 1847. Briefly, Bliss
had a partner, Joseph Chaney, in 1852-54. Becoming sole
owner again, he continued as publisher until 1869 when he
sold to the firm Bennett and Teasdale.
The noted B. J. Bennett became editor when
Teasdale sold his interest in 1871.

84
Would've. Could've, Should 've

Bennett became part-owner in 1881, and continued


to achieve an almost folklore place in Wisconsin's
journalistic history. He was a fabulous reporter and
Victorian-style editorialist.
His coverage of the 1878 tornado would be a credit
to any modem air-age, electronic work.
Selecting a horse for its ability as a jumper that
could leap over obstacles, he rode the route of the storm
from its first point of impact in the area until it lifted.
The story he filed needed no illustrations. The
words were graphic enough.
It said, in part:
"Calamity struck Mineral Point May 21 ...
"Coming from south of west, it spent its chief viol-
ence on a belt ofthickly settled agricultural country. It was
from a quarter- to half-mile wide... came from near the
Welsh settlement.
"Rain fell in great torrents accompanied by hail.
"Incalculable damage was done along the track of
the reckless destroyer. Great buildings crushed like egg-
shells or borne through the skies; mammoth oaks plucked
as easily as a tender flower; humanity mangled, bruised
and killed.
"The monster set to work about two miles south of
Mifflin. Edward Williams was the first victim ... Next it hit
the John R.Jones property, leaving nothing but ruins.
"Mrs. Frank Owens was seriously hurt... Mrs.
Addington Leonard was found a short distance from her
home, filth and rubble washing over her lifeless, mangled
body... Tombstones in Graceland cemetery were laid prom-
isculously [sic]. ..
"Then the tornado took a grand bounce, gathered
its forces and centered on Charles Gillmann's brewery.
The havoc there was beyond description... the building
there was fearfu.lly wrecked and one unfortunate girl, Alice
Fink of Eden, was crushed by a falling chimney. She lived
until the following Sunday.
"Entering the ravine at Castle Rock. .. the storm took
a strange course by following around the bluff, going into
reverse, and entering a different valley.

85
Would've, Could've. should 've

"Had it not made this peculiar twist, Mineral Point


would have been transformed into the city of the dead with
not enough people to form a quorum.
''As it was, the city is damaged, in addition to the
Brewery. The John Spensley house was carried in the air
with I 2 persons who were inside seeking shelter... "
And so it went, accounting for crushed barns,
school houses, and residences along with killed or injured
people and animals.
Bennett was also known for his sometimes
"dramatic" headlines such as one over an obituary
proclaiming LIFE'S BOAT CAPSIZES.
For many years, Mineral Point supported two
papers, The Tribune (Republican) and The Democrat that
was founded in 1866 by John Herron and William H. Peck.
After a couple of ownerships, Albert Jenkins and George
Crawford purchased it in 1874.
The Crawford Brothers, who owned The Democrat
longer than any, gained distinction that rivalled Bennett in
breadth as well as length of service. Eventually, the
Crawfords sold. Subsequent ownership included the Sheas
and Williams before D. M. Morgan bought it in 1938.
The Tribne was set by hand until the end of its in-
dependence. The Democrat, under the Crawfords,
managed more modem equipment including the area's first
Linotype. That typesetting machine was installed in the
front window of the office at High and Henry streets where
all passing by could see the paper being composed.
Elizabeth Graber Huggins and Dorothy Ralph were two of
the operators.
Morgan consolidated the papers after purchasing
them. He intended to run it after his retirement as superi-
intendent of public schools, then pass it on to his son,
David. His son declined, choosing the grocery business in-
stead of newspapering.
Thus, in 1957, D. M. offered The Democrat-Tribune
to the author and Mrs. Bechtel. Their friends and
colleagues at Standard Oil Company (Ind.) in Chicago, and
others in the Wisconsin publishing fraternity, were
surprised.

86
Would 've. Could've, Should 've

You see, Mineral Point had the reputation of being


a "tough sell" advertising town. Dulled by lack of confi-
dence in their home town media and lulled by the larger cir-
culation of the coWlty seat Dodgeville Chronicle, merchants
were neither promotionally aggressive nor liberal in their
advertising budgets.
The new owners bought, however, because they felt
that an improved journalistic product, accompanied by
hard-selling of ad accoWlts on the street could overcome
the reputation of Mineral Point as a "newspaper cemetery."
They were right to a degree. Circulation increased as did ad
lineage for awhile.
There was one other, perhaps paramoWlt, reason.
This has never been told publicly Wltil now. While
in Chicago, the author was successively and successfully,
state editor, editor, and editor-publisher of a nationally dis-
tributed "trade paper," The Publisher's Auxiliary.
With a select corps of professionals, he had convert-
ed "The Aux" from a mere house organ for Western News-
paper Union into a professional journal that was recognized
from coast to coast as a reliable "newspapennan's news-
paper." The publication not only had stature, it was profit-
able.
The key people producing The Aux in addition to
the author, were Byron Cook, business manager and west-
ern representative; Leone Helming, classified ad manager;
and Stan Berman, eastern ad rep. They, along with Joseph
W. LaBine, who had edited The Aux before moving into
public relations as a vice president of Continental Illinois
Bank, had pledged resources sufficient to purchase The
Aux.
They then made a firm agreement with Farwell
Perry who had inherited WNU from his father, John H.
Perry. Known as "Fuzzy," the yoWlger Perry was
dismantling the company and, sooner or later, The Aux was
sure to go.
The deal was: when The Aux went on the block, the
former employes would have first chance.
Part of the grand plan was that production would be
shifted to an expanded Democrat-Tribune plant where the

87
Would 've, Could've. Should 've

author would resume editorship. Business headquarters


would remain in Chicago along with classified sales. There
would be ad sales out of New York and Chicago. All of the
participants would be owner-employes except LaBine, who
was to consult.
The bubble was burst when Perry abruptly announc-
ed that he had sold The Aux to the National Editorial
Association in Washington, D.C. -- and for a price less than
the old employe-combine was ready, willing, and able to
pay.
Asked "why?" Well, "Fuzzy" said, "I forgot."
So there went another should 've.
Connected by leased wire with a Chicago office,
produced in Mineral Point where plans were already blue-
printed for a new plant just off High Street, the operation
would 've provided employment for printers and writers, it
could 've raised the classification of the Mineral Point
postoffice just as it did in Frankfort, KY when published
there.
The author and his family would certainly have re-
mained in Mineral Point.
As it was, tiring of the struggle with long hours and
hard sell on a main street that produced very little voluntary
advertising, and professionally unsatisfied with depending
on commercial revenue for significant earnings, the
Bechtels sold in 1963 to Bill and Mary Smith. After a
couple more changes, The Democrat-Tribune in 1997 was
owned by The Dodgeville Chronicle and edited capably by
Jeanie Lewis.
This "would 've" is unique because it was caused
entirely by a forgetful executive sitting in an office on 45th
Street in New York City.
And so we come to the "Z" in Mineral Point
industry.

88
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

THE ZINC WORKS


Lived longer than the mines that spawned it

CERTAINLY THE ALPHA, and almost the Omega, of


Mineral Point were, respectively, the mines and the Zinc
Works.
For good reason.
Without the discovery of lead and other minerals in the
area, there would have been no early settlement. Agriculture
would have found the good land eventually and ultimately
farmers would have been attracted but the minerals brought the
miners sooner.
Mineral Point's economy rose and fell, periodically and
often painfully with the flow and ebb of mining development,
output, and prices.

PART ONE
The Background

There are hundreds of references available about mining


around Mineral Point. The most personal and poignant is A
History of Mining in Iowa County by Stanley T. Holland. It is
"poignant" in the best dictionary sense because of his touching
memories. It is "personal" be-cause Holland lived to be one of
the oldest operators. He devoted his life to either mining-
farming or farming-mining.
Holland delved deeply into the theory, as well as the
practice, of mining.
His book considers, first, how the bodies of ore got
there.
One theory was that they were brought to the surface by
hot, thermal springs. Another was they were formed by water
trickling down from the surface. Stan holds with the water-
from-top theory, saying:
"Ores were formed by water, carrying metallic salts
deposited by the Silurian Interior Sea millions ofyears ago
"After the oceanic waters receded, humus was fil-tered
through the various crevices by rain and surface

89
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

water. The acids in the humus, plus vegetation and organic


decay in the rocks, produced carbonic acid. All these metallic
salts deposited sulfates that combined with oxygen to make
iron, zinc, and others.
"In all my exploratory drilling, I never saw an ore body
that did not have crevices coming down ... "
Holland's "dirt-oriented" defmition was confirmed by
Roland T. Irving, a University of Wisconsin geology professor,
who wrote a section of the 1881 History of Iowa County.
Irving said there were two kinds of zinc ores. The most
abundant was "ferruginous sulphide" -- commonly called
"black jack" by the miners, and "srnithsonite" -- commonly
called ''dry bone."
The scientist and Holland directly opposed a thought
that had been expressed by T. A. Allen, an earlier state official,
around 1857.
He predicted:
"Our lead mines only need development to become the
greatest in the world... they want only for the capital employed
as in Germany and England where similar mines extend from
I, 000 to more than 2, 000 feet deep."
Although not referring directly to all this, Holland cited
"the deepest hole I know in this area was drilled in the 1920's in
the river bottom near Avoca. After the topsoil, the drilling
passed through buff or top galena, green rock, pipe clay, gray
rock, blue rock, oil shale, glass rock, Trenton lime rock, and St.
Peter sand.
They drew water from the Avoca drill hole, dumped it
into a barrel, and watched gas bubbles rise to the top. They lit
the bubbles with a match and watched it flare for a moment,
Holland wrote, but the gas had no commercial value. There
was no potential oil strike.
The WPA Sto1y of Mineral Point credited Nat Morris,
probably a Missourian who had been prospecting around
Galena, with striking rich veins in the still visible steep ridge
that was a "mineral point" destined to be capitalized.
As a Missourian, the WPA writers assumed, Morris had
some idea of how veins of lead ran through the rocks, how sur-
face indications or crevices were spotted, and how the galena
ore could be crudely milled into lead.

90
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

The WPA writers imagined:


"Morris was an outdoorsman capable of caring for
himself in the prairie wilderness, bunking for the night under
some huge oak tree, making a meal out ofjerky, flour, potatoes,
and coffee."
They asswned that Morris kept his own counsel about
his discoveries. He could have listened "with half an ear" to
the scientists who could tell about the complex, almost
mysterious, relationship between the shape and color of surface
rocks and the layers of lead underneath. He could even have
consulted one of the seers who claimed they could locate rich
veins by communicating with the "spirits" -- sometimes the
bottled kind.
Another method of locating ore bodies was "dowsing"
with a forked, sapling stick.
Holland said he could "dowse." Sometin1es, he said,
the draw of the stick toward ore in the groWld "pulled so hard it
twisted the bark right off."
Holland continued:
"When we were mining, we traced the crevices on top
by dowsing, then went underground where we could see them.
I knew that dowsing worked but I'm not sure why. But you
couldn't find ore by dowsing alone. You had to read the
crevices."
Another surface indication of ore underground was the
"masonic weed" or lead plant. This vegetation grew profusely
in the mining district. Sometimes the shrub-like plant grew in
straight rows, sometimes in patches. Often they were four feet
tall. They stood out in late spring and early summer when their
bluish purple flowers bloomed.
Another, actually more positive indication was evidence
of old Indian or French works, springs that spurted from
hillsides suggesting fissures in lead-bearing strata, or simply
hunches.
The "sink holes" that still dotted the countryside in
1997 emphasized the prodigious activity of pioneer miners and
their cousins-come-lately.
The location of Mineral Point in the 13,000 square mile
"driftless area" was a factor both in mining and the city itself.

91
Would've, Could've, Should 've

The ore remained in place because the land was not


chewed up and shoved south by the advancing ice age. The
lack of land movement created the striking topography for the
city's Rome-reminiscent, seven hills soaring from 850-foot
lows to 1, 180-foot highs.
As the mining fever heated, opposition and resentment
grew among the Indians, especially the Winnebagos who knew
the ore was worth good wampum. They resisted but to little
avail.
The Great White Fathers in Washington, about as
helpful then as they have been through the years, adopted
bureaucratic regulations that actually helped nobody.
The feds tried to force the newcomers off Indian
property but, as with Henry Dodge, they were ineffective.
The feds sought to control the lead-bearing lands. In
this, too, they were ineffective. Theoretically, the federal gov-
ernment leased the mineral rights while retaining title to the
real estate. Before the removal of Indians from their own land,
the feds recognized the Indians had not ceded their rights.
Later they continued without concern for their rights as a matter
of "policy."
The policy had two basic results:
One, it made for atypical settlements. Instead of fam-
ilies, miners left their wives and children at home. They simply
came to squat. Instead of communities with cabins, there were
clusters of tents, caves, sod or pole huts, and wagons.
Two, federal leases were issued to miners stipulating a
10 per cent royalty to be paid to the government on all smelted
mineral. Most miners ignored the stipulation and enforcement
was difficult. Only 69 permits were issued in 1825. When the
stipulation was lifted in 1829 there were 2,251 permits issued.
The WPAers painted a scene of the time that had pros-
pectors trudging through the area with a supply of food, spade
or shovel, pick and gad, and maybe a hunting knife or rifle.
They were a scraggly band as they moved up the Fever River
from Galena.
Their prospecting was unusual. Most mining land, like
the Cripple Creek area in Colorado, is rocky, bleak, and bar-
ren. Around Mineral Point there was rich, loamy topsoil hiding
the mineral treasures.

92
Would've, Could've. Should 've

Among the single men there were many who wrote back or
returned home with glowing descriptions of an "earthly para-
dise." Married men often sent for their families.
It was in this clime that Mineral Point was born -- out
of the wedlock of good land and good prospects
In 1834, the federal government established a land
office in Mineral Point. In effect, this was the city's first
"industry" other than mmmg. On July 7, federal
representatives began processing rights to land available for
sale. An office was com-pleted by October, in time to
accommodate the demands.
Within two years, more than a half-million acres were
sold, about 75 per cent to Eastern speculators.
Then the demand ceased -- Mineral Point's first "bust,"
again other than mining. The government's real estate program
was so flawed -- sales, for example, did not include mineral
rights -- but the law was largely ignored. By 1840, the program
was abandoned.
By this time, according to the State Historical Society
Museum Memo of February-March, 1996, there were two
distinct groups of miners in the area.
One was composed of adventurers, intent on reaping the
easy pickings of minerals laying on the surface or in shallow
pits. Their digs were seldom more than 10 feet deep. When
they had a grub stake big enough to buy provisions for the rest
of a year, they quit and went home.
The others were mainly those who had come from
Wales, Devonshire, or Cornwall to plumb the depths of the
fabulous fields They were experienced underground. They had
come to stay.
The Cornish settled mainly along the ravine starting at
the current Depot location. They bought land, something they
had not been able to do in England.
Using their experience, they could take over abandoned
operations, blast deeper through the hard-rock to the ore
beneath, and reap from the lower levels out of works others
thought were played out.
The Cornish added a significant ethnic cast that hall-
marked Mineral Point for all time.

93
Would 've. Could've, Should 've

Their expansion up the second valley of the area, so


families would be within sight of the works, gave Shake Rag
Street its title and Mineral Point's first, sometime name, "Shake
Rag Under the Hill."
Between 1830 and 1850, an estimated 7,000 Comish
came to the lead region. The 1850 census indicated three-fifths
of the 508 heads of families in Mineral Point were Comish.
Little wonder they were a hardy lot. They were orig-
inally Celts who were driven from their lands, as Indians were
driven from theirs in America, by the Anglo-Saxons. Despite
losing their lands, they maintained their culture wherever they
had to move.
It was not an easy journey to get to Mineral Point. It
took five to seven weeks sailing from Falmouth or Liverpool to
New York City. Then it was either up the Hudson River to
Albany to Buffalo via the Erie Canal, across the Great Lakes to
Cleveland, then to the Ohio River, overland to St. Louis, up the
Mississippi River to Galena. Or there was the more expensive
way, by rail or water to Pittsburgh, down the Ohio to St. Louis,
and thence to Galena.
More space is devoted to the Cornish in this discussion
of mining because they were so vital to the industry .

PART II
Getting the Lead Out

What was good for mining was good for Mineral Point.
The first peak of lead mining, however, came early -- in
1848. After 20 years of easy pickings, it was no longer a
matter of scratching the surface.
Deeper mines hit water. Without available pumps, even
the know-how of the Cornish was not helpful.
There were good times, when prices rose, for another
three or four decades.
The lead downturn turned up around 1882, according to
the WPA story.
It came in a dramatic academic opinion that reflected
Stan Holland's.

94
Would {ve, Could've, Should 've

It was a two-way response to the "measured words" of


Wisconsin's chief geologist, Thomas Crowder Chamberlain. In
his report, The Geology of Wisconsin, he said:
"The LEAD region should be called the ZINC district."
. "Zinc ores are widely and abundantly distributed in the
lower beds... there is greater richness in zinc... it is there to be
developed. "
The first response was a resurgence in mining
Operations had sunk to a badly decayed appearance.
Abandoned machinery lay rusting in pastures. Old shafts had
been filled to give free passage for farmers' plows. The mining-
farmers and farming-miners were just farming.
The few operating miners still emulated the early times.
They used picks, gads, spikes, shovels, hand drills, and blasting
powder. From a wooden crank shaft above ground, they rode a
bucket down, brought ore up. A yield of 150 pow1ds a day was
considered good but, when the prices were right, it was fair in-
come for the two or three men involved.
There may have been 90 mines working like this in
Iowa, Grant, and Lafayette counties. Few were full-time and
profitable. Most were in partial operation, teetering on their
fiscal edges.
Limited partners owned most of them. Generally,
owners were working their properties because they could not
afford to pay help. Some even did not have machinery for sep-
arating gravel, rock, and dirt from green zinc ore.
Chamberlain's report revived hopes.
Men who had proclaimed for years that money-making
ore was still "down there" now said, "we told you so."
They dusted off and oiled up old equipment. They went
back to work.
According to The Shullsburg Pick & Gad, "hundreds
are scouring the countryside in search of new deposits."
What's more, they found them.
In short order, the number of operations nearly tripled.
From that point, through good times and bad, the
number increased.
Stan Holland had an inventory of mines, some of which
continued well into the 20th century.
There were 16 in Dodgeville and Ridgeway, he said; 16

95
Would've, Could've, Should 've

in Linden, 11 in Mifflin and Cokerville, and 42 in Mineral


Point including Lost Grove.
There were colorful stories about many of them
By name, they included the Craig, near Dodgeville. Its
story said that Craig was a spiritualist who dreamed the exact
location of a body of lead. He dowsed to verify, dug down to
find a chunk of lead. Lacking funds, he obtained backing from
a Dodgeville merchant, drilled a 35-foot shaft, hit a "chimney"
of lead. Until then, Craig had walked from and to town. His
first purchase with his new riches was a fancy carriage with
spirited horses. And he never walked again.
Then there was the Lucky Five operated by a quintet of
McKinley Brothers until one went into a drift to check on a
dynamite charge. It exploded. Killed him. Thereafter, "Lucky
Five" was simply known as the McKinley Mining Company.
Highland produced highly oxidized ore that left piles of
yellow refuse. The Blue River Paint Company was established
to use the Highland ore for ocher-colored products.
Centerville, now a ghost town, was located half way be-
tween Highland and Montfort. The Grant-Iowa county line ran
down its main street. It had an international touch because a
Frenchman found ore there in 1828, British and American
owners developed it, German and Irish laborers worked it.
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Cherry told Holland that they bought
land that had once been mined, built their home, grew an
orchard, took in boarders. The couple said a New Jersey Zinc
Company agent came around one day with a paper he wanted
signed. Roy, who spoke no English, could not read the paper
but signed anyway. Later he found he had relinquished his
mineral rights. Subsequently, a profitable mine was establish-
ed. The Cherry's take was zilch.
Calvert Spensley of Mineral Point was one of the big
operators in the Mifflin area where New Jersey Zinc owned
two major producers.
Cokerville, north of Rewey and west of Linden, started
around 1850. New Jersey Zinc ran the range for years, import-
ing Bohemians and Czechs for labor. They had a Company
town complete with typical "company store." Empire Lead and

96
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

Zinc, and Inland Steel, tried to revive Cokerville by installing


an inclined shaft so trucks could drive right into the drift.
When they gave up, Jack Howland and Associates tried in the
mid- l 930's with a colorful female engineer, "Maggie, the
Miner" in charge.
Holland, researching his book, talked with many who
had worked in the mines. One, Bill Roethe, as a boy led a
horse that hoisted barrels of water out of the Joseph mine in
Grays-ville. That mine, it was said, had a sheet of zinc four
feet thick and 40 feet wide. It kept three wagons busy hauling
ore to the Zinc Works, only a quarter-mile away. But the thick
sheet pinched out after 1.000 feet where it hit a big sulphur
deposit.
Other noted names in the area included the Barreltown
Diggins, Gundry, and Tamblyn. Walter Goldsworthy, who
grew up in that area, recalled that Isaac Tamblyn, the mine's
owner, refused to try to locate other lodes when his fust played
out, even though geologists claimed more existed. Tamblyn
declared, "God has been good. I shall not seek more. ''
The Merry Christmas was another of the big names. It
was also one of the more technically developed with plans for
an endless belt to carry ore directly from the mine to the Zinc
Works. Legend long held that the Meny Christmas was so
named because it was discovered on a December 25.
Nonsense, Holland declared, it was named because a miner en-
tered the drift and blew his head off on Christmas day.
One operation on the south side of Mineral Point un-
iquely combined farming and mining. James Hoare had a 100-
head dairy herd in an elongated barn. He also had several
mines on his property. Miners on their way to work were
required, as part of their job, to milk the cows. After a day in
the mines, they did the evening milking on their way home.
Hoare also had a creamery and grocery in Mineral Point where
he sold his farm production.
Unfortunately, his mines did not produce as well as his
cattle. Ultimately, the mines ran out. He lost his great barn,
the family home, two red-brick cottages built for servants and
ultimately occupied by the family itself.
The approach to the property was through a road lined

97
Would've. Could've, Should 've

by natural stone walls that filled picturesquely with fall leaves


and became known as "Hoare's Hollow." An irreverent visitor
once observed, "Mineral Point is truly unique. It has a Maiden
Street, a Virgin Alley, and a Hoare's Hollow." A sick play on
words and a sad ending for a one-time great enterprise.

PART III
Starting "the Works"

Outside of the mines, the Chamberlain Report had a


ma3or impact on processing.
More or less conventional mills had been developing
since the l 820's.
One of the largest and longest operating was the Gentry
mill, three miles south of Mineral Point. Erected in 1820, it
started processing dry bone and black jack in 1860 using a sys-
tem conceived by Robert George of Mineral Point. The mill
was sold to Phelps, Dodge and Company in 1882 who sold to
the Jones Brothers in 1893.
Spensleys, on the farm near what is now Ludden Lake;
Mcllholm, east of town; Ross, near Graceland cemetery; Eagle
Pitcher at Linden, and one in connection with the Graysville
mine ultimately operated by Roger Ivey in the mid- l 950's, all
processed in various ways.
But Frederick Mathiessen and Edward Hoppeler, two
Easterners patented a better way which was installed in a
smelter in Illinois.
Soon production from area mines was passing through
Mineral Point on the way to the more efficient Illinois plant.
Some Pointers asked themselves, why should we stand by and
watch "our ore" go to Illinois. Why not handle it at home?
They answered in March, 1891 by raising $35,000 to
capitalize the Mineral Point Zinc Company. Construction was
under way by mid-April.
On July 30 The Mineral Point Tribune reported:
"The Zinc Works is up three stories... eight double fur-
naces are being prepared. .. 40 men on the payroll... four car-
loads of common brick from Freeport and clay brick from St.
Louis on hand. .. "

98
Would've, Could've, Should 've

On Sept. 21 The Tribune reported:


"The Zinc Works is complete... tower roofed with sheet
iron ... ready to receive oxide ... stack about 75 feet tall ... foun-
dations laid for blowers... tubing set to carry oxide from tower
to condenser through several rooms ... "
More than 400 tons of hard coal screening for the fur-
naces were received, ore was stocked, the plant was fired up
and, according to The Tribune, "samples of oxide produced are
declared by competent authority to be of the best quality."
True to their tradition for "over-reaching," some Point-
ers were already thinking about starting an allied paint factory-
-- but that's another story.
In March, 1893, David Benton Jones bought the com-
pany. At the same time, he cast about for good mines that
would assure a constant and continuing supply of raw material.
In the banking chapter, we have already told you how
David Jones happened to get in on the act, rescuing -- as it were
-- his brother, W.A., from his banking "career" and dragging
brother Thomas in as a partner.
The "Jones Boys," as Pointers came to affectionately
call them, believed in Wisconsin and mining. They put their
money on the line. They raised capitalization from the original
$35,000 to $400,000, branched out to buy ore from the Upper
Mississippi region, later from New Mexico, and ultimately
from Old Mexico. They purchased entire mines out of state as
well as in the immediate area.
They developed the Mineral Point Zinc Company into
the largest establishment of its kind in the U. S. Before it
closed, it may have been the largest oxide factory in the world.
At peak, the plant covered two acres, employed more
than 100 (some say 300) mostly men with a few women in the
front office, had its own electrical generator with extra capacity
which they shared with the community to power its street
lights.
In this era, there was virtually full employment in the
city. There were more profitable mines operating in and
around the city than at any time in history.
Also as reported, there were some sidelight failures.
Their lack of success almost convinced locals that Mineral

99
Would've. Could 've. Should 've

Point was not destined to be a diversified industrial complex.


Best stick to mining and the Zinc Works, cool heads
concluded, at least for a little while.
In 1897, the Jones affiliated with the New Jersey Zinc
Company. The move gave the Jonses new money, new
interest, and new assurance of continued growth.
They increased their mineral holdings, enlarged the ox-
ide factory, and rebuilt the abandoned paper mill into a
sulphw--ic acid plant that began producing in 1899-1900.
The upswing in mining up to that time first levelled,
then sagged. Shrinking markets reduced income for some of
the miners forcing marginal operators to bow out.
There was turbulence for a time.
It was marked by outside influence, occasional outside
fraud. There was old fashioned cheating like salting and seed-
ing claims, stealing samples, jumping claims, even sabotaging.
Stock was sold in worthless companies or sold at
inflated prices for deflated buy-backs. The schemes were as
numerous as the fertile minds of those intent on profiting from
mining without getting the ore out.
The Zinc Works prevailed Wltil, by 1904, it seemed the
happy, halcyon days were back again . Mineral Point, reflecting
its big industry, laid cement sidewalks, built new homes, saw
its population peak at 3,252.
The Zinc Works added new roasters and separators, en-
larged the oxide factory, and expanded the acid plant.
Many of the miners, a large number bankrolled by
outside capital provided by investors from all over the world,
adopted improved techniques. With modem equipment they
dug deeper where the zinc ore was more abWldant. They used
steam engines, electric lights, motorized hoists, and erected
buildings over shafts so work could go on all seasons.
Prominent operations and their backers included:
The Great Easter, in Waldwick, backed by W. J. Pen-
hallegon, Frank Brewer, Henry Weil, and James Brewer; the
Golden Rod, in Linden, backed by W. G. Hales, W. P. Bliss,
James Brewer, John W. Chamley. Frank Walker; the Advance,
owned by John Ross; the Rabbits Foot, James Harris, and many
others.

100
Would've. Could've, Should 've

The investors, significantly, included merchants (Pen-


hallegon), dentists (Hales), druggist (Bliss), grocer (Brewer),
and hotel man (Chamley). They show the interdependence of
mining, merchandising, and professional services.
Enthusiastically, The Tribune was filled each week in
1908 by notations:
"Tripoli, the pioneer, re-opened. .. Hazel Patch, just un-
covered. .. Peacock, raising buildings... Hoare, re-opening soon
... Barre/town, good sheet of milling ore, four to five feet thick
40 feet wide... Temby, cleaning out and cribbing old shaft
where milling ore was left several years ago... "
Some of the cords began to unravel in 1909. It was not
the fault of the Zinc Works or of the mining industry. Rather it
was caused by Mineral Point's bank failure. Indeed, had it not
been for mining, all of Mineral Point might have gone
bankrupt.
Wisconsin continued to rate first as a mineral producer
although the number of operations declined from the peak of
2 12 hit in the pre-zinc days to 88, most of them owned by
corporations. The concentration of ownership continued, for
better or worse, until by 1914 there were only seven large
concerns in the field.
Little operators could not afford to compete. The corp-
orations bought or leased the laggards and the Big Seven
produced more than all of the small firms put together. The in-
dustry was stable and fortunately -- for the good of America --
they were prepared to meet the demands of World War I. Pro-
duction soared to an all-time high in 1917.
Post-war lethargy and the 1920 depression forced the
entire industry, including the Zinc Works, to almost dead-
center. There was a revival during 1928-29 when the Zinc
Works ran almost full-time, employed at least 200 men, and
produced some 350 barrels of oxide daily.
There was another problem with local mines -- the ore
they brought up was such a low grade -- mixed, as it was, with
iron sulphide, that it required extra processing. Soon, virtually
all of the ore processed in Mineral Point was imported from,
first, the Joplin, MO, mines and eventually from New and Old
Mexico. So much foreign material was imported that the feder-
al government designated Mineral Point as a "port of entry"
with a resident appraiser who collected custom fees.

101
Would '•·e. Could've. Should 've

The local ores out and the cost of additional processing


up, the handwriting was on the wall. The Great Depression hit
Mineral Point probably two years before the rest of the nation.
Despite the ominous concerns, Pointers plunged ahead
with the 1927 "Pageant of Progress" celebrating the centennial
of the city's founding.
The storm signals went up as the business barometer
went down. The Wisconsin State Journal, in December, 1927,
published a report from Eastern Business sources that "New
Jersey Zinc contemplates withdrawing its plant from Mineral
Point, closing rhe $3 million complex... laying off 300 employ-
es. " The item left residents living under a cloud. Local busin-
ess slowed, progressive projects were deferred while waiting
for a second shoe to drop.
They didn't have to wait long ..
The time-line to extinction:
1928 -- Mineral Point Zinc Company closed all of it
area mines.
1929 -- Acid plant dismantled, shipped to DePue, IL.
1930 -- Mineral Point and Northern Railroad taken off
line, running stock sold, steel rails and bridges let to bid for
salvage.
-- Oxide factory closed.
-- New Jersey Zinc announced on August 13
that the Zinc Works would be closed "for an indefinite period."
(On Oct. 9, David, last survivor of the three brothers , died in
Chicago. He had lived to see the works they developed grow
into a multi-million-dollar business but did not have to live to
see the details of demise.)
1935 -- Dismantling started. After standing idly
inoperative, still giving die-hard hope for another revival for
almost seven years, the walls came tumbling down. First to go
was the modest testing lab on State Street. One of the last was
the brick generating plant with its giant fly wheel. All was
shipped away as junk,
The Zinc Works had survived several depressions.
It had been rebuilt after several serious fires.
It had worked through the end of profitable lead mining
but could not keep going after the good zinc ore was gone.

102
Would've. Could 1ve. Should 've

Eventually there was just one employe left. Charlie


Neal, father of Pendarvis' Bob, was retained on the local pay-
roll for several years to look after Company interests long after
the last bit of Zinc Works steel went to salvage. He died in
1954.
Many a Pointer proudly wore one of the little silver
buttons indicating 10, 20, 30 or even more years of service.
Before the salvaging, the buildings stood ghastly by day
and ghostly by night. The author experienced the eeriness
when, as a pre-teen, he spent a tour of one night with his grand-
father, Frank Ivey, who was a security guard at the plant after it
closed.
The memory lingers of walking through the empty
buildings bathed, as they were, by the light of a full moon.
Two pairs of footsteps echoed under the tubes which were large
enough for a man to hunch through when they weren't
transmitting oxide. The silent cloak of empty space -- and
broken dreams -- sat down around as the two of us ate our
midnight lunch in the cavernous locker room where workmen
once gathered before going off shift. Only the wildest
imagination of a romantic could hope for somehow setting the
clock back and springing time forward into a recovery of what
once was.
The author's father, as a long-time trainman on the
MP&N, was a sort-of employe of the Zinc Works. He was
wont to say, "It would never had died had the Jones Boys
lived." Dad was wrong, of course. It was the damned dead I
mines that killed it.
The Zinc Works did not fail. It just ran out of its time.
The passing left an environmental eyesore in the valley
south of the Depot in the fonn of iron-red slag piles. Through
the years, chemists and others sought economic use for the
piles but nothing materialized.
In 1990, a Wisconsin Departmental contract with an
Elkhorn road-builder, Mann Brothers, resulted in a total clean-
up of the dirty piles. Hopefully, someday, the stream that runs
through the area will recover from the red stain the Zinc Works
painted into it just as the hills that stood in the path of
prevailing winds now support vegetation that could not grow
while bathed in the smoke from the acid plant.

103
Would've, Could've, Should 've

In memory the Zinc Works remains a credit to the men


who built it and the men who worked in it -- a recollection held
fondly by a handful of sons and daughters, grandchildren, even
some great-grandchildren.
Today, a park-like scene covers the acres where the
Zinc Works stood and the l\.1P&N sidetracks rusted away. Per-
haps there should be some kind of a tombstone with an epitaph
that could say:
Here Rests the Zinc Works
1891-1935
It Died
of Hardening of the Arteries
in the Damn Dead Mines

The Zinc Works was a way of Mineral Point life.


In a way, it was an unprotested threat to residents who
never expressed resentment of the health and environmental
hazards it posed. Families grew up into successful adulthood.
Most lived long and productively despite the prevailing,
corrod-ing breezes that often blighted vegetation.
Les Dunwidie, in the Whistles of Mineral Point chapter
of his book' caught the spirit of the community when he wrote:
"When one looks back. .. it seems that the populace was
born, grew up, went to school, courted, and married to the tune
ofa steam whistle soundingjrom the Zinc Works ...
"To employes, the whistle had a special meaning. To
begin with, five long blasts indicated it was 30 minutes before
the next shift started. .. One long blast told the trained people it
was 6:45 ... Next, a sharp blast called in the yard workers...
"The next whistle, at 2:00 p.m., told the people who had
gone ro work at 6:00 a.m. that they could go home while a new
shift came on. There was a pause until the whistle ar 4:00 p.m.
ended the work day for the yard employes.. .
The last signal, at 10:00 p.m., marked the end of the
work day for all. It was also a reminder for the young people
to return home from the evening's recreation."
Les, writing on his 80th birthday, long after the Zinc
Works had been dismantled, philosophized:

104
Would've, Could've, Should 've

"The whistles are silent now but life is still geared by


the time they marked. You must blow your own whistle now.
How well you do depends on -- you."
In Mineral Point, the end of the Zinc Works was the end
of an era -- but not the end of a city. It spawned a generational
inferiority complex, to be sure, but somehow people prevailed..

AN EPILOGUE
Miners' hopes linger

Miners' hopes, like old soldiers, never die. The dream


is that the next hole will strike a bonanza. Despite the decline
of the Zinc Works and their primary market, exploration
continued. Stan Holland remembered. We should not forget.
In the 1930's, the D.H.& S. Mining Company leased the
Carl Olson farm not far from Dodgeville's East Side cemetery.
They drilled test holes, found good ore, worked the
mine 10 years before the first works ran out. They pitched in
several directions, found another drift in which they finally
won the right to work 110 feet under the cemetery. In due
course, without disturbing any of the coffins above them, that
ran out, too.
With no more new prospects to prospect, the company
explored on the Pearson farm in the Graysville area east of
Min-eral Point where one of the big corporations had drilled
but found only indications.
Holland and friends found plenty. Ultimately, the con-
tract ended up with Ivey Construction. Roger, experienced in
Montana and Wisconsin, ran the works for several years, even
installed a flotation mill on part of the abandoned Zinc Works.
The end of small mining was presaged by fluctuating
and usually low market prices, high shipping expense, and
governmental obstacles including higher taxes on gross returns
and Department of Natural Resources restrictions.
All combined, Holland said, to close small mining in
Iowa County. But the end? Really?
Stan Holland wrote:
"Maybe, someday, if zinc becomes a scarce metal
again. ... other good deposits will be found."
Ah, yes -- miners' hopes... old soldiers ....

105
Only the machine shops and bag rooms
are visible in this 1916 view ofthe Zinc
)i-i. ~
0 Works that filled the entire valley south ~
~ ofthe Depot at the southeast corner of ..~..
the city -- and filled the workers' wallets ~
while its whistles regulated town life. ~
-<'
Photograph courtesy Mineral Point Room !•
~
<:>

~
~-
Would 've, Could 'vt , Should 've

PLUMBING NEW DEPTHS


Almost a question: how low can you go?

THE DISMANTLING OF THE ZINC WORKS, following in


less than three decades, the debilitating First National Bank
failure and on the heels of the Consolidated Bank closure, bur-
dened Mineral Point almost Wlbearably.
Businesses closed. Empty store fronts proliferated on
High and Commerce streets. The bank disasters combined
with lack of cash trade (there was plenty on the books) to shut
many down. Those that remained offered limited selections
because they, too, lacked cash to replenish. It was not
uncommon to see store owners sitting in front of stores, at least
enjoying some SWlshine. A few turned to hobbies to occupy
their idleness. One clothier made birdhouses, modeled after
local buildings, that have become collectors' items.
Some residents, without jobs, left the city for greener
pastures but returned when other fields turned brown. Families
huddled together to make maximum use of minimum resources
and facilities . Several families would join together on a farm,
for example. where food, fuel, and even meager income from
part-time jobs, could be consolidated for the common good.
The commWlity had tumbled from the psychological
high of the 1927 Centermial so quickly that there was no time
for decompression or adjustment.
On August 2-5, 1927, remember, there was held prob-
ably the largest and most successful commWlity event in the
town's existence,
Judge George Fiedler, in Mineral Point, A History,
recalled:
"Historical places were marked: Jerusalem Spring,
Methodist Church, site of Ft. Jackson, St. Paul's Mission
Church, Trinity Episcopal, Land Office, and others.
"There was a 'pageant ofprogress' with 300 Pointers in
the cast (plus a body of 'real' Winnebago Indians from Black
River Falls), depicting I 00 years of history: discovery of lead,
Black Hawk War, inauguration of Henry Dodge, the 1849
Gold Rush, the cholera of 1850, Civil War,

107
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

World War I, and completion of the new high school in 1925.


"Store windows were filled with antiques rescued out of
closets and attics...
"Response was great... More than 500 homecomers
registered, coming.from New York to California, Maine to Tex-
as ... 5, 000 thronged the city and Fairgrounds each of the four
days."
Some of the floats stood out. The Mineral Point
Lumber Company built a solid, partial replica of the first
capitol at Belmont. It was so substantial that it was later used
as a one-car garage on the city's south side. Though in
disrepair, needing paint, it still stood in 1996.
The l\1P&N men, after their work hours, built a replica
of one of their steam engines on a Model-T chassis. Under-
powered, it had to be pushed up High Street.
The realistic reenactment of the Black Hawk War in the
pageant turned a little ugly when one of the ''settlers" fired his
rifle at such close range that the wadding from the blank
ammunition wounded an oncoming Indian.
Even though the Pointers had been living under a shad-
ow oflikely Zinc Works closure, they were not prepared for the
worst when it happened, especially when it was accompanied
by anther bank disaster.
Judge Fiedler, who was in a position to observe, said
economic life was "alternately in panic and at a standstill."
About the only significant employer was WPA -- the
Works Progress Administration.
One of WPA's important contributions was sponsoring
research for The Story of Mineral Point mostly from available
newspaper files and interviews of older citizens.
There was considerable, and badly needed, maintenance
of streets that were neglected because of lacking local taxes.
Another lasting project was the pool at Soldiers Mem-
orial Park. It was built to replace a 3-1 /2-acre lake developed
in 1921. That lake, with two (his and hers) bathhouses and a
wooden, roller coaster-like water slide, had been built with a
$3,000 Red Cross fund left over from World War I. It was also
a community ice skating rink in winter.
WPA funds paid for the cement pool emplaced on the

108
Would 've, Could 've. Should 've

hillside overlooking the lake that has since been filled for
playground and parking.
Work started in 1935, according to the July 18, 1996
Democrat-Tribune. A 15-20 man crew excavated 4,500 cubic
yards of rock and dirt by hand, laid 1, 175 yards of rock, poured
897 cubic yards of cement and filled the Olympic size, 150-by-
50 foot pool with 414,000 gallons of water. The pool was in
use by 1936.
The project cost nearly $35,000 of which $26,000 was
labor. It put some dollars into local circulation, kept some will-
ing laborers off welfare roles, and fed their families.
The WPA pool was a permanent addition to the Park. It
stood the test of time. Only during the past five years was it
necessary to repair and modernize it.
Two of the Park's accessories catered to the city's love
of music.
One was a bandstand, atop a refreshment building,
where the City Bands played and helped elevate spirits for
many years.
The other was a pavilion, built in 1922, where -- on its
3,200 square feet of shined, waxed oaken floor -- danced hun-
dreds of couples from throughout the southwest every summer
Thursday evening. They were attracted by the name "big
bands" of the era booked by the Mineral Point Park Board.
The admissions paid brought extra revenue that, in most
good years, covered costs of operating the entire park.
The likes of Paul Whiteman, the Dorsey Brothers,
Wayne King, and similar top artists who came to Mineral Point
also helped raise the morale of residents who came to the park
and stood outside the open windows to listen without paying.
There was still another benefit. Wallace Martin chaired
the Park Board's dance committee. Each summer he booked
the bands, distributed the publicity, placed the ads, and hired
the staff for taking tickets and manning the cloak room. The
latter were high schoolers who traded one night's work for an
alternate night of dancing. This was another plus for
community morale.

109
Would've, Could '11e, Should 've

The community was saddened during the winter of


1978-79 when heavy snow collapsed the roof of the dance hall.
It was not rebuilt despite efforts by Mike Mitchell and friends
to raise restoration funds.
In addition to the pool, a nwnber of local laborers were
employed by WP A constructing the Mississippi River
navigational dam at Guttenburg, IA. The Mineral Point men
would pool their personal cars, drive together to Iowa, camp
out there on the worksite for the week, and return to their
families.
In the lusher days that followed, it is hard to imagine
the depressing, depression conditions.
High school athletes furnished their own shoes, for
example. For basketball, that wasn't a serious problem because
they could be worn to class, too. Football was a different
matter. Two shoe repair shops on High Street would apply
cleats to old work shoes, at no cost except for the cleats, if the
shoes were furnished. Players were issued football uniforms in
the fall still sweaty from the previous season. Football jerseys
and basketball uniforms were sent home after games for moth-
ers to wash for the following games.
One of the rewards for making the basketball team was
a steak dinner after each out-of-town game with then-Coach
Otto Madland. Players learned, years later, that Coach
Madland made a deal with local restaurants for reduced-cost
meals, for which he paid out of his own, minimal salary.
But somehow, by pulling together, everyone pulled
through. Some of the professionals, and their families, had
money. A couple of the essential businesses, and their famil-
ies, were "loaded" in terms relative to the times. Almost every-
one else was just getting by or was "broke. "
The conununity that, in 1852, was "one of the
wealthiest cities in Wisconsin," did not forget its traditions.
Against the background of depression it demonstrated
the same courage shown after the Great Fire of 1897 wiped out
the major stores of W. J. Penhallegon, Martin & Toay, Brewer
& Penhallegon, Miss Wearne's millinery, and the Henry Francis
building, and also damaged the Masonic, IOOF, and Knights of
Pythias lodges plus the city hall.

110
Would've, Could've. Should 've

Total damage in that fire to buildings, stock and


equipment topped $50,000 -- comparable to several hundred
thousand in 1997 dollars. Had the blaze not been stopped in
the vicinity of the J. H. Vivian building, about the location of
Ivey's Pharmacy in 1997, it would have consumed the entire
block.
Arson was suspected, especially because there was a
concurrent fire at the corner of High and Chestnut.
The reaction to the Great Depression was as positive as
the reaction to the Great Fire -- persevere, somehow.
To the fire, the 1897 response was to rebuild, and to or-
ganize a fire department in case there was another. The
department, with a complement of 80 volunteers was equipped
with a 14-man hand and chemical pump engine capable of
throwing a 3/8-inch stream 150 feet. The pumper, state of the
art of that time, cost $1,200.
Some Pointers who lived at the time of the Great Fire
were extant for the Great Depression.
They remembered that, after the fire, Mineral Point re-
bounded with one of the first municipal electric power compa-
nies in the state, and with a municipal heating plant that
serviced all High Street buildings from the Royal Hotel to the
new Masonic Temple while ranging as far south as the old 4th
ward school and the Primitive Methodist (now Congregational-
UC) church.
They remembered, too, that during the first decade after
the Great Fire, the city blossomed with all-night street lights,
that Frank Ludden extended transmission lines to customers
outside the city, major streets were blacktopped, and cement
sidewalks were laid throughout.
Ludden, who had acquired the municipal power plant
from the city, sold it to Wisconsin Power & Light who, in tum,
bought the Wisconsin Service area of Interstate Power and
established a District Office in Point.
During the Depression, WP&L joined WPA, the pro-
fessiona ls and a couple of merchants as a substantive part of
the community. After WPA it was the primary, stable payroll
provider.

111
Would've, Could've. Should 've

Its first offices were in the Vivian Building, now part


of Ivey's Pharmacy. They moved up High Street after
purchasing the Gundry & Gray building.
It was shortly after purchasing the then-abandoned dry
goods store that WP&L had its only conflict with local citizens.
They took down the Pointer dog. Natives were not aware the
removal was only for cleaning. Thinking it was a permanent
move, some thought it would be better to lose the utility. All
was well when the dog was returned.
In 1989, WP&L constructed a consolidated facility on
the hill at 480 Shake Rag Street where all accounting, engi-
neering, and operating personnel are installed. When they sold
the Gundry building in 1993 and moved the last personnel to
the new facility, WP&L was off High Street for the first time in
75 years, but it remained essential to the city's economy.
Back during the Depression, other industries came --
and some went.
One was the Mineral Point Canning Company that
came in 1928. It was headed by W. H. Correll and A. A.
Schnurr. The former was a partner in Correll and Martin
clothing. Schnurr came from Portage where he had been five
years in the canning business.
They set up shop in what had been a cold storage plant
in the valley near the former WP&L maintenance building.
They canned mainly peas but branched into com and, during
World War II, had a military contract to can meat.
The cannery was economically important to both farm
and city. It contracted for agricultural acreage and cash crops.
It provided summer employment for about 115 mostly house-
wives and students.
Qualification for hiring was mainly to be accepted by
John Collins, long-time resident who had been with the Zinc
Works.
Pay was not great. Wages started at 20-cents per hour
but some spots paid twice or even thrice that.
An assembly line of shaxp-eyed women inspected the
hulled peas on their way to a hopper that funnelled them into a
machine that filled cans and put lids on them Among the
privileged employes was the one -- usually a young man -

112
Would've, Could've, Should 've

who had a small baseball bat that he used periodically to bang


on the hopper. His main job was to be sure that peas were not
sticking, and to keep a supply of lids for cans feeding into the
machine. From there they were strapped onto a cart, whisked
into some large pressure cookers from which they went to a
warehouse to be boxed and crated.
For many, income from working at the carmery bought
"pin money" for homes or help for college. Although small by
the hour, the hours were long, the total was good.
The cannery closed shortly after World War II, a victim
of the consolidation trend that eventually closed the much big-
ger operation at Cobb and similar plants throughout Wisconsin.
Al Schnurr remained to live out his life in Mineral Point
long after the cannery closed. He was elected, re-elected, and
re-re-elected Justice of the Peace. As the Kiwanis Club secre-
tary, his imaginative reports kept the local club prominent a-
mong activity leaders in its district.
Another "salvation" during the really depressed times
was the Burgess Battery plant. It came to town as a war-
industry in 1944.
The plant was set up in the only adequate space in town
at 242 High Street. This was the old Gorgen building that had
housed a grocery. The plant wasn't aesthetically pleasing.
\V orkers tracked black stains from the plant onto the sidewalk.
But they also tracked the stains into stores where the green
backs they earned helped erase the red-line deficits.
The Burgess payroll became the second largest in town,
exceeded only by Wisconsin Power & Light. Even more im-
portantly, it produced batteries for the troops so efficiently that
it earned a War Department "E" flag.
The late Gus Felderman purchased the property after it
had stood vacant for a time, developed it along with adjoining
fronts into a large hardware store that was, in 1997, an antique
mall.
Mineral Point lost the battery work to a new plant con-
structed in Fennimore but it was another "salvation" during the
tough times.
Some other "industries" that were operated variously
during the years included, alphabetically:

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Would've, Could've. Should 've

Brooms -- made by W. A. Harris in a building along-


side his home on 7th Street. It was a one-man operation during
the 1920's. He converted fine straw from area farms into fine
sweepers. The factory died when Mr. Harris died.
Cement block -- made in the junk yard area which Ted
Landon converted into a home and park site.
Creameries -- several:
In 1926, Reuben Ellsworth operated in the tri-
angle corner of Shake Rag and Com-
merce when he was not flying his new
biplane around the country.
Around 1939, Art Anger came to town, oper-
ated routes in competition with John
Tucker and Bert Kieffer until pastuer-
ization laws put them all out of work.
Sanitary Creamery, operated for many years by
the Heidemans, noted for Maple Leaf
butter.
Pioneer types, including an adjunct ofHoare's
farms, located on Jail Alley.
Golf -- a 3,000 yard course located barely at the top of
the hill ending Shake Rag on the way to Dodgeville, called one
of Wisconsin's best in 1923. R. T. Jackson scored a hole-in-
one in August, 1925 playing with his brother, Dave, Joe
Fiedler, and Bill Huson. The 1929 Depression killed the club.
The club house was used for workmen when the Farmers
Savings Bank was remodelled, then moved to the Holland farm
in 1935 where it has since been a residence
Logging -- started during the Depression, but began to
fade in 1961 as suitable forests declined.
Rugs -- manufactured by the Velvolux Company that
moved into the old 4th Ward school that once stood in the now-
vacant area behind the Odd Fellows Lodge museum. It left in
1927, a victim of the Depression.
Syrup -- produced variously, starting in 1927, as an
anti-Depression industry.
All these, combined with the pre-Zinc Works effort
cited earlier, compile into an impressive list of starts and stops.
Many though small, joined marginal business and
professional services in keeping Mineral Point fiscally afloat.

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Would've, Could've, Should 've

The roll call, even including the earlier list from A to Z,


is indubitably incomplete. But, no matter how many more
there were and how they were operated, the conclusions are
inescapable:
-- 'Through the years, many employers and employes a-
like, worked hard. Some operated for community as well as in-
dividual good. Most were strictly striking out for themselves,
of course. Altruism did not always prevail.
-- Some succeeded because of the talent, skill, and ener-
gy of their principal founders, owners, and operators. Some
failed because they lacked the talent, skill, and energy -- or
because of poor judgment, over-reaching, or simply being in
the wrong place at the wrong time -- especially Depression
time.
No matter, you've got to admire, and thank, the men and
women of both the distant and more recent past. True, they left
a business legacy of conservatism due to Depression-spawned
limited cash reserves, much of them wiped out by the bank
failures, and weak cash flow caused by slow, Depression-
stunted sales.
For many years, the rank and file of Mineral Point suf-
fered from a communal inferiority complex.
The isolated, somewhat unrelated successes -- like a trip
to a state basketball tournament by an undefeated team in 1934
and another, almost undefeated team in 1935 -- broke the defla-
tion a little. In support of their stalwarts, practically everyone
left town leaving non-residents wondering who would douse
any fire that might break out. But the bursts of enthusiasm
were few and far between.
The inferiority complex settled on young individuals
who settled for less, for a while.
Ultimately, almost all concerned found their true grit
and hidden strengths. The inferiority left behind by the Pointer
Depression has been replaced by the success of both those who
left, by those who remained, and the newcomers who now
populate the town. Past failures are no longer prologue to the
present or the future.
What helped the community shed the past and achieve
success in the present -- all the while boding well for the
future?
Read on.
115
Would've. Could've, Should 've

' . ...;~I
"

A "last gasp" before Depression set in


-- the Centennial of 1927 --
brought throngs of visitors and homecomers
to celebrate with displays, a pageant,
and High Street festooned with banners
for a once-in-a-lifetime pioneer parade.
Photos courtesy Mineral Point Room

116
Would've, Could've, Should 've

MAKING A COMEBACK
Here are the basic essentials

YOU TAKE WHAT lS GIVEN and build on it. But you must
have certain building blocks.
1bree of the basics are: churches, schools, and transpor-
tation. With Mineral Point, two out of the three -- religion and
education -- are good. In 1997, plans for better transportation
were at least on the state's, bureaucratic drawing boards.

PART I
Churches, a tradition

lf the woof of a community is its schools, then the warp


has to be its churches -- or vice versa.. Though constitutionally
separate, they go together in weaving a community's basic char-
acter.
Judge George Fiedler, in Mineral Point, A History,
studied churches as comprehensively as any of the city's histor-
ians.
Discussing the order in which they were founded, he
v-Tote, in part:
"The First Methodist Church of Mineral Point is the
oldest Protestant congregation in the State of Wisconsin, going
back to I 828 when Elder William Roberts, pioneer miner-
preacher, conducted services in Jerusalem Park."
In 1834, Methodists erected a 24-by-20 foot log church
near the eastern foot of High Street. Circuit riders served the
congregation until a minister was appointed two years later.
Divided opinion in the congregation about purchasing
and using an organ prompted 70 members to break away to
form the Primitive Methodist (later Congregational, now
United Church of Christ) in 1848.
Fiedler wrote:
"Cornerstone for the present Methodist church at the
head of High Street, was laid in I 869. Designed by a New
York architect, the edifice was three years a-building. Made
out oflocally quarried sandstone, it cost $32, 000. The pipe or-

117
Would've, Could've, Should 've

gan that prompted the PM removal was installed for $2, 000 in
1905. In 1861, an extensive modernization was authorized by
the congregation to cost $143,000.
Second oldest is St. Paul's Catholic Church where the
noted Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli first conducted mass in 1835.
Fiedler observed that Father Mazzuchelli's congregation at the
time was composed mostly of Methodists because there were
very few Catholics in the area.
Next came a monthly visit by a priest from Potosi who
built a 28-by-40 foot church in 1843 in response to an influx of
Irish-Catholic immigrants.
In May, 1835, the cornerstone was laid for a second,
larger stone church that, despite hard times, was completed in
1855. By 1880, the number German-speaking parishoners e-
qualled the original Irish so the congregation was divided and
St. Mary's was founded.
The second St. Paul's edifice was demolished and the
present structure was constructed on Ridge Street at a cost of
$20,000.
Next in line, Judge Fiedler wrote, was Trinity Episco-
pal, starting as a mission in 1836. In 1840, Moses M. Strong
donated a city block as the site for a permanent church. Work
was started, then stopped for five years. The dormant
congregation was revived in 1845, meeting -- with special
permission of the County Board -- in the courthouse. The
present structure was consecrated in 1855.
A rectory, next door to the Episcopal church, was built
in 1865. A parish school was initiated, also in 1865, in a
building just east of the church. The school building collapsed
a few years ago and was not restored.
In the meantime the United Church of Christ, nee Con-
gregational, initially Primitive Methodist, was housed in a new,
limestone building that was replaced in 1893 by the present
structure. Holding to the precept that prompted 70 members to
leave the Methodists because they wanted no pipe organ, the
new church had only a foot-pump organ. They finally relented
by installing a $2,000 pipe organ in 1913.
St. Mary's Catholic Church was established in 1870
after a decade of holding separate, German-language services at
the once Irish-dominated St. Paul's.

118
Would've, Could've, Should 've

The first St. Mary's church and rectory were erected


quickly in 1870 for $10,000 followed by a parish school in
1873. The present church and rectory were completed in 190 1
followed by the parochial school building.
First services of Hope Lutheran Church members were
held, starting in 1939, in private homes and the American Leg-
ion Hall.
The Lutherans obtained a building of their own in 1945
when they "recycled" the abandoned Oak Park cheese factory
by moving it from a few miles south on the old Galena Road
(Hwy. 151) to a location near the Water Tower Park. Pews
were obtained from a church in Iowa, windows were donated
by members and friends, a Bible came from Bagley, WI.,
hymnals from a Ladies Aid Society in Darlington.
The present, unusually designed Lutheran Church on
Commerce Street, was consecrated in 1973 on land donated by
Mr. and Mrs. Parmley Harris.
A Presbyterian Church was organized in 1839. The
parishoners built a house of worship on High Street at a cost of
$3,000. Short of funds and long on dissension, the congrega-
tion disbanded, sold their hall to the Knights of Pythias. Later,
the building was renamed Epworth Hall, used as a gymnasium
and housing the city's first bowling alley before it was razed.
Baptists organized in the '70s, meeting in homes until
building a church in 1978 at 949 FoWltain Street. Some
residents also attended the Willow Springs Bible Church, a
breakaway from the First Methodist.
Clearly, churches in Mineral Point have been consistent
and active since well before the city's foWlding. Their
structures stand as the city's most beautiful architecture.
Religion, of course, is more than just church buildings ..
It calls for priests and ministers -- Mineral Point Jewish went to
Madison for rabbis -- and dedicated lay-persons. The city has
been blessed with all.
There was a time when Protestants weren't talking to
each other, the two Catholic churches were alienated, and there
was almost outright "war" between all. Thanks to efforts by the
late Fr. F. L. McDonald, who was promoted to Monsignor to
head the massive Queen of Peace complex on Madison's west
side, an ecumenical spirit was generated near the end of the
Depression era. It continued near the end of 20th Century.
119
Would've, Could've, Should 've

PART II
They sacrificed for schools
The education foundation parallels the churches.
Earliest schools in the city started in 1829.
As was in vogue, during the l 800's, it was a "private"
school "taught by a Mrs. Harker," according to the
Architectural Survey, in a crude log cabin near the Government
Spring (Shake Rag Alley). It was equipped with rough,
wooden-slab benches and flats of sand on which lessons were
written.
A select or "subscription" school followed, also in a log
cabin. Its teacher, Robert Boyer, lasted two years. It closed in
1832, probably because of the Black Hawk War.
There was a series of other, similar schools for which
parents paid to enroll their children.
Some were in log or frame buildings, one met in the
courthouse, and there was one in a specially constructed, stone-
and-brick building. The latter, that started in 1840. was so
popular it had to be enlarged to accommodate a constantly
grow~g enrollment.
Most of the private schools were sponsored by
churches.
One of the earliest, in 1836, held classes in the
basement of the Methodist Church.
The first Catholic grade school was built by the St.
Paul's parish Fr. Victor Jounaeault, a French priest was the
teacher. He was succeeded by two Mineral Pointers, whose
names be-came well-known in local circles, Mary Torphy and
John Cummings.

***
The parade continued:
-- Mineral Point Academy, 1847, teaching Greek, Latin,
French, English, and secondary as well as primary subjects;
-- Episcopal Church School, 1868, that could accom-
modate 150 students. It closed in 1872 when the teacher and
minister's wife, Mrs. Lyman Phelps, died; re-opened in 1879,
then was leased to the city as a primary school for five years;
-- St. Paul's Parish school, 1868, by Sisters from
Sinsinawa. It operated, for sure, to 1883; possibly to 1901-13.

120
Would've. Could've, Should 've

-- St. Mary's Parochial school, 1871. lmproved and en-


larged several times, culminating with red brick building in
1904 where students were offered courses through eighth grade
that qualified them for public high school. The magnificent
facility was augmented with additions that included a
gynmasium, assembly hall, and cafeteria. School was closed in
1968.
Mineral Point responded to a state constitutional
amendment in 1850 by opening a public school with 200
students enrolled. A borough at that time, the community
fa iled to appropriate sufficient tax support. Students paid 25-
cents per month to pay teachers' salaries. This school closed in
1852.
A more permanent arrangement was made in 185 7 after
the city was incorporated. The city charter required formation
of a separate school district headed by an elected
superintendent. There followed a succession of noteworthy
educators including Dr. James B. Moffett, Alexander Wilson,
and J. Montgomery Smith.
Another of the educators was William A. Jones who,
after teaching, became principal and superintendent, then a
bank cashier and partner in the Mineral Point Zinc Company.
A Methodist school , that had been operated privately,
was sold to the city in 1861 , Bonds were sold, a second ward
school was completed in 1868, and a Fourth Ward school that
was used until it become obsolete in 1922.
Les Dunwidie recalled the so-called "lower ward
school" to wit:
"It was built of J2-by-20-inch sandstone blocks, had
two doors (east and west), and a double-door facing north. Its
large windows afforded good views outside that sometimes
were more interesting than what was being taught inside.
"Heal was provided by the municipal plant where steam
was allowed to run down on weekends leading to Monday
mornings so cold thar classes had to be dismissed unril the
rooms warmed. "
The old building was finally tom down but not until
after it was leased briefly to a rug manufacturer.
There was another major development in 1861 when
the city divided the school system into departments.
121
Would've. Could've. Should 've

An official high school program benefitted from the


state educational aids created at that time.
A new high school was built in 1903 by Herman Enzen-
roth and S. Jenkins. The cut limestone building opened in
1904. It was integral to the accreditation that was awarded to
the city in 1910. As a result, MPHS graduates were eligible to
enter any college or university in the North Central states
without taking entrance exams. Four main language courses
were aug-mented, about the same time, with domestic science
and manual training.
The 1904 high school was converted to a grade school
in 1923, to a middle school in 1968 when a new elementary
school was built, and was sold for private development in
1996.
A new high school was erected on the Ridge in 1925. It
featured a then, state-of-the-art gymnasium with a maple floor,
plus special rooms for vocational training. Major additions
were made, including a state-of-the-new-art gymnasium
starting in 1958.
The 1925-era high school became excess in 1996 when
a middle- and high-school complex was dedicated at a new
location at the city's northwest comer. The old high school was
sold to two local couples for conversion to offices and for use
for public events The young entrepreneurs renamed the
facility "Point Place," and announced plans to maintain the
architectural integrity while accommodating a variety of
entertainment and educational activities.
Complementary to schools are libraries and Mineral
Point has had them since George Bliss, publisher of the Wis-
consin Tribune opened a reading facility in 1854.
In line with a statewide trend, the Mineral Point Library
Association followed up with a drive to establish a larger read-
ing room on High Street.
The reading room was moved into the newly completed
Municipal Building in 1914 where, now well over 100 years
old, it has been permanently maintained.
Just as churches are more than building but depend on
the clergy, schools are more than just structures and must have
educators.
Some teachers in the Mineral Point schools have
become legends.
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Would 'vel Could 've, Should 've

Three, whom many Mineral Pointers praise for


imparting basic education, were the middle school triumverate
of Ruse Dunbar, Bertha Hoskins, and Gertrude Weidenfeller.
They pioneered "team teaching" long before the term was ever
used.
No less than the late Clay Schoenfeld, who became a
UW professor, one-time head of its journalism extension, and
a widely published author, claimed they shaped his personal
and professional life.
In Ribbands of Blue, one of the first of his several
dozen books, Schoenfeld wrote:
"Hoskins, Weidenfeller, and Dunbar. Teaching as a
team, they specialized, respectively, in civics, literature, and
math. I remember all about Calvin Coolidge, Alfred Lord
Tennyson, the square of the hypotenuse of a triangle -- and
much more -- because of them. They were the epitome of the
teacher -- graceful old maids with iron discipline, gross pre-
judices, and an utter determination to cram knowledge down
the throats of all comers or keep them behind for another
year."
***
In retrospect, the record shows that churches and
schools in Mineral Point ranged between good and superlative
despite the fluctuation of economies.
To be sure, some developments in education had to be
"encouraged" by outside forces like the Federal and State pres-
sure for a new high school in 1923 and again, with their
concern about disability access in 1995.
On the other hand, the library with its unique and in-
valuable Mineral Point Room, is a model of consistency.
Crowded as it is, however, there was a movement for a new
location emerging in 1996.
It is a credit to both the churches and schools that
Mineral Pointers, generation after generation, have made their
marks at home and elsewhere.

PART III
Getting there, and here, isn't easy
Adequate transportation was not readily available in
pioneer days. The handicap continued in 1997.

123
Would've. Could've, Should 've

Other areas of the state had access to waterways, rails,


and roads. Some, like Chicago, had all three. Pointers had no
access to water, ever -- although they tried. They did not have
a rail connection -- so they built one. They had no good roads
and, as the 21st century loomed, they were still waiting. At
least they had a good airport -- but that, too, was the result of
local effort.
In the 1830's, water was the preferred way. The nearby
Pecatonica River was purportedly navigable from Wiota.
Tradition had it that Charles Bracken, who mined and smelted
in the Willow Springs area, had shipped boats full of lead from
New Baltimore, just seven miles downstream from Mineral
Point.
Early Mineral Pointers thought maybe there might be a
way to get to that water. In 1839 they organized the Pecaton-
ica Navigation Company to see if it might be feasible to dredge
the river to the Illinois state line. It wasn't.
But, according to The Architectural and Historical In-
tensive Survey Report, the idea didn't die with the end of the
Navigation Company. As late as 1882, Congress authorized
the Corps of Engineers to look at possibly improving the
Pecatonica for navigation between Argyle and South Wayne.
Again, no go.
To get their ore to market by water, Mineral Point area
miners drove wagons overland 35 miles to Galena where the
cargo was transferred first, to Fever River vessels and ul-
timately to Mississippi River steamboats. At New Orleans the
lead was transferred again, this time to ocean-going vessels that
finally delivered everything to the Eastern markets. Circuitous
as it was, the shipments wore a rutted route between 1823 and
1848 that handled 4 72 million pounds of lead, valued at more
than $14 million. The route faded gradually until the Civil War.
Road improvements came as slowly then as they have
in recent years. The federally financed Military Road between
Green Bay-Portage-Prairie du Chien ran just eight miles north
along the high ridge escarpment. In 1831 , a spur was
constructed to connect Mineral Point with the then "super"
highway. The easier access to the Wisconsin river connection
to the Mississippi reduced, but did not eliminate, dependence
on the Galena route.
124
Would've. Could've, Should 've

In 1838 there was a spate of road-building in all direc-


tions. Mineral Point was connected with Janesville, Rockford,
and Milwaukee. The Galena road, generally along modem
Hwy. 151, was improved. There were direct routes westerly to
the Wisconsin River and, easterly, via the Erie Canal by way of
Milwaukee.
But the steam-driven trains were faster, railroads were
coming on line. In the early I 850's, other communities were
getting theirs. Mineral Point wasn't. Pointers moved to
correct.
This led to the Mineral Point Railroad... that led to
fund-raising -- i.e., selling bonds. That led to a feud-fueling
skirmish with Dodgeville that may have helped cost Point the
courthouse. It led to another scandal. But it also led to the spur
line that served for I 00 years before it became one more
"should 've."
Mineral Pointers really didn't want their own railroad.
They readily recognized the rising reliance on rails so they
sought service from the three dominant carriers: the Milwaukee
Road, Illinois Central, and the Soo. All said no.
The only choice left: build.
The Mineral Point Railroad Company was chartered
and authorized to sell stock. But before investors would buy
stock they wanted to know the route. The Illinois Central
agreed to a connection at Warren, IL. The plan evolved for a
32-mile link through Calamine, Darlington, and "Riverside."
Stock sales began briskly then got the steam knocked
out of them by another national depression. Promoters plowed
ahead anyway. They hired the best railroad civil engineer to
design the roadway. He estimated the initial cost at $600,000.
The money wasn't available but it was full steam ahead
anyway.
The original contractor quit. He was replaced by a
nephew of Moses M. Strong, then president of the line.
Then as now, if you don't have local money to build --
be it railroad or baseball stadium -- you look to government to
help. The Wisconsin Legislature authorized a referendum to
see if the county would bond itself for the project. The voters
of Iowa County approved, except for Dodgeville.
Trouble began in 1858. It spread throughout all of the

125
Would've, Could've, Should 've

governmental units that had helped subsidize the railroad. All,


including Mineral Point city and town, became entangled in a
long line of lawsuits, injunctions, writs of mandamus, mass ar-
rests, and fines.
Basis of the trouble, according to the WPA Story of
Mineral Point, emerged when the bonds were issued. People
who voted for them understood that the railroad company
would make all principal and interest payments. The people
naively thought they would never have to raise another cent.
Even with the bonding, fi.mds were short. The initial
cost estimate of $600,000 rose, almost immediately, to $1 mil-
lion.
Worse yet, after ground was broken in 1853, an ad-
vance of $650,000 in the form of 20-year bonds was paid to a
contractor who went broke in March, 1854.
The impasse: the bankrupt company could not pay up.
The County would not. In 1858, the first of many suits was
filed in U.S. District Court.
In November, 1858, the Iowa County Board drew the
line in the sand. They claimed "the bonds were obtained by
fraud, they were issued against the wishes of the people, had
been opposed by the majority of the County Supervisors, and
the people of Iowa County will never consent to the payment of
a single dollar more ... "
What's more, after this official repudiation of the bonds,
the Supervisors resolved to fight all attempts to enforce pay-
ment. They authorized only attorneys' fees.
The WPA history said the Supervisors "then awaited
developments.... but they waited too long. While they were
waiting the firm holding the first mortgage succeeded in getting
a foreclosure. On November 6, 1861, they sold the railroad and
all of its rolling stock for $75,000.
Left without assets and holding the bag containing a
worthless mortgage, the County, City of Mineral Point, and the
Town of Mineral Point were sitting ducks. They became
defendants in 75 to 100 lawsuits. They lost them all. But they
ignored the courts' orders to pay up.
Holders of the orders to pay started dropping in, un-
announced, at County Board and City Council meetings. In

126
Would've, Could've, Should 've

order to conduct other, necessary business, the officials --


mainly city -- held illegal, secret sessions.
Unable to find the governmental bodies, bond holders
wishing to serve their writs, obtained a court order that forbade
collection of normal taxes without levying taxes to pay off the
judgments. In response, the County simply waived all tax
collections.
The three governments dug an impossible hole. The
WPA history estimated their legal fees totalled $100,000 by
1871. The bondholders' original stock was worth $150,000.
Accruing interest had run the amount due to $413,000 and
counting -- but the governments continued adamant.
The highest dramatics came in 1872. Armed with ap-
propriate mandamuses, a U.S. Marshall appeared in Iowa
County. He arrested 37 of the officials who had been in office
in 1870. He carted all of them -- including Mineral Point's
Mayor and eight aldermen, town treasurers and clerks -- off to
Milwaukee.
Mayor W. T. Henry, along with Aldermen David Jacka,
S. E. Shepard, James Argall, Albert Spratler, William J. Healy,
and Peter Frieden, were fined $100 each plus costs. Others
were bound over to another court session. The Federal judge
warned that all would be arrested again if they failed to arrange
settlements.
That looked like the end. The officials returned to Iowa
County. The necessary tax was levied.
But it wasn't the end. A state law intervened that
required the treasurer of each governmental unit to post a bond
equal to the amount to be collected. There wasn't a treasurer in
the County who either could -- or would -- raise the bond mon-
ey, their clerks could not issue the tax lists. Thus the
bondhold-ers and court were out-maneuvered. No taxes.
Encouraged, as well as angered, the County, City, and
Towns mounted a counter-offensive. W. T. Henry, who felt
singularly offended when arrested as Mineral Point Mayor, was
chosen to lobby for state legislated protection from the bond-
holders.
The legislators adopted four acts aimed at investigating
the railroad with the goal of repealing its franchise if miscon-

127
Would've, Could've, Should ;v

duct was found. This was a big enough club to make the bond-
holders amenable to compromise. They accepted a 65 per cent
settlement. Payment was made over time in annual
installments. All was settled by 1889.
Meanwhile, at a cost of who knows how much more
than $1 million, the train that had been rolling into the Depot
since June 16, 1857, just kept chugging along.
The proverbial battle, but not the war, had been won.
The Depression of 1857 was followed by the Civil War. The
Mineral Point Railroad Company declared bankruptcy in 1861,
reorganized, started profiting.
With this encouragement, naturally, thoughts turned to
expansion. Additional routes considered included a line
between Mineral Point and someplace on the Mississippi
River, one between Dodgeville-Dubuque via Mineral Point and
Belmont, and one simply between Dodgeville and Point.

The last one almost made it in 1880. It got so far that
building would have started had Mineral Point and Dodgeville
put up a total of $35,000 to do the work. The Pointers were
ready with their share but Dodgeville got a better offer to be
put on the Northwestern line for $25,000. The l\1Ilwaukee
Road bid $10,000 to build a connection between the two cities
but got no takers.
The Mineral Point Railroad provided excellent service.
The choice of a line into Illinois was timely for shipping ore to
a new plant near LaSalle that was using a new process. There
were two trains daily, morning and evening.
An even more desirable routing, especially for
passengers, was established in 1880 when the Milwaukee Road
consolidated the route via Janesville.
The Milwaukee Road service permitted leaving Mineral
Point at 8:45 a.m., travelling through Janesville and Milwaukee
to reach Chicago at 7:00 p.m. There were other connections of
consequence. For example, you could take the morning train to
Janesville, change to a coIUlection via Davis Junction in Illinois
and arrive, the next morning, in Kansas City, MO.
The Milwaukee Road service continued, with gradual
reductions, until the miles were abandoned like hundreds of
others, in the l 980's.

128
Would've. Could've, Should 've

Although not affected by the service, Mineral Point was


prominently involved in what Judge Fiedler indignantly called
"an amazing and brazen railroad scheme that actually corrupted
and bribed the whole government of Wisconsin."
Mineral Point was involved because Moses M. Strong
of Mineral Point was involved. Fiedler, a pristinely purist law-
yer and jurist, seemed chagrined that anyone in the legal profes-
sion would participate in such chicanery.
Strong, Fiedler explained in his Mineral Point, A His-
tory, was a railroad lobbyist working out of Washington, D C.
in 1885. He secured a huge land grant of more than a million
acres in Wisconsin.
He returned to the Badger State where one of his clients
was one the two finalists among the lines competing for the
LaCrosse-Milwaukee Road grant. His major associate was
Byron Kilbourn of Milwaukee.
Fiedler charged:
"These two men deliberately corrupted and bribed the
Governor, legislators, a Supreme Court Justice, and Milwau-
kee newspapermen in successfully winning the grant. "
Enabling legislation was enacted on October 9, 1858. It
was signed into law only two days later by Gov. Coles Bash-
ford.
Almost immediately, Strong distributed some $862,000
in five-year bonds to pay off the cooperating Governor, Lt.
Governor, a selection of senators and assemblymen plus several
Milwaukee newspaper editors and publishers.
The going rate was $50,000 for the Governor, $I 0,000
each for the Lt. Governor, Legislators, and assorted clerks.
Nobody said what the newsmen were worth in bribes but the
press today would agree they weren't worth much as journalists.
The record also revealed that the recipients actually
went to Strong's office in Milwaukee, hats in hand and palms
up, to receive their illegal largesse. Their names were checked
off. Correspondingly numbered, plain paper packages were
distributed. To the Governor on down, distribution was like
groceries at a super market.
It was too big a secret to be kept. Rumors circulated in
1857. A new administration, headed by a new Governor with a
new legislative majority, initiated a full-scale investigation.

129
Would've, Could've, Should 've

Strong spent six days in the Dane county jail, refusing


to testify before an investigative committee. He finally relented
to admit to the whole nasty mess.
Fiedler noted:
"Reputations were destroyed despite the feeble efforts
of many of the corrupted officials to explain away the facts."
One of the "feeble explanations" could be considered a
classic, political waffle. It was offered by Justice Abram Smith
of the State Supreme Court, who testified:
"Some time ... I think maybe in January, 1857... but I am
not sure... I found one morning on my libraty table in Mil-
waukee a package containing I 0 bonds of the railroad, payable
five years from date ... I think...
"From whom they came I do not know... I had no
reason that I knew or could think of to believe they were
intended for unworthy purposes. I could foresee, however,
circumstances wherein I thought it might be my duty, in justice
as well as to myself and to the state, to retain these bonds ...
within my control, to be produced as circumstances might
require ...
"I therefore replaced the bonds in the envelope, took
them to my bank, and requested the cashier to put his seal
thereon, depositing them imo the vault subject to my order, as
a special deposit... and there they remain to this day... "
Another Mineral Pointer involved was Amasa Cobb,
then a State Senator. Judge Fiedler pointed out pridefully that
the Senator belonged to the Mineral Point firm of Cobb and
Messmore.
Senator Cobb had this response when he was offered a
bribe:
"Some five or six days before adjournment... William
Pitt Dewey, an assistant clerk in the Assembly, invited me to
take a walk with him around the Square.
"He brought up the pending bill, told me that if the Act
passed, I would receive a quantity of bonds.
"He asked me what it would take to induce me to ease
my opposition, adding that he had authority to negotiate.
"! told him that if Kilbourn and Strong would multiply
the capital value of the railroad (estimated at $10 million) by
the number of leaves in the Capital Park, give me that amount

130
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

of money, and then have Kilbourn, Strong, and Mitchell black-


faced with clear title to them as my servants for life, I would
take it all under consideration. "
The Senator's nobility could not ever be questioned al-
though his reference to black-facing and indentured servitude
might not have been quite politically correct.
Judge Fiedler continued his censure of Strong, observ-
ing:
"He was never disbarred. ..
"In fact, he came back to be president of the State
Board of Law Examiners, 1885-94; vice president of the State
Historical Society of Wisconsin; and president of the State Bar
Association, 1890-94."
Strong retained his old railroading connections, too. In
1879, when his only son drowned in the Flambeau River, the
president of the Wisconsin Central provided a special train to
bring the body back to Mineral Point.
Strong had made profit enough to build a cut-limestone
mansion on Fotmtain Street in Mineral Point. Called "the
Stronghold," it had piped-in gas lighting and indoor plumbing.
It was surrounded by a termis court and formal garden. Furn-
ishings included black walnut furniture, a rosewood piano, and
wall-to-wall carpeting.
Strong's pride was a library that contained his law
books plus several hundred volumes in Greek, Latin, French,
German, and English.
It was there he completed the classic History of the
Territory of Wisconsin in 1885.
It was there he died in 1894, leaving no fortune.
The righteous indignation Judge Fiedler expressed a-
bout a fellow law practitioner must have ameliorated, evidence
the closure in Mineral Point, A History:
"Although Strong must be condemned for his part in the
great railroad bribery, his career at Mineral Point and
throughout Wisconsin from 1836 to 1894 spanned 58 years of
the formative period of the territory and the state. His latter
years indicated the workings of redeeming influences in his
character. "

131
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

Transportation services provided to Mineral Point in-


cluded the Mineral Point & Northern Railroad. Like the Zinc
Works it "was" -- not merely a "would 've!" It was built,
served, and was abandoned without much controversy.
The l\1P&N's primary purpose was to bring ore down
the line from Highland, which it did until the ore ran out.
Through its convenient loading stations it carried cattle for
transfer from Point to slaughter houses, which it did until farm-
to-market roads were built and trucks moved in. It carried
pass-engers during its twice-a-day runs until supplanted by
automobiles.
The shortline between Mineral Point and Highland was
planned in 1859 by an independent corporation. The little
company started laying steel in 1904 but, like many similar of
the time, ran short of funds. Mineral Point Zinc, needing to
connect its mines with its mill, took it over.
The MP&N was not hugely profitable. Much of its in-
come was "internal," i.e. - it served the Zinc Works. At peak, it
ran twice daily, then slowed to one, and then to a few times a
week and never on Sundays. Cattle, paying fares -- yes, it had
its own passenger cars -- and a favorable rate contract for
which it was credited by the Interstate Commerce Commission
for cargo it never carried, contributed extra change to the Zinc
Company's coffers. It made a place in railroading annals as a
little line that could and did.
On Sundays, the route turned into a recreational trail.
Employes frequently borrowed motor cars which they took on
the rails to carry families and friends on hunting, fishing, and
swimming junkets.
The route deserves to be recorded. The late Clay
Schoenfeld, and the author made plans some 10 years ago to
hike the route. Something always interfered. Clay is gone now
and the author's 80-year-old neuropathetic legs aren't up to
solo. The map remains in Clay's estate for a younger team's
jaunt.
From the Depot in Mineral Point, the route went 1-1/4
miles over the Milwaukee Road tracks to Highland Junction.
From there it branched on its own tracks generally north
through Kodatz, Harker, Linden, Whitson Junction, and High-
land.

132
Would've. Could've. Should 've

The names of the stations had a variety of derivations.


Why Kodatz? Daniel Lanz, researching for his
Railroads of Southern and Southwestern Wisconsin found it
was the maiden name of a stenographer in the l\1P&N's home
office.
Harker was the name of the farmers who owned the
land on which it was located.
Linden was just a short piece down the road from the
village of the same name.
Whitson Junction was imported from England, chosen
because it was the hometown of Henry Baker who had owned
the land around the station. The installation looked like an
English rail facility ..
At Whitson Junction the l\1P&N crossed the Chicago &
Northwestem's now abandoned east-west line. In the latter days
of both, when each had been reduced to a single train a day, the
lone north-south Northern and the east-west Northwestern
collided on the crossover. It was the l\1P&N's last wreck that
included only one that was very serious -- a fireman was
pinched to death between the engine cab and tender when a
bridge over the Pecatonica near Kodatz collapsed after
weakening under a high-water ice floe.
All of the stations were manned by resident agents
whose families lived in or near them. Ralph Smart, while agent
at Kodatz, bucked for transfer to Linden when his children
reached school age, because he wanted improved education for
them. Ultimately they moved to Mineral Point when Smart
advanced in l\1P&N management.
The end of the line loomed when the mines began to die
in the 1920's. The last trains, that had been running spasmodic-
ally, ran in 1936. Soon thereafter, the steel rails and bridges
were sold for salvage.
The rolling stock was dispersed. One of the three en-
gines was sent to Pennsylvania where Ralph Smart was
employed by New Jersey Zinc. He frequently heard and
recognized its unique whistle, and felt homesick.
The end of the Northern presaged the end of all rail
service to Mineral Point.
The beginning of the end began dimly in 1923 when the

133
Would've. Could've, Should 've

Milwaukee Road severed the connection between Gratiot and


Warren. It accelerated in 1931 when twice daily service was
dropped between Monroe and Mineral Point. Passenger
service ended in 1940 except for occasional "mixed" trains.
To modern Pointers' credit, they fought a detennined
delaying action. A campaign urged using rails for freight and a
few did. Ivey Construction Company was about the only firm
in the city that had significant car loadings.
The Interstate Commerce authorized abandonment.
The rails came up and a recreational trail went down in 1980
Aviation came to Mineral Point in the l 920's. Reuben
Ellsworth, who apparently learned to fly in World War I,
owned a plane. A fellow called Robinson, while not living in
the city, had a lot to do with flying right alongside the Wrights.
Campaigning for an airport succeeded, through local
efforts, in the l 960's, primarily in response to efforts by Roger
Ivey, Homer Lancaster, and John Hancock.
First choice for a location was in the vicinity of Dodge-
Point country club but the land was too valuable for farming
and the State Aeronautics Commission was only mildly
cooperative.
The alternate choice was between Mineral Point and
Linden. Somehow, enough stock was sold, mostly to Mineral
Point business and professional men, to buy runway space with
a couple of hangars.
The State Transportation Department-Division of Aero-
nautics placed the facility on the state airport system. It was re-
named the Iowa County Airport. As such, it was eligible for
modest state aid and occasional facility improvements. There
was some financial help from the County Board that insisted on
Mineral Point sharing with another airport at Lone Rock.
Lands End executives, without adequate facilities close
to Dodgeville, made use of the Mineral Point airport to such an
extent that they bought additional land and lengthened a
runway at their own expense. They, and several others, erected
hangars.
On balance, Mineral Point has become an active partici
pant in the "air age." It has just about aviation enough for what
it needs.
The same cannot be said about highways.

134
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

Southwestern Wisconsin, after having powerful friends


in high places during the l 930's and enjoying reasonably
adequate road-building as a result, has been neglected in recent
years.
Interstate highways, the life-blood of modem industrial
development, missed the area. Four-lane divided roadways, the
second echelon, have been slow-coming.
Some 15 to 20 years ago, the four-lane, Madison-
Dodgeville segment of Hwy. 18-151 was next up for construc-
tion. Fund were available but illogical opposition delayed the
work. The funds were diverted to Hwy. 15, between Beloit-
Milwaukee.
After much delay, the Madison-Dodgeville segment
was built. Extensions between Dodgeville-Belmont, and the
final connection with Dubuque, will probably not be built until
early in the next century.
Mineral Point and environs have prevailed, and will
continue to prevail, despite the transportation disadvantage.
But all concerned individually, collectively, and
cooperatively-- must persist in seeking improvements.

135
~
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~
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' 1 111'

~~- ~;;~
,.
'
~ •


I

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~
~

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~
~

~~

~
0

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:g'

This was Pendarvis -- pre-N&H* (Neal & Helium) -- its


potential hidden from most passersby except for the
dedicated pair who restored them as monuments to Mineral
Point's Comish and as the foundation of the city's tourism.
Photo courtesy Mineral Point Room
Would've. Could've, Should 've

SOLUTIONS
You just gotta do what you gotta do

THE BEST CAREER COUNSELING SAYS: use your best


talents but.don't try to be more than you are.
That's good advice for communities and individuals.
Those who try to over-reach often fail and fall. Those who
play within themselves are usually successful. Try to be more
than you are and you run the risk of being nothing.
You find examples of the truth of the adage in Mineral
Point. Truly, they took what was given -- the richness of ore-
bearing land. They combined it with the inventive processing
in their massive Zinc Works. They suffered only when what
was given was gone.
In their bank fai lures and their abortive attempts to in-
dustrialize, they over reached. Perhaps some of their industries
might have succeeded if they had been restrained within limits.
Their banks were successful until greed or depression took
them beyond the realm of reality.
As the turbulent 20th century winds down, Mineral
Point sets an impressive example.

POINT ONE
Tourism

Pendarvis, Bob Neal's and Edgar Hellum's labor of


love, is the crown jewel and cornerstone of Mineral Point's
tourism.
Neal, a Comishman from Mineral Point via London,
England, and Helium, a Norwegian from Cooksville, merged
their respective talents and skills to restore cottages, create gar-
dens, and generate publicity on Shake Rag, nee Hoard Street,
across from Soldiers Memorial Park.
With the assistance of strong, youthful arms, they
brought three Comish houses back to life, staffed them, served
pasties "by appointment only," and hosted community develop-
ment sessions during winter evenings by the roaring fireplace
in their personal quarters.
The original Shake Rag structures -- Trelawney, Pol-
perro, Pendarvis -- were augmented by the Tamblyn House on

137
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

Spruce Street with its quaint tavern whose low ceilings were
fine for mine-stunted Comishmen but not for their taller de-
scendants.
The Pendarvis dining room was mecca for gourmets
lured by recommendations of such as Betty Cass, the Wisconsin
State Journal colurrmist; by feature stories in The Saturday
Evening Post; and by Duncan Hines, the most popular food
author of his day.
The famous and not-so-famous were frequent dining
guests, provided they made reservations.
A story that Bob Neal neither confirmed nor denied had
it that one day during World War II, a limousine parked in front
of Pendarvis and a familiar-looking young man knocked at the
door.
Said he, in a distinctive Eastern accent, "My mothah
and I would like to have pahsty."
Said Neal, in his best London-acquired English accent,
"That's fine, but you must have a reservation."
Said the young man, "Prhaps you don't know who I
am?"
Said Neal, "I know who you are and I know who your
mother is -- and you still need a reservation."
The young man and his "mothah'' never had a pasty.
She was Eleanor Roosevelt, accompanied by either son James
or Elliott.
Neal and Hellurn were not always the most pragmatic,
commercialized promoters. As they approached the 25th ann-
iversary of the foundin g of their property, they said, "One thing
we can do is put the dining room back the way it was when we
started." They changed their plan only after being reminded
that the purpose of the promotion was to attract larger numbers
of diners and that the original dining room sat many fewer
customers.
Often Pendarvis was the gathering place for the likes of
August Derleth, the prolific Sauk-Prairie author, and Alex
Jordan, fowider of the House on the Rock. Jordan consistently
suggested ways to commercialize Pendarvis in order to increase
profits. Neal and Hellum never opted to lower their standards
for higher income.

138
Would've, Could've. Should 've

When it came time for retirement, the modest owners


were offered considerable sums of money by promoters who
saw big bucks in operating the unique complex. Neal and
Helium sold, rather, to the State Historical Society of Wiscon-
sin for much less. They reasoned that the Society would better
preserve the integrity of their life work for future generations.
As one of the Society's major attractions, Pendarvis
annually lures thousands of tourists and their dollars to Mineral
Point. It provides part-time sununer employment. It has
become one of the "industries" that could've and does.
Pendarvis encouraged and has been augmented by allied
attractions.
Across the street is the likeable, hikeable Merry
Christmas mine site. A horse-and-carriage offers city tours.
Down Shake Rag Street, towards town, was "Shake Rag
Alley," established as a tasteful tourist trap by Al Felly, retired
Madison florist. He bought a house on the street and the
fronting "government springs" area that he cleaned up, restored
appropriate buildings and staffed them in summer with crafts
persons who demonstrated early American works. The
property was placed on the real estate market in 1996 when
Felly contemplated "re-retirement."
Joining Neal, Helium, and Felly as examples of quality
and unusual contributors to solving current community prob-
lems were such people as Bert Bohlin and Dean Connors.
Bohlin moved from Chicago. He and Mrs. Bohlin
purchased a house with barn on Jail Alley for, respectively, a
residence, crafts sales outlet, and workshop. He produced
items for resale in the workshop, she did the same in the house,
and they became outlets for other area crafts-persons. Bohlin
further served as an ambassador, acting in the city to goad and
encourage development, and out of the city, speaking to
acquaint his audiences about Point's attractions. He has served
on the State Historical Society Board of Curators, further
advancing Mineral Point interests.
When Connors retired as chief pathologist of St. Mary's
hospital in Madison, he bought the old Foundry building on
Commerce Street in Mineral Point, moved into it where he
built an apartment for himself and a book store from

139
Would 've, Could've. Should 've

which he sells out of his collection of 5,000 rare volumes plus


old maps and historic documents. The Foundry where the Lan-
yons set up shop in Point's early iindustrial heyday, provides a
unique setting for ColUlors' stock in trade. He became another
"ambassador" of the type that helps Point prosper.
Neal, Helium, Bohlin, and Connors exemplify tourism
promotion that has persisted in Mineral Point.
The Gundry House, home of the Mineral Point Histori-
cal Society, is a major attraction and further exemplifies how
local leaders have saved the city's past to foment its future. A
stable had already been torn down when eleven men, including
D. M. Morgan and Dr. Harvey Huxtable, raised hard-earned
cash to buy the demolition contract. The property was then
deeded to the Society by the Gundry heirs in 1990.
The Mineral Point Municipal Theater and Opera House,
constructed in 1914, has been an operating performing center
for more than 80 years. Its current restoration is being
promoted by another generation of leaders including Kandi
Keuler, Mike Mitchell, and their associates.
Currently inactive but still a significant potential is the
Walker House, a century-plus old hotel and tavern that was
first rescued by Mayor Ben Bollerud who personally solicited
contributions of abandoned window frames that he personally
installed to save the place from rain-driven water damage, and
Ted Landon, who continued with more extensive renovation.
The International Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs,
have preserved the organization's original meeting hall, built in
183 9 as the first ever west of the Allegheny mountains. It was
developed as a musewn primarily by the efforts of one man,
James Fenley.
There is a one room literature-laden information cen-ter
built in Comish style more than 50 years ago by some of the
last surviving cutters. It was sponsored by the Mineral Point
Kiwanians headed by Walker Rosenberry.
In addition to these, and similar, attractions, the city
teemed with services for tourists in 1997.
There were a dozen antique shops of various sizes and
descriptions.
A magnificent Mineral Point -- Where Wisconsin Be-

140
Would 've. Could 've, Should 've

gan promotional brochure with its sun-lit, color photo of High


Street, included the Jail Alley House (that also features arts and
crafts, the Art Moderne, Green Lantern, Livery Antiques,
Architectural. Salvage, High Street Conunons, Soda Pop
Antiques, Time and Again, Toy Museum, and a variety of
others.
There were eight bed-and-breakfast facilities including
the Cothren House, Country Inn, Knudson's, Pick-n-Paw,
House of the Brau-Meister, W. A. Jones House, and Wilson
House.
Other lodging included the Royal Inn, with restaurant,
bar, and apartments, the Point Motel apartments, and Redwood
Motel, the latter connected with a restaurant of the same name.
Most of the antique shops and bed-and-breakfasts were
located in historic structures, the owners following the adage of
making use of the community heritage.
In addition to the antique shops and housing, travellers
were offered choices of at least a dozen restaurants and bars, a
half-dozen service stations and garages, a bank with ATM,
cheese and liquor stores, four parks (some with facilities), two
golf courses, and two book stores.
The book stores are unusual. One is Paper Mountain
Books and the Mineral Pont Book center, that offers out-of-
print volumes and antiquarian titles for collectors and dealers.
The other was Foundry Books where, as previously noted,
Dean Connors deals in antiquarian books, maps, documents,
and related items. (Please see more in AfterWORDS.)
All also serve residents, of course.

POINT TWO
Artists and crafters

Proverbially, coming events cast their shadows. Early


Pointers had an avid interest in the arts and the pioneer builders
certainly were craftsmen.
The city band was organized in 1843. Musicians like
Les Harker, Jolm Alderson, and Rob Hoare set precedence for
musical activities that persisted in massive high school music
festivals in the late 1930's, continuing into modern curricula.

141
' Would've. Could 've, Should 've
There were artists.
One, home-grown, was Ena Eunice Hutchison, daughter
of the banking family. Born in 1881, she studied at the Chicago
Art Institute and in Paris. She was recognized by the
Smithsonian when only 32 years old as one of the top 100
artists in the U.S. She concluded her career as a Northwestern
University art professor.
Others included Samuel Brooks, a travelling English-
bom painter; Mac Evoy, who had a one-man show at the court-
house; and Tom Richards, whose signed original work adorns
the Gundry House walls,
Just as Pendarvis presaged a future of tourism, the mod-
ern era in arts and crafts was touched off in 1940 when Max
and Ava Fernekes moved from Milwaukee to Mineral Point.
There fo llowed some four decades when Max was the only
unsubsidized Wisconsin artist who earned his living selling his
work, and Ava produced distinctive, salable crafts.
Another was internationally noted Harry Nohr whose
unique bowls were recognized by the Smithsonian. Nohr's
work is perpetuated by a fac ility at the University of
Wisconsin-Platteville.
A hobbyist who early on attracted interest was
Elizabeth (Mrs. John) Huggins with her "House of Ceramics."
In 1997, the artistry continued with work by Charles
Baker, Nona Hytinen, and Jennifer Sharp. Some of their land-
scapes help preserve local scenes a la Fernekes.
There were photographers.
Studios were established as early as 1854 by B. F. Shaw
and C. R. Moffet who took "abrotypes," a process that
produced the original of Herny Dodge, now possessed by the
Mineral Point Historical Society. Others included the Kendall
Brothers, David Jolly, James F. Dabb, W. B. Shepard, W. J.
Wright, and the studios of Lindsay, Jenkins, and Hoskins.
Continuing the tradition in 1997 were Mary North
Allen, who carried on in retirement her career as a distinguish-
ed U.W. instructor; Mark and Mary Lepinski, whose output --
some of Mineral Point scenes -- is featured in galleries in the
West; and Jamie Ross, who combines photography and
sculpture.

142
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

There were writers.


William R. Smith, who wrote Vols. 1 and 3 of a history
of the territory but mysteriously did not complete Vol. 2;
Moses M. Strong, who penned his recollections after retiring;
Marie G. Dieter, who headed the team under WPA that wrote
the Story of Mineral Point, and -- most recently -- Judge
George Fiedler whose work, first published serially in The
Democrat-Tribune, is considered one of the authorities.
In 1997, the writing tradition continued mostly with
expert assistance including Serena Nelson, who contributed to
such as The Architectural and Historical Intensive Survey
Report.' Elizabeth R. Holmes, who was essential in editing
Daniel J. Lanz's Railroads of Southern and Southwestern Wis-
consin, and Janice Terrell, whose work at the Mineral Point
Room, is vital for all "wanna be": authors and genealogists.
The 1997 artists and crafts colony at Mineral Point ran
the gamut of other disciplines.
Ceramics -- Bruce Howdle, Diana and Tom Johnston,
Mike Kelley, Harriet Story.
Glass -- Jill Engels, Chuck Pound.
Jewelry-- Diane Comeau, Dolores Hahn.
Leather -- Cheryl Smeja.
Needlepoint -- Jean Bohlin.
Pottery -- Frank Polizzi, Abby Marshall Studnicka.
Quilting -- Johanna Byrne.
Weaving -- Laura Cisler, Sue Jolm, Solveig Nielsen,
Kathleen Nuller, Wendy Sundquist.
Woodworking -- Bert Bohl in, Tom Kelly, Don Mahieu,
John Sharp, Jim Smeja.
Some of these artists have added restoration of distinc-
tive buildings to their accomplishments.
Bruce Howdle, for example, is headquartered in the old
Globe hotel.
The Johnstons have taken over the Mineral Springs
Brewery which they are recycling into a productive studio to
augment their shop on High Street.
Clearly, the ambience of the Mineral Point area is
attractive to the artists and crafters -- and their potential
customers. It is a dual lure that bodes well for the future.
Equally clear is the fact that this phase of the city's well-
being is making the most of what the past has provided.
143
Would've, Could've. Should 've

POINT THREE
Agriculture

Since 1840, when -- for the first time -- there were as


many farmers in the area as there were miners, agriculture has
been a substantial factor in Mineral Point's economy.
Despite modem environmentalists' fears about new
mines in the state, past mining did not destroy the rich soil of
the "driftless area." It has recovered almost totally.
The opportunity for farming was generally ignored by
the first owners of the land -- the Fox, Sac, and Winnebago
Indians. Miners were similarly disinterested until lead prices
dropped.
In 1841 , interest was spurred more positively by a drop
in lead prices and the federal government's release of lands for
sale to farmers.
After the gold rush and before the zest for zinc, farming
became a major component of Mineral Point's economy. Com-
mission merchants, handling farm produce, replaced real estate
agents, as important people in the economy.
For some two decades thereafter, farming joined mining
in the economic ups-and-downs. Prices for each fluctuated
widely and wildly.
By 1853, the economy depended on a stable agriculture.
The City of Mineral Point missed much of the meaning
of agriculture's importance as long as the Zinc Works
flourished. While farmers were recognized as good paying
customers, the in-town payrolls lent a false sense of
independence to the local merchants.
Some Mineral Point industry profited by serving farm-
ers, like the Lanyons who manufactured plows along with
mining equipment. A warehouse was built in 1854, a grist mill
in 1850, and farm implement sales proliferated.
When dairying and cheese factories multiplied, fanning
was finally recognized as equal to, if not greater than, mining.
The loss of the courthouse was especially damaging to
Mineral Point as a big attractor of farm traffic. In the eventual
emergence of farmers' dependence on federal programs in the
New Deal era, the courthouse became increasingly a reason for
choosing a shopping place.

144
Would fve, Could've, Should 've

County and home agents naturally located in the county


seat, visits to the offices of county officials were increasingly
necessary, the sheriff and traffic offices were there so Dodge-
ville merchants gained while Point's lost.
Farmers were also leery of Mineral Point's chronic bank
ailments. They viewed the two, stable Dodgeville banks as
safer repositories.
Mineral Point always had some farm business but not as
much as they had in 1868 when implement dealers sold more
than 2,400 seeders, cultivators, reapers, and mowers in a single
year!
Of course, while Mineral Point prospered with the Zinc
Works humming, its residents were big buyers of meat, milk,
flour, and various cash crops.
Dairying and beef cattle came on when wheat growers
lost out to the giant prairie farms in Kansas and the Dakotas.
Diversification increased in the 1870's.
Dairying, according to The Intensive Survey, was divi-
ded into three periods: early dairy production, 1830-1870;
industrialization, 1870-90; and expansion, 1890-present.
In the early period there were few dairy cows, they were
poorly maintained, and the milk was usually low quality, used
mostly by the owner-fami ly. During the industrialized period,
Wisconsin became "America's Dairyland," establishing
cooperative creameries and cheese factories, and promoting the
output. In the ultimate stage, dairy farms grew and milk
processing factories came on line.
As reported, the Goliner Machinery Company
flourished as a supplier of boilers to the new cheese factories.
During the expansion period, Mineral Pointers were
active in cheese and butter making, storing dairy products, and
direct-selling milk and milk products to consumers.
Three cheese factories operated in the city: Mineral
Point Cheese Company, Swiss Cheese Company, and Purity
Dairy. The latter produced cheese, butter, and liquid milk for
delivery to residents as did John Tucker, James Harris, and Bert
Ketter. The home milk delivery ended when state laws
required daily pasteurization.

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Would 've, Could've, Should 've

Several other dairy companies made butter including


Spensley and Hoare Creamery. The latter began operating on
Jail Alley, changed its name to Mineral Point Creamery, and
went out of business in 1929. Sanitary Creamery, operated by
the Heidemans made and distributed Maple Leaf butter until
well into the 1990's. Still another, Badger Creamery, operated
only until 1924.
Meanwhile the livestock industry took hold.
Early, the Point meat markets -- Jacka, Harker &
Humbert, Jeuck Brothers, more recently Paynter & Tonkin and,
in 1997, a section in IGA -- were retailers. Several had their
own slaughter houses.
Thanks to quality ag education by teachers like T. R.
(Ted) Lathrop and Don (Captain Shorty) Hawkins, Mineral
Point youths began producing top-grade cattle, hogs, and sheep.
The nutrients in the lush "blue grass" combined with
superior breeding lines and techniques to make Mineral Point a
nationally recognized beef center. The Grabers, Palzkills,
Careys, Mays and many others regularly won national,
regional, and state grand championships.
The more-than-century-old Iowa County Fair became
well known, both for its youth sales and as the second largest
center for stabling and training harness racers.
By 1997, Mineral Point area agriculture was solid.
While it did not have the number of agribusinesses it
had around the time of the Zinc Works exodus, the city had
quality in such as the venerable and prize-winning Hook's
Cheese Company, the Farmers hnplement Store, and the Ross
Soil Service.

POINT FOUR
Industry

Founded in Stoughton in 1938 by former employes of


Burgess Battery in Madison, Nelson Muffler Company had de-
veloped a reputation for conservative but progressive stability.
It was distinguished in 194 7 by its successful operation
of several small, decentralized plants throughout Wisconsin.

146
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

Volwiteer Pointers who still entertained dreams of local


industrialization, heard the Company planned to add a new
location, They approached Nelson management who decided to
give Mineral Point a try.
That was more than 50 years ago.
They set up shop with four employes in 4,200 square
feet of the former municipal garage on Commerce Street.
Success ensued. More space was needed. The operat-
tion was moved in 1949 to the former canning factory where
20,000 square feet were available when all three floors were
utilized. The work force was increased to between 20 and 25.
Mineral Point's then newly-created Industrial park next
attracted Nelson. In 1976 they started construction with a sub-
sequent move to Fair Street. By then, operations required
54,000 square feet. There were 50 employes.
Additions followed additions.
The square footage grew by 57,000 square feet in 1976
and another 27,000 in 1984 plus 10,000 square feet for offices
and storage.
The 1996 total was 128,000 square feet - more than 30
times larger than the original building.
There was a proportionate growth in the work force
that, remember, was originally four.
In 1996 the Company employed 172.
This force is comparable to the Mineral Point Zinc
Company in its hey-day. No doubt its payroll is several times
the amount paid Zinc Works workers -- earned in a different
pay-rate era, of course.
Unlike the Zinc Works, Nelson's whistles do not regu-
late city life. This would be difficult because Nelson people
live not only in Mineral Point but in 17 other communities.
Stability distinguished employes as well as employer.
Two veterans recently each marked about four decades of
service -- and the plant had been in Point only 50 years.
Mineral Pointers who were instrumental in attracting
Nelson to the city in 1947 did not entertain delusions of gran-
deur. Most remember, "it is a good little company... maybe we
can help them and they'll be good for us. "
There is a moral here.
Some of the pioneer promoters used high-pressure tac-

147
Would 've, Could 've. Should 've

tics to encourage companies to relocate. They even tried


under-the- counter moves.
They had big dreams that turned into nightmares.
In Nelson, the less flamboyant promoters landed a firm
that had skill, dedication, and integrity.
May the spirit of Phil Allen, Jr. take heed!

POINT FIVE
Commerce

An adequate shopping center is essential to serve vis-


itors and residents. It is difficult to maintain such a center in
the face of competition from the nearby cities' mega-malls that
constantly pull trade away. "Shop at Home" campaigns are not
very effective. Visitors' purchases help plug the drain a little
but a lot of local trade goes out of town.
In Mineral Point you find a hardy corps of steadfast
merchants. Some have been doing business at the same old
stands for a good long time.
There's Mitchell's True Value Hardware, now in its
third generation with fourth assured. Senior owner, Bob, took
over from his parents. The "Sons of Mitches, Inc." is primed
for the future.
There's Ivey's Pharmacy where Harry -- current owner --
continues both the business and community service example
set by his father, Charles, who was Mayor of Mineral Point
during some of the city's most perilous days. The store is Min-
eral Point's oldest, active business and Wisconsin's oldest
active pharmacy, having operated in the same location without
interruption since 1848.
Among the several service stations you have Wayne
Owens, at the top of High Street, that few but the oldest de-
scendants of natives remember is on the site of a former black-
smith shop. At the lower end of High Street you have one of
the most unusual locations for a service station, tucked in an
unlikely corner.
There's a Ben Franklin store that has been operated
more than a decade by Mary Bossert, widow of Phil, who as a
"newcomer" actively promoted both a successful business and

148
Would've, Could've, Should 've

civic developments until stricken by a heart attack at an early


age.
Berget Jewelers caters to both town and traveller with
its stock that blossoms during the holidays' "Christmas on
High." Again, few know that their location was once a stage
coach stop before serving as a shoe store and beauty salon ..
Almost every location is truly historic but "recycled" for
use in a modernized "reincarnation."
In total, on top of the tourism and arts-crafts, a survey
of Mineral Point in 1996 listed, alphabetically, abstractors,
accountants, apartments, appliance sales and services, bank,
barber shops, beauty salons, cheese factory, consultants, dis-
tributors, farm supply dealers, electric motor sales and service,
funeral home, furniture repair, general retail, home services,
insurance. jewelers, laundromat, lumber yard, meat processing,
newspaper, pet shop, pharmacy, photographers, plumbers,
realtors, storage service, theater, welders and welding supplies
plus health services that included two medical centers, two
dentists, an optometrist, and a chiropractor.
Compare the 1996 list with a similar survey in 1915,
considered the peak of commercial development, when there
were six dry goods stores, three druggists, a jeweler, seven
groceries or meat markets, three hardware dealers, three furni-
ture stores, two banks, six hotels, three shoe stores, and 12
saloons.
Some resident, in 1997, complained about the lack of a
shoe store and men's wear outlet.
New developments were in process.
Opening in 1997, for one, is the Brewery Creek
Brewing Company, setting up in the former Schimming
Building next to Foundry Books. Another is the coffee shop
and delicatessen in the reincarnated Gundry and Gray store.
The recycling of the 1925 high school into Point Place
for offices. shops, a conference center, and locale for wedding
receptions, is another. Two young couples -- Pam and Clark
Bennett with Jan Jackson and Gary Tibbetts -- introduced their
plans to the community early in 1997.
Restoration was also set for the 1905 high school into a
condominium residence by Helen Bradbury of Madison. It
was purchased, like the larger school, from the school board
when the newest school complex was occupied.
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Would've, Could've. Should 've

There you have the basic elements: agriculture, arts and


crafts, commerce, industry, tourism.
Since all business is local, the emphasis depends on
where you live.
Some communities -- like Mineral Point -- may have
parts of all five. Some may have only one or two.
Each community needs to assess its own potentials.
It is wise not to depend on one alone.
There are exclusively farming communities and others
with heavy or light industry that might be tempted to rely on
just them. Promoters would be wise to cast about for diversity.
All need commercial and health services.
Start with a realistic assessment.
Then go to work.
Success depends on your ability to organize and to stick
bravely to the quest.
Always it takes a lot of courage.
Put that another way -- it takes guts.

150
Would've, Could've. Should 've

FREE ADVICE
.. .... and worth every penny!

AFTER ALL IS SAID, THERE'S MUCH TO BE DONE. The


"undones" lead either to losses or false victories.
A lot depends, too, on who is doing.
Just look at Mineral Point's record.
There was phenomenal success during the early l 900's.
It was a credit to one man, Phil Allen, Jr.
To be sure, there was a "Commercial Club." In its
head-quarters over the old Gergen Building -- later the Doyle
Brothers' grocery, Mead's, Burgess Battery, now Ridnour's
antique mall -- the mostly "good old boys" enjoyed recreational
cards and talked about clipping their coupons.
The general motto was "let Phil do it." And he did, to
the tune of a massive bank failure -- after several false starts
Most of those failures were attributable to things left
undone. A good example, the paper mill. It was inaugurated
without an adequate feasibility study. In the enthusiastic rush
to erect a building, install massive and expensive machinery,
and adopt an unproven process, there was an inadequate market
survey, an undone plant study that would have shown inade-
quate water supply, and inadequate raw materials.
You can draw two "rules" out of this one venture:
ONE -- Don't depend on a single person. Even though
every Tom, Dick, and Harry may be called George, just don't
let George do it.
TWO -- Be thorough. The greatest employer in the
world may not be right for your world. If the shoe fits, fine. If
not, drop it.
To these, we add:
THREE -- organize.
Mineral Point has organized, and become disorganized,
many times.
There have been a variety of chambers of commerce --
just as there was one in 1997 when this was written. Some
have been very effective, as per the current chamber that has
functioned under various leaders for several years.

151
Would 've. Could 've. Should 've

Chambers rise or fall on the quality of their leaders. Al-


most everything has to be done by volunteers who, actively or
tacitly, support an unpaid or poorly paid secretary.
The bottom line is drawn by cooperation. The chamber
may plan the greatest events. Participation of members deter-
mines success.
Be sure to involve all organizations in the community,
be they chamber members or not.
There have been times that service clubs have carried
the ball in Mineral Point when there was no chamber or when
it was donnant.
The Kiwanis Club, one of the oldest in the Wisconsin-
Upper Michigan district, was in the forefront of many promo-
ti ons. For example, when The Democrat-Tribune followed up
on an offer made by the National Livestock and Meat Board in-
spired by Louis Graber, then a director, Kiwanians took over an
allied home show by selling booths and floor managing. The
event, held in the old Soldiers Memorial Park dance pavilion,
was one of the singular success stories of its decade.
Some of the leading Kiwanians of the past included Al
Bolgren, Ernest Soderstrom, Earl Swanson, Harry Wright, Bert
Peters, George Byington -- all of Wisconsin Power & Light
which was very supportive of the club -- plus others like Harry
Ivey, Harry Nohr, Harvey Huxtable, and D. M. Morgan.
A Lion's Club works -- sometimes along side, some-
times in competition -- with Kiwanis in today's Mineral Point.
The Lady Lions add their power.
Women have exercised a steadily growing influence
throughout Mineral Point's 150 years.
Matilda Hood, wife of John Hood, was the maternal
head of the city's "first family."
Miss M. V. Lenahan, who had a fashionable shop feat-
uring Chicago styles, was a leader in the re-building after the
1897 fire. Alice Collins, another individual store owner,
helped in the 1930's search for a new bank.
More recently, Helen Collins Filardo managed and ex-
panded her husband's school supply business after his death,
and Mrs. "Bun" Staber was probably the city's first antique
dealer.

152
Would've, Could've, Should 've

TI1e Mineral Point Woman's Club, organized in 1891 ,


is one of the oldest in Wisconsin. The women's contribution to
community progress has grown as "women's rights" have come
into their rightful and equal place.
In 1904, it aided in development of a municipal park. It
was vital again, after World War I, in establishing Soldiers
Memorial Park. TI1e state Woman's Club Federation honored
the Pointers in 1966 for its continuing services.
Names of women of the past who helped shape Mineral
Point included Mrs. W. S. Ross, who toured Europe 100 years
ago and wrote a published book about it; Mrs Edward Roberts,
Kathryn Chase, Mrs. Will Campbell , Ruth Spensley, Agnes
Jones, and Clara Leete.
Never underestimate woman-power.
In Mineral Point, prominent women include Betty
Home, veteran city clerk who follows the tradition of Henrietta
Kieffer, a long-time predecessor; Mary Jo Ceniti, vice
president, cashier, and a director of Farmers Savings Bank;
Mary Grinnell, long-time insurance agent and her daughter,
Kandi, a leader in the restoration of the Municipal Theater-now
Opera House, and Serena Nelson, one of the valued local
historians who has served as Chamber of Commerce secretary
and in many other endeavors.
Mineral Point, in 1997, had an active Chamber with an
office on High Street, staffed by Peggy Suthers Lyman..
The Chamber was primarily responsible for
promotional events -- directing, participating in, or cooperating
with the Memorial Day dance and parade, Gundry House
opening, antique shows, Territory Days celebration, Garden
Tours, the Iowa County Fair, Mineral Point Rendezvous, Junior
Livestock Show, Cornish Festival , Arts and Crafts Fair, a Tour
of historic homes, and Victorian Christmas sales.
In an historic community like Mineral Point, special
attention must be focused on preservation and restoration.
Starting in 1994, the Main Street Program was factored in the
city's promotional activities .
This is financed, in part, with funds from the National
Trust for Historic Preservation . Local, matching funds provide
the balance.

153
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

In two years following its founding, according to a


report by Jon Weiss, Main Street Program manager who shares
an office with the Chamber of Corrunerce, the organization
attracted $2.1 million in private investment, 26 new businesses
(a net gain of 12), and 51 new jobs (net gain 22).
There were more than 46 facade improvement projects
and 15 buildings were rehabilitated during the period.
Several of the preservation projects have won awards.
Typical was the restoration of the more than l 00-year-old
Theodore Feder building by Don Mahieu to house his Against
the Grain Woodworks.
Accepting his award, Mahieu expressed an opinion that
prevails among many residents: "The past is our future."
Mahieu joined other Pointers in recent awards ceremo-
nies. The reason for their awards demonstrate aspects of the
program.
Sue John was named "volunteer of the year" for her pro-
ject in a "design an ad" contest. In this, grade school students
set up ads that helped them learn about their town. The ads
were then sponsored by local merchants for publication in
conjunction with tourism week.
Chris Phillipson, owner of Berget Jewelers, was
honored for her work on cooperative promotion of local events
like the international Cornish Festival.
Livery Antiques, owned by Dan Darrow, won the award
for "best rehabilitation costing less than $4,000." Darrow
preserved a sign, "Horses Bought and Sold" that he discovered
when re-siding the former stable in which his antique mall is
housed.
Mineral Point qualifies for the Main Street Program
because of its Historic District -- the first in Wisconsin to be
placed on the National Register of Historic Places back in
197 1.
Officers and directors included some of the "new breed"
of local leaders: Richard Josh, president; Frank Jett, vice presi-
dent; Chris Phillipson, secretary; Mary Jo Cenite, treasurer; and
directors John Esch, Jerry Galle, Jim Harris, Tom Schrader,
Wendy Sundquist, and Shirley Wallace.
While stressing restoration, the Mineral Point Main
Street published a resource guide that lists six general

154
Would 've. Could 've, Should 've

contractors and carpenters, four electricians, two excavators,


four heating and plumbing services, three masons plus
specialists for flooring, glass, limestone rock, ornamental
metals, and roofing.
There was additional information service offered by the
city, the historic preservation commission, planning com-
mission, zoning, and Mineral Point Room references.
As well prepared as is the Main Street Program, and as
obviously successful, you can bet it runs into the traditional
"RC" -- Resistance to Change -- factors.
It was ever thus.
Almost everyone accepts the axiom: "past is prologue."
You can expect fewer "wheelers and dealers" -- a la
Moses M. Strong bribing a Legislature or a Phil Allen, Jr.
breaking a bank. Legislative negotiations are more subtle
today. Banks are harder to bamboozle.
New, smoother, and more astute generations regularly
come along to confound the old.
You can imagine old settlers standing by while
promoters whipped up enthusiasm for new developments.
Most of the elders said, "Never..." Sometimes they were right
but more often they were wrong.
Then those young promoters became the older gener-
ation to repeat the entire process with the now-younger saying
"Let's" and the now-older resisting
Not so long ago "the youngers" of Mineral Point were
urging emphasis on tourism. And there were those - most
likely the so-called "natives" who said, "Let's not move too fast
or too far. We don't want our town to become another
Wisconsin Dells."
More recently, with its arts and crafts colony growing
and making its mark, some of the newcomers set up their
resistance to change with the same expression.
Progress will come. The only certainty is that there will
always be "rebels" and there will always be a new generation
that ages and becomes dismayed, astounded, and somewhat
overwhelmed in the cycle.
There can be only one basic fact Changes are assured.
Not all will be for the better, but keep working for both.

155
Would've, Could've. Should 've

A hundred years -- yea, thousands, nuclear war or en-


vironmental disasters permitting -- there will be dozens of
Mineral Points throughout the land.
Each will be populated with men and women who
include some who reminisce about what "would 've, could 1ve,
should 've."
And there will be others who get the job done.

***
If you are a reader who lives in a community that needs
promoting ...
And if you are in a position to help get things going...
Hear this:
Would 've, Could've, Should 've started as a history of
Mineral Point's travail during many wtsuccessful efforts to a-
chieve politically, financially, or industrially.
It ends as an object lesson for any community,
anywhere.
The concepts and misconceptions in one town's 150
years of turmoil and strife lead to guidelines and precepts for
all.
Here are the "rules:"

ONE -- Know what you have. Analyze your assets.

TWO -- Be realistic. Dream possible dreams.

THREE -- Be honest. The worst person to lie to is you.


Remember, get rich quick schemes are for
suckers. The embezzler who drove his bank
to the wall didn't mean to be a crook -- he
just wanted to be rich.

FOUR -- Plan all three -- short, medium, long range.


Don't expect to make it all in one, grandstand
play. Consider Mineral Point's main industry
of 1997. It is 40 times bigger than when it
started!

156
Would 've, Could've. Should 've

FIVE -- Remember, even the best of times sometimes


end. Be prepared to lose and start over.

SIX -- And, I stress, Organize.

Nothing happens in a vacuwn. Don't rely on


government. Local Chambers of Commerce or,
if you qualify, Main Street Programs are
essential.

Above all, be courageous.

Don't ever rest on your oars when things are going well.

Don't ever give up when they're bad.

157
Would've, Could 've, Should 've

This was the home ofMax and Ava Fernekes


viewed over the split rail fence and across
the backyard -- a photo taken by the author
and used herein to illustrate the artistry
of the pioneers in Pointer arts and crafts.
Democrat-Tribune photo, circa 1950

158
Would've, Could've, Should 've

After-WORDS
A few final, post-editing thoughts

THIS IS MY PERSONAL :MESSAGE TO ME. You may


read it, if you wish.
After all is written, re-written and re-re-written, you
wonder -- what's over- or under-emphasized? Who and
what's omitted?
What'll people think? What'll reviewers think?
How will it set with posterity?
To paraphrase another fellow with big ears (Clark
Gable in "Gone with the Wind"):
"Frankly my dears, I give a damn -- a real Big
Damn!"
It has been a pain and a pleasure, working on this.
It was painful recalling some of Mineral Point's past
because a lot of the "busts" had a personal impact. The
depression was spelled out in limited dimes (not dollars)
for many pre-teens and teenagers. That left an indelible
mark. It was a pleasure seeing the latter-day success and
realizing, about halfway into the project that Mineral Point
is an example of survivorship and Mineral Pointers,
through all the years including the present, have a success
story to tell..
Ifyou are a reader who lived through the
bad times, I trust that you will remember and
relish the realization of managing the good life
anyway.
Ifyou are a reader who joined this world
later, you have undoubtedly had more of the
world's wherewithal! -- but maybe you missed
something that you will.find in the aforesaid
chapters.
My assessment of Would've, Could 've, Should 've
is that it should have been better, it could have been worse
and ~ not have been at all without the help of people
like Janice Terrell and Serena Nelson, the encouragement
of Laura Nohr, and the practical recollections of Joe and
Tony Nardi, Harry Ivey, and Parmley Harris.
159
Would've, Could've. Should 've

To me, the highlights include:


-- The Dodge-Doty "feud" that truly determined
the capital-selection;
-- The "machinations" -- a good word, at least from
a Pointer perspective -- involved in the Court-
house "war;"
The perfidies demonstrated in the briberies, the
crass mismanagement of the pioneer banks, the
blind and naive (in hindsight) investments in
endeavors from A-to-Z (Asbestos to Zinc),
coupled with unbridled enthusiasm.
***
I hope you will notice the "chilling" highlights:
-- The abandoned Zinc Works "standing ghastly by
day... ghostly by night;"
-- The city, as observed by Les Dunwidie,
controlled by its whistles;
-- The poignancy in Stan Holland's words that the
mines may come back "maybe ...someday... "...
I won't bore you with more but please find some
for yourself.
Just as I was discouraged as a young man, going off
to college wearing a deep-seated, community-inspired,
inferiority complex, just as I was disappointed when our
plan to make Mineral Point the headquarters of a national,
trade-paper network, and just as I was discouraged by the
lack of financial support oflocal newspapering...
So was I encouraged by the revelations of a city re-
covering by making its past prevail in the present and by
the prospects of a satisfying future.
***
Developments at "presstime" were especially en-
couragmg .
Like the merging, mentioned earlier as being dis-
cussed, of the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce and
Main Street groups.
As Would 've, Could 've, Should 've began to roll off
the presses in Madison, newly elected Chamber/Main Street
president Lucille May was working on getting the new
group rolling.

160
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

The new, consolidated Board of Directors was


composed of Bert Bohlin, Needlewood; Mary Jo Ceniti,
Fanners Savings Bank; Dean Connors, Foundry Books;
Mike Fenley, Principle Finance Group; Jerry Galle,
WPL/City Council; John Greenwood, Hodan Center; Jim
Harris, Wilson House Inn; Dick Josh, Keuler Insurance;
Mark Lepinski, M&N Lepinske Photo; Lucille May,
Potterton-Rule; Allen Schroeder, Pendarvis; and Lucille
Wallace, Redwood Motel. Obviously, a comprehensive
body of leaders and businesses.
The Chamber/Main Street News was being pub-
lished as a "house" organ, The Democrat-Tribune was
covering developments, and the prospects of broad-scale
publicity appeared good.
Committees were at work on membership, promo-
tion, and economic development. Special emphasis was on
a TIF district to enhance a new business park.
There was a full calendar of promotional events on
the calendar.
***
Selections that are a cut above those usually found
in bookstores are found in Mineral Point's Paper Mountain
Books and The Foundry Books.
Paper Mountain specializes in children's books,
cookbooks, illustrated books, "books about books," flower
arranging, Christmas, gardening, natural history, travel,
trains and planes, August Derleth, penmanship and
calligraphy. Mineral Point Book Center. a part of Paper
Mountain, specializes in collectibles "for browsers,
collectors, and dealers."
The Foundry specializes in Wisconsin history
books, maps, and documents; exploration and discovery of
thee western Great Lakes, midwest regional history,
American Indians, the fur trade, Black Hawk, the Civil
War, Wisconsin authors, Frank Lloyd Wright plus art,
ceramics, and music.
The Pendarvis Museum Store adds to the commun-
ity's offerings a collection of books about Cornwall,
Cornish people, Wisconsin history, travel, crafts, and
writing for children.

161
Would've, Cold 've, Should 've

Perhaps the name of Fred Eckels means little to you,


dear reader, but it should be emblazoned somewhere
because his spirited effort to build Mineral Point tells it all.
Fred had a radio-TV repair shop.
He was an alderman, chairing the committee in
charge of constructing the sewer system.
He was enthralled with the idea of a lake (originally
planned to stretch from a dam near the Fairgrounds for
several miles north beyond Spitzbarth's) that had to be
reduced for environmental reasons, to what is now Ludden
Lake;
He wanted the community to have a movie theater
so he put his whole family to work -- Nan (his wife) selling
tickets, the boys taking them, Fred running the patched-up
projector. .. and a little daughter somewhere doing odd jobs.
He built the Redwood restaurant for Bill Mills, be-
cause he thought the log cabin construction had merit ..
Fred's primary business suffered because he put so
much time on the sidelines but he worked late nights to
meet some of his repairing deadlines.
This man was the embodiment of all the
enthusiasm, optimism, and -- yes, naive gullibility and
susceptibility of the paper mill-rubber mill-woolen mill
promoters.
It's called '. 'Ludden Lake'' after Allan (the radio-TV
personality who is buried in Graceland) but it ought to be
sub-titled "Eckels."
I "Write this, in part, as a tribute to an unsung hero.
I "Write it more as a continuing part of the example I
submit to you as worthy of emulation.
May you remember, be you in Mineral Point, Wis-
consin, or Junction City, Kansas, or Kennebunkport,
Maine:
As Bill Dyke said when he moved to Mineral Point
to practice law after serving as Mayor of Madison before he
was appointed successor to retiring Circuit Judge Jim
Fiedler, "living in a small town in not a spectator sport."
***
You will find much about voluntary community ser-
vice strongly advocated if you read my book carefully, bit

162
Would 've, Could 've, Should 've

there are several usual and traditional stories that ate not
included. Let me tell you what they are, and why.
11
You won't find an account of the only legal
hanging." It is not included because it seems to add little to
the "industry" of the city. The alleged site of the hanging is
near the "memorial park" pictured on the cover. A fake
scaffold was once erected there as a "tourist attraction" but
it was removed when deemed an eyesore and potential
threat to safety.
You won't find a big reference to the Pointer dog on
High Street -- mostly because of personal petulance. And
you're right, the dictionaries define "petulance" as "peevish"
and "unreasonable."
You won't find a claim that the UW-Platteville
could have been located in Mineral Point but was not
because some residents felt it would have raised local taxes.
The source for this was quite reliable but we couldn't find
any confirmation.
The report that Lands End might have been located
in Mineral Point had a similarly sound source but the city's
location, bereft of the better highways serving Dodgeville --
and the attraction Governor Dodge State Park had, initially,
for a Lands End executive -- were more telling factors than
an alleged local disinterest.,
***
There is no reference in the body of the text to the
removal of Sokol Crystal Products from Mineral Point to
Middleton. That is because we became aware early in the
research that Sokol was not long for the Pointer world.
The shoe fell with a thud in May, 1997 when Tom
Sokol, one of the owners of the newly formed Precision
Devices of Middleton, was relocating to Dane County.
In the announcement, Tom said that his father, who
founded the original company in Iowa County, was
planning to retire.
He added that the facility in Mineral Point was out-
moded and he had opted to relocate to be closer to his
markets. He admitted that Mineral Point's lack of four-lane
road connections is a handicap ..
Young Sokol added that all 50 of the remaining

163
Would've. Could've, Should 've

employees in Mineral Point had been offered positions in


Middleton. His proposal was generous and many accepted
his offer.
The loss of another industry to a degree carried on
the star-crossed Pointer experience in promoting local in-
dustry.
As noted earlier in this segment, Pointers were un-
deterred, evidenced their promotion of a new industrial
park with TIF enhancement.
***
We have mentioned a couple of times the commun-
ity tendency toward individual self-depreciation, even to
bordering on inferiority, This has not precluded
achievement by native sons and daughters.
In the late l 920's, for example, Robert Hoare, son of
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hoare, became an executive with an
eastern chemical company. His father was a lineman with
WP&L. Lester Evans, son of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Evans,
became the chief executive of a national roofing company.
His parents owns an ice cream shop on High street.
More recently, Frank Martin, son of Mr. and Mrs. F.
H. Martin, became the west coast director of a major paint
company, a paint that his father featured in his family hard-
ware store.
Currently, more examples, Mr. and Mrs. Tony
Nardi's sons held computer positions with a major loan firm
and State of Wisconsin, respectively. The loan firm,
CUNA, was one that an earlier "export," Thomas Bracken
Benson, headed after rising through the ranks.
And Marla Ahlgrimm, daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Milton Ahlgrimm, heads a national pharmaceutical firm in
Madison.
And I would be remiss if the name of John W.
Paynter were not added. Before his untimely death, he was
-- at a very young age -- Northwestern University's music
director. He was recognized as the pioneer in formation-
marching bands, rated foremost in the Big Ten, and a
singular product of Mineral Point's long-standing musical
tradition.

164
Would 've, Could've, Should 've

These are a miniscule handful of the talents ex-


ported following their basic education and upbringing in the
Point. If any part of this book causes me more grief than
this, I don't know what it will be -- simply because there are
so mny other, highly successful, ex-Pointers who could be
included.
Their success is a tribute to others who remained to
keep the home fires burning, and to still others who have
come to the city to enhance the local attributes.
(Please use this space for adding your favorites.)

Final editing suggests additions and corrections.


I sadly anticipate discovery of errors, W1fortunately,
after the publication comes off the presses. I apologize, in
advance, for the inevitable.
I have an alibi about some of the omissions. Many
notes have been abandoned during the concluding days
because a debilitating eye injury reduced my ability to
fulfill some intentions.
The editing was completed better than if your
scribe's eyes had been W1hooded because Serena Nelson
came to our rescue as she did so often when we published
The Democrat-Tribune. We are indebted to her for
proofing and suggestions.
***
So, dear reader, treat us kindly.
If you are a Mineral Pointer, behold your heritage,
be proud, and carry on.
If you are one who seeks to emulate one tovvn's
success, take heed, keep trying, and good luck.
To all, please know that this is admittedly not a
literary classic but it is an honest effort.
Thanks for your time.

g.h.b

165
REFERENCES

CENTURY OF BANKING IN WISCONSIN


By Theodore A. Anderson
Published by State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Madison Public Library

CITY OF l\1INERAL POINT


ARCIDTECTURAL AND IDSTORICAL
INTENSIVE SURVEY REPORT
Compiled, 1991-92
Provided in toto by State Historical Society
Published 1997 by Dean Connors
Available at Foundry Book Store and r-..1P Room

GOOD AS GOLD
By Tim Kelly
Commemorative
Published by Wisconsin Bankers Association
Madison Public Library

IOWA COUNTY, HISTORY OF


By C. W. Butterfield
Published by Western Hist. Society, Chicago, 1881
Reprinted by Iowa CoWlty Historical, Society 1996

JAMES DUANE DOTY


By Alice A. Smith
Published by State Historical Society, 1954

MINERAL POINT, A IDSTORY


By Judge George Fiedler
Published initially by The Democrat-Tribune
and Mineral Point Historical Society, 1962
Second ed. by State Historical Society of Wis. 1973.
Third by Mineral Point Historical Society
and Pendarvis Endowment Fund, 1996
6
MINERAL POINT, The Story of
By WPA Staff, 1941
Published and (C)
Mineral Point Historical Society, 1979
MINING IN IOWA COUNTY, IDSTORY OF
By Stanley T. Holland
Published by the Author, 1963
Mineral Point Room

MUSEUM MEMO
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1996

NEWSPAPERS
Dodgeville Chronicle
Iowa County Democrat
Iowa County Democrat-Tribune
Mineral Point Tribune
Miners Free Press
Publisher's Auxiliary, The
Shullsburg Pick & Gad
Wisconsin State Journal
File Copies
Mineral Point Room
Historical Society Microfilm

RAILROADS OF SOUTHERN & SW WISCONSIN


By Daniel J. Lanz
Published by the Author, 1985

ROMANCE AND TRAGEDY OF BANKING


Madison Public Library, undated

HOME -- WHEN THE WIDSTLES BLEW


By Lester Dunwidie
Published by the Author, 1986

WISCONSIN, A IDSTORY
By Robert C. Nesbit
Updated by William F. Thompson
Published by University of Wisconsin Press, 1973

WISCONSIN STORY, The


By H. Russell Austin
The Journal Company, 6th printing, 1968
INDEX
-PEOPLE
A
..\HLGRIMM. Marla 168 ANSLEY, John D 2,
4ALDERSON, John 141
ALLEN, Phil, Jr. 14, 21, 59 (ft), 71, 72, 74, 81, 154
ALLEN, Mary North 142
ALLEN, Mrs. Phil (Edith) 63, 64, 65 ALLEN, Phil Sr. 21
ALLEN, T. A. 90 ALLEN, T. S. 9
ANDERSON, Theodore A. 51-2 ANGER, Art 114
APPERT, Albert 14, 83 ARGALL, Jim 83,127
AUSTIN, H. Russell 32-3
B
BAILEY, E.M. 66 BAKER, Charles 142
BAKER, Henry 133 BANKS, William 53 -4
BASHFORD, Gov. Coles 129
BECHTEL, George, Iva 86-88 BECHTEL, Henry 10
BECK, Henry 68 BELL, Charles 60
BENNETT, B. J. 87.96
BENNETT, Clark & Pam 149 BENSON, Tom 164
BERMAN, Stanley J. 87
BISHOP, R. A. 73 BLEWETT, Ben 73
BLISS, George W. 84 BLISS, William 160
BOARDMAN, Beth 63 BOARDMAN, E. C. 67
BOHN, John 81 BO LG REN, Al 152
BOHLIN, Bert & Jean 21. 139, 143, 161
BOLLERUD, Mayor Benjamin J. 21, 139-40
BOSSERT, Mary & Phil 148 BOYER, Robert 120
BRACKEN, Chas. 124 BRADURY, Helen 149
BRANGER, Mayor George 21 BRENTON, Will 77
BREWER & PENHALLEGON 73 BREWER, Frank 21
BREWER, James 21. 100 BROOKS, Samuel 142
BROWN, James 53, 59 BROWN, John 53
BRACKEN, Charles 124 BRUNI, Edna 68
BUTLER, Henry 23 BRYNE, Joanna 143
BUTTERFIELD, C. W. 19 BYINGTON, Geo. 152
c
CAMPBEL, Mrs. Will 153 CASS, Betty 138
CASS, Gov. Lewis 54 CATHIS, James 22
CENITI, Mary Jo 69, 153-4,161 CHAMLEY, John 100
CHAMBERLAIN, T.C. 95 CHANEY, Mary 66
CHANEY, James 84 CHERRY, Roy 66
CHASE, Kathryn 153 CHARLES, John 73, 74
CISLER, Laura 143 CLARK, William 60
COBB, Amasa 21, 39, 44, 130-31 COBB, George 21
COBB, Guy 72-4
COLLINS, Alice 25, 69, 152 COLLINS, John 38, 112
COMEAU, Diana 143
CONNORS, Dean 139-40, 161 COOK, Byron 87
CORRELL, W. H. 112
COTHREN, Montgomery 21, 45, 46 COX, James P. 41
CRAWFORD, Geo. 86 CURTIS, Charley 22
D
DAAB, John F. 142 DARROW, Dan 142,154
DAVIS,J. W. 75 DELANEY, John 84
DEITER. Marie 132 DEMPSEY, Jack
DERLETH., August 138 DEWEY, Marshall 120
DEWEY, W.B. 130 DODGE, Augustus 38
DODGE, Henry 3, 5, 21, 27-39, 41 , 52 (ff)
DONAGHAL, Tom & Deb 83
DOTY, James Duane 27-39, 51 DOUGHERTY, Robt. 41
DUNWIDIE, Les 77, 81, 104-5, 121, DYKE, Bill 62
E
EARLY, Effie and Family 10, 23-24 ECKELS, Fred 162-3-
ELLSWORTH, Reuben 114 ENGELS, J. E. 68
ENGELS, Jill 143 ENZENROTH, H. 122
ESCH, John 154 EVANS, Lester 164
EVOY, Mac 142
F
FEATHERSTONHAUGH 6, 19-20 FELDERMAN, Gus 113
FELLY, Al 139 FENLEY, James 140
FENLEY, Mike 161
FERNEKES, Max and Ava 17, 21, 142 FIEDLER. E. C. 66
FIEDLER. George 43. 49, 65-7, 107-8, 11 7-8, 129, 131
FIEDLER. Joe 114 FIEDLER, Jas. 162
FILARDO, Helen Collins 152 FINK, Alice 85
FRIEDEN, Peter 127
G
GALLE, Jerry 154, 151 GALLE, Vito 24
GEORGE, Robert 98
GILLMANN, Charles 4, 82, 82 GILLMANN, Fred 82
GOLDSWORTHY, Walter 23-4, 97 GORDER, Steve 22
GRABER, John 84 GRABER. Joe/ Marie 84
GRABER , Louis 66, 152 GRAY, John 21
GRAHAM, G. A. 76
GRAY, Mrs. John 63 GREEDY, Johnson 69
GREENWOOD, Jean 161 GRIBBLE, Richard 22
.GRINNELL, mary 153 GROTH, Walter 14, 83
GRUBER. Dr. Jeffrey M. 21 GUNDRY, J. 21, 58-9-
GUNDRY, W. J. 74 GUNDRY, W.P. 74
H
HACK, Bill 67, 72 HAHN, Dolores 143
RAHN, J. I. SO HALES, J. M . 73
HALES, W .E. 100
HAMILTON, Mrs. Alexander 20 HANCOCK, John 134
HANSCOM, Frank E. 59, 63 HARKER, Les 141
IlAR.RIS, J.P. 73, 100 HARRIS, Jim 145, 154
HARRIS, Mr. and Mrs. Parmley 119, 159 HARRIS, W.A. 114
HARRISON, George W. 6 HARRISON, Wm. 37
HARRISON, John 67, 86 HAWKINS, Don 146
HEALY, William J. 127 HEIDEMAN Family 44,
HELMING, Leone 87
HENRY, Willia m T. 11, 12, 21, 57, 127
H
Continued
HELLUM, Edgar 12m 21-2 137-8 HOARE, James 97
HOARE, Rob 41 HOARE, Robert 164
HOEPPLER, Edw. 98 HOHLER, Dr. E. H 22
HOLLAND, Stan 89 (fl), 105 HOLMES, Eliz.
143HOOD, John and Matilda 2, 152 HORNE, Betty 153
BOWDLE, Bruce 143 HUGGINS, Elizabeth 86
HUMBERT, Jerry 68, 97-8 HUSON, Bill 114
HUTCHISON, Ena Eunice 21, 142
HUTCHISON, James W. 58. 66, 122 HUXTABLE, D. 67
HUXTABLE, Dr. Harvey 21, 52, 139, 150
HYTINEN, Nona 142
I
ilRVING, R T 90 IVEY, Charles 21 , 67-8
IVEY, Frank 103
IVEY, Harry 21, 69, 148, 152, 159 IVEY, Roger 134
J
JACKA, David 127 JACKSON, Addi e 63
JACKSON, Dave 114 JACKSON, Jan 147
JACKSOl'i, Pres. 30, 41 JACKSON, R. J . 114
JAMES, Anne 67 JA.1'1Z. Dan. 143
JELLIFF, Stewart 60 JEN1CINS,AJ bt rt 86
JENKINS, S 122, 142 JEWELL, Jim 7J,73
JOHN, Sue 114, 143, 154
JOHNSTON, Tom and Diama 83, 143
JOHS, Richard 154 JOLLY, David 142
JONES, Agnes 153
JONES, David 11, 58, 79 JONES, Thomas 11 , 58
JONES, W. A. 23, 58, 72, 74, 121 JORDAN, Alex 138
JOUANNEAULT, Fr. Victor 120
K
KANE, Edward A. 22 KEEFE, Michael 69
KELLY, Mike 143 KELLEY, Tom 143
KENNEDY, Richard 72
KETTER, Bert 67, 114, 145 KEULER, Kandi 153
KIEFFER, Henrietta 153 KILBOURN, Byron 120
KNAPP, Samuel 53-4, 84 KNAPP, William 53
L
LaBJNE, Joseph 87 LaMALLE, John 74
L.\.NCASTER, Homer 134 LANDON, T, 113, 140 1
LANZ, Daniel J. 133, 143
LANYON Family 8, 21, 66, 78-9, 80, 144
L.\NYON, Josiah 66 LATHROP, T .. R. 146
LAW, Christopher 2, 3 LEET E, Clara 153
LEIDER, Bud 83 LEIDER, Otto 82
LENAHAN, Miss V. 152 LEONARD, Addie 85
LEWIS, Jeanie 88
LIGHTBOURN, Phyllis 24 LINCOLN, Pres. 39
LUDDEN, Frank 115 LUDDEN, Dr. H. D. 68
LEPINSKI, Mark & Mary 142, 161 LYMAN, Peggy 153
M
MADLAND, Otto 110 MAHIEU, Don 143, 154
MARR, Michael J. 22 MARTIN, Frank 164
MARTIN, Wallace 109 MATHESON, Fred 98
MAY, Lucille 160
MAZZUCHJLI, Fr. Samuel 118 McCORMICKS 16
McDONALD, Fr. F. I. 110 MclLHON, C .W. 59
MEAD family 23, 141 MEEKER, Moses 39
Mn.LS, Bill 162
MITCHELL, Marla 22 MITCHELL,Mike' 140
MOFFETT, Dr. James B. 121, 142
MORGAN, D. M. 17, 21, 68, 86, 139, 152 MORGAN, David 86
MORRIS, Nat 90 MUNSTER, Oscar 68
MURRAY, J 81
N
NARDI, Joe and Tony 159, 164 NEAL, Charles 103
NEAL, Robert 21, 48, 137-38
NELSON, Serena 143, 153, 159,165 NIELSEN, Solveg 143
NOBLE, Willard 14, 83
NORR, Harry 21, 142, 152 NO~ Mrs. Harry 159
NORTMAN, R. A. 69 NUTTER, Kathryn 143
0
OSBORNE, Edwin 81 O 'NEILL, J ohn F 2, 4
OWENS, Mrs. Frank 85 OWENS, Wayne 148
p
PAD DOCK, Oscar 23 PALZKILL, Joseph 22
PARKINSON, Dan and Peter 2, 4 PARKINSON, Daniel 39
PARKINSON, Peter Jr. 29-30 PAYNTER, John 164
PECK, William 86
PENHALLEGON, W, J . 59, 73-5, 96 PERROT, Nicholas 1, 3
PERRY, Farwell 87-88 PETERS,Bert 152
PETERSON, L. K. 68-69 PHELPS, Mrs. L. 120
PHILLIPS, Tom 82 PHILLIPSON, Chris 154
PLOWMAN, H enry 84 POLIZZI, Frank 143
POLK, Evert 23 POLK, James E. 138
POUND, Chuck, 143 PRIDEAUX, R. T. 66
R
RALPH, Dorothy 86 REDELL, L. N. 68
REDMOND, W.R. 17, 69 RICE,Guy 63
RICHARDS, Tom 142 RIDENOURS 141
ROBERTS, Elder William 2,3 ROETHE, Bill 97
ROBERTS, Mrs. Edward 153
ROOSEVELT, Eleanor 138
ROSENBERRY, Walker 140
ROSS, Edward 153 ROSS, Jamie 142
ROSS, John 7, 22, 100 ROSS, L. A. 76
ROSS, Sam 81 ROSS, William 81
ROSS, Mrs. William 153
s
SA.t"IDERS, William 60 SC.H1''UR.R, A.A. 112-3
SCHRADER , Tin 154 SCHROEDER, A 161
SCHOENFELD, Clay and family 25, 123
SCULLION, Rkhard M. 48 SHARP, Jennifer 142
SHARP, JOHN 143 SHAW,H. F.142
s
CONTINUED
SHEPARD, Gordon 58 SBEPARD,S.E. 127
SHEPARD, W.R. 142
SJaLLICORN, W.C. 68 SMART, Ralph 133
SMEJA, Cheryl & Jim 143 SMEJA, Harriet 143
Sl\-OTH, Alice 21, 28, 35-6, 38 SMITH, George 56
SMITH, Abram 130 SMITH, Amy 87
SMITH, Bill & Mary 88
SMITH, J. Montgomery 121
SMITH, William Randolph 20, 39, 143
SODERSTORM, E. A. 68, 143, 154
SPENSLEY, Calvert 21 , 72-4, 96
SPRINGER, Henry 81 STABER, Mrs. B 152
STORY, Harriet 143
STUDNICKA, Abby Marschall 143
SUNDQUIST, Wendy 143, 154 SWANSON, Earl 157 M
SPENSLEY, Calvert 21 , 72, 73, 74, 96 SPENSLEY, Ruth 153
SPELLMAN, Thomas 69 SPRATTLER, Al ·27
SQUIRES, Joel C. 117
ST. CYR, Michael 35, 75 STERLING,
Levi 41
STRONG, Moses M. 39, 53, 125, 129-30, 154

T
TALMADGE, N.at 38 TAMBLYN, Isaac 97
TERRELL, Janice 143, 154, 159 TEWS, Mary Kate 20
TBONAS, A. W. 8
THOMAS, Everett 69 THOMAS,P. W. 23
THOMAS, Richard 22 THOMAS, Samuel 28
THOMPSON, William F. 40 TIBBETS, Gary 149
TILER, William 22 TU...LEY, William 7
TOAY, John 73 TOWER, W. H. 72
TREWEEK. Wm. 73 TUCKER, John 114, 1
TURNER, Alexander 7, 22 TUSS, Matthew J. 69
TYLER, Pres. 37-8 T\VAIN, Mark 46
u
UNTERHOLZNER, Milt 82 UREN, William 81
v
VANCE, "Sailor" 23
VIVIAN, Dr. John H. 58, 59 VLEIT, George 5
w
WALKER, Frank 140
WALLACE, Shirley 144, 154 WALLACE, L. 161
WASHBURN, Cadwallader C. 6, 9, 39, 54
WATSON, H. A. 68 WEIL, Henry 100
WEISS,Jon 154 WELSH, Henry 84
WHALEN, N. P. 73 WHITE, A. L. 59
WHITE, A. J . 73 WHITE, R. C. 67, 76
WBITTLESLEY,L.H. 57 WILLIAMS, Edward 85
WIESEN, Ernest 48 WIESEN, Robert 81
WU...SON, Alexander 121 WOODMAN, 54-7
WRIGHT, Erasmus 2, 4 WRIGHT, Harry 152
WRIGHT, Horatio 81 WRIGHT, W. J. 142
INDEX
PLACES AND THINGS
A
AGRICULTURE 7-8. 144-146
ARCHITECTUR<\L SALVAGE 141 ART MODERNE 141
B
BADGER CREAMERY 146
BANKS
Consolidated 16 Farmers & Citizens 16, 66
Farmers Savings 17 lST National 11-14, 56-66
-ofWisconsin 5-7,51-55 Iowa County 10-12
Washburn-Woodman 8-9, 54-57
BEN FRANKLIN STORE 148 BERGET JEWELERS 149
BOOMS & BUSTS 2-4, 15-6, 111-15
BRAUMEISTER, BOUSE OF 141 BREWERIES 5, 8, 17, 82-3
BROCHURE, Promotional 141
BREWERY CREEK BREWING 140 BURGESS BATTERY 65
c
CAPIT.<\L 27-39
CHURCHES 5, 5, 9-11, 10,-12, 117-19 COMMERCE 148-50
COMMERCIAL CLUB 151
COTHREN HOUSE 141 COUNTRY INN 141
COURTHOUSE 4-6, 9=10, 41=50
D
DAIRYING 13 DOYLE BROTHERS 151
E
ELECTRICITY 13, 15, 111-12 ETHNICS 5, 10, 12, 24, 93-4
F
FARMERS STORE 146
FIRE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT 12, 110-17 FOUNDRY 8
FOUNDRY BOOK STORE 141
G
GOLD RUSH 7, 22-3 GORGEN BUILDING 151
GREEN LANTERN 141 GUNDRY & GRAY 149
GUNDRY HOUSE 140
H
HARKER & HUMBERT MEAT MARKET 146
filGH STREET COMMONS 141 HOOK'S CHEESE 146
HOSKINS Studio 142

INDUSTRIES 78-81, 83-4, 114, 146-50


Asbestos 3, 78, 81 Bottling Works 14, 83
Brooms 15 Building Supplies 79-80
Burgess Battery 17, 113, 146, 151
Canning Factory 15, 122-3
Cement Block 114 Cotton Works 79
Cigar Makers and Suppliers 15, 80-1
Creameries 114 Golliner 79,145
Graber 83-4 Lanyon 78-
Linen and Flax 59 Logging 114
LumberYards 80
Nelson Muffier 17-8, 112-3, 146-8
Paper mill 11-2, 71-3 Perfume and Soap 79, 114
Plows 8 Rigs 114
Rubber 13-4, 59, 71, 74, 77-8
Syrup 114 Vinegar 111
Woolen Mill 11-2, 59, 71, 74-6
LG.A. 146
INFORMATION CENTER 140 1.0.0.F. MUSEUM 140
IVEY'S PHARMACY 148
J
JACKA MEAT MARKET 148 JEUCK Bros. 146
JAIL .<\LLEY HOUSE 141 JONES. HOUSE 141
K
KIWANIS 152 KNUDSON'S 141
KU KLUX KLAN 24-5
L
LANDS END 150 LAND OFFlCE 93
LIBRARIES 122-4 LIONS dubs 152
LIVERY A..l'l!TIQ\'.JES 141
M
MAIN STREET PROGRAM 154-5
MEAD'S GROCERY 151
MINER<\L POINT BOOK CENTER 141
J\UNERAL POINT CHEESE CO. 245
J\'llNERAL POINT CREAMERY 146
MINERAL SPRINGS WINERY 149
MINING 5, 9, 11, 13, 16, 89-105
MITCHELL HARDWARE 148
N
NEWSP A.PERS 6, 17, 84-8. 152
p
PAPERMOUNTAINBOOKS 141 PAYNTER& TONKIJ'i 146
PENDARVIS 138-39 PICK -N -PAW 141
POINT PLACE 122 POINT MOTEL APTS. 141
PURITY DAIRY 145
R
RECREATION 17, 108-10, 113 REDWOOD MOTEL 141
RIDNOUR'S 151
ROSS SOIL SERVICE 146 ROY AL INN 141
s
SANITARY CREAMERY 146
SCHOOLS 8, 13, 15, 17, 121-3
SPENSLEY & HOARE CREAMERY 146
SODA POP ANTIQUES 141 SOKOL,163
SWISS CHEESE CO. 145
T
TEACHERS (Dunbar, Hoskens, Wedenfeller) 121-3
TIME AND AGAIN 141 TOURISM 16-7, 137-41
TOY MUSEUM 141
TRANSPORTATION 6, 8-9. ll, lS-7. 123-35
w
WARS 2, 14, 16 WILSON HOUSE 141
WOMAN'S CLUB 153 WP&LSO
z
ZL'IC WORKS 3, 11-2, 15-6, 58-9, 73, 89-104
ASI<FOR

Would )ve) Could )ve) Should )ve


at your favorite book store
or
mail your check, money order or cash
(sorry, no credit cards accepted)
for
$16.95
plus $1.24 postage
to
George Bechtel
9 Hemlock Trail
Madison, vVI 53717

Thank you for your interest


Would've .. .
Could've .. .
Should-'ve .. .
A Sesquicentennial Story
About Mineral Point, Wisconsin

Read about
this 19th century town
that survived 150 years of adversity
to approach 21st century $ucce$$

It might have met the capital.


It won and lost a courthouse.
Its old banks failed.
So did its industries.
But it is building its todays and tomorrows
on its crafts) arts) and antiquity.

If you live in a town that wants to be better


and you want to help ...
Would've, Could've, Should've
Might give YOU just the help you need

The author writes from 50 years' experience as a


newsman, pubHsher, and promoter who has observed
decades of life in his old home town.
He concludes:
ccifyou are a Mineral Pointer, behold your heritage,
be proud) and carry on.
Ifyou are one who seeks to emulate one tonm's success,
talu heed, n1ork hard) and good luck!)'