Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Oconto County, Wisconsin
Mountain Memories
Pages 72 - 73

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Page 74 & 75




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.maid was to be apprehended and fined. William Carlson, the Town Constable/ was given the task of enforcing the ordiance which began in 1914. The first reference to automobiles is also mentioned in the Town Record Books that year when automobile owners and organizations began to raise money to give to the Town with the understanding that specific improvements be made on certain highways.
A few years later The Home Lands, a Chicago Realtors organization, came into this area selling a great many 40 acre parcels of land inviting settlers to come to this area with dreams of turning their purchases into farms of plenty. But much of this land was sutmarginal farming land causing many of these settlers to either abandon their farms or find other employment.
There were areas that produced quite well and Mountain prospered as many of the settlers turned their own-ings into fields of potatoes. There were 3 potatoe warehouses which between them shipped as many as 90 carloads of potatoes a year from the Depot. Some of the larger growers in the 20's were Anton Popelka, Emery Belanger, and John and Sigfried Lundquist. Contract cucumbers also contributed to the farm incomes. The pickle factory was located in the vicinity of Shelly Lambrecht's residence of today, the building being erected around the year 1915.
The pickle factory was really not a factory, but a storage area for cucumbers. Four big wooden vats 10 or more feet high, with a diameter of 15 feet, and 2 small vats about 10 feet across were housed inside the warehouse building. The cucumbers were sorted here as ones, twos, and threes, depending on their size. Nubs and crooks were not acceptable. The cucumbers were then put into the vats to which a recipe of salt and water was added in creating a brine. Once filled, the vats were covered and weighted down with stones atop the covers.
Sometime during late fall and into the winter the brined cucumbers were loaded onto tank cars on the rail siding which ran along side the warehouse. Then they were truly on their way to the pickle factory where our Mountain grown cucumbers would become pickles !
72
During the 20's the Gillett Canning Company came in to the area and contracted with farmers to raise yellow wax beans. They also set up a station in one of the potato warehouses, hiring local women to snip the ends of the beans. At the height of the bean season three and four large trucks a day, hauled the beans to Gillett to the main canning factory.
Farmers contracted for % acre to up to 4 acres for bean planting, leaving much of the responsibility of tending to those 'cash crops' to the entire family. Between picking beans, cucumbers, and wild berries, the local kids amassed enough money to buy their own school clothes with a few dollars left for their own extravagances .
The 1920's also found this area into egg production. John Olson, Walfred Bloomberg, Lorenzo Whitney, and Walter Saffran were farmers who invested heavily into the raising of chickens for eggs. Local non-farmers Art Storzer, Fred Dunlap, and Omer Belongia were also into the raising of chickens for egg production on a fairly large scale.
The Cheese Factory went into operation around the year 1925, I believe, and according to records of milk production/ there were as many as 50 to 60 farmers producing and hauling milk into the Cheese Factory in Mountain. The building was located next to Les Forrest's garage at present, which is on old Highway 32. The Cheese Factory may have been built by Charles VanHayden who was also our first cheese maker, if my memory serves me correctly, and the larger milk producers in the area during those early years were Anton Popelka, Dewey Anderson, Lawrence Melum, and Guy Gibson.
I recall Joe Foral as the cheese maker when I was a lad, who was followed by Fred Umland. Later it was operated by Mr. Snyder, Al Soden/ Paulus Winter, and I believe the last of the cheese makers in the town of Mountain was Wesley Neu. The Cheese Factory was lost to fire in 1987, though it had not been in operation for quite some years.
The town's first Milkman to appear on the streets selling bottled milk was Walfred Bloomberg. Walfred married Frieda Sandberg in 1915 and on the farm that had been settled by her parents, John and Anna Sandberg, they bottled up the milk into glass containers