Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
Collected and posted by RITA
This site is exclusively for the free access of individual researchers.
* No profit may be made by any person, business or organization through publication, reproduction, presentation or links
to this site



MOUNTAIN - Once Called Armstrong
and Town of Armstrong - Now called Town of Mountain
Oconto County
Wisconsin

Please click on the thumbnail photo below for a larger view.


 

This was Mountain in the early 1900's from the top of School House Hill. Originally the town was built at the summit of the granite outcroppings that Mountain was named after, but the logging firms pressured the railroad to place the tracks in the valley in 1897 to save them from hauling wood to the top. The business district gradually "slid" downhill toward the busy railroad lines. The local joke was that Mountain had 4 seasons in the year, summer, fall, winter, and mud.
 
 
 

 


Harry Bartz - 
Mountain Wisconsin
A very rarely seen photograph of what matches early descriptions for a small Pine bough winter lodge constructed in a method adapted in the late 1800's from the Menominee Indian homes. Harry Bartz may have constructed this dwelling to use while first homesteading his land, and would have used it until a permanent home was constructed. He is seen here cooking with the traditional frying pan over a small woodburning stove with chimney.  Notice the snow behind and to the right of the lodge. He is in his "Sunday Best" clothing , including the sleeve garder, with no coat..
contributed by  Dorothy Hagemann

The Bachmann log farmhouse with women and children of the family, circa 1890 was typical of the first homes to grace the Mountain area. This one boasted a wrap-around porch that gave comfort for outdoor work like firewood chopping in winter and shade for preparing pickled and dried foods in the summer sun. The second floor was a "loft" gotten to on a simple wooden ladder. Children, once past infancy, slept and stored their few possessions up there. Many told of the frequent winter days when they awoke to shake the snow that had blown in under the roof shingles off their blankets.
 


Mountain Main Street
circa 1935
contributed by:
 Bill Fonferek





Mountain Main Street
circa 1940

 
 
A young resident poses sitting on the photographer's pet nanny goat  for a photo taken on the mainstreet of Mountain about 1900. Photographers traveled the backroads making money from such family photographs, and in the process, preserved the buildings, lives and lands of early America. The general store and barbershop are seen at the left rear.
The first log school was built in 1884 and was sold to raise money for the larger frame schoolhouse. The second school was destroyed by fire and was replaced in 1897 by this fine brick building which housed grades 1 throught 12. This old and worn photo was taken on the first day of classes when the building opened. The building remains in use today as part of a larger building that is the local gradeschool. High school students now go to Suring.
Homesteading was a hard and serious business. Here a young Mountain farmer shows off not only a comfortable, well-built home in front of a tidy split-rail coral fence, stump cleared land, a healthy pair of milk ox and bull at the plow, but  two fine, sturdy children to boot! To the rear on the right side is a nice stand of corn. This was success! Photo circa 1890.

"Residence section of Mountain". 1913
Postcard sent by Mrs. August Wicke to Mrs Pete (Minnie) Hill.

From the Minnie Guelker Holl Collection
contributed by: Gene Heezen


Mountain Cheese Factory.
Von Hayden owned it before my grandfather Joe Foral when he bought it abt 1922.  My grandfather was a cheese maker and also owned the cheese factory in Breed in 1930's located across from the Breed Elementary School.  Joe Foral sold it to a man by the name of Umland ? and built a meat market in Mountain.
Joe Foral also bought the Mountain Hotel.  They called it the Foral Hotel.
They sold that in abt 1930 beofore going to the cheesefactory in Breed.

contributed by:
 Bill Fonferek

Thomas Rasmussen opened a barbershop to tend to the needs of the lumberjacks who came to town to be "freshened up and relaxed" after grueling days of isolation in the camps. While waiting for a haircut, these men could also purchase or pay premiums on a life insurance policy from Mr. Rasmussen. This was a rare opportunity since most insurance companies refused to insure high-risk job holders such as the "jacks".




Al Bachmann shows off a nice string of fish as he stands in front of his logging operation near Mountain about 1900. Not sure why he has a rifle, unless he was low on bait?

 

By the 1920's many of the original buildings had been put to different uses. Notice old gas "pump" in front of Rasmussen General Store. The measured glass container at the top was hand pumped to the desired level of fuel, then gravity emptied the contents into the auto tank. The Model-T and A Fords seen here had a tough time of it, especially in Spring, when local roads became deep mud lanes.

An important and profitable business of saloon keeping was established early in Mountain's history. It was the main source of relaxation and recreation for the many lumberjacks working in the surrounding woods. Mat Savage owned one of the first appropriately named "The Pioneer".


Chute Pond and main dam near Mountain was built by the CCC in the 1930's for recreation. Originally small Bonita and Anderson Creeks, the original Chute Pond was the result of a series of logging dams used to flood the creeks each winter. The resulting pond backup of water floated logs to the mills in spring. The dams were opened at the tops to let logs through as the water poured through. The opening were called "chutes"  and "River Rats" were the men who herded the logs on this man-made flood, all the way to the mills, making sure things kept moving. They broke up log jams, ran and rode the floating logs and did anything else needed in the water as the logs races downstream. A dangerous job.
contributed by:
 Bill Fonferek

 
 

Harry Baldwin was one of the first to start a supply business in Mountain. He built a fine brick store to replace his first when families began settling in the area and needed supplies that were different from the lumberjacks. It also meant that a post office was needed, and like many shopkeepers in Oconto County, it was good business for Harry to have folks come into his store to pick up their mail. This picture was taken in 1902. The barbershop of Tom Rasmussen is seen on the right.

 

In Victorian times it was customary and proper to leave a "Calling Card" when a visit was made to friends. One form of the cards was the "Photo Card". These were thumbnail pictures that were often exchanged among friends. They were a very popular mail-order item for many decades. Some had the names professionally printed, and other's, such as these, were less formal and the person signed it at giving. These six photo cards were among the family scrap book collection of Dorothy Hagemann


IDA ARTECH
ADALINE KEBEL
Mountain, Wis.

GEORGE KING

JULIA RICHARD

OTTO SCHILKE

BILL SMITH
 

Back to the Towns & Villages Main Page

Back to the Oconto County Main Page