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2013-2014 Board

President: Pam Anderson

Vice-President: Vacant

Secretary: Linda Kappell

Treasurer: Jean DiCicco

Newsletter: Kevin Knitt & Barbara Miller

Website: LuAnn Elsinger

Membership: Carol Gardner


Lost Communities of Portage County

Where have all the small towns gone? During the early part of Portage County's history many small towns and villages sprang up. They were, in most cases, associated with a local post office, before rural mail delivery people came to a central location to collect their mail. Many of these small rural communities exist today in name only. There are, however, some remnants to be found of many of them.

The year was 1911 when Wallie Coddington created a plat for the new community of Pine Island along the south route of the Soo Line Railroad. That line linked up with the Chicago and Northwestern railroad in Bancroft. This community was located at the intersection Taft Rd. and Coddington Rd. in the Buena Vista Township. Coddington showed the following streets on the communities plat: Main, First, Second and Third. Intersecting those streets were Hammond, Coddington, Bradley Avenues and Buena Vista Rd. A post office was located there in 1912. The name Pine Island was selected because this was an area of ground that was higher than the marsh and supported some pines taller than the surrounding Tamaracks of the Buena Vista Marshland. The name Coddington, with a small and sparse population no longer appears on the Portage County map.

Five small communities made brief appearances in the late 1800s and early 1900s along Highway 54 east toward the Waupaca county line. Little Chicago, more of a local watering hole than a village actually, was located at the intersections of County Road A and Higway 54. Local folklore indicates that Little Chicago was a popular spot to purchase moonshine, hence the name. It was never more than a tavern.

Located east of Highway EE on Highway 54 in the township of Buena Vista was the community of Surry. Between 1863 and 1891 a post office operated in this small community. Just two miles to the east was the town of Lanark with its post office in operation between 1883 and 1899. St. Patrick Church remains the landmark that identifies Lanark today. Continuing east on 54 another couple of miles or so, Madely came and went with a post office operating between 1855 and 1900.

Once you've passed through Madley, you're well on your way to Badger. Badger, just a couple miles or so down the road from Madely holds some prominence in the history of the Lanark Township being the site of its first town meeting. Badger sported an operating post office between 1870 and 1901.

Continuing our tour of the Southeast portion of the county brings us to the small communities of Lone Pine, Towne, Sherman and Hetzel. Sherman was located close to Fountain Lake and there was an operating post office in Sherman in 1876. That post office closed about 1900. Towne was located close to the Highway AA and 22 intersection. Its post office was operating between 1884 and 1903. Dopp was the name of several families that lived near Towne. Hetzel's post office was up and running between 1896 and 1902. This small community was located near Almond and the intersections of Highway EE and 4th Ave. Hetzel continued to thrive, as a community, somewhat longer than others in Portage County. When you drive through the intersection at Highways W and BB you are passing through Lone Pine where one of Portage County's earliest burials took place in the Lone Pine Cemetery. Lone Pine's post office was open between 1856 and 1904. In 1903 the post office, Lone Pine school along with houses and barns were leveled by tornado.

To the east and northeast of Stevens Point are the towns of North New Hope and South New Hope, not really towns, rather two Lutheran churches, North and South New Hope Lutheran Churches with accompanying cemeteries. These two churches are located near Sunset Lake County Park with the South New Hope at Highway T and and Trout Creek Road and the North New Hope at T and MM. The original church was the North New Hope building. The congregation experienced a theological split in 1887 and the South New Hope church was built. Both buildings are still active even though the congregations resolved their differences in 1917.

Alban, found a mile or so south of Peru in the town of New Hope had its own post office in 1873. That office was moved to a home on Highway A in 1880, a short distance south of Highway 66. The post office continued to operate until 1905 and Alban can still be found on Portage County maps. Looking for Peru? Look no further than the intersection of County Trunk Highways T and Z in the Township of New Hope. Still found on Portage County maps, this community had an operating post office from 1882 until 1907. Head west on County Trunk Z from Peru to find the community of Garfield located at County Trunk A. Garfield also had an operating post office from 1884 until 1907. The Garfield store continues to operate and the community is still found on the Portage County map.

Boyington, a small sawmill town was located just off Highway 66 near Woodland Rd. The post office was located in the home of the town's namesake, Nathanial Boyington and his family and operated from 1881 until 1895.

Located at the intersection of County Trunk J and CC is the smallest community in the Township of Sharon, no more than a combination tavern and store. That community is North Star.

Located at Jordan County Park, a few miles east of Stevens Point on Highway 66 was the community of Hull. Hull featured a grocery store and an operating post office between 1864 and 1903. Jordan, another area that was platted in 1856 is just south of the Plover River dam at Jordan Park. A sawmill was up and running at this spot around 1856 when a four block, 48 lot development was proposed.

A tour to the north of Stevens Point will take you through the Dewey Marsh. Torun and Crocker's Landing are two communities that existed in the area. Torun is a small community with St. Mary's Catholic Church as its focal point today. Crocker's Landing in the Township of Eau Pleine was located southeast of Lake DuBay. This was a river boat landing where a post office began operating in 1882. At that time Crocker's Landing had a blacksmith shop run by Sylvester Crocker and one other building. A Mobile home court now sits at Crocker's Landing.