Then and Now


| September/October 1998



Secretary of the R.S. Vintage Steel N10861 Highway 151 Malone, Wisconsin 53049

Today, I would like to tell you a story. It's nothing that I bought or what our club bought, but what we have as a community. Our little town of Calumetville is not very big as far as population goes, but it's very big on good and kind people. We are located on what was once known as the Military Road, now known as US Highway 151. It has seven houses on one side of the road, and 13 on the other side of the road. We have five businesses, two supper clubs, an auto body shop, a dairy supply store, two farms and a family owned business that sells to farmers and the other business, paper toweling.

The first permanent settlement in the town of Calumet was what is now known as Pipe. Pipe and Calumetville were organized on March 8, 1838, making us 160 years old this year. Some of the early settlers were Rev. George A. White, William Urmston and John Norton in 1837. (Note: some books indicate that George White was a Reverend, while others indicate that he was some sort of a land baron.) Shortly afterwards, these settlers were joined by John Tallmadge, Thomas Boyd, and Nathan Goodwell (according to a book written by Eugene C. Wulff). Calumetville's first settler, George A. White, built the first log house in the settlement. Later on, he turned his home into a hotel. To help in getting more settlers into the area, White and a gentleman by the name of Ostenfeld left for Hamburg, Germany.

There they began talking to some of the men who were very much in favor of leaving their homeland to come into the free territories. These men came from Holstein, Germany. They left their families back there and fled to Hamburg, Germany (the free city). They were afraid they might be called into the Danish army to fight against their German relatives. Later on, these same men went back to their families. Then in time, along with 198 passengers of a ship, they made their way to America. The ship's name 'Barens' was to set sail on April 2, 1848, and arrived in America on May 12, 1848. The ship's commander was Captain Peter Nienburg. Seventy of these passengers went to the New Holstein area about 12 miles east of Calumetville.

Calumetville had a lot going for it back then. George White's first log cabin was built in 1837. Mr. White later on turned his home into a hotel. The hotel was traced to Mrs. Fred Schwenck, so I assume that Mrs. Shwenck's property was indeed the first settlement in Calumetville. (Note: the original house/hotel was torn down.) The dates are unknown, but the big white house where Mrs. Schwenk now lives was built sometime around 1914. There was also a sawmill on the Schwenk farm that stood where the house is standing today. There was a lumber yard and a store. In fact, it was the only store for miles. Settlers had to come from New Holstein and Mary Town to do their shopping. And the same went for all the building supplies needed to build homes. The building supplies and the finished lumber were supplied from Calumetville for a number of years. As near as I can gather from the book Mr. Wulff wrote, New Holstein's first store was built sometime around June 1848 by Rudolph Puchner, who was also the first postmaster in 1851. Mr. Puchner started his store business in October of 1849. Also in 1849, the first mail came to Calumetville from Fond du Lac on horse back. Mail for elsewhere was left in Calumetville. In 1842 the first election was held in April, at the home of Mr.  White; this is when Calumetville was reorganized. At this election, Mr. White was elected chairman, and Mr. Charles Amidon was elected clerk. George White was also the postmaster in Calumetville from 1839 to 1848. In 1851, Herman Heeson built a large stone flour mill close to the lake, a little below Pipe Village. The reason why it was by the lake was because of the shipping. Boats would come in to get loaded, then they would deliver the goods from this area to other areas around Lake Winnebago.

And, speaking of Pipe, the hotel in Pipe, known as Club Harbor, was built in the late 1830s to the mid-1840s but, like everything else in this world, things change. At sometime or other, the sawmill that once stood in Calumetville is now a nice farm. The old buildings were replaced with new, although some of the old remains can still be seen. You just don't know where to look because they were added to homes to make more rooms. A more modern grocery store was added, which belonged to Martin Bause. Then in the early 1960s, Lester Nelson owned it. Boy, I can remember that store. I bought my first rod and reel there. I got on my bike, my mission in life at that time was to get my very own' fishing pole. You could buy anything from a loaf of bread to a pair of shoes. In fact, if Nelson's store didn't have it, you didn't need it. Too bad it burned down some time in the 1970s.