Florence County, Wisconsin

Florence County, Wisconsin

Florence County Chronicles 1998



This book was made possible in part by the following sponsors:

Black Bear Inn

Dina Mia

Florence Auto Parts

Florence Dental Clinic

Florence Motors

Florence Sport & Bait

Headquarters Bar & Grill

Kellys Party Store

LaChapelle Insurance

State Bank of Florence

Witynski True Value


The idea for this book came about in 1991, when I visited National Mines Schools, National Mines, Michigan and their Art Program, taught by Bobbie Ameen. Their 8th grade Art program utilized a multi-disciplined approach, combining Art, History, and English. I admired their end-product, a book called Red Dust , a history of the National Mine and Ishpeming area, and decided to employ these teaching concepts here at Florence School with our 8th graders. With cooperation from our Junior High English Department, headed by Pam Smith, and our High School Information Processing class headed by Kay McLain, the students and I put together our own version, which we call, Florence County Chronicles.

Florence County Chronicles is a publication written and illustrated by 8th grade students at Florence Junior High School, Florence, Wisconsin during the 1997-1998 school year. We hope, through our efforts, to bring about a stronger bond between school and community.

Todd Worple

Art Teacher

Florence High School

Florence, Wisconsin 54121


By: Dylan Worple

Virgil has lived in Florence all his life. He is sixty-six years old and lives down the road from me.

When he was a boy there was a country school a mile down the road from where he lived. However he was too old for kindergarten so he had to start in first. He was pretty smart in school. Virgil says his highest points were math, science, and geography. As he got into high school he didn't care as much; As long as he passed, it was ok with him. He said he could have had a better job if he would have studied more instead of going to the pool hall and playing pool. He says, "If I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn't be living here. I would have a better job some place else."

Virgil got married in 1959 and was married for twenty-seven years and raised five daughters. One day someone asked him, "Why didn't you have any boys?" He replied, "Girls are just as good because they don't get in trouble."

When he was in 10th through 12th grade they farmed with a single bottom plow that was pulled by horses. He raised cows for beef and some for milk. He cut pulp for most of his life then when he retired he sold corn and still does. A year ago when he was selling corn, a young man said he was going to Picker Lake and Virgil replied, "I know where that it. When I was young, I used to fish there on a wooden raft after school." He likes to hunt and still does to this day.

Virgil says, "If I had to live my life over, I would live it the same way because of the way drugs and alcohol are going. The kids have quite a challenge before they get out in life." He simply says, "It's harder for them than it was for us."


By: Larry DeGrave

Snowmobiling in Florence County is a scenic experience and it is also a lot of fun.

While going through Florence the places to stop are numerous and the trails are great. You might want to visit the Keyes Peak Ski Hill and order a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. If you need gas, stop at the new Amoco station, located at the end of town, or Citgo in the middle of town. Citgo and Amoco usually have low gas prices compared to Iron Mountain. If you want to watch a game, you might want to drop by the Black Bear Inn on Central Avenue and watch it on their new big screen television.

The Blue Ox Trails run straight through Florence. They are usually pretty busy on a nice day but are kept in good shape all winter. The Blue Ox Trails also run through Niagara, Iron Mountain, Goodman, Crystal Falls, and on for miles.

Snowmobiling is scenic and a lot of fun. Florence County has very nice trails and many places to stop.


By: Jessi Lohrey

As I sit here across from Louis Smith, hearing her stories, I wonder how they lived through such a hard life. Her school life was very harsh. Their school bus was a piece of canvas laid on a sleigh and pulled by a horse. That must have been terrible during winter. Speaking of winter, the teachers had to live at the school to keep it warm, and the children had to bring firewood.

Now we know how hard her school life was, but what about her married life. When she first got married, the happy newlyweds lived in a tent. In that tent, they had one child. After that baby was old enough, they moved to an old railroad logging cabin located at the end of Camp 5 Road. In this house she had two more kids. These kids were delivered by a mid-wife as was the first born. To get to this humble home they had to take their shoes and socks off so they could walk through a creek. Louise also state, "This was terrible." The house she lived in after this one was much better. It was a two-room shack on the corner of Lily Pad Road. The only thing wrong about this house was that she had to carry water from the neighbor's well. She didn't like that too much either.

Her husband, Ray, had better luck with jobs than with houses. The only jobs available were logging, trapping, and farming. Ray made time for all three. Even though there was an unfair wage, they were pretty well off for that day and age.

One their farm they had two cows, which were for milking, of course. When you milked the cows you put the milk in a machine that separated the cream and milk. They could also pick berries and wait for the train to come through and when it did the passengers would buy them from you.

Listening to these stories, and seeing the smile on her face and the twinkle in her eye, I could see she is proud. With a closing response, she proves that my theory is true. "I wouldn't live my life over again, but I'm glad I lived it the way I did. Anybody that lived through the hard Tipler life can live through anything. I'm proud to say I'm from Tipler, and I want to be buried here and live here longer." Louise smiles proudly as she says these words and one single tear falls from her eye.


By: Roger Hicks

When my grandpa was thirty-six, Jim D'Agostino and Donald Vassar were about 12 years old. Jim and Donald got kidnapped. My grandpa was driving by and the kidnapper stopped him so he could use my grandpa's truck. So they all got in the truck and the kidnapper told him to go to Crystal Falls. When they reached Crystal Falls the truck ran out of gas. The kidnapper told them to get out of the truck so he could get another car. The kidnapper saw a guy walking from his house and the kidnapper got shot so the guy and my grandpa grabbed the gun. While my grandpa was grabbing the gun, he got shot in the left side of his chest, just missing the heart. Then the police came and the kidnapper went to jail in Rochester, New York Penitentiary. He gets out August 30, 2033


By: Eric Gribble

My Sega-Game-Gear-playing grandpa Nicholas Anthony Dal Santo, at age 85 still loves to be active in the community.

My grandpa was born in Marinette, Wisconsin, in 1912. During his adolescence he lived on a farm. He and his brothers worked on the farm most of their teen years. They milked cows; the work was hard and they had no fun. My grandpa remembered when he was 14 he drove a tractor with three plows behind it.

Nick moved to Florence in 1940 and became a construction worker. Did you ever wonder who built the grade school or the old theater? Well, you can put my grandpa's name on those. He built some of the houses and even built his own house.

My grandpa married Irene Bernardy in 1942. He has a son, Michael, and two daughters, Lisa and Sue.

In 1972 he retired from construction and joined the Forest Service. He built signs and buildings. He did many other duties, too. This year he retired from the Forest Service. Now he plays on his computer and goes on-line. He works on crossword puzzles, and brings my grandma to Iron Mountain for grocery shopping. He is healthy and happy.

I enjoyed learning about my grandpa and talking to him. You'd be surprised how much you can learn from your elders.


By: Nicole Huettl

School bells ring again in the ears of Frank Nichols as together we look back on old times in the old Fence school and other details.

I began by asking Frank about punishment. Nowadays you get detention, after school, suspension, etc. How about when you were a kid? I can recall Frank's hearty laughter. "No," he said, "none of that." However he does remember getting yelled at a lot, and his gym teacher had a paddle he would sometimes hit the kids with...OUCH!

Frank had four teachers: Miss Miller, Miss Spencer, Miss Beerstaker, and Mrs. Brandemuhl, kind of like our junior high, right? No!!! These four teachers were left to take the responsibility of teaching grades one through five, who were all crammed into one room in the upstairs of the building. Other rooms in the building included the library and gym which were one room separated into two. The cafeteria was downstairs in the basement.

Turning the conversation to another topic, I asked Frank about his favorite time of the day...recess. So what did you do for fun? Well, in the summer he did things we're only allowed to do at home like...playing baseball, climbing in the trees, and playing in the woods. In the winter, kids would bring their skis and sleds to school or build snow forts or maybe just romp around in the snow. If it were too cold or stormy outside, they'd take refuge in the gym. After recess someone would be chosen to do the "special honor" which was to ring a bell and call everyone into the coatroom to deposit their coats, boots, shoes, etc.

At the end of the day (about 3:00 or so) kids would grab their stuff and head out to the one bus Fence had, all yelling their good-byes. I've got to go too, BYE!!! And keep all that stuff about getting in trouble in you head but...you can still have fun all summer and winter just like Frank did.


By: T.J. Smith

Florence Sport and Bait Shop has been around for a long time. There have been over four different owners during its fifty year history. The original owners were Woody and Toots Lawrentz. They then sold it to the Blazers who owned it from 1981-1987. In 1987, Warren "Bucko" Soderberg bought it, but in 1994 the building burned to the ground. A new building was built in January, 1996, across the street from where the previous building was, and it's now owned by Allan and Paul Teske.

In the new store they sell licenses, boots, clothes, guns, bows, accessories, moccasins, and souvenirs. An interesting thing about the sport shop is that they also do taxidermy of fish and many small animals.

Allan and Patti are from Homestead, Wisconsin. They have two children, Andrea, 13, and Brett, 8, that both attend the Hillcrest School. The reason they decided to buy the store is because Allan loves to hunt and fish. On the other hand, Patti only likes to fish, not hunt, but she does help Allan scout for deer.

The Florence Sport Shop is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. So if you are looking for a great deal on sporting goods or with a taxidermist, drop by the Florence Sport and Bait Shop on Central Avenue in Florence, Wisconsin.


By: Mar la Hulbert

I'm going to talk about fads and fashions of the early years because it's pretty neat. I got my information from my mom and my grandma.

I found out that in the 1920's girls had short hair, knee length skirts, knee highs, tights, and blouses. The boys wore knickerbockers, golfing hats, high socks, and sometimes ties. The little kids wore tights with dresses or little pants.

In the 1970's people wore bell bottoms and polyester shirts, and dressed totally like hippies. They drove hippie cars, put patches on everything, and wore holey sweaters.

In the 1980's people wore stretch pants and sweaters with fat necks and sometimes jeans. The guys wore jeans and a sweater or a sweatshirt or they dressed preppy, and wore ties and v-neck sweaters and turtlenecks. For basketball they wore short shorts and tops with collars, and knee high socks with stripes at the top. That's what kind of uniforms we had to wear for Junior High Basketball until this year when we finally got new ones.

Nowadays people wear jeans, tee-shirts, and lots of striped sweaters and striped skirts. Wide leg jeans are in like Silvertabs, L.E.I's, Buffalo, JNCO, L2's and Calvin Klein's. We also wear pants with stripes down the sides. For shoes we wear Road Rags, Nike, OP's, Reebock, Fila, Adidas, Candies, Converse, Airwalks, and Vans.

So that's all the information I found out about what people used to wear, compared to the fashions we wear today. Some of it's coming back into style. Our stuff we wear today will probably be in style again 20 years from now.


By: Becky Steinke

Do you know what two lakes are at least a half mile from school? If you said Fisher Lake and Mud Lake you're correct.

I'm writing about Mud Lake, a little lake just north of town. Mud Lake has lots of history. For instance, there used to be a huge saloon run by Old Man Mudge and his daughter Mina Mudge on the lake. Old Man Mudge was a preacher in Michigan and Ohio. He recruited girls to live and work in his saloon. These girls were kept on the second floor of the three-story building.

The first story was made up of a bar and dance hall. There also was a third floor which was a dungeon and had two trap doors on the north and south sides of the saloon. The cellar was filled with dark cells and secret passages that lead to the almost impassible swamp.

In 1910 the Prohibition movement raided "speak easys" in Spread Eagle. They took by force almost all the slot machines and dumped them into Mud Lake. Also in 1910, the vigilantes burnt out the Mudge Saloon and chased Mina, Mudge, and others into the nearby swamp. They were never seen again.

About a week ago I went and talked to Gordy Brolin about his life growing up near the lake. Gordy said he and his father fished the lake, but never ate the fish because "there were too many of Mudge's prisoners buried in the lake." When the saloon was burned down, he and his friend dug through the ashes and took the money from the slot and candy machines.

Now the little lake just north of Florence is peaceful and calm, hoping never again to be named "The Lake of the White Woman Slaver."

My thanks to Gordy Brolin and Heritage of Iron and Timber.


By: Haley Underwood

I was to Route 2, Box 1004, and knocked on the door. I asked "May I interview you for a school project?" The woman who answered replied back, "Come on in, I would be happy to be interviewed."

Her name was Rose Belling, and she lives by me in Spread Eagle. She moved to this area thirty years ago. She moved here so her husband Carl would get a chance to hunt more. They live in a very large house on Lake Elwood.

Rose enjoys this area very much. She loves the beautiful lakes and the beautiful wildlife around this area. Rose walks outside as often as she can with her husband. She used to swim in the lake but now she is just too old. The dock that she used to swim at is still there. Now the kids in the neighborhood use it to fish from.

Every Sunday Rose goes to St. John's Church. This is one of the few days that she leaves her house in a week. When she comes home, she watches the Green Bay Packers.

Rose also enjoys the great people in this area. She says her nine neighbors are so nice. She loves them to stop by and say "Hi". Rose also enjoys the Christmas cookies and the homemade jam the kids bring over.

Rose even tries to sing for about 20 minutes a day. She does this so she gets exercise in her mouth. Rose also enjoys County and Western music.

As I left Rose and Carl's house, I learned a lot about this area and about my neighbors. She had taught me a lot about this area and about her interests and her hobbies. If I ever need to know anything about this area, I'll walk to Rose and Carl's house. I'll do this because I know that they love when the kids stop by. I'm glad that I had the chance to do this interview because it had taught me lot.


By: Kaycee Nichols

Ralph Donald Duke is my grandpa, and I'm about to tell you a little about his life. Ralph was born and raised in Florence County. He had lots of friends who nicknamed him "Doc" after his father who was the town's dentist. After school Ralph went into the Air Force. Soon after joining, Doc was stationed in Saudi Arabia for about a year.

After getting back from Saudi Arabia, while skiing in Colorado he met his son-to-be bride, Mary Atchison. They both went back to Milwaukee where Doc became an iron worker. Then in 1959 they were married and their first child was born who is my mother. Doc and Mary had five children: Cynthia, Wendy, Heidi, Ralph Jr. (Don), and the youngest Mary Eileen.

Then they moved back to Florence where Ralph owned Dumke's Texaco, located where Citgo is located today.

One of my grandpa's dreams was to find a hill in Florence big enough to ski down. Ralph searched for the perfect hill. Soon he found one near Keye's Lake. After lots of organizing and help from the town, Doc proudly skied down the hill to cut the ribbon at the bottom. In the late 1960's, the ski hill was up and running. Keyes Peak Ski Hill was one of my grandfather's greatest accomplishments.

Ralph's greatest joy in life was to fly. He own his own airplane, and would take anyone flying that wanted to go. On August 25th, 1977, while taking a ride with a friend and two teenage passengers, his Cessna's engine failed. All four perished in a terrible crash. Doc died doing what he loved to do. His memory lives on in Florence County as we still enjoy skiing at Keyes Peak Ski Hill.


By Jamie D'Agostino

Sure, you're all probably thinking "Ooh , a fire. Big Deal." Well, yes, I guess fires are pretty common toady: but I'm talking 1929--when people had to walk barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways! This fire cost about $50,000 in damages. No, the whole town didn't burn down, just Florence High School.

It all started in 1900 when the town of Florence decided to build a high school of pine lumber. It was a big building, complete with a library, auditorium, and a place for the seven and eighth graders. It also had one of the best commercial rooms this side of Milwaukee. Everything was fine--for twenty-nine years.

On the early morning of Tuesday, May 12, 1929, Alex Meyer, fire chief of Florence at this time, stepped outside to let his dog out. What he saw was amazing--the high school up in flames. He rushed to get his gear while his wife contacted the fire department.

Finally, at around 4:00 a.m. all the firemen were fighting the fire. The flams towered towards the sky, sometimes reaching forty to fifty feet high. There was no wind, which was fortunate: it wouldn't take much to send the flames to the elementary school. After a while the firemen drew their attention to the brick gymnasium that was almost completed. There wasn't much of a chance for the high school.

After hours of work, somewhere around noon, the fire finally died down. the high school was in ruins: all the band instruments, records, school equipment, and the paintings, statues, etc. left by past graduating classes were destroyed. The only things that were saved were eleven of the fourteen typewriters in the commercial room. The heat was too intense and the flames were too high (so high it was said you could read a newspaper a block away) that it was impossible to try to go inside.

No one really knows for sure what made the fire begin, but it started around the rear end of the school. The town of Florence decided to build a new high school of brick right where it used to be. Until this happened the junior high school was held in the elementary while high school classes were held at the court house.

Only one year later, in 1930, the new high school was finally completed. But that is not where the story ends, because sometime in the 1960's the elementary school burned down. Finally, after the elementary school was rebuilt, the county put an addition that connected the elementary to the high school.

So as you can see, this town went from two wooden schools to one big brick county school. I hope we never really do have a fire again, but if we do, both you and I know it won't be a first.


By: Tiffany Glime

Did you know there was high school boxing in Florence? Well there was. It started in 1937 and ended in 1942. When my grandfather was in eighth grade, the basketball and football coaches talked to the students about a boxing team that would form the next year. I talked with Jack for a while and the following article is his story.

The boxing coach, Jack Kenny, was an excellent boxer. In addition to my grandfather, there were seven other people on the boxing team. When they practiced they would fight against each other.

My grandfather's most memorable fight was against a left-hander from Crystal Falls. "Every time I went to hit him, he beat me with his left." Jack said, "It was my first and only draw."

A draw is the same as a tie. You don't win; you don't lose. My grandfather also had 6 or 7 T.K.O.s or Techincal Knockouts.

He fought all through high school in three, one-minute rounds with sixteen ounce boxing gloves. He had the chance to fight in the Navy but didn't take it. He found it hard to fight the one-minute rounds and he thought the two-minute rounds the Navy fought would be too much.

Jack had the best record on the team. He boxed 21 matches throughout high school. He won 20 of them and as I said one ended in a draw.

When Grandpa first started boxing, they fought on the stage in the auditorium. Eventually, the crowds got too large and the school bought a portable ring to set up in the middle of the gymnasium. The crowd was then seated around the ring. "Half the fun," said Jack, "was watching the crowd boxing along with you in their seats."

Boxing ended when the state felt it was too dangerous a sport to continue. It appeared the kids weren't trained well enough, either.

Now you know for sure the answer to my question. There was a boxing team at Florence from 1937-1942. And my grandfather was an undefeated boxer all through high school. I hope you learned at lot about the boxing here at Florence and enjoyed reading my grandfather's story.


By: Patrick Rea

My favorite uncle is a man named Gary White. He and I are really close because he paints me pictures and we go hunting together. A painter and a hunter in one man? Here is his story.

Gary White was born in the summer of 1962. When he was old enough to run around and get into trouble he was a disaster. He would go out in the woods and play around and make forts.

When we got older he went hunting and when people asked him what he wanted to be when he grew he said, "I want to drive semi truck." When Gary got into high school he attended Florence High School, he played high school football from 1976-1979. He played linebacker and fullback throughout his career.

With his coach Mr. Dave LaPoint he had his best game against Wabeno. Gary score 3 touchdowns and ran for 150 yards. In the spring of 1980, Gary White graduated from Florence.

Now he works at the Pine River Saw Mill in Long Lake Wisconsin. He's been there for 9 years. Gary says it's hard and in the winter it's cold. Gary runs the fork lift and piles lumber. Before he began working at Pine River he worked at John Creek Saw Mill for 3 years; he piled limber there.

Gary paints pictures of wildlife and sports. Uncle Gary watches the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. He likes to bird hunt and deer hunt. So there you have it; the life of Gary White.


By: Brandon Dumke

This is my story of Kim Dumke. My purpose is to tell people about Kim Dumke. She is my mom, and this is her story.

Kim Dumke is thirty-one years old, and was born on September 15, 1966. As a child, she like to call her friends and go for bike rides to a little store and but candy and pop. Later she enjoyed sleeping over at friends' houses and playing games.

When she finally got her car, she drove to the store with her friends and would to her best friend's house and ride their horses. My mom loves horses and love to ride. them. As an adult she loves to water ski. She had a lot of trouble last year trying to water ski because she had surgery and hadn't skied in over fifteen years. After about six or seven tries, she finally got up and had a great time.

In the summer she also likes to water tube. She has a lot of trouble getting on the tube in the deep water after she falls off!

Some memories that I have of my mom are when she fell through the floor when she was pregnant. It was when we first moved into the house and my unborn sister's room was being built. She was walking around and there was a hole that she didn't know about. She stepped right over it, and her leg went right through. She scraped it pretty badly and had to put ice on it. Nothing happened to the baby.

Another bad memory I have of my mom is when she was moving the garbage bag, and there was glass in the bag. It his her leg and cut it open; she had to get several stitches.

There are happy memories, also. Not too long ago she bought a dog, and we had a hard time training her. However, we did it, and we love her. When it was my thirteenth birthday, my mom and dad bought me a fishing reel. It cost fifty dollars. When my dad took me fishing, I caught a thirteen inch large mouth bass, which is small, but I was happy.


By: Cher Budnick

As I thought more and more about the questions to ask my mom, the more she brought up questions herself. By the time I asked her the questions I had come up with she dumped all of hers on me; consequently I got my story.

My mom's name is Chris Budnick, and she works at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain, Michigan. She takes care of patients that are having a surgery. There are many jobs she could be assigned to including:

*Checking people into the pre-operative holding area.

*Getting everything ready for surgery in the operating room and making sure the patients are safe. This is called a circulating nurse.

*Working in the post anaesthesia care unit (PACU) widely known as the recovery room.

*Taking care of supplies used for surgery, cleaning them up, putting them away, and ordering more supplies when needed.

She also works at home as a mom and a wife which is an important job too.

She started her education at Milwaukee County General Hospital School of Nursing (MCGHSN) and graduated with a diploma in nursing. She furthered her education by completing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) at Northern Michigan University (NMU). Plus, she has also achieved certification in operating room nursing (CNOR).

There are many opportunities available in nursing. Some of the tings my mom has taken advantage of are the military, hospital nursing, private duty nursing, camp nursing, and the operating room. She has been in the Army National Guard for almost 22 years and has achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She also was part of the Gulf War and was away for 6 months. The past eleven years she has been working in the operating room and enjoys it very much.

She states that operating room nursing is a very challenging career and feels it is very important that she keeps up her knowledge. Going to seminars and reading nursing or educational magazines such as The Association of Operating Room Nurses Journal are good ways to keep your knowledge current and meet new people.

I am very proud of what my mom does and hope that she could take the time to teach me some of the skills needed to be a nurse and show me that it makes a difference.


By: Dan Robinson

On April 22, 1994, my brother, dad, and I went up to Crystal Falls to sign up and play Pop Warner Football. My dad had read in the paper that they were looking for kids to play tackle football. We went up there to register and found out my brother Dustin was too young to sign up. Only ten to fourteen year olds could sign; Dustin was nine, and I was ten. People in Pop Warner also asked my dad if he would be interested in coaching, and he decided to try it.

Two weeks later the people from Pop Warner called my dad and asked him if he wanted to get more involved. They wanted him to join the board. He joined and helped them set up the program. They got equipment and put it together, set up the teams, and helped with all the necessary paper work. He also got six other kids from Florence to play up here with us.

He coached our team and we were called the Cougars. We went five and one that year. The next year we had football in Florence and mixed with Iron Mountain kids to make a team. My dad coached that team, and we went six and one. We also had a Peewee team with Crystal Falls and half Florence. That year, we had twenty kids out to play tackle football. My brother and I both got to play, and we played on the same team.

The third year we had thirty-five kids to play Pop Warner Football, and my dad coached Dustin and me again. We went seven and one that year and now were champion's three years in a row. We had three Crystal Falls kids on our team that year and Florence had two teams. Now that Pop Warner Football is in its fourth year, it's bigger and better than ever. We have three teams now have have fifty kids from Florence alone playing and five kids from Crystal Falls.

Our team is called Sub Slingers and we are 1-0 so far. We won 26-0 that game, and we are looking good for another season.


By: Jerry Revis

I interviewed my grandmother, Doris Chaney, about her school life at the Fence school. She attended the Fence school from first grade through tenth grade. She got to school on a yellow school bus. They had two rooms in the school: first grade to fifth grade and sixth grade to tenth grade. The subjects they had were spelling, English, math, history, social studies, and geography.

The girls wore skirts, blouses and dresses to school and were not allowed to wear pants. The boys wore blue jeans, shorts, and lace-up oxfords. The girls also wore lace-up oxfords with anklets. In winter they wore waterproof snow pants with suspenders and jackets. She said saddle shoes came out in 1946-47 when she was in the eleventh grade at Goodman school. The girls had long hair which they shampooed and set in pin curls, and the boys had very short haircuts. The girls wore no makeup.

My grandma described the school as windows on every wall. She described the inside as having two rooms upstairs, one large room and one smaller room. The smaller room had first through fifth grade and the larger room has sixth through tenth grade.

They only had one teacher for each room, and she stated that she had six teachers in ten years. A few of their names were Mr. Brown, Mrs. Lund, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Branduvel, and Mr. Mightfinger.

My grandma said that if they had a failing mark on their paper they HAD to be redone. She said that discipline was different from nowadays. If they were caught chewing gum, they were put in the corner. Talking or passing notes was a different punishment and the teachers had a ruler on their desk that they would use on the kid's hand if they pushed the teacher too far.

My grandmother described the playground as having something called giant strides, which were poles cemented in the ground with round things on top with holes in and handles on a chain connected to the top. They would run around in a circle and pick their feet up and fly in the air. She said they got a lot of skinned knees from falling in gravel. She also said it was "dangerous, but fun."

My grandmother said that the basement was where they ate lunch and had gym class in bad weather. In good weather they went outdoors, all year round. At each end of the basement were the bathrooms, one for the boys and one for girls. They had chemical toilets and no running water, so the janitor hauled water for them to wash their hands. They heated the building with a wood furnace which was also in the basement. It was the janitor's job to keep the fire going.

The school system of Florence County would buy the wood for the furnace from the men in Fence. Then men would deliver the wood, throw it through the basement window, and then stack it in the basement. That was their job.

In the end of our interview, my grandmother said that she really enjoyed the Fence school.


By: Laura Lemanski

Years ago many things were different from what they are now. Transportation, is one example: old cars were not as sturdy as they are today, and horses were sometimes used. A train was used to get from Florence to Iron Mountain.

When my grandmother, Dorothy Bruehl, was in school, her father drove the school bus, which was a truck with a top on the back end of it, in the summer. During the winter months the bus was a sleigh pulled by horses. The sleigh had a cover over it similar to the truck's. In town they had very few snowplows, so all of the snow was plowed into the middle of the road.

Dorothy had many chores when she was young. Some of these included chasing cows, washing dishes, taking care of her younger siblings, along with a few others. As you can imagine, being the oldest of nine required much responsibility.

My grandma played games in her free time because they didn't have radios or a TV. Radios weren't invented until about 1930 and TVs, about 1955.

Dorothy remembers her brothers putting loose hay by hand with pitch forks on a trailer pulled by horses. She also remembers farmers growing oats and binding the oats together with a binding machine. Then someone came to each of the farmers in the same area and thrashed the oats. The oats would come out of one place, and the straw another.

After she graduated in 1928 from Florence High School, she went on to be a teacher. She taught in Tipler for a pay check of ninety dollars a month. If you were married you couldn't be a teacher until after the war.

Dorothy was married twelve years before she had running water. She also had kerosine lamps instead of electrical lighting and an ice box instead of a refrigerator. Cooking was also a job because she had a wood stove. Many people had a summer kitchen separate from the house because in the summer it would get too hot in the house from the stove. One thing people take for granted these days is the advantages we have over past years.

Dorothy used to drive her tractor to the outskirts of town and walk the rest of the way in. Florence then had two dry good stores which had clothes, shoes and other dry goods. Florence also had two grocery stores along with a theater called the Bijou Theater. It showed a black and white silent film every night. In 1939 Dorothy picked 100 quarts of blueberries, and she canned them all.

Dorothy's husband worked on the railroad along with his work of the farm. The railroad paid him $2.95 for a day's work.

This is my Grandma Dorothy's life. I hope you fell you learned a lot because I know I did.


By: Tracy Kranzusch

Before I even moved here my family was tied to Florence County. My great-grandpa, now deceased, owned a mink ranch during the 1960's in Tipler, Wisconsin. In order to get my information, I interviewed my great-grandma and Vi and Gord Schroeder (family friends). All three people mentioned that working with mink was a very interesting job.

My great-grandpa, Rae Kriplean, and Floyd Schroeder began building the sheds in December 1961. They then put in the cages and built the mixing room, freezer and cabin. They also installed a 6ft. fence around the entire ranch. When the ranch started they had a total of several hundred mink.

In addition to the buildings, they had 18-20 sheds to hold a grand total of 2,000 mink. There was also a pelting shed and a drying shed.

The mink Grandpa Rae owned were either white, black, autumn haze or tourmaline colored. They liked to play in water, but were very temperamental. In addition to being mean, they also had sharp teeth that could bit through work gloves.

It was quite a job to feed the mink. The food came frozen by semi from Pittsville, Wisconsin. It was packaged in 45 pound blocks that had to be emptied from the semi and put in the freezer. The food was thawed out and put through a mixer before the mink were fed, morning and night. The mink were also given fresh water 3 times daily.

Around the middle of March, the mink with the better coats were bred. The mink needed more nourishment during breeding.

Next, the baby mink were born. The(y) were only two-three inches in length at birth. Therefore, my grandpa had to put kitwire on the bottom of the cages so that the baby mink wouldn't fall through the holes. The young mink sometimes were even more vicious than the adult mink. On the other hand, they were very cute.

In addition to being born, mink had to be pelted (killed). Around the time of deer season a man from Hudson Bay chose the mink to be pelted. Then came the steps of pelting. First, they broke the mink's necks. Second, the mink were skinned on boards. Next, they were fleshed in a shed to get the fat off. Then, they were hung in the drying shed to dry. Finally, the coats were shipped to Hudson By.

My Grandpa Rae had a cocker-spaniel named Pal that helped guard the mink. He was a very faithful dog that could sniff if a mink was out of its cage.

Nevertheless, the ranch ended up closing. First of all, there was illness in my family. Eventually the minks fleshed out around 1969. Also, imported furs came to America so the prices for the mink furs dropped.

As I mentioned before, running the mink ranch was a very interesting and difficult job. Hopefully my story has given you a good idea of the work involved.


By: Jessica Bomberg

Do you every wonder where golf tees are made? Well, there's a company in your area where golf tees are made called Pride Manufacturing Company. In this paper I'll be telling you about the early history of Pride and what Pride is currently doing.

Pride employs about one hundred people from Florence County and its surrounding areas. They manufacture about twenty-one million golf tees per week just from the Wisconsin area. K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Dunhams are local stores where golf tees made at Pride can be purchased. Japan is one of their biggest customers.

Pride Manufacturing Company was first started in Tampa, Florida. Pride got its name from Fletcher Pride. Fletcher and his son, Gene, manufactured wooden mouth pieces from Hav-a-Tamp Cigars. At the time, the company was known as Pride Sales Agency. In 1956, they decided to move the company close to the main resource, white birch. Later that year they bought a factory in Guilford, Maine, to continue making wooden cigar tops. Not long after moving to Maine, the company made a wise investment; they started to make golf tees. Pride companies also make pianos, furniture, hardware, housewares, toys, and wooden cigar tips. In 1988, the decision was made to build a factory in Florence, Wisconsin. Two men, Ariel Ellis and his son Randy, along with their families, volunteered to move to Wisconsin to watch over the construction and management of their new investment. Pride has now been a part of Florence County for nine years.

The company has made many changes over the years. A couple years back Pride bought an old Allen Dock building in the Industrial Park, which is known as Plant Two. This is where they paint, sort, package, and ship the golf tees to their customers.

Pride Manufacturing is more than just a small factory perched on the edge of the town of Florence. It has created a good tax base for our community. The company is expanding more and more over the years.


By: Amanda Wakefield

Back in the 1800's the United States government offered land that became a part of Florence County Wisconsin. It is now known as Homestead. The first family to live there was the Larsons. Other families such as the Andrew Ekquists, and Lars Peterson moved in as well. A lot of them came from Iron Mountain, Michigan. They had worked the mines there. Evelyn Larson Fandrem was the first child born in Homestead. She is now 95 years old. Carl Johnson was the first to be buried in the cemetery. It was very difficult for all these people to practice their religious faith. For example, Mrs. Lars Peterson walked on foot to Florence, while carrying her infant son to be baptized. The poor woman was exhausted for walking for so long.

Homestead became a thrilling community of small farms. Mrs. Peterson always referred to Homestead as "hoar Utah i skagen" which means "out here in the woods."

John Larson was the first to own a team of horses. The log horse barn still stands on the site and is in surprisingly good condition. He often loaned wood to the other people. The first brown school was built in 1901. Rags and other things were tied to trees and bushes to mark the trail so the children could find their way to school. Also in August 1901, Anderson established a sawmill. The first post office was located on what is now the Wasserman property at the intersection of County Road U and County Road N.

Homestead prospered. There was a blacksmith, baseball team, and a town hall. In 1908, however, a horrible fire almost destroyed the entire town, endangering the live and houses of most of the residents. Descendants of the Larson and Johnson family still live on the original Homestead.

Today Homestead has a population of about 200 people. People enjoy the quiet beauty and surroundings.


By: Dustin Voegltine

This is a story about someone very important in my life. That would be my mom. Following is her story and the story of the family that belongs to her. Tracy was born June 30, 1958, in Iron Mountain, Michigan. She lived in Florence all her life and graduated from Florence High School in 1976.

Tracy's father owned a bowling alley and she set pins up for the bowlers. When Tracy was 14, she washed dishes and Restaurant in Florence which is now where Barb's Cafe is located. Tract's job is now a cook at Headquarters Bar, a local tavern where they specialize in Friday night fish fry.

Tray is married to . The were married on June 3, 1978, and a year later they had their first child, Michael. Then about 5 years later Dusting was born. Michael is 18, and Dustin is now 13.

Tracy and her husband Jeff are landlords, and Jeff likes to build motorcycles in his spare time. Michael is busy going to college in Marquette, Michigan. He is studying business. He rooms with a boy from his home school. He is now working at the Superior Dome. Dustin works for his Grandpa trimming Christmas trees and keeping the grass cut around them.


By: Carrie Foltz

My reason for choosing this story is that I wanted to find out what it was like in the 30's going to school. I asked my grandfather, Ed Gilbert, and he told me a lot of interesting things about his school life.

He told me school was very different back then. In the 30's the teachers were still very nice and well educated, but they were also very strict. Punishment for doing something wrong was a paddle, sitting in the corner, or both. Then, when they got home they got punished again. The children got a very good education because of this.

Families didn't have very much so they couldn't wear nice clothes. They wore what they could find as long as it was neat and clean.

The school was in the same place as it is right now, but is was newer because of the fire in 1929. The new school was built within the same year.

School house were almost the same as right now, 8:00-3:00 p.m. everyday. Classes were about the same now with up to thirty students per class. The building was heated by a janitor who kept it warm with coal.

The roads were not as good as they are now, so in the fall and spring when the buses could get through they did. However, in the winter some kids had to walk up to six miles.

As you can see there were many differences in early education. However there were many things the same between being a student now and in the 1930's.


By: Jessica Podnar

According to Karen Podnar life in the 70's was cool, or as she could say "groovy." The 70's were kind of different in a way.

Most people wore bellbottoms or hiphuggers with smock tops and clogs. I guess they listened to good music though. Some of Karen's personal favorites were Fleetwood Mac, The BeeGee's, John Cougar Mellancamp, and Andy Gibb. Karen says her favorite shows were good, clean, and still fun to watch. They included: The Waltons, Happy Days, and The Brady Bunch.

People like Karen still did pretty much the same things with their friends as we do today. They went shopping and talked on the phone a lot, nothing new about that. Karen and her friends hung out at Lloyd's Restaurant now know(n) as Barb's Care, and at each others houses. When they were sophomores, Karen and her friends worked at Big Boy in Iron Mountain. They worked there until they graduated.

Karen took school very seriously. In her own words: "School was what you made out of it." In her opinion we have, and always have had, a great school system. Karen's favorite teachers were Mr. Kriegl and Mr. Valine. She says she like them most because they taught in a way that make learning fun and interesting. Karen's favorite classes were math and science. One of her favorite parts was spirit week. She says, "Every day we had something crazy going on." Have you ever wondered what out sports teams were like back then? According to Karen they were pretty good. Everyone had good school spirit and came to watch all their games. All Karen has to say about her senior year is "It was the best." Her graduation was held in the gym and Miss Cora Kinnear played the piano which was a tradition.

Karen says Florence was pretty much the same small town it is today. It had a few less gas stations and a bowling alley in place of Dina Mia's. They also had a pharmacy in place of Sub Slingers. But I guess Florence hasn't changed much.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Karen Podnear's friends and hobbies. And now we can all relate to the small town of Florence in the groovy 70's.


By: Sanchi Hancock

You, my friend, are going to be one of the lucky ones to hear about the amazing and almost tragic story of a champion. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Diamond Dandy, a horse living in Florence County, and owned by Jenny Van Marter, had a bad fall just after she and Dandy earned enough points to go to the jumping championships.

One day, a year or two ago, Jenny took Dandy for a pleasure ride when Dandy fell into a culvert. Dandy could have died if anonymous people from Florence County hadn't pitched in and helped keep both Jenny and Dandy calm. The article in the Florence Mining News that was issued later in the week stated that Jenny said she was thankful to all who participated in this lifesaving event.

Jenny didn't ride Dany for a little over a year for safety reasons, but this summer Dandy made an amazing comeback by competing in jumping again in the Florence County Fair. Dandy placed in the competition that day.

Some people may say that Dandy didn't achieve much because he didn't make it to the championships, but he has achieved a lot. He's won bundles of ribbons and trophies. Even though he didn't make it to the championships, he's still a champion in the hearts of a lot of people.

I thank you very much for listening to this story and a special thanks goes out to all who helped Jenny and her horse that tragic day.


By: Tim Touchett

Imagine how you would feel if you were from a big city like Chicago and you got lost on the Pine River. You have no idea where you are, and have no extra clothes to spend the night. Pretty scared, huh? That's how Collene Rex and Mike Hughey felt when they got lost while canoeing on the Pine River.

When Melodee Martinson, owner of Mel's General Store in Long Lake (also Collene's mother), got to the Chipmunk Rapids, outside of Tipler, and the canoeing duo didn't show up, she called her husband Ed. Ed then contacted Long Lake Town Clerk, Mike Anderson, who set out on his ATV. Mike also contacted John Toughett (my dad) at the Fay Lake Resort, and asked him if he would go up in his seaplane to search for them.

With Mike Anderson, Ed and Rick Scroeder, who had also volunteered to help with the search, on the ground, and John Touchett, and his "co-pilot" Donna Walsh in the air, it didn't take long to find the lost canoers. They were on the shoreline near the pipeline trail. Walsh then dropped a life jacket with a note attached to it telling them to follow the trail to the road.

As Collene and Mike proceeded up the trail, they saw a bear and immediately reversed course. When Touchett saw this, he flew to Keyes Lake and landed. He called Mel who contacted the police department with the location of the two.

Joe and Lisa Witynski volunteered to go find them on their ATVs. Within a short time they did so, assisted by Bill Nelson who hauled out their canoe on his truck.

This story came to us from John Touchett and Mel Martinson. I enjoy interviewing them. This is an example of how our community works together to save people that they don't even know.


By: Ryan Knox

Hi, I'm Ryan Knox and I'm going to tell you about our own school's band teacher and drummer for a Finnish Reggae Band, Mr. John Kumjian.

Mr. K. was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1956. When he was young, he really liked Jimmy Hendricks. Then, when he was a teenager he like(d) Sting. Right now he has a lot of favorites; he couldn't possibl(y) decide out of all the great artists.

Mr. K. got into the band he plays in, Conga Se Menne, in a rather long way. He played with them off and on for twenty years, then they started to do pretty well and called him to be a regular with the band. Now he is mostly just a concert drummer. Mr. K. works about ten weeks in the summer and does about 15-20 jobs per year. They are planning on working on their next CD sometime next February, but if their present CD keeps selling as well as it is, they might wait until next summer to start making it.


By: Dione Hoogland

How would you like to see some live deer that are tame? Chuck Hoogland has a deer farm in Spread Eagle. He has helped baby orphaned or injured deer for about three years. Chuch has built a farm for them for a tourist attraction and mainly to help them.

Chuck has the deer on a special diet to keep them healthy. The diet consists of oats, soybean, wheat, corn, molasses, and salt. Once in awhile they will get a very good treat that they love: french fries. Now he has three very healthy deer in there: a 10-point buck named Crivitz, a doe named Hope, and a fawn named Fisher.

Crivitz got its name because we found him in Crivitz; Hope got her name because when she was a fawn she got attacked by two dogs. She had a lot of hope. The fawn got his name because he got attacked by a fisher and hurt his neck. He is O.K. now. I asked Chuck if he recommends starting a deer farm. His reply was, "No, because you have to be totally dedicated and there's a lot of knowledge to know."

As you can see having a deer farm is very difficult but fun to see how they grow and just to watch! It takes a lot of time and dedication. To see deer go to The Chuckwagon; it's right next to it.


By: Jasmin DesRosier

Have you ever been going down a hill at really fast speeds in a sled pulled by dogs" Mike DesRosier does it often.

In the early 1980's he was helping his father, a dog sledder. Then his father gave him a dog and some equipment. When Mike learned to dog sled well, his father make him sleds of all kinds. "But the best is a medium sized," Mike says.

He started out with 2 to 4 dogs, but at the time he now has 9. It took him 5 or 6 years for a big enough team, so he didn't have to run behind them as much.

In the summer he tries to keep them cool by not working them. Most of them still have their winter coats on for half the summer.

Mike also gets help from his family. He and his three daughters split up the chores during the week. In return, his daughters get to go dog sledding.

The tuns are about 10-15 miles long, and he goes about 4 times week in the winter. Mike says, "I enjoy it so much because it gets me out of the house; it's great exercise and the trails are nice and quiet."

Mike doesn't plan on racing, because it takes a lot of time to train them, and he just doesn't have the time.

That just about wraps it up. If you ever have any question about why people dog sled, I hope I answered your questions. The next time you see a dog sledder, was; it just might be Mike!


By: Kirsten Vinyeta

Karen Larson (my mom) was born the 16th of August, 1950. As any other kid at that time, she started school school when she was 6 years olf at Riverview School for 1st and 2nd grade. One of the games they would play at that age was "boys chase the girls" or "girls chase the boy." If it was summer time and a girl was caught, the boys would sit her on a sun-warmed metal piece so her legs would get burned.

School continued at Golden Rule for 3rd and 4th grade, where Karen saw a tornado rip a tree right out of the school yard. She then attended Hillcrest School for 4 years. They would walk around the paved circle, wearing short skirts and their "marvelous" purses, even though it was 10 below zero. Also they would play marbles, dodge ball... My mother's best loved hobby was riding her horse. Of course, the hobby came from her father who had dealt with horses all his life.

In the winter time there was always fun to be had. Because snow was always abundant, Karen and her sister, Bonnie, would have fun with skates, wooden skis, and sleds. Sometimes Karen would hook her dog with her dad's harness, and he would pull her up and down the road.

High school came, and she went to Florence High. Aurora kids always thought that they were much "cooler" than the Florence people, but everyone soon became friends. My mom started to go hunting for partridge with her dad, and she loved it because she was allowed to drive his pick-up.

She played a lot of sports in high school and played flute in the band. She also sang in the chorus and triple trio. In high school, they had a lot of dances. Everybody would have a lot of fun. My mom, who had been in 4-H for many years, would design her own prom dresses. Finally in 1968, she graduated when she was 17.

My mom has lived in various places and traveled a lot. She would never change her childhood or where she came from.


By: Josh Cox

I chose to interview Janet Butterfield because she is my aunt, and she has started a little business called Critter Cutts.

Janet Butterfield was born on a 1960 December morning in Oak Park, Illinois. When she was six she moved to Colorado where she grew up. She was 21 when she moved up here and 23 when she met Mike Butterfield. In 1983 Mike and Janet Butterfield were married.

In 1993 Janet went to the Paragon Professional Dog Grooming School, in Grand Rapid, Michigan. When she received her degree she started a little shop called Critter Cutts Dog Grooming, which was started in her basement. Last January she took on a partner, and then they moved Critter Cutts to Iron Mountain across from Fredericks Floral on "H" Street.

Janet continues her education trying to get her masters in International Pet Groomer Association (IPG).


By: Jessica Mills

Unfolding before you will be the life of a great father. I chose to write about him because he's a great a loving person who would do anything for me.

My father, Joseph Douglas Mills, was born on July 21, 1963, at Dickinson Memorial Hospital in Kingsford, Michigan. He was raised in a family of nine, which included his parents, George and Beatrice Mills, four sisters he loved to pick on, and two brothers he loved to fish and hunt with.

During his school years he attended two different schools. He went to grade school, K-8, in Aurora, and his high school years, 9-12, in Florence. For sports he joined wrestling and football, which he loved to play.

After high school he enrolled in the service. The branch he joined was the Marines which he stayed in three years, and finished with many accomplishments. For example, he was awarded good conduct and achievement medals, army sword, and many more. He is not attending the Army National Guard.

To earn money he had many jobs. He was a truck driver for Schomer's Forestry and Gunville Trucking, a mechanic for Lodal Inc., and is presently a relief laborer for Niagara Paper Mill. I asked him if the prices were any different from when he was in school? And he said, "Yes, but the wages weren't as high."

My father was married to my mother on August 12, 1989, at St. Mary's Church in Florence, and now has five children he loves very much.


By: Mindy Ritchie

Most people say how kids now have it so good. In some cases that is true, video games and CDs are popular, and twenty or thirty years ago they didn't have that. Sure it has improved that way, but things haven't changed all that much where it counts. We still have responsibilities, and we still have rules we live by. So, you see we're not that different. My mom is evidence of that.

Lynn Ritchie was born January 24, 1961. She had three sisters and one brother. She was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, and went home to Armstron Creek, Wisconsin. What an exciting start, hey!

She started school at the age of six and loved school all the way through.

As she grew up she did a lot of the crazy things such as giving her seventh grade teacher the nickname "Zelda." Some other children in the same class soaped the screen of the classroom with the newfound nickname. They also let out all the air from her tires.

In the eighth grade al the students bought the teacher a can of Turtle Was to shine his bald head. They all loved Mr. Strope because he was a lot of fun. He never got mad. He laughed with the students. Also when she was in the eighth grade her grandfather died of a massive heart attack. When she was a freshman her house burnt down while she was a school . As things happened, everyone saw the black smoke rolling and wondered what was burning. She lost her pet mouse, her little black poodle and her organ.

The bands she listened to were Shaun Cassidy, KC and the Sunshine Band, Little River Band, and Village People along with many others.

When she graduated in May of 1979, she had scholarships to go on to college for teaching. She wanted to teach either kindergarten or first grade. She tutored for lower grades all the time.

She married my dad, Mark Ritchie, on June 14, 1979. From there she had eight children.

"We have only one chance to live. We should not let i(t) slip away, and if it does, well too bad," my mom said.


By: Kristine Moore

Have you ever watched a wedding from the roof of your car? Or been to a wedding with only four other people? In the following story, you will hear about these experience and many more as I tell you the story of an old-fashioned wedding.

Marion Paulson's Wedding

I interviewed Marion Paulson. She seemed eager to share her unique experiences. We talked about her dress, the ceremony, and the reception. In the following paragraphs, I am going to share with you the story of Marion's big, beautiful wedding.

When Marion showed me a picture of her in her dress, I couldn't stop looking at it. She was a gorgeous bride! She wore a floor-length, white satin gown that only cost her twenty-five dollars! On her head was a pearl crown and flowing from that was a long veil. She wore white, high-heeled shoes and carried red roses. As for something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue; she wore an old, borrowed necklance and a new, blue satin ribbon tied to her shoe. She wasn't the only person in the wedding that looked good! Her groom, Robert Paulson, wore a white tuxedo and his two groomsment wore black suits. Marion had two bridesmaids, Eunice and Jean. Eunice wore a long, blue net gown and Jean wore a floor-length aqua gown. Both wore white carnations in their hair and carried pink and white carnations. The flower girl wore a long, white dress. She carried the rings and flowers in a basket. By the time Marion's wedding rolled around, everyone looked fantastic!

Marion's ceremony must have been a truly memorable event. It wa held on Saturday, June 23, 1945, at 7:00 p.m. at Homestead Baptist Church. When I asked Marion how it went, she said it was great except that it was very hot. "Th sweat was dripping off out faces," she said. Preceded by their bridesmaids, grooms men, and flower girl, Marion and Robert walked through a pink and white rose trellis to the alter. The groom's father, Reverend Adolf Pauleon, was waiting there to marry them. As Marion's cousing sand "Because" and "The Lord's Prayer", the bride and groom knelt on satin pillows. Then came the vows. The wedding lasted about a half hour, which was good because there were so many people there! Marion and Robert opened the church window and people sat on the roofs of their cars to watch the ceremony. I asked Marion what the best part and worst part of her wedding were. She told me that the best part was that Robert's father was able to marry them. She said the worst part came later, while everyone was at the reception. She had asked her father to watch the car so that no one could get into their suitcases. Needless to say, he didn't. The memory of untying all of those clothes is one that Marion will never forget!

When I asked Marion if she had a dance, her reply was, "Good heavens, no." However, she did have a reception and cake. The reception was held at Marion's home from 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The 300 guests that attended ate sandwiches and drank coffee. There was ice cream, too, brought fresh from town because Marion had no freezer to keep it in. Marion had a big, four-tier cake topped with a miniature bride and groom. She opened her gifts and then she and Robert hopped into their car to go on their honeymoon.

As you can see, Marion's wedding is a wonderful example of a big, beautiful 1945 wedding. Some things are still the same today. We still use wedding cakes and satin dresses. However, some things have changed.


By: Josh Haen

Florence has an excellent athletic history. The trophy cases are filled with evidence of great teams and championship games. I chose to speak with Mr. LaPoint about the part football played in this school's history.

Mr. LaPoint has been coaching for 26 years. He started coaching in the fall of 1971, as the J.V. coach. At this time he was the only one. Dennis Christian was the varsity coach then. In 1978, Mr. LaPoint moved up to varsity and took over Dennis' spot.

Florence has 17 conference titles; Mr. LaPoint was coach or assistant coach for 16 of them. Florence has been to the finals once, semi-finals once, and been to the playoffs 13 times. Thirteen times to the playoffs is the most in Wisconsin. Mr. LaPoint's most memorable playoff game was Halloween night 1987. Florence vs. Peshtigo. There was less then a minute to go; Florence was losing 7-8. Florence drove down to the 22 yard line and kicked a field goal. It was good; Florence won it 10-8. So after that they advanced to the state finals and lost to Darlington 17-28.

One record that Mr. LaPoint recalls is held by David Holmberg, for the longest pass in Florence history. It happened in 1981 against Park Falls. He threw it 99 yards to Ben Baumgart. "We won that one."

One last thing from Mr. LaPoint: he believes that every player is imperative to the team. But he says, "You have to have a lot of desire to be good." So as you can see football has played an important role in this school's athletic history.


By: Kimberly Evans

As I nervously approached the home of my neighbor, Mrs. Ruth Asplund, my ears were greeted by the newest addistion to her piano repetoire. I was welcomed by a cheerful petite piano player and her organized knickknacks--a warm welcome. After I settled into a kitchen chair, I enjoyed hearing about her history here in Florence, so I thought I would share it with you.

Ruth's mother was born in Commonwealth. She met Ruth's father, who was boarding with a Swanson family, while visiting from Sweden. This 100% Swedish couple exhanged wedding vows in 1912. They were soon renting the house that Mrs. Asplund now owns. In fact, she was born there. After that, they moved into a home that once stood kitty-corner across from Appearances Plus. Her parents are no longer living, and their last home has burned down.

Ruth has four younger sisters and one brother. They all grew up here, but only Ruth remained in Florence. Her siblings all moved on to other areas such as Iron Mountain, Chicago, and Detroit.

Growing up, Mrs. Asplund recalls, the town of Florence was quite a busy place. Some of the businesses she remembers include three shoemakers, three grocery stores, two dry goods stores, a jewelry store, a drug store and many saloons. There were also two doctors and a dentist whose office was located above one of the town's two bakeries.

Though two dress shops were available here, Mrs. Asplund and her sisters has home-made clothing. Their mother, who stayed home with them, sewed all of the girls' dresses. At that time, their wardrobes consisted of two dresses each. One was for Sundays and one was for school. her only brother, however, received store-bought clothing.

The family always celebrated a real Swedish Christmas; each year they would feast on the traditional fish dinner, lutefisk. They also enjoyed potato-sausage, rice pudding, and cookies, of course. "My mother was a good baker," says Ruth. The children would keep busy throughout the long winters by participating in cold weather activities like skating, skiing, and tobogganing.

As a child, Ruth would play with clothes pins under the oil stove as if they were piano keys. Her father thought she haad talent and purchased an old piano. She has played ever since. The Swedish Covenant Church, now our St. Vincent De Paul Store, once heard her playing at special church events.

Several grade schools were scattered about the county: in Fern, Fence, the Brule Settlement, Homestead, Aurora, Commonwealth, and Florence, but only one high school was available. Students had an eight to three-thirty school day consisting of the basic subjects still available today. Mrs. Asplund attended the elementary school where our updated version now stands in Florence. During grades seventh through eleventh she went to the old Florence High School. It burned down and a new one was built. Ruth was a part of the first class to graduate from the new high school in 1931.

The year after graduation, 1932, Ruth was married to (a) young man named Hildung Asplund. They had four girls: Hildene, Kathleen, Merlene, and Eileen. They all grew up in Fflorence. Mrs. Asplund said that if she would have had boys their names might have been Benzene, Gasoline and Kerosene. Now she has ten grandchildren and all sport college degrees.

When she first married, Ruth lived out on a farm in Florence for seven years. She didn't enjoy that lifestyle, and was very pleased when her birth place came up for sale. They bought the house for $900 and moved in after selling a cow for the down payment. She still resides in that house on the northeast corner of Koman and Quinnesec Street.

Mr. Asplund first supplied their income by teaching out at Homestead's country grade school. He was also principal at Commonwealth's school. One summer he went to work at a mine and decided to stay because of better wages. An accident at the Bristol Mine in Crystal Falls cost Hilding his leg. Because of that incident, he ran for the Register of Deeds office in 1953 and won. Ruth began working there also and continued on for a total of 27 years.

The Asplund purchased a camp with 120 acres to raise Christmas trees on. The cabin out there was recently repainted red with white trim by her daughter, Eileen. She especially likes the three-room dwelling despite its lack of most modern conveniences.

Now that Ruth is on her own in the old house, she enjoys quilting (especially in the winter), and has finished several quilts. She is only keeping one for now: the flowered quilt on her bed. I admire not only her quilts, but her patience and talent with them as well. Last year she successfully completed four quilts, and will soon begin on more when winter hits.

As you can see, Mrs. Asplund is a special woman. Learning about her past has been a meaningful experience for me, and I hope you've enjoyed this step back in time as much as I have.


By: Robert Wulf

My grandma's name is Charolette Knutson. She is seventy-eight years old. When she was young she went to school in Fence.

The school was built in 1900. The school was built in the days where it would be considered big. She liked school, but liked to skip. In those days she didn't have too much to worry about because as long as she did her work she didn't get into much trouble. Back then you didn't dare fool around, fight or talk unless you were spoken to. If you did, you would get the switch or a beating.

As small as Fence school was they kept it going in good condition. The school hours were similar to ours, but they started at nine and ended at two.

They tore down the old school because they didn't have enough students or money to keep it going.


By: Seija Liubakka

Have you ever wondered what it's like to help children at risk in reading in writing? My mother, Bonnie Liubakka, did. Her son Coty was having trouble in school, especially in the areas of reading and writing. Therefore, I have done an interview on her, and I'd like to share with you what she had to say.

About two years ago a space for a teacher's aid at Florence Elementary opened up, and they were having interviews. My mom decided to try for it since she'd been doing volunteer work and sitting with Coty during classes. She went for the interview and said she thought it went very well even though she had thoughts like, "Oh my goodness, that's a teacher; she's going to get the job," and "What and I doing here?" A few weeks later our school superintendent called her and said, "You've got the job!" She started working there in September of 1995, and through the weeks and months of school she got relaxed and comfortable with her schedule, working from Tuesday 8:30-1:30; Wednesday, 8:00-1:00; and Thursday, 8:00-3:00.

As you probably already know her job was working in Title I as a teacher's aid, helping children at risk to learn to read. As her job went on she started taking classes from Barbara Kramer. She learned a lot from Barbara and the most important thing she thought was that your have to read for meaning and have a positive attitude with children. Barbara gave her hope and the tools to work with Coty and other children. She is my mom's mentor. While working her hours she would also work two to three hours on homework at night with Coty. Finally she decided to take him to a clinic to see if they could find anything out. So my mom, dad, Coty, and I took off for LaCrosse on February 12, 1996, to Gunderson clinic for testing.

After the two days of testing Coty, the clinic had a conference with my parents and came to the conclusion that Coty has a non-curable learning disability called "Dyslexia."

After finding that out, my mom did some research on Dyslexia and found out some interesting facts. For instance, students experience delayed speech, are often left handed, it is more common in boys and girls, and it runs in the family. Now, school has been getting harder and harder for Coty and though school was almost out, homework was still building up. Sometimes Coty would do school work beforehand on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays so there wouldn't be so much work at night.

After school let out and summer was here, it was back to relaxation time. We could play soccer and go swimming, but Coty was tutored in reading with Anne Leschke and math with June Hudson.

My Mom had played with the idea of home schooling Coty ever since he was in second grade. When school started at the end of August, Mom had a conference with Coty's teachers and explained his needs. She realized though, that it's very hard to give the five or six kids at the bottom of the class the extra help they need. Especially when there are 25-30 kids in the classroom.

About the beginning of October, Mom realized that this was too hard on Coty. Seven hours in school and two hours of homework at night--this wasn't fair to Coty. Mom gave her two weeks notice at school and ordered Coty's books from Calvert School.

They really decided to start home schooling to help Coty have good self-esteem and feel successful. They started in November of 1996 and they both enjoy it very much and Bonnie feels that it's the best gift she could give him. They start around 7:30-8:00 and are usually done by 12:00 p.m. She says "It may seem early, but ten minutes of one on one equals two hours of classroom time. She feels her best accomplishment is seeing him become a more confident person. Also she would like to share with other teachers and parents information of child development and education, and one very important thing is that each person has to have a dominant right or left hemisphere. If you use both sides, learning problems develop.

I hope reading this helps you understand more about children at risk in reading and writing and how you, and may people like my mother, can help these children learn to read.


By: Michael Smith

My Grandpa Vassar was born and raised in Florence County. He has done many things and worked at various jobs. Grandpa also lived in Florence during the depression and WWII.

Arlie was born August 10, 1921, to Lawrence and Irene Vassar. They lived in a log cabin in Fern. He attended the Bluebird school in Fern until he was 16. Then he moved to Florence and attended Florence school. My grandpa was one of 11 kids in the 10th grade that quit because a principal required algebra.

When he turned 17 he went to work at the Goodman Lumber Company as a tractor driver; he made 50 cents an hour.

In 1941 he got married to Dorothy Miller, who also quit school because of algebra. They lived in Florence County in a house they built. The house is still there. It is on the corner of Spring and Cyclops Street.

In 1942 he was drafted into the army during WWII. He was a sergeant stationed over seas in Germany. After being wounded in action he received the Purple Heart.

After the war they moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked for a top secret experimental plant. When the plant closed down, they moved back to Florence and worked for Florence County.

My grandfather retired in 1981. Now, he works in the woods with two of my uncles. We live next door to him and I feel very lucky.


By: Monica Grell

The look on my great-grandfather's face told me he was really thinking hard about what we consider the "old days." As Albert Grell, known to others as Al, started talking, this is the story that unfolded.

He was born in 1917 to Anthony and Margaret Grell in Florence, Wisconsin. During all of his childhood and adolescence he lived in a building later owned by Tony Demuri and is now Florence Motors parking lot. Al had on brother, now deceased, named Ernest. His friends and family called him Ernie. Al's mother was a housewife and his father was a mechanic., who also served two terms as sheriff in Florence.

Al went to the old Florence grade school from grades on through eight. He then went to Florence High School, graduating in 1935 along with many of his friends. In his graduating class there were only 24 or 25 people.

After he graduated he started a small job. Then on June 30th in 1941, he got married to Patricia Richards. Patsy, as her friends called her, graduated in 1940. Al and Patsy had a small celebration after being married in the church rectory. The couple started out in Al's house which he later bought from his father. Later on they built a new home. During their lifetime they had three children: Bob, Dick, and Mike (Robert, Richard, and Michael). Just too add, Bob was the first boy in Florence to wear his hair longer than other boys.

Al and Pat (as she's now called) have had lots of memories; their most memorable ones usually have to do with celebrations. They told me that the Fourth of July celebrations weren't that big, but when it came to Labor Day, Florence went all out. If anyone ever left Florence, they came back each year for that. It was wall-to-wall people and they had to redirect traffic. It was kind of like a huge homecoming. The only other day Florence considered very important was Christmas. The Christmas pageants were also very important.

After awhile things started to undergo major changes. Main street really expanded with hotels/rooming houses, stores, supermarkets and lots of other new businesses. In fact there were no vacant lots on the main street. One other addition was blind pigs which were hidden places that sold liquor when they weren't supposed to. Instead of watching TV or even listening to radios, people found other entertaining things to do. For instance, in the winter people did something called "candlelight" skiing. All you did was ski down a hill carrying candles or small torches.

Finally we come to the present. Now things are a lot different from about 70 years ago. Even though Florence has gone through several changes, the people mostly stayed the same: friendly. The last thing my great-grandparents said to me was, "We'd never want to live anywhere else!"


By: Jason Enders

Lisa Counter is someone I know, and she has an interesting past that I think you should know about. She's a home town girl. She was born December 3, 1963, and was raised in Aurora, and that's where she lived.

She went to kindergarten in Florence, and then first grade through eighth grade in Aurora. She went to high school in Florence (9-12) and graduated in 1982. In school she played volleyball, basketball, track, and cheerleading. She was also involved in swing choir and chorus. Her favorites were volleyball and cheerleading.

Lisa had many jobs. She's worked since she was fourteen. At fourteen she worked at Big Boy. At sixteen she worked at Jim's Restaurant. At eighteen she worked at the C&R and the Norway races selling food in the stands. She went back to Big Boy for about five years and then went to Pizza Oven and People's Supermarket. Her current job is at the Hitch and Post cooking.

Lisa has a good sized family: one older sister and three older brothers. Her older sister's name is Laurie; her older brothers are Billy, Mike, and Jim. She had two kids, Chris and Zach.

The best moment in her life was having her two kids.

My thoughts on her are she's a hard working mother, and I respect her a lot. I think she'll be a good stepmother some day. I think she's a great person. How about you?


By: Gabriel Gough-Morales

One hundred and seven years ago certain people thought of building a house. If they didn't then I wouldn't be telling you this story. I'd probably be telling you a story about some person's life, but I thought of telling you a story about my house.

It all started in 1883 when my great, great uncle started to build this house. His plan was to build a one story house with an attic and a basement in the town of Commonwealth. It took them about five months to build it.

Over the years my relatives have lived in this house. My great aunt and uncle, my grandpa and grandma, an aunt and uncle, and now my mom, Dawn, and I. It took us 3 months to purchase this house. It cost $42,000 and we got 4+ acres. We started remodeling the inside. We've got the kitchen and bathroom done and we almost got the living room done. We will probably finish around the middle of winter. Then in the summer we will do the outside; I can't wait.


By: Brad Frendewey

The is a story about Mr. Kumjian, A.K.A. "THE K," the band director at Florence School. It all started one day when he was sitting around at home and the telephone rang. He picked up and it was one of his friends that he has played with in the past asking to play with the Finnish band "Conga Se Menne." He said he'd think about it. If the answer was no this story would go absolutely no where so of course he joined the band. That's why I'm writing this story.

As you already know he joined the band, but he needed to sign an agreement with the band to play. Since he knew the guys it was a verbal agreement and it was set. Mr. K was the drummer for the band "Conga Se Menne."

The band and Mr. K. have played in many places. One of the two places that really jump out at Mr. K. the U.P. State Fair where they armed up for the comedic parodist and pop culturist "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1997. The other place that Mr. K. remembers the best is the Dunes Best Festival in Empire, Lower Michigan. They played at the Finn Fest a couple of years in Marquette, since they are the only Finnish band up here.

The band has made two albums that Mr. K. has assisted on. They are making a third album that Mr. K. will definitely be on. However, he has a problem with his right hand, tendinitis, and playing with the band at all times is hard for him. During the summer it's difficult because he is working on his masters degree in education. When he can't play, they have two stand ins.

They, the band, play in an assortment of places spanning from bars to their own concerts. They barely ever do bar jobs because they have to deal with alcohol and smoke and not much space. Bars are potential for problems. On the other hand concerts are well equipped with security and space and at concerts there is no smoking or drinking. Concerts are much better.

Well, that's my story. I hope you enjoyed it, and I'd like to end in a quote from the K. himself. I asked this question when I had the pleasure of interviewing him: "Mr. K., if you could wave a magic wand and do anything musically what would it be?" He replied, (are you ready this is the quote?) "I think the wand has been waved. I look at my job, as life--more than a job--this is all I could wish for."


By: Andrea Fox

In late 1994, while outside playing a game on the soccer field, Marla a girl in my class, fell on my back causing excessive pain and a trip to the Iron Mountain Memorial Hospital emergency room. For about 4-8 weeks after that incident my back as always hurting. I thought that it was all just a bad injury that this girl did on purpose. Well being an immature fifth grader, I was made at her for a long period of time.

On November 12, 1994, my aunt was getting married in Appleton. We left on Friday the 11th and stayed at a hotel that night. It was very hard to sleep because of my back. On Saturday I woke up with more pains that hurt so badly that I could barely walk. I didn't/couldn't go to the wedding, so I stayed back at the hotel the whole time. After the ceremony my mom came back and asked me if I wanted to go to the reception. I at least wanted to see my aunt and, now, uncle, so I said yes! Dumb! I had to get helped out of the car and into the building. I needed to sit down, badly. So I grabbed a stool. After the bride and groom came I just could not stand anymore of the pain. I wanted to die! After being at the reception for about 25 minutes, I left. When I got back to the hotel I immediately fell asleep. I was just so tired and in pain!

The next morning I woke up with a screaming, crying pain. My uncle, being a Kingsford cop, told my mother to take me straight to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay. Seeing as we were in Appleton, the 45 minute drive was long and horrible! I was so uncomfortable! With my mother in the driver's seat, me in the passenger seat, and my aunt Sandy in the back trying to keep me calm; we pulled into the St. Vincent emergency entrance at about 10:30-11:00 a.m. We filled out "the papers" and took a seat in the waiting room with about 13 others. By 1:30 we went into the emergency room. They gave me a blood test, checked my pulse, and listened to my heart. Then, they left.

At about 4:00 p.m. they came in and said, "you have leukemia." I had no clue what that meant! I was so confused, scared, and shocked! After they explained to me what that meant they assigned me a room and brought me to it. I stayed at the hospital for four days. During those four days I met my doctor, Dorthy J. Ganick. Dr. Ganick further-more explained to me the "why's and how's" about cancer, and answered any questions that needed to be answered. On Thursday afternoon, I was able to leave St. Vincent's Hospital. On the two hour driver home I was still uncomfortable and very scared. Dr. Ganick had told me that seeing as they caught it in the early stages, I would be in remission in one month. So for the next month I kept my chin up and went through all the tests. By the 13th of December (one month later) I was in remission (in the clearing). In the following six months I underwent chemotherapy. That meant I had to receive medicine that was kept in a back pack and had a tube that went from the bag, in my port-a-cath, and then to my heart.

My Port-A-Cath was a circular object about one inch in diameter. Inside it there was a sensored disc that whenever a needle touched it, or put pressure on it, it would allow the fluid to go through into a tiny tube that was connected to it. This tube was approximately twelve inches long and went to my heart.

I had therapy for about six moths. Around June 20th, I was finished with chemo! Since then I have continued to go down to Green Bay Webster Clinic for a monthly check up. Thanks to Marla for falling on my back. Otherwise I would have never known about it!! I feel very relieved and quite thankful that I found out when I did! And I really am feeling 100% BETTER!!



Florence County Chronicles, 2001



This Web Page Created with PageBreeze Free HTML Editor