HISTORY OF WOOD COUNTY WISCONSIN 

RUDOLPH (1923)

Transcribed by Marla Zwakman


Source: The History of Wood County Wisconsin (compiled by George O. Jones) 1923 pages 259-260

RUDOLPH

Rudolph is an unincorporated village with a population of 250 on the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, in Section 4, Rudolph Township, eight miles northeast of Wisconsin Rapids. The business section consists of three general stores, a hotel, blacksmith shop, hardware store, feed mill, garage, lumber yard, amusement hall, creamery, and bank.

Reed’s sawmill, built in the sixties, and later bought by the firm of Clark & Scott, was the nucleus about which the village grew up. The location being six miles from that friend of the pioneer, the river, and in a region of swamps, the early days were particularly arduous ones; provisions had to be brought from Grand Rapids of New Lisbon, sometimes in packs carried by the settler himself, and sometimes by dog team, along Indian trails and through dense forests and swamps. D. Ratelle was one of these pioneers, arriving in the region in 1862, before the sawmill was built and when timber that would be priceless today – great white pine logs sometimes four feet and more in diameter – was placed in great piles and burned, to clear the land for agriculture. In the spring of the year the majority of those in the region emigrated to Merrill, 14 miles away, to participate in the log drives, carrying their own provisions through an almost impassable country, sleeping on piles of brush, and awaking in the mornings to find, quite often, hat they were beneath a six-inch blanket of snow.

The site of the sawmill was one mile west and half a mile north of the present location of the village. Charles Fileottreau started a little store in 1872, in the region of the present village, and this was the first business place.

The railway came in 1874, though the first train was not run until the following year, 1875. The post office was established in that year, in Fileottreau’s store, he being the first postmaster. The present postmaster, A. J. Kujawa, has held the office since 1906; previous to his incumbency it was held for four years by F. M. Logan, and before him by Oscar Rosine, who was also railway agent and maintained the post office in the depot.

The village has an excellent state graded school, teaching ten grades, and housed in a modern brick building east of the main part of the village, which was constructed in 1915 when two schools, one a mile west and the other a mile and a half east, were consolidated. This is the only consolidated school in the county. There were 102 pupils in 1921, with four teachers.

Rudolph has two churches, one Catholic, the other Moravian. The Catholic congregation holds its services in St. Phillip’s School, a beautiful brick building built in 1920 just north of the village as a combined church and parochial school. Before its erection services were held one and a half miles southwest of the village, where the Catholic cemetery is located (see article on the Catholic Church in Wood County, by Rev. Wm. Reding).

The Moravian Church was founded by the Rev. Christian Madsen, a home missionary who in 1889 had organized what is now the First Moravian Church of Wisconsin Rapids and for awhile was pastor there, and the church in Rudolph is still served by the pastor of the First Moravian Church in Wisconsin Rapids. The building, a neat brick edifice, near the schoolhouse, was erected in 1903 by the Methodists and was bought by the Moravian congregation. There is a flourishing Sunday school and an active Ladies’ Aid Society, and the services are attended by members of other Protestant denominations besides the Moravian. About five miles southeast of Rudolph there is a Lutheran Church known as St. John’s.

The principal lodges in Rudolph are the Catholic Foresters, founded in 1919, and Rudolph Assembly No. 42, Equitable Fraternal Union, founded June 4, 1898, with ten charter members and now having 91 members.

The Farmers and Merchants Bank was organized in February, 1918, with a capital of $15,000.00 and a surplus of $1,500.00. Its first officers were: John Joosten, president; F. J. Wood, vice president; Fred Haertel, cashier. The capitalization has remained the same and the surplus has been increased to $4,000. The officers are the same as in the beginning except that Louis Joosten is now cashier instead of Fred Haertel. The building is a 24 x 36, one-story, brick structure located on the north side of Main Street, east of the C.M. & St. P. depot.

The Creamery is operated by the Rudolph Central Co-operative Creamery Company, which was organized in 1915 with about 50 stockholders; this number has since been increased to 75. At the time of organization the company bought out the Rudolph Creamery Co. and operated this property until, in the fall of 1921, they moved into their new creamery, which was completed August 17, 1921. The plant, which is operated by steam, is housed in a brick and tile structure, one story, 36 x 56 feet, located in the extreme west portion of the village. The output for 1921, in which year cheese was manufactured exclusively, amounted to 289,024 pounds. The Rudolph Motor Co. has a good plastered tile building, erected in 1919, and is a prosperous concern. Akey’s dance-hall and confectionery, built in 1922, is one of the show places of the town. The building is 40 x 100 feet, of plastered tile. The village has good cement sidewalks and in 1922 the main street was paved with cement, this paving running to and connecting with that on State Highway No. 73, just west of the village.

A good deal of prospecting for minerals has been done in the locality of the village, but while some gold, silver, iron and asbestos has been found, it has not so far been in paying quantities, though a newspaper article, published in the nineties and signed Andrew C. Merritt, stated that a trial shaft, which he sunk on the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 10, Rudolph Township, yielded ore assaying silver, $6.82, and gold, $83.34, making a total of $90.16 to a ton.

The Rudolph Central Co-operative Creamery Company was organized in 1915 with about 50 stockholders; this number has since been increased to 75. At the time of organization the company bought out the Rudolph Creamery Co. and operated this property until, in the fall of 1921, they moved into their new creamery, which was completed August 17, 1921. The company manufactures both butter and cheese, their output for 1921 being 289,024 pounds. The cheese is marketed with the C. E. Blodgett Cheese Co. of Marshfield; the butter in various markets. The plant, which is operated by steam, is housed in a brick and tile structure, one story, 36 x 56 feet, located in the extreme west portion of the village.

 

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