Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tornado strikes Cuba City in 1892

Cuba City has seen its share of severe weather over the years, but perhaps the most devastating storm to hit the community occurred on the evening of June 22, 1892. It struck around 6:30 in the evening. News of the twister could be found in newspapers across the Midwest, and beyond.

The Clinton Daily Age in Clinton, Iowa, reported that the storm "destroyed every business house in the town."

The Pentwater News in Pentwater, Michigan, reported that a stone home belonging to George Wilkinson was one of the tornado's first casualties. The paper describes horses being lifted in the air and set down, unharmed, yards away. The article ends with these chilling words: "Not a tree, windmill or house is left standing between Cuba City and Hazel Green."

The Milwaukee Journal was a little less sensational in its description of the storm damage. The newspaper reported that there were remarkably no fatalities and only one injury. Two buildings were listed as destroyed: the residence of Samuel Clemens and a photograph gallery. Two other buildings lost their roofs: Wilson's store and Samuel Clemens hardware store. Train transportation was disrupted for days as four bridges and a stretch of track on the Galena line were destroyed.

News of the tornado could be found as far away as the Boston Evening Transcript.

Check out scanned images of these articles in the Google News Archive:

Clinton Daily Age
Pentwater News
Milwaukee Journal 
Boston Evening Transcript 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

WPA benefits Cuba City

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was a federal relief program instituted as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1935. Its purpose was to put Americans to work on all kinds of new projects during the Great Depression. In August 1935, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald published a list of approved projects for Grant County, Wisconsin. Cuba City made out well with its approved WPA project : a gymnasium for the school district that is still standing today and better know as the "Pit."

A few excerpts from the Telegraph Herald article:

"Smelser township asks for $16,000 to resurface town roads and build culvert bridges."
"School house gymnasium addition, Cuba City, Reedsburg, Benton, La Forge, Ridgeway, Cassville school district No. 2 and 3 in Harrison township."

---Telegraph Herald, Dubuque, Iowa; August 18, 1935
See the actual article via Google's News Archive.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Fiedler Store

In 1919, brothers Harold and Paul Fiedler bought out E. D. McNett's Quality Store and went into business on Cuba City's Main Street. The store was located in the building now housing Gile Real Estate and Insurance.

Image from the Cuba City Centennial book

The following are priceless photographs that belonged to Lillian Heitkamp Kirk, an employee at the Fiedler store through the 1930s. A huge thank you to Lillian's granddaughter, Rachel Knoblich, for allowing their use here!