Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cuba City's turn-of-the-century lumber yards

In 1905, my great-great-grandfather sought estimates for a new barn he was building on his farm in Elk Grove Township (Lafayette County). He got estimates from two Cuba City lumber yards--Eustice & Jenkyns and the Cuba City Lumber Yard--and, fortunately, copies of those estimates still exist on the company letterhead:

Below is an earlier 1898 receipt from the Cuba City Lumber Yard. I include it because it lists Sherman Smalley (future attorney and judge) as salesman.


Eustice & Jenkyns lumber yard was established around 1884-85 by Charles Eustice and John Jenkyns (a third partner, Edward J. McCormick, sold out in the 1890s). The business began as a grain buying and farm supply firm but eventually moved to lumber. The lumber yard was located where the former racquetball courts and Cardins pharmacy are today.

After John Jenkyns died, Charles Eustice and his sons, Russell and Albert, and later grandson Maclay, carried it on as the Eustice Lumber Company. After Maclay's death, it was purchased by B & H Lumber Company.

 Nearby was the Cuba City Lumber Yard, which was a branch of the William Hoskins & Co. lumber business in Galena. William Hoskins probably opened the yard in the 1880s. According to the company letterhead, the lumber company's office was near the train depot. The lumber yard was located where Kwik Trip is today. Hoskins also had sheds across Calhoun Street, where the laundromat now stands. The business later became known as the Hoskins Lumber Yard and existed into the 1920s.

(The images of Eustice & Jenkyns lumber yard and most information was taken from the Cuba City Centennial book.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

R. A. Wilson & Co.

The trading card above is a piece of advertising from R. A. Wilson & Co., a very early Cuba City business.

R. A. Wilson was a stock dealer and hotel proprietor in nearby Georgetown, but when railroad tracks were laid through Cuba City in the 1870s, Wilson opted for a business in the growing new community.

The Wilson & Co. store, a general store and market for farm produce, was established in Cuba City around 1875.  R. A. Wilson was in business with two other gentlemen: Simon Harker and Cooper (first name unknown). They built the building that, with additions and remodeling, would one day become Donohoo Furniture and later Owl Furniture.

 In the early 1890s, R. A. Wilson & Co. started the first creamery in Cuba City, which they later leased to the Elgin Creamery Co.

In 1895, J.C. Donohoo, Patrick Doyle, and Thomas Splinter bought into the business and the store would eventually become Donohoo, Splinter & Company, as it appears in the photograph below.

(Information and image taken from the Cuba City Centennial book.)