Category Archives: Eye on the Past

Eye on the Past: Welcome to Cornucopia, Gateway to Allergy Relief

Sometimes identifying the location show in old photographs is easier than others, like the giant lettering, “Cornucopia, Wis.” in this photo from around 1942. Such a small detail, but it turns out there is quite a story behind the Hanneman family’s time in this northern Wisconsin area on Lake Superior.

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August 21, 1940 ad in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.

You can’t get much farther north in Wisconsin than Cornucopia, an unincorporated hamlet on Siskwit Bay in Bayfield County. And that was just the point for Carl and Ruby Hanneman, who took my Dad to Bayfield County every summer to escape his crippling hay fever suffered around the family home at Mauston, Wisconsin. In August 1940, Ruby placed a classified ad in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune seeking a travel companion to share expenses. The older girl in the photo above is unidentified, but she is too young to be an adult’s travel companion.

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David Hanneman, unidentified girl, Lavonne Hanneman and Ruby Hanneman.

It appears Ruby took my Dad and his little sister Lavonne to Bayfield County in late summer when pollen counts were especially high in Mauston. Dad’s allergies were so bad, he suffered from nonstop sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. The  hay fever was truly debilitating, so the family went far north until the seasons started changing. The area is popular with summer tourists, so the family had their pick of cottages and cabins in which to take up residence.

They treated the annual trek as a vacation, allowing siblings Donn, David and Lavonne Hanneman to see attractions such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and its world-class array of lighthouses. Other destinations included the beautiful Madeline Island, accessible by car ferry or boat. One of my favorite photos of my Dad shows him digging his toes in the sand on Madeline Island (see below). I guess if you have to suffer through horrendous allergies, you might as well get some vacation out of it!

©2017 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Carl’s New Model T

 

Carl F. Hanneman has that thrilled schoolboy look on his face in this vintage photograph from about 1925. And why not? It appears he is posing next to his new purchase: a Ford Model T, which came in any color a customer wanted “as long as it’s black.” Although there is no snow on the ground, the Ford is outfitted for inclement weather with a pretty nice canopy.

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Carl’s first job as a licensed pharmacist made front-page news in the Feb. 14, 1925 issue of the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. The paper incorrectly stated his middle initial.

 

We don’t have any notes that went with this image, so we will have to surmise some things to gain the proper context. Based on Carl’s apparent age and his natty threads, it would be safe to assume if he indeed purchased this auto, it was after he landed his first post-graduation job at the Whitrock & Wolt pharmacy in Wisconsin Rapids. That event made front-page news in February 1925.

After Carl married his longtime sweetheart, Ruby V. Treutel, in July 1925, a Model T was visible in photos from their honeymoon near Hayward, Wisconsin. That does not appear to be the same automobile as the one pictured above and below. So some mystery remains surrounding Carl’s early vehicular habits. If only we could still ask him about it.

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Eye on the Past: Their Sunday Best

One of the privileges (or burdens) of being the oldest child, is you often are behind the camera and not one of the subjects featured by it. At least that was the case the day this photo was snapped of the Walter Treutel family of Vesper, Wisconsin.

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Walter Treutel (1879-1948) leans on his Ford automobile. In front are his children Marvin R. Treutel (1916-2005), Nina H. (Treutel) Wilson (1914-2005), and Elaine M. (Treutel) Clark (1920-2010). The photographer that day was Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977).

The image was likely from 1925. That was a monumental year for the Treutel family. It opened with a tragedy: the death of Walter’s wife, Mary Helen (Ladick) Treutel, who was just 41. Mary died after undergoing surgery at a Marshfield hospital, but a postoperative infection set in, leading to her death. Later that year, Ruby married Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) at St. James Catholic Church in Vesper.

The other member of the Treutel family, Gordon Treutel, died of pneumonia in February 1911. He was just shy of 11 months old.

Eye on the Past: Farmer Ruby at Green Acres

The look on Ruby V. Hanneman’s face in this classic photo says it all. “I have NO idea how to run this rig!” This image was scanned from a Kodachrome slide taken by Ruby’s husband, Carl F. Hanneman. The year is about 1958.

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Ruby Hanneman does not seem quite ready to hit the fields on this Oliver 99 diesel tractor.

Judging by the other slides in the batch, the Hanneman family was attending a wedding in the Wausau or Wisconsin Rapids areas when this photo was taken.

According to a variety of equipment-collector blogs we sampled, the Oliver 99 diesel tractor was produced from 1955 to 1958. The color slide film really brings out the brilliance of the green paint. Well done, Grandma Ruby! Now get down before you hurt someone.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: 1940s Mauston High School Basketball

This photo from 1948 or 1949 has a classic sports-pose look to it. The varsity basketball squad from Mauston High School looking eagerly at Coach Bob Erickson, who cradles the ball like it’s made of gold. It’s so much more interesting than the stereotypical team photo with athletes lined up in rows.

My father, David D. Hanneman,  was a multi-sport, multi-year letter winner at Mauston High School from 1947-1951. It was very common to have multi-sport athletes at small-town high schools. A core of the young men in this photo played basketball together in grade school before moving on to high school junior varsity and varsity play. These same fellows came together with classmates for Mauston High School reunions for more than 55 years. That’s teamwork!

The Mauston High School Bluegold basketball team, circa 1949, coached by Bob Erickson.
The Mauston High School Bluegold basketball team, circa 1949, coached by Bob Erickson. Back row: Almeron Freeman, Bill Cowan, Erhard Merk, Tom Rowe and Gaylord Nichols. Front row: Bob Beck, Dave Hanneman, Bob Jagoe, unknown and Bob Randall.

In the 1950-51 basketball season, Mauston advanced to the sub-regional level of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) tournament on March 1 in Tomah. In the first game, Mauston rallied with a 23-point third quarter to defeat Richland Center, 55-53. Tom Rowe led Mauston scorers with 15 points.

In  the sub-regional championship game March 2, Mauston ran into a buzzsaw called La Crosse Logan High School. The Bluegold lost big, 72-36. After trailing 8-1 early in the game, Mauston pulled to within five at the end of the firsts period. In the second period, Mauston got as close as three points, 20-17, but then the game got out of hand.

The 1948-49 Mauston junior varsity team, coached by Bob Erickson. Dave Hanneman is first on the bench at left.
The Mauston High School varsity basketball team (circa 1947-48), coached by Bob Erickson. Dave Hanneman is first on the bench at left.

Logan led 29-19 at halftime, according to the game recap in the La Crosse Tribune. At the start of the final quarter, Mauston trailed 50-24. Five Mauston players fouled out of the game. The leading Mauston scorer was Roger Quick with 8 points, while Tom Rowe, Bob Jagoe, Bob Randall and Dave Hanneman each had 5 points. La Crosse Logan made it to the regional tournament finals before losing to Onalaska, 58-56.

One of the best games of that 1950-51 season came on December 19, a 61-42 decision over conference rival Westby. “Big Dave Hanneman had himself a field night for MHS as he hoisted in eight buckets and added four free throws for scoring honors,” read the game recap in The Mauston Star. “Jagoe collected 15 points and Randall had 9 — he scored the first 9 points of the game for MHS.”

Coach Erickson was still fairly new during my Dad’s time at Mauston High School, but he went on to become a legend as a coach and teacher. A 12-time letter winner at Platteville State Teachers College (now UW-Platteville), Erickson was named to the UW-Platteville athletic hall of fame in 1980. He came to Mauston in 1947 after serving in World War II, starting a 13-year tenure at Mauston High School. Erickson coached boxing, basketball, football and baseball. He also served as Mauston’s athletic director. He died in July 2003 at age 82.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Youthful Pals and the Model T

I always loved this photo of five young men posing next to a Ford Model T. But the original scan I made of this late 1920s image was covered in little circular stains. I wrote of the efforts to clean the image over at the Treasured Lives blog.

With the photo scrubbed of its imperfections, it can now join the growing online Hanneman photo library. The young man in the center of the photo is my great uncle, Marvin R. Treutel, baby brother of my grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. I presume the automobile that serves as the backdrop belonged to Marvin’s father, Walter Treutel. Unfortunately, I don’t have IDs on the other young men.

Marvin Treutel with sisters Nina Wilson (left) and Ruby V. Hanneman in July 1975.
Marvin Treutel with sisters Nina Wilson (left) and Ruby V. Hanneman in July 1975.

Marvin Raphael Treutel was born on April 13, 1916 in Vesper, a tiny village in Wood County, Wisconsin. He was the second son of Walter and Mary (Ladick) Treutel. (Baby Gordon Treutel died of pneumonia in February 1911.) Marvin attended Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, where he played in the band and  sang in the boys glee club.

Marv married Mabel Martha Neuenfeldt on July 3, 1937. They are mentioned elsewhere on this site, most especially for the Rochester root beer stand the family ran in Nekoosa between 1947 and 1951. The couple had six children. Marv spent more than 25 years working for Nekoosa Papers Inc. before retiring in 1978. Mabel passed away in January 1995. Marvin died in April 2005.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Roaring 1920s Photobomb

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This photo from 1926 or 1927 has always intrigued me. At first glance, it looks like the man passing before the camera was the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. For years, I could not figure out who was in the photo or where it was taken.

One day I opened the digital file in Adobe Photoshop and zoomed in on the details. There, hidden to the left of the man’s suit lapel, was my grandmother, Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman. Now the photo made some sense. No doubt my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, was taking a picture of his lovely bride when someone pulled the 1920s equivalent of a photobomb. Wearing a hat and fur coat, Ruby is facing the camera, but looking to her right. The photo intruder’s identity remains a mystery.

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Ruby Hanneman looks to her right just before being obscured by the belly and suit coat of this strolling gentleman in 1926.

I concluded the photo was most likely taken on the streets of Janesville, Wisconsin in 1926. At the time, Carl was a pharmacist for the McCue & Buss Drug Co., 14 S. Main Street, Janesville. Ruby was wearing her Sunday best, so perhaps the couple were going to lunch after Mass. The other possible location for the photo is Fond du Lac, where Carl once worked as a druggist for the Staeben Drug Co. 

It seems natural that Carl and Ruby were pioneers of the photobomb (or at least early victims of it). As we wrote on these pages in 2014, they took selfies” on their honeymoon in July 1925, generations before invention of the iPhone or the selfie stick. “Photobombing” is a somewhat recent term referring to the practice of inserting oneself into a photo scene, usually to play a joke on the photographer.

Carl was an avid photographer. His photo collection includes a number of Janesville street scenes from the mid-1920s (see samples below). Early in his career, he had short stints working in Janesville and Fond du Lac before returning to his hometown, Wisconsin Rapids. In 1936, he moved his young family to Mauston, where the couple spent the rest of their lives. He was a pharmacist for more than 50 years.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Rudolph Grotto Shrine 1958

As many times as I’ve traveled to central Wisconsin, I was not aware of a beautiful, sprawling religious shrine built by a Catholic priest in thanksgiving for having his health restored after a visit to Lourdes, France in the early 1900s. The Rudolph Grotto Gardens near Wisconsin Rapids were the dream fulfilled of Father Philip Wagner, who developed and dedicated the site to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1927.

I learned of Rudolph Grotto Gardens while researching a photo of my grandmother, Ruby V. Hanneman, standing near a statue of St. Philomena in 1958 or 1959. St. Philomena, who was martyred at age 13, is known as the Patroness of the Living Rosary. Her shrine at Rudolph Grotto Gardens was built in 1957 by Edmund Rybicki, Father Wagner’s right-hand man.

The first grotto shrine at the Rudolph site, dedicated to the Our Lady of Lourdes, was completed in 1928. When a young and sick Philip Wagner visited the famous shrine at Lourdes, he promised the Blessed Virgin Mary that if he were healed of his illnesses so he could become a priest, he would build a shrine to her in America. And so he was healed, and was ordained a priest in 1915. He was assigned to St. Philomena Catholic Church in Rudolph in 1917.

Ruby V. Hanneman stands at the St. Philomena shrine in Rudolph in the late 1950s.
Ruby V. Hanneman stands at the St. Philomena shrine in Rudolph in the late 1950s.

Over the years, the site expanded to include the Stations of the Cross, the Ten Commandments, a Last Supper Shrine, A “Wonder Cave” modeled after the catacombs, a Shrine of the Resurrection, a soldier’s monument and more.

Father Wagner and Rybicki labored on the site for decades. After Father Wagner died in 1959, Rybicki became the site caretaker. In 1961, St. Philomena Church was rededicated and renamed St. Philip the Apostle in honor of Father Philip Wagner. The last project at the grotto gardens was finished in 1983. Read more about the site here.

Lavonne Hanneman stands near an arch at the Rudolph Grotto Gardens in 1958 or 1959.
Lavonne Hanneman stands near an arch at the Rudolph Grotto Gardens in 1958 or 1959.
Ruby V. Hanneman at Rudolph Grotto Gardens in 1958 or 1959.
Ruby V. Hanneman at Rudolph Grotto Gardens in 1958 or 1959.

 

Eye on the Past: Wash Tub Baby 1933

This photograph has perplexed me for years. A baby in a diaper, lying on a pillow inside a steel wash tub. I strongly suspect this is my father, David D. Hanneman (1933-2007). The image raises many questions but provides no answers.

A strange place for a nap, circa 1933.
A strange place for a nap. This might be David D. Hanneman in the summer of 1933.

Why stick a baby in a wash tub? Was this the poor family’s playpen? The Depression-era bassinette? A brutal pre-Dr. Spock time-out? Freshly picked from the vine? In this day and age, such a photo might get you a visit from Child Services. I’m guessing my Grandma Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) just thought it made a cute photo. She was known to dote on her “little Davey.”

If this was Dad in the tub, the photo was likely taken in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, where he was born in March 1933. The family did not move to Mauston until early 1936. Usually I can confirm my Dad’s ID in photos by the ears, but they are not visible in this image.

My memories of such a steel container at the house in Mauston had nothing to do with babies. I recall bluegill, sunfish and bass in such a tub, waiting for Grandpa Carl’s skilled fillet knife. Or the tub filled with ice and bottles of orange and grape soda (known as “pop” by some of you). But no babies.

This one is destined to remain a mystery. I’m sure it would tickle my grandma to know it was a conversation piece some 80 years later, and that no one called Child Services.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Walter Treutel Family 1918

A simple family snapshot taken around 1918 is the only photograph we have showing Walter Treutel and his wife Mary (Ladick) Treutel together. Taken at the Treutel home in the village of Vesper, Wisconsin, the photo shows a teenaged Ruby along with younger siblings Marvin, 2, and Nina, 4. Elaine Treutel would come along in 1920. Baby Gordon Treutel died in 1910.

Walter was a rural route postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, while Mary tended to the family home on Anderton Avenue. The couple were married on December 29, 1902 in Vesper. Walter had recently relocated to Vesper from North Prairie in Waukesha County. Our Grandma Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman was their first child, born June 22, 1904. Ruby was born at 1 p.m., delivered by Dr. F.A. Goedecke.

We learned recently that Mary’s nickname was Molly. That factoid came from none other than cousin Mary “Mollisu” Clark, the daughter of Elaine (Treutel) Clark and Max Clark.

Mrs. Treutel died at just 42 years old in January 1925. She had an operation in nearby Marshfield, but a post-operative infection claimed her life on January 31. She did not live to see her daughter Ruby get married that summer, and she did not get to see her other three children grow into adulthood.

The uncropped version of the photo shows Ruby V. Treutel standing at rear. Mary and Walter Treutel are seated. In front are Marvin and Nina Treutel.
The uncropped version of the photo shows Ruby V. Treutel standing at rear. Mary and Walter Treutel are seated. In front are Marvin and Nina Treutel.