Tag Archives: 1920s

Wedding Wednesday: Carl and Ruby Hanneman

Nearly 90 years ago on a summer Tuesday morning, Ruby Viola Treutel and Carl Henry Frank Hanneman joined in marriage at St. James Catholic Church in Vesper, Wisconsin. The marriage, which would live on for more than 50 years and produce three children and 16 grandchildren, was described in detail in a story in the July 15, 1925 edition of the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:

TREUTEL-HANNEMAN
One of the prettiest weddings of the summer was solemnized yesterday morning at nine o’clock at St. James church, Vesper, when Miss Ruby Treutel, daughter of Walter Treutel of Vesper, became the bride of Carl F. Hanneman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hanneman of this city. Rev. Father Gille officiated at the nuptial Mass. 

The wedding party of groom Carl Henry Frank Hanneman, 23, and Ruby Viola Treutel, 21. Wedding was July 14, 1925 at St. James Catholic Church, Vesper, Wis.  At front left is flower girl Nina Treutel, 11, sister of the bride. At front right is ring-bearer Elaine Treutel, 5, sister of the bride. Across the back, left to right, are Joe Ladick (bride's cousin), Gladys Cole (bride's cousin), groom Carl Hanneman, bride Ruby V. Hanneman, best man Wendell Miscoll, and maid of honor Esther Allbrecht.
The wedding party of groom Carl Henry Frank Hanneman, 23, and Ruby Viola Treutel, 21. Wedding was July 14, 1925 at St. James Catholic Church, Vesper, Wis. At front left is flower girl Nina Treutel, 11, sister of the bride. At front right is ring-bearer Elaine Treutel, 5, sister of the bride. Across the back, left to right, are Joe Ladick (bride’s cousin), Gladys Cole (bride’s cousin), groom Carl Hanneman, bride Ruby V. Hanneman, best man Wendell Miscoll, and maid of honor Esther Allbrecht.

The church was beautifully decorated with greens and the season’s flowers, making an appropriate setting for the wedding party. Miss Velma Doering of Stratford played the wedding march as the party entered the church and proceeded to the altar. Miss Gladys Cole of Nekoosa, and the groom’s attendant, Joseph Ladick, of Vesper, both cousins of the bride, were followed by two little sisters of the bride, Nina and Elaine, who acted as flower girl and ring bearer. The maid of honor, Miss Esther Albright, came next and was followed by the bride and her father, who gave her away. 

Mr. Hanneman and his best man, Wendell Miscoll, awaited the party at the altar. The bride was very beautiful in her gown of white georgette trimmed with gold lace. She wore a coronet of pearls, with her veil falling from a beaded butterfly. She carried a shower bouquet of pink rose buds. 

Rev. Charles W. Gille of St. James Catholic Church officiated at the wedding.
Rev. Charles W. Gille of St. James Catholic Church officiated at the wedding.

Miss Albright, the maid of honor, was gowned in orchid georgette and carried an arm bouquet of rose. Miss Cole, the bridesmaid, wore a gown of orange georgette, and also carried roses. Nina, the little flower girl, was in a little frock of yellow georgette, and Elaine completed the delightful color ensemble in a dress of pink georgette. She carried the ring in a white lily.

Following the service at the church, the bridal party and relatives came to this city, where the ten-thirty breakfast was served at the Witter Hotel. The bride is a graduate of Lincoln High School and the Stevens Point Normal. Since her graduation from the normal school she has been teaching at Vesper. The groom was graduated from Lincoln High and for some time following was employed at the Church Drug store. He later graduated from the pharmacy department of Marquette University at Milwaukee and is at present holding a position with Whitrock and Wolt.

Following a week’s outing in the northern part of the state, part of the time being spent as guests of Mr. and Mrs. Armand Bauer at their cottage at Hayward, they will return here and for the present make their home with Mr. Treutel at Vesper.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Dying Wish Brought Chapel Windows Home to St. Mary’s Hospital

As kids growing up in Sun Prairie, any time we ventured into the back room of our basement we were likely to hear a voice from upstairs shout, “Don’t you go near those windows!” Of course we knew what that meant: the antique stained-glass behemoths covered in blankets in the farthest reaches of the basement, next to the furnace. I never gave a great deal of thought to them, until one day in 2006 when my father was dying of cancer.

I fully tell the story of the stained-glass chapel windows in my book, The Journey Home: My Father’s Story of Cancer, Faith and Life-Changing Miracles. It’s worth covering here, too.  It shows how sometimes, things all come together to create something beautiful, even out of sadness.

The St. Mary's Hospital chapel as it looked in the 1950s.
The St. Mary’s Hospital chapel as it looked in the 1950s.

Founded in 1912, St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison always had a chapel as part of its facilities. In 1926, a new, ornate chapel was built as part of an expansion of St. Mary’s. The chapel had 10 window frames, each with two beautiful arched stained-glass windows that rose 20 feet from eye level to midway up the wall. In between each were two Stations of the Cross. The windows remained part of the chapel until 1973, when that section of the building was razed to make way for a new hospital wing on Mills Street. My Dad obtained two of the windows, a total of four panels, carrying them home in blankets to rest for more than three decades.

The windows are prominently visible in this newswire photo from 1946, from a Mass to celebrate presentation of a papal medal to Leo T. Crowley of Madison.
The windows are prominently visible in this newswire photo from 1946, from a Mass to celebrate presentation of a papal medal to Leo T. Crowley of Madison.

When Dad was being treated for lung cancer at St. Mary’s in the fall of 2006, he got an inspiration to give those windows back to St. Mary’s. He asked for my help in doing some research, but he was so impatient he wheeled himself down to the administrative offices to talk to someone about it. That someone, vice president Barbara K. Miller, was enthralled with the idea, but it was her last day on the job before retiring. She promised to get the ball rolling on the donation. “I want these windows to come home to St. Mary’s,” he told her.

The chapel window sections as they looked in 2007 in the Hanneman basement.
The chapel window sections as they looked in 2007 in the Hanneman basement.

Dad was a little worried that his donation wouldn’t get done. The idea occupied his mind more than anything else in November 2006. He knew his time with us was short. He told the story and his idea to his physician, Dr. Gregory Motl. Dad made Dr. Motl promise that if he didn’t survive the cancer, the donation would be completed. Motl grasped Dad’s hand and said reassuringly, “I will Dave. I will.”

To say the hospital embraced Dad’s idea would be an understatement. His timing was perfect, since St. Mary’s was planning a $182 million expansion that would add a new east wing with operating rooms, a cardiac center, outpatient offices, patient rooms and more. St. Mary’s  was looking for ways to tie the new facility to the hospital’s heritage. The architects designed special spaces for each of the four window sections. St. Mary’s had a new internal champion for the windows, Steve Sparks, public relations director.

After months of planning, St. Mary’s was finally ready to take possession of the windows. On March 22, 2007, Sparks and workmen came to Sun Prairie to transport the windows. He snapped some photos of Mom and Dad with a window section. Dad looked pale and drawn, but I know he appreciated the milestone that day represented. “It was humbling for me,” Sparks recounted later. “This gift demonstrated exceptional courage and generosity. It is an experience I won’t forget.”

David and Mary Hanneman pose with one window section on March 22, 2007.
David and Mary Hanneman pose with one window section on March 22, 2007.

Tears were shed that afternoon as the windows were lovingly carried outside. It was the first daylight to penetrate the stained glass in more than three decades. For Dad, it was the accomplishment of a mission of giving. His part was finished; now St. Mary’s would take over. Not two weeks later, Dad was admitted to St. Mary’s and then discharged to HospiceCare Inc., where he died on April 14, 2007. 

In early December 2007, Mom  and I were invited to the dedication day at the new St. Mary’s east wing. We attended a luncheon and heard very kind words about Dad from Dr. Frank Byrne, president of St. Mary’s Hospital. They were similar to what Dr. Byrne wrote right after Dad’s death. “It is clear from Dave’s accomplishments that dedication to community was always a part of his priorities,” Byrne wrote, “and we will all benefit from that dedication for years to come. At this sad time, we hope it will be a reminder that though life may seem short, the contributions made by one individual have a significant impact in building a future for us all.”

The window section placed in the atrium of the new east wing at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison.
The window section placed in the atrium of the new east wing at St. Mary’s Hospital.

When we walked into the atrium and first saw one of the window sections, it was enough to bring tears. There it was, set into the wall and brilliantly backlit in a way that brought out the green, red and amber hues of the glass. It was, as designed by the architects, a welcoming beacon for everyone visiting St. Mary’s. Mom posed next to the window, and even did an impromptu interview with Madison’s Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Herald. The three other window sections were placed on different floors of the east wing. One is in a waiting room. The others are in prominent spots.

The story of these chapel windows gives testimony that beauty can emerge from the depths of the darkest tragedies. Dad kept the windows safe for 35 years, and he got them safely home to St. Mary’s just weeks before he, too, made it home.

This post has been updated with additional window photos.
©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Ruby Treutel’s Spirited 1922 Quest for ‘Queen of the Bridge’

Her reign may have been brief, but for one day in 1922, Ruby V. Treutel was front-page news as the most popular single woman in Wood County, Wisconsin. To help celebrate dedication of a new bridge across the Wisconsin River, the community organized a popularity contest to find the Queen of the Bridge.

The Queen of the Bridge contest invited the nomination of single women of Wood County. The contest winner would preside at the dedication of what came to be called the Grand Avenue Bridge, linking the east and west sides of Wisconsin Rapids over the Wisconsin River. 

Queen of the Bridge wasn't really a beauty contest, but Ruby Treutel would have fared well on that count.
Queen of the Bridge wasn’t really a beauty contest, but Ruby Treutel would have fared well on that count alone.

Miss Ruby Treutel of Vesper was among the early nominees for the Bridge Queen, and she jumped to a lead after the first weekend of balloting in September 1922. The front-page headline in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Sept. 25, 1922, proclaimed: Ruby Treutel and Mary Herron in Spirited Contest. “A spirited race between Miss Ruby Treutel of Vesper and Miss Mary Herron of this city developed as a result of the week end balloting in the Bridge Queen popularity contest,” the article read, “with Miss Treutel leading by slightly over 200 votes of the 43,000 cast for these two candidates.”

Ruby Treutel was in the thick of it at the beginning, but eventually fell behind in voting.
Ruby Treutel was in the thick of it at the beginning, but eventually fell behind in voting.

Ruby’s 22,570 vote total was more than twice that of the third-place contestant and far ahead of the 10 votes for Miss Pearl Brewster. But, like fame and money, the lead would not last as the contest balloting steamed along for two weeks at such a rapid pace the contest was ended early. In the first week, more than 1.3 million ballots were cast. The Bridge Committee had trouble keeping up with the tallying, which would exceed 20 million votes by the end of the contest.

By September 28, 1922, Ruby’s vote total had more than doubled, to 45,240. But this now paled in comparison to contest leaders Eva Manka and Mary Herron, who had more than 500,000 votes between them. On Sept. 30, Herron’s vote total ballooned to 989,000, far exceeding Manka’s new total of 640,000. Ruby was in a respectable fifth place with 171,000 votes. By the time the committee decided to cut voting short on Sept. 30, balloting was at a fever pitch. The final vote totals were:

  • Mary Herron, 5,336,570 votes
  • Mildred Bossert, 3,645,840 votes
  • Eva Manka, 1,763,360 votes
  • Manon Matthews, 1,016,510 votes
  • Margaret Galles, 711,550 votes
  • Alice Damon, 618,550 votes
  • Ruby Treutel, 608,050 votes
  • Maurine Dutcher, 492,410 votes
  • Pearl Possley, 486,600 votes
  • Ruth McCarthy, 460,510 votes

Miss Herron was crowned Queen of the Bridge. On Oct. 18, 1922, she attended the huge dedication ceremony and officially christened the span the “Grand Avenue Bridge.” It was indeed a grand event, with thousands of people, a parade and even aerial acrobatics performed by the Federated Flyers stunt team, which did loops in the sky with its planes, and thrilled the crowd with wing walking.

This 1940 postcard shows the Grand Avenue Bridge in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
This 1940 postcard shows the Grand Avenue Bridge in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

The Grand Avenue Bridge has long been an important part of Wood County’s infrastructure. The 1922 version replaced an old wood and steel span. Bridges across the Wisconsin River date to the 1870s. In earlier times, bridge was an important link between the former towns of Grand Rapids and Centralia, which later joined to form the city of Wisconsin Rapids.

When a Movie was More Than Just a Movie

When was the last time your visit to the Cineplex included live entertainment? (The bratty 5-year-old in front of you throwing popcorn at his brother does not count.) The movie theater was once about much more than movies, and the price of admission included live performances, newsreels, comedy shorts and more. For years our own Ruby V. Hanneman was a featured performer at some of Wisconsin Rapids finest cinemas, and her name appeared in ads right alongside Silent Era stars of the day like Neal Hart, Ricardo Cortez, Doris Kenyon and Jack Holt.

Ruby Treutel Hanneman was the musical attraction during the showing of The Spaniard.
Ruby Treutel Hanneman was the musical attraction during the showing of The Spaniard in October 1925.

Ruby often appeared at the Ideal Theatre at 220 E. Grand Ave., Wisconsin Rapids. She sang a “musical novelty” at two shows on Halloween night 1925. The main attraction was The Thundering Herd, a movie based on the 1925 novel by Zane Grey. (Zane Grey happened to be a favorite author of Carl F. Hanneman and his son David, but we digress.) Seats that night were just 10 cents or 25 cents, half off the typical ticket prices.

On Thanksgiving 1925, Ruby sang for the audience at Paramount Pictures In the Name of Love, starring Ricardo Cortez and Greta Nissen. Ruby sang two numbers, “Lonesome, That’s All,” and “In the Garden of Tomorrow.” The 15 cent and 35 cent admission also included the Wisconsin Rapids Quintette, newsreels and a Will Rogers comedy.

Ruby Treutel sang as a prologue to The Dressmaker from Paris.
Ruby Treutel sang as a prologue to The Dressmaker from Paris.

Ruby got perhaps her most prominent billing for the October 17, 1925 showing of The Spaniard. Her name was most prominent in the ad in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. “Added Attraction, Mrs. Ruby Hanneman in a Musical Novelty, Pleasethe ad read. On Aug. 25, 1925 she appeared at the New Palace Theater singing, “I Wonder What’s Become of Sally.” The feature film that night was Born Rich starring Bert Lytell and Claire Windsor.

Ruby V. Treutel dressed for her lead role in the musical 'Sylvia' in 1922.
Ruby V. Treutel dressed for her lead role in the operetta ‘Sylvia’ in 1922.

By the time she starred at the New Palace and the Ideal, Ruby was a veteran singer. According to the April 4, 1921 edition of the Daily Tribune, Ruby Treutel “brought down the applause of the house time after time” for her performance in the play “The Fire Prince” at Daly’s Theater. Ruby was 17 at the time.

Now known as Mrs. Carl Hanneman, Ruby sang before the showing of Zane Grey's "The Thundering Herd."
Now known as Mrs. Carl Hanneman, Ruby sang before the showing of Zane Grey’s “The Thundering Herd.”

When she graduated from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids in 1922, Ruby had years of experience in music and drama. She played the female lead in the operetta Sylvia during her senior year. She was also president of the Glee Club. Under her senior class portrait in the yearbook The Ahdawagam read the motto, “Music hath charms and so does she.”

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Photos with That Memorable Something

Sometimes a photograph will strike you in a certain way that makes it memorable. It has some intangible quality that makes it almost timeless. Of the thousands of images in our library, a handful qualify for this kind of distinction. Not for their physical clarity or skill of the photographer, but that certain look. You might describe it just a bit like looking at a Rockwell painting, or a black and white photograph by Ansel Adams.

This image has a Little Rascals look and feel to it. Toddler Elaine Treutel and the family dog on her tricycle, circa 1922.
This image has a Little Rascals look and feel to it. Originally thought to be toddler Elaine Treutel and the family dog on her tricycle, circa 1922. Turns out this was actually one of the sons of Harry Cole.

View the whole collection in the gallery below:

1926 Fire Destroyed St. James Rectory at Vesper

A fire in April 1926 at the parish priest’s residence in Vesper, Wisconsin, spread so fast that the building was reduced to its foundation before firefighters arrived.

Rev. Charles W. Gille
Rev. Charles W. Gille

Fire broke out in the rectory of St. James Catholic Church on Monday, April 19, 1926. Calls went to the Wisconsin Rapids fire department, but its firemen were all out battling grass fires. Villagers were on their own.

Belongings from the burning home can be seen in the foreground.
Belongings from the burning home can be seen in the foreground.

Neighbors rushed into the burning building to pull out as much as possible before the home was lost to the flames. It’s not known if the parish priest, Rev. Charles W. Gille, was at home when the fire broke out. Within a matter of minutes, the home was, as firefighters say, “totally involved.” The buckets of water thrown at it were of no use. By the time firemen from Marshfield arrived, it was too late.

As the fire reduces the home to its foundation, a man is seen tossing water on the roof of a nearby building.
As the fire reduces the home to its foundation, a man is seen tossing water on the roof of a nearby building.

The former residence of the Henry Stahl family on Benson Avenue was purchased by the St. James parish in 1919 to serve as a home for the parish priest. The loss from the fire was estimated at more than $4,000. The photos were taken by Carl F. Hanneman, whose father-in-law, Walter Treutel, lived just down the block from the fire scene.

This double exposure appears to show a man walking through the remains of the fire.
This double exposure appears to show a man walking through the remains of the fire.

A Case of Mooo-nshine: Tipsy Cows Hit the Mash

The Volstead Act that ushered in the era of Prohibition was designed to prevent the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol in the United States. Don’t tell that to the cows.

It seems some of the dairy cows belonging to Robert Hanneman of Portage County, Wisconsin, found themselves in a state of intoxication in July 1922. How? Some mischievous bootleggers thought it would be fun to leave a barrel of mash in the pasture for Hanneman’s cows to eat. When Hanneman arrived at the pasture one mid-July evening, he was shocked to discover a half-dozen hammered Holsteins.

Talk about your mooo-nshine.

Wood County Undersheriff Cliff Bluett responded to the call.  “The whole herd was staggering around and they were in a worse intoxicated condition than any human can get,” Bluett reported.

According to the account in the Wood County Tribune: “One cow was missing entirely, another was dead drunk and could not be moved off the ground, five cows were finally driven into the barn but were so ‘pickled’ that it was found unsafe to leave them inside and had to be turned out and another cow was ‘so bad off’ that she collapsed in her over-intoxicated condition and could not be moved again, the undersheriff said.”

Farmer Hanneman reported one cow was so dead drunk she could not be budged from the pasture. Five bombed bovines stumbled about the barn and had to be let loose. Eventually, most of the crapulous cattle submitted to the evening milking. That left the farmer with a serious quandary: would this unusual “whole milk” put him afoul of Prohibition laws?

“A joke is a joke,” he said, “and we will deal with the culprits.”

No word if those pioneer cow-tippers were ever caught. Undersheriff Bluett was from Wood County, but the Hanneman farm was in Portage County. He sent his findings to his counterparts across the county line.