Tag Archives: 1940s

Dachau Stands as a Silent Reminder

Dachau: A Silent Reminder of Nazi Brutality

By Joseph Hanneman
Journal Times

DACHAU, Germany — Forty-six years after it was liberated from Adolf Hitler’s brutal regime, an unsettling quiet hangs over the massive grounds of Germany’s first Nazi concentration camp.

A cool wind rustles through the dead leaves of last season. It whispers what seems to be an audible tale of the cruelty and atrocities committed here between 1933 and 1945.

Village near Munich

The picturesque village of Dachau, a 1,200-year-old community in southern Bavaria, is located only a few miles northeast of Munich. The area has a rich culture of its own, but the world will always associate Dachau with death.

Dachau records show 31,957 registered deaths between 1933 and 1945, but many historians believe the number is much higher. The tally does not include the scores who arrived dead in train cars from other camps.

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Dachau’s ovens are a stark reminder of the tens of thousands of victims who were cremated at the concentration camp. (Photo by Joe Hanneman)

When American soldiers liberated the camp on April 29, 1945, there were bodies all over the camp. A mass grave was established near the camp, where about 4,000 people were buried shortly after liberation.

The concentration camp site, on the northern outskirts of Dachau, has been maintained by the Committee International de Dachau as a permanent memorial and reminder of what happened here.

Directly inside the original electrified barbed wire fence is a museum that opened in 1960. The rest of the site opened as a memorial in 1965.

The museum holds haunting pictures of the torture, starvation and death that were everyday occurrences here. A stunning film was confiscated from German soldiers when the Allies liberated the camp.

In the center of the museum is a heart-rending picture of an emaciated prisoner laying flat on his stomach, arms outstretched, The look on his face seems like a silent cry for help.

Gruesome Pictures

Other pictures show stacks of corpses waiting for incineration at Dachau’s two crematorium buildings, piles of valuables pilfered from prisoners, and two men — hung upside down — being beaten by smiling Nazi SS guards.

There are also depictions of the cruel experiments carried out by the SS, which stands for Schutzstaffel — Hitler’s elite police. Some prisoners were put in special suits to determine how they reacted to depressurization.

An original torture rack stands in the center of one room of the museum.

In a display case hang examples of the identification badges prisoners were forced to wear. Jews wore stars of David. Non-German prisoners wore colored chevrons: green meant professional criminal, black meant “asocial,” violet was for “Bible inquirers,” and pink was for homosexuals.

Outside, the cement foundations of the 34 barracks stretch for hundreds of yards. The barracks were decrepit and rotting when the camp was liberated. They were torn down, but two were rebuilt as part of the memorial.

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The statue of the unknown victim stands right outside the crematorium. (Photo by Joe Hanneman)

Each building was designed for 80 prisoners, yet at the height of the war, some held more than 400.

In the courtyards between the barracks, prisoners once stood for roll call. Sometimes, they stood motionless for hours in rain or snow, the so-called “standing torture” that claimed many lives.

Even the dead had to show up for roll call, dragged by compatriots who were forced to make sure the deceased were counted each day.

Ironic motto

The original front gate still open-, adorned in iron by the camp motto – Arbeit Macht Frei – a cruelly ironic phrase that roughly means, “Work shall make you free.”

Just outside the perimeter fence are the two crematorium buildings that were once so busy that rotting bodies stacked up in a gruesome backlog.

The oven doors stand open. On the hinge of one door hangs a single, drying rose. A wreath hangs on an oven in the adjacent room.

Prisoners who died here were often shot to death. Others died of disease or torture. No one was gassed to death at Dachau, although a shower room for gassing had been installed. Prisoners marked for gassing were sent to Linz, Austria.

Several chapels were erected on the site in the 1960s, as if in an attempt to heal the destruction wrought at the camp. The Carmelite order of nuns built a convent here.

A huge granite memorial near the entrance sums up the reason the camp has been maintained for so long:

“May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defense of peace and freedom, and in respect for their fellow men.” ♦

– This article originally appeared in the April 28, 1991 issue of the Racine Journal Times. View the original news page.

Mauston Quiet With Tragedy at Death of Gov.-Elect Orland Loomis

The sudden death of Wisconsin Governor-Elect Orland S. Loomis on December 7, 1942 shocked the state; no place more than his home town of Mauston. Carl F. Hanneman wrote the article below for The Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday, December 8, 1942.

By CARL F. HANNEMAN
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON — A few weeks ago, all Mauston rejoiced as Orland S. Loomis, known as “Spike” to the entire city, was elected governor of Wisconsin. carlsorrow

There was an impromptu celebration, and the townspeople gathered to cheer the man who had spent his life in the community except when he was serving the state at Madison and his country in France.

Today Mauston was as deep in sorrow and grief as it was in the heights as the November election returns came rolling in.

For the man who was a friend to everyone in Mauston had died suddenly, and the whole city was quiet with tragedy.

Pastor Speaks for City
The Rev. G.I. Krein of the First Presbyterian church expressed the sentiment of the entire city when he said today:

“A few weeks ago the people of Mauston rejoiced and let Mr. Loomis know how proud we all were of him. As we did them rejoice, we now mourn.

“The Sunday following his election Mr. and Mrs. Loomis worshipped with us. I then bade them Godspeed in their new home and work.

“As a young pastor I have welcomed his kindly interest in my and this church. I am thankful to have had the counsel and friendship of this Christian character,” Mr. Krein said.

Officials Pay Tribute
Gov.-elect Loomis at one time was district attorney of Juneau County, and today another Juneau County prosecutor, Charles P. Curran, declared that “the people of Mauston and Juneau County have lost a very dear friend and the state of Wisconsin have been deprived of an outstanding governor, statesman and leader.”

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Carl Hanneman took this photo for The Wisconsin State Journal the night Orland S. Loomis was elected governor of Wisconsin.

 

Mayor Raymond W. Barnwell characterized the death “as a shock such as a community like this seldom has. It strikes every citizen as though they have lost one of their own family, and the universal sense of grief is evidence of what ‘Spike’ really mean to everyone here,” the mayor said.

Lifelong friends of the governor-elect included Dr. J.S. Hess Jr. and J.H. Ensch, American Legion official. Dr. Hess said “we can appreciate the great loss for our community and the entire state of Wisconsin,” while Ensch, who “noticed him through school, college, social, law and political days,” reported the entire community grief-stricken.

“Conscientious Servant”
Gov.-elect Loomis was characterized by Robert P. Clark, county judge before whom he often argued cases, as “a conscientious and capable public servant.”

“Mauston was proud of its favorite son,” said John Hanson, editor of the Mauston Star, and “ ‘Spike’ Loomis will always live in the hearts of everyone here, where he was known best, first as a friend, then as governor.”

“We in Mauston who have profited by his counsel and example fully appreciate the loss to the commonwealth,” said Robert Temple, editor of the Juneau County Chronicle.

Related Article: Carl’s Heartfelt 1937 Plea for a Better Future

Related Article: Carl F. Hanneman’s Contribution to Wisconsin Hometown Stories

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

Audio Memories: Great Depression and World War II in Cudahy

Growing up in an Irish family of 11 children during the Great Depression and World War II left Mary K. (Mulqueen) Hanneman with vivid memories. The seventh child born to Earl James Mulqueen Sr. (1895-1965) and Margaret Madonna (Dailey) Mulqueen (1895-1982), she has tender memories of her parents and life in Cudahy, a southern suburb of Milwaukee.

In April 2009, she sat down for an oral history interview with granddaughter Ruby Hanneman, 9, and son Joe Hanneman. The discussion covered subjects like how the big family made ends meet during the Great Depression, how having four siblings serving in World War II changed family life at home, and the lasting impressions left by her late parents. The presentation lasts 23 minutes 6 seconds.

The photo above shows Margaret Mulqueen and husband Earl across the table for Sunday dinner in the late 1950s. The photo embedded in the SoundCloud player shows Mary with sisters Ruth (Mulqueen) McShane and Joan (Mulqueen) Haske outside the Mulqueen home on East Cudahy Avenue.

Wisconsin’s Last Covered Bridge is 140 Years Young

When the wooden covered bridge was built over Cedar Creek in 1876, memories of the Civil War were still fresh and the main modes of transportation were horses and oxen pulling buggies or wagons. The clip-clop of hooves and the rolling thunder of wooden wheels have long since faded, but Wisconsin’s last covered bridge still stands proud at age 140.

Nina Wilson (center) and daughter Laurni Lee (at left) on the famous covered bridge in 1941.
Nina Wilson (center) and daughter Laurni Lee (at left) on the famous covered bridge on June 30, 1941. The woman at right is unidentified.

Located on a scenic route some 20 miles north of Milwaukee, the beautiful span no longer carries vehicle traffic but is still a boon to pedestrian traffic and those armed with cameras. It has served as the backdrop for countless photos over the years. It is such an important landmark to nearby Cedarburg, Covered Bridge Park was built around it and a historic marker from the Wisconsin Historical Society was placed nearby.

Nina (Treutel) Wilson (center) with daughter Laurni Lee (left) and an unidentified woman stand inside the covered bridge north of Cedarburg, Wis., on June 30, 1941.
The bridge uses wooden lattice trusses and interlaced 3-by-10-inch planks.

Our look at this magnificent bridge goes back to late June 1941. Pictured are Nina (Treutel) Wilson (center) and her daughter, Laurni Lee. Nina is the sister of my  grandmother, Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman. I believe the photograph was taken by Emma (Treutel) Carlin, who at the time was working at the Washington County Asylum in West Bend. In her scrapbook, Emma kept a July 1941 news clipping on the bridge from The Milwaukee Journal. Across the top of the page, she wrote, “I rode over this bridge June 30, 1941.” 

The Milwaukee Journal article bid poetic tribute to the old bridge:

“Grayed with the snows and suns of many years, it might tell a hundred tales to the traveler who would stop and bend a sympathetic ear. …Leaning under the weight of its years, this friendly bridge (it has no name) still creaks and rumbles heartily and bears its passing burdens of farmers and curious visitors as trustily as the day its last dowels and wedges were driven tight.”

This sketch of the Cedarburg covered bridge, by artist Frank S. Moulton, appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on November 26, 1950.
This sketch of the Cedarburg covered bridge, by artist Frank S. Moulton, appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on November 26, 1950.

At that time, the bridge still carried live traffic, although only vehicles weighing 3 tons or less. It was built with just enough height to accommodate a wagonload of hay. The structure was welcome shelter in summer and winter for horses and drivers alike. The bridge is 12 feet wide and 120 feet long. Its construction has been described as a masterpiece, using lattice trusses with interlaced  3-by-10-inch planks. It is held together with 2 inch hardwood dowels. Its road surface is covered with 3-inch planks. A concrete support was added beneath the midway point in 1927 to help the bridge support motorized vehicles.

Wisconsin once had dozens of covered bridges. The last one to be demolished (in 1935) spanned the Wisconsin River at Boscobel. But the folks of Ozaukee County worked hard to ensure their covered bridge would be maintained for future generations. It was taken out of active service in 1962, as another bridge was built over Cedar Creek to handle vehicle traffic. In May 1965, the state historical marker was installed next to the bridge.

Covered Bridge Park is located on Covered Bridge Road, which runs north and south between Highway 60 and Pleasant Valley Road just north of Cedarburg.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

U.S. Soldier’s WWII War-Bride Homecoming Noticed in Great Britain

In 1946, my grandfather wrote a charming article for the Wisconsin State Journal about the English wife of a U.S. soldier who came to Mauston, Wis., to find a fully furnished home waiting for her.

It seems the story of Charles Grinolds and his new bride, Margaret, got noticed across the pond in Great Britain. The former Margaret Eley was native to England. We’ll let Carl F. Hanneman of the Wisconsin State Journal tell the story from the June 30, 1946 issue:

Journal Story on Mauston Welcome to GI Bride
Moves British Paper to Congratulatory Ending

MAUSTON, Wis. — Mrs. Charles Grinolds, British war bride, and The Wisconsin State Journal’s account of her welcome at Mauston last winter, received considerable attention in the British press. The comment of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Express, published May 16, follows:

ANGLO-AMERICAN

“In pondering Mr. Churchill’s suggestions that America and Britain should think about setting up house together in the political sphere, it is not entirely impertinent to think of the tens of thousands of British girls and American boys who have had the same idea in the domestic realm.

They and their relatives must be more than a little tired of the jokes on this topic and while it is true that an international marriage has special problems, it must be remembered that two out of every 10 all-British marriages are now providing work for the matrimonial courts, divorce courts or solicitors’ offices, and there is no evidence that the proportion of unsuccessful British-American marriages is as high as that.JournalStoryGetsBrit

The great majority which turn out most happily do not usually make news, so we are pleased to mention the happy welcome which was given to Mrs. Charles Grinolds (nee Margaret Eley), only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. V. Eley of Ashwell, when she arrived at her new home at Mauston, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

With her husband, former Staff Sgt. C. Grinolds, and Charles Victor Jr., who was born after his father left England last July, Mrs. Grinolds arrived at her new hometown at 4 a.m. but found crowds and (Wisconsin State Journal) photographers awaiting to welcome her, a repeat performance of what had already happened at Chicago.

It was at Chicago that Margaret had a big surprise. While she was following the military policeman assigned to her at the railroad station, a civilian came up and took the baby from her arms. She was frightened at first, but then realized that the young man was no stranger. It was her husband, whom she had not expected would meet her at Chicago and whom she had never before seen in civilian clothes.

Bigger surprises were to come.

This is what happened to Margaret at Mauston, according to the Wisconsin State Journal:

‘Thrilled with a surprise house new and completely furnished, Mrs. Grinolds found it furnished even to pictures and books, and in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken and other canned goods. On the table in a modernistic kitchen was a large angel food cake with the inscription ‘Welcome,’ while the percolator was sputtering its tune upon a recently installed new electric range.

‘Nice work, Margaret.’ ”

After publishing the original blog post on this subject in 2015, I received correspondence from Nigel Reed, a nephew of the couple from the Eley side of the family. Nigel supplied a digital copy of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Express with the May 1946 Grinolds story. That, in turn, led me to discover two additional articles written by my grandfather Carl in 1946. The first is detailed above. The other appeared in The Wisconsin State Journal February 18, 1946, the day before Mrs. Grinolds reached Mauston and saw her new home:

Furnished Bungalow Awaits English Bride of Area Man

By Carl F. Hanneman
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON — A completely furnished five-room modern bungalow is waiting in Mauston for Mrs. Helen Margaret Grinolds as a surprise for the English war bride, wife of Staff Sgt. Charles Grinolds, FunishedHomeAwaitsMauston.

Mrs. Grinolds was among the hundreds of war brides scheduled to arrive in New York last weekend on the Santa Paula, and was to come directly to Mauston with their son, Charles Victor, who was born July 29, 1945, after his father left England for home.

She was to arrive in Mauston late today.

Sgt. Grinolds entered service in February 1942 and left for England in September 1942. He was stationed in England for 33 months and returned home in July 1945. He was discharged that September.

The couple was married in St. Mary’s church at Ashwell, England, and theirs was the first Anglo-American wedding performed in Ashwell during the war. Mrs. Grinolds is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.V. (Harold Victor) Eley, Ashwell, and she has one brother, Antone, 16. •

Grinolds_Dies_1950
Charles D. Grinolds’ 1950 obituary from The Wisconsin State Journal

My original post had details on Charles, his military history and his untimely death in 1950. But with the help of Mr. Reed and some additional digging, we can put more details to this heartwarming love story.

Charles Dockstader Grinolds died on Sunday, July 30, 1950 at his Mauston home of a heart ailment. He was just 36. By that time, he and Margaret had three sons: Charles Victor, who had celebrated his 5th birthday the day before his father’s death; Anthony Basil, 3; and Stephen McClellan, 1. After suffering such a devastating loss, Mrs. Grinolds took her sons and returned to England and the support of her family. They came back to the United States in August 1951 aboard the ship Queen Mary.

Mrs. Grinolds married William Osborne in Mauston on March 30, 1952. The couple moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1965. She died September 5, 1972 in Colorado Springs.

The three sons of Charles and Margaret Grinolds all had military careers like their father. Charles V. Grinolds served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and in Iraq. He died on June 10, 2006. Stephen M. Grinolds served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam from 1967-1972. He died on December 23, 2005. Anthony B. Grinolds served in the U.S. Air Force in England. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Dueling Illustrator Brothers: Carl F. and Wilbert G. Hanneman

We’ve noted elsewhere on this blog the photography skills of Carl F. Hanneman, but lately we’ve discovered that he and his brother Wilbert G. Hanneman had talents with freehand illustration. Working on the yearbook at Lincoln High School in Grand Rapids, Wis., the brothers served almost as dueling artists.

Judging by the line drawings each made in high school and in years after, both men had artistic abilities. Wilbert (1899-1987) first served as an artist and editor for the Ahdawagam yearbook. Ahdawagam is an Indian word that refers to the “two-sided rapids” along the Wisconsin River. The yearbook was first published in 1916. Wilbert graduated from Lincoln in 1918, and Carl followed in 1921. Both Carl (1901-1982) and Wilbert drew the illustrations for the yearbook’s section pages, such as Alumni and Sports, and the various class sections.

Wilbert drew a stunning likeness based on Carl’s high school graduation picture. The latest example of hand illustrations we could find is from 1945, showing a U.S. service member next to the saying, “Keep off the Lifeline.” The Navy serviceman in the illustration bears a striking resemblance to Carl. His son Donn G. Hanneman (1926-2014) served aboard the USS Hoggatt Bay during World War II.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

WWII Vet Escorts British Bride and Son to Furnished New Home

The feature story below was written by my grandfather, Carl F. Hanneman, and published in The Wisconsin State Journal on February 21, 1946. It relates the tale of a U.S. army medic, his British bride and baby, who were separated from him for more than six months at the end of World War II. Below the story I provide some more detail on Charles D. Grinolds and his World War II service.

Mauston Vet Escorts British Bride and Son
Into New Home Replete Even to Food on Table

By Carl F. Hanneman
State Journal Correspondent

MAUSTON — Thrilled with a surprise house, new and completely furnished, Mrs. Charles Grinolds, Ashwell, England, has joined her husband here and introduced him to his son, Charles Victor, who was born after his staff sergeant father left England last July.

The Wisconsin State Journal story featured the happily reunited Grinolds family.
The Wisconsin State Journal story featured the happily reunited Grinolds family.

When Mrs. Grinolds entered her new home at 4 a.m. Tuesday she found it furnished even to pictures and books, but in the basement were 187 quarts of fruit, 30 quarts of canned chicken, and other canned goods.

On the table in the modernistic kitchen was a large angel food cake with the inscription, “Welcome,” while the percolator was sputtering its tune upon a recently installed new electric range.

It all climaxed a separation which began early last July, when Grinolds left England just before his son was born. The long wait ended happily , too, for Charles Victor, Jr., was no worse off from the long, tedious journey, and laughed and cooed in his father’s arms as father and son inspected the comforts of their five-room bungalow.

The mother, the former Margaret Eley, although totally exhausted, prepared the baby’s formula before tucking him into his new little bed.

Charles, Margaret and baby Charles Victor Grinolds enter their new home at Mauston in 1946.
Charles, Margaret and baby Charles Victor Grinolds enter their new home at Mauston in 1946.

The couple was married in St. Mary’s church in Ashwell, the first Anglo-American wedding in the community during the war. The father served overseas for 33 months, then had to leave before his son was born.

Mrs. Grinolds left England on the American “Santa Paula,” formerly a hospital ship, and was on the water 11 days, arriving in New York last weekend four days overdue because of storms. She was confined to her quarters by seasickness for three days, but the baby appeared to enjoy the trip.

The sight of land, any land, was a great thrill after the rough voyage during which seas rolled over the decks. Upon leaving the ship in New York, the war brides and babies were taken on a sightseeing tour to acquaint the new Americans with their adopted land.

Grinolds, recently discharged, was waiting anxiously in a Chicago railroad station when his family arrived. His wife, who was not expecting her husband in Chicago and had never seen him in civilian clothes, was following a military police assigned to her and became frightened when her husband came up from behind and took the baby from her arms.

But then she was home. ♦


Richard Dockstader Grinolds was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1942 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He became a staff sergeant in the Army Air Force and was stationed in England with the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. His specialty was medical technician. He was featured several times in U.S. Army news photos; twice carrying wounded and once for a feature on a rash of illnesses among troops in England. The 91st Bomb Group was home to the famous “Memphis Belle” B17 Flying Fortress.

Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds of Mauston (second in line) waits to be administered a sulfa pill, part of a U.S. Army Air Force effort to reduce illness at the 91st Bomb Group in England during World War II.
Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds of Mauston (second in line) waits to be administered a sulfa pill, part of a U.S. Army Air Force effort to reduce illness at the 91st Bomb Group in England during World War II. (U.S. Army photo)

Grinolds lost his father, McClellan Grinolds, in 1918, when the boy was just 4. He and his brother were raised by their mother, the former Ruby Elizabeth Dockstader. The Grinolds and Dockstaders were both pioneer Juneau County families. The Hanneman family lived just around the corner from Dockstader Street, named for pioneer Benjamin Dockstader.

Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds (far right) helps carry Staff Sgt. Marion M. Walshe to an ambulance after the bombardier was injured on a mission over Europe.
Staff Sgt. Charles D. Grinolds (far right) helps carry Staff Sgt. Marion M. Walshe to an ambulance after the bombardier was injured on a mission over Europe.

The baby featured in the story above, Charles Victor Grinolds, was born in England on July 29, 1945, as his father was headed back to the United States. He was one of four children born to the couple. Sadly, Charles D. Grinolds died on July 30, 1950. He was just 36. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Mauston. The firstborn son grew up to have a distinguished military career, serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War. He died on June 10, 2006 in Modesto, California. He was the father of six children.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Ruby V. Hanneman was a Real Fashion Icon

From very little on, my grandmother, Ruby Viola Hanneman, had a beauty that radiated in the many photographs taken of her. Her grandchildren no doubt recall the housecoat-type of outfits she often wore around the house. But make no mistake, Ruby was a fashion icon in her day. Our photo gallery bears ample testimony. Ruby in Color

My grandparents were anything but wealthy. They worked hard to provide a middle-class home to their three children, Donn, David (my Dad) and Lavonne. Grandpa Carl F. Hanneman was a pharmacist at the Hess clinic and hospital. As we detailed in another post, he wrote to the attorney general of Wisconsin for help in upgrading his pharmacist license so he could better care for his family.

Regardless of the family’s financial circumstances, the Hanneman children were always dressed in nice clothing. Carl had nice suits for work and Sunday Mass. If you met Ruby at a family event, you might think she descended from royalty. Actually, there was a longstanding family yarn that said the Treutel family from which Ruby came was from a royal line in Europe. I’m still researching that one. Nevertheless, Ruby was always sharply dressed. The main photo above shows her in a Life Magazine pose during a 1950s trip out West. Classic stuff.

Far be it for me to offer detailed commentary on women’s fashion, but I am struck by Ruby’s fashion sense as shown in the photo gallery below. Dresses, hats, gloves, shoes and coats, nicely coordinated. This was evident at different events, from weddings to the common Sunday visit to family and extended family in the Wisconsin Rapids area. So many decades later, these photos are a real treat, although also reminders of the hole in our lives left by the absence of loved ones like Dad (1933-2007) and Grandma Ruby (1904-1977).

Ruby E. Hanneman has her great-grandmother's keen sense of fashion.
Ruby E. Hanneman has her great-grandmother’s keen sense of fashion.

I am quite tickled that my youngest daughter, not coincidentally named Ruby, is also very interested in fashion and interior decorating, just like her great grandma. I marvel at her discussions of colors, styles and fabrics — things I know little about. One thing is for sure: Ruby V. Hanneman is no doubt pleased to look down and see Ruby E. Hanneman, a young lady after her own heart.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

 

Eye on the Past: Cool Threads at the Ortman Hotel

One thing I’ve always noted is how well-dressed my father is in photos from his youth. Among my favorites are these photos shot outside the Ortman Hotel in Canistota, South Dakota. The Hanneman family vacationed in the Dakotas several times. Another visit was detailed in this post about cowboy Hiram Greene.

The uncropped version of the main photo shows David D. Hanneman in front of the Ortman Hotel in Canistota, South Dakota.
The uncropped version of the main photo shows David D. Hanneman in front of the Ortman Hotel in Canistota, South Dakota.

These photos are likely from 1946 or 1947. The Ortman Hotel is right next to the famous Ortman chiropractic clinic. The hotel is still there today. The interior has been remodeled, but the exterior looks remarkably the same.

David D. Hanneman leans on the family car in front of the Ortman Hotel.
David D. Hanneman leans on the family car in front of the Ortman Hotel.