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.
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.
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!
Marvin and Mabel Treutel operated a roadside root beer stand near their home on Wilhorn Road in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Aside from 5-cent Rochester root beers, they served the “Best Roast Beef BBQ.” Pictured behind the counter in this late-1940s photo are Mabel Treutel (left), niece Lavonne Hanneman (center) and Marvin Treutel (right). Out front are daughters Bonnie Treutel (left), and Patricia Treutel (center, holding dog). The woman at right and the little girl at center are unidentified.
I just learned with sadness of the death of my Dad’s older brother, Donn Gene Hanneman, who died in Minneapolis at age 88. Uncle Donn was the last of the Mauston Hanneman family to pass away. My Dad, David D. Hanneman, died in 2007 at age 74.
I have many memories of my uncle. He was foremost the father of nine wonderful human beings, my cousins Diane, Caroline, Tom, Jane, Mary Ellen, John, Jim, Nancy and Thomas Patrick (March 1-4, 1949). The cousins were raised by a saintly mother, my aunt Elaine Hanneman.
Donn was a veteran of World War II and served as a seaman-second class on the USS Hoggatt Bay. The USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier (crew of 860) commissioned in December 1943.
Donn was born on August 20, 1926, in Wisconsin Rapids to Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982) and the former Ruby Viola Treutel (1904-1977). In 1936, the Hanneman family moved to Mauston in Juneau County, where Carl took a job as a pharmacist attached to the Mauston hospital and clinic. By that time, my father had come along (March 1933). In August 1937, the family expanded to include Lavonne Marie Hanneman Wellman (1937-1986).
As a boy, Donn had his share of illnesses and injuries. He spent more than a week in the Marshfield hospital in September 1929, then returned there in April 1930. Just before my Dad was born in March 1933, Donn was hospitalized in Wisconsin Rapids for more than a week, after an operation for appendicitis.
Just after his 11th birthday in August 1937, Donn was standing on the running board of a moving vehicle while leaving the Juneau County Fairgrounds when he fell and suffered a head injury. He was seen at the Mauston clinic and taken home, but soon after “lost his power of speech and all consciousness,” according to an account in The Daily Tribune in Wisconsin Rapids. “He was then rushed to the hospital.” Donn was diagnosed with a concussion and put on two weeks of bed rest, although that was extended. The September 8 edition of The Daily Tribune said Donn “is making a satisfactory recovery, although he will be confined to his bed for two more weeks.”
Back in those days, a family’s every move ended up in the newspaper. In the case of the Hannemans, it was thanks to the faithful correspondence of Ruby Hanneman. “Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hanneman and little son Don Gene were completely taken by surprise last evening when forty friends arrived to give them a house warming on the occasion of moving into their new home on Hale Street,” the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune reported on April 8, 1932.
Some of the most charming photographs in our library are of a 5-year-old Donn dressed up as a cowboy playing with friends on the sidewalks on the 1200 block of Washington Avenue in Wisconsin Rapids. We detailed those photos in a previous post.
As a youth Donn enjoyed books, and collected enough that his father built him a bookcase that held up to 175 volumes. Carl wrote to my then 6-year-old father about it in August 1939. Dad was staying with an aunt and uncle in Waukegan, Illinois. “Say David, I made a book case for Donn for his birthday, and you know that you still have something coming,” Carl wrote, “so what would you like to have Dad make something for you too, if so tell mother and I will try to start it as soon as I can.”
For a time Donn attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Grade School in Mauston, then run by the Benedictine Sisters. He was among the graduates attending the school’s 100th anniversary in 1995. At the event, he ran into one of his teachers, Sister Emeric Weber, who was just 19 when she started teaching at St. Patrick’s.
“Sister Emeric, I’m sorry I’m late,” he quipped, to which the aged nun replied, “What’s your excuse now? What’s your excuse?”
Like his brother David and father Carl, Donn was a longtime Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal and service organization. He most recently belonged to Council 1013 in Rochester, Minnesota.
There are many others better qualified to provide more recent stories about Donn. And even though he tossed my father through the bay window of their Mauston home when they were boys, my Dad didn’t hold it against him. When he was ill with cancer in the fall of 2006, Dad put it simply and succinctly: “He’s my brother and I love him.”
Donn G. Hanneman (center) in his U.S. Navy uniform, with sister Lavonne and brother David in 1944.
David D. Hanneman and older brother Donn G. Hanneman, circa 1935. Read more about the photo: http://wp.me/p4FxQb-v7
Donn G. Hanneman lounges outside his Grandpa Treutel’s home in Vesper, Wisconsin, circa 1930.
Donn G. Hanneman in the world’s smallest swimming pool.
Donn at the family home in Fond du Lac.
Donn Gene Hanneman, son of Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) and Ruby V. (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977), sits in an indoor baby swing at the Hanneman home in Fond du Lac, Wis, ca. 1927. Carl Hanneman was a pharmacist for the Staeben Drug Co. in Fond du Lac at the time.
Donn in his cowboy threads at Wisconsin Rapids.
Donn G. Hanneman wears a convincing looking police uniform, perhaps a Halloween costume.
Donn G. Hanneman looks like a lonely cowpoke with his wagon, circa 1930.
David D. Hanneman on the shoulders of brother Donn.
Donn G. Hanneman towers over his little sister, Lavonne Marie, circa 1941.
Donn G. Hanneman at the Mauston rail station, circa 1944.
Donn G. Hanneman in his U.S. Navy uniform in 1944.
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.
View the whole collection in the gallery below:
Elaine Treutel poses with the family dog in this ca. 1923 photo near Vesper, Wis. Directly behind her is older sister Ruby V. Treutel. Sitting on the bumper of the car is father Walter Treutel (1879-1948). The others are unidentified.
This image has a Little Rascals look and feel to it. Toddler Elaine Treutel and the family dog on her tricycle, circa 1922.
David D. Hanneman with his toe in the sand at Madeline Island, circa 1942.
Ruby V. Treutel (center) relaxes with the Sunday paper near Milwaukee’s Juneau Park in 1924. Ruby was visiting her fiance, Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982), who was studying pharmacy at Marquette University. At front is Ruby’s sister, Nina H. Treutel (1914-2005). The woman near the car is unidentified.
A formal portrait of Elaine Treutel of Vesper, Wis., circa 1938. Born in January 1920 to Walter and Mary (Ladick) Treutel of Vesper, Elaine attented Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids. She married Max Clark in October 1938. The couple lived for many years in Madison, then relocated to suburban Phoenix, Arizona.
Frank Herman Albert Hanneman (1895-1947) of Grand Rapids, Wis., posed for this studio photo with a shotgun, ammunition belt and even a hunting dog. The photo was taken ca. 1909. Frank was the son of Carl Frederick Christian Hanneman (1866-1932) and Rosine B. H. Ostermann (1874-1918).
Nina Treutel of Vesper, Wis., is about 18 months old in this circa 1916 photograph. Nina’s parents are Walter Treutel and Mary Helen (Ladick) Treutel.
A beautiful portrait of Lavonne Hanneman, circa 1955.
Ruby Treutel poses for an informal photo, circa 1922.
Ruby Treutel with her siblings Marvin, Elaine and Nina, circa 1921.
Carl F. Hanneman’s high school portrait, 1921.
Lavonne and David Hanneman examine a monument on a vacation trip to South Dakota in 1947.
Ruby Treutel holds her baby brother Gordon, circa 1910. Gordon died of pneumonia in February 1911.
Patricia Treutel is having a great time on the tree swing, circa 1943.
We don’t have an ID on this beautiful young lady. Photo appears to be from 1920s.
David D. Hanneman watches over his little sister, Lavonne, circa 1938.
David D. Hanneman and sister Lavonne Marie Hanneman, circa 1942.
It wasn’t such a curious hobby, collecting rocks, but more in how it was done. Ruby Viola (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977), simply could not resist picking rocks up off the ground wherever she went. And judging by the facial expressions of those around her, it became somewhat of a family joke.
Rock collecting was certainly a Hanneman tradition. Uncle Wilbert G. Hanneman (1899-1987) had a rock shop up in Wausau, from which many a Hanneman child procured varieties of colorful, polished rocks. I have a bag of them to this day. Ruby liked to get her collectibles the old fashioned way, by finding them. She’d bend down to grab the most interesting or unusual ones, and husband Carl F. Hanneman (1901-1982) was often nearby to capture the moment on film.
The best examples of this hobby (or habit) came on a family trip from Mauston, Wisconsin, to Williston, South Dakota in 1947. After getting caught all bent over on several photographic occasions, Ruby and the kids shot back. They put their heads together and gave old Carl Hanneman a two-cheek salute.