University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Unity, Wisconsin centennial

The dawn of Unity,   pp. 2-10

Page 7

the children to control and as a result soon reached the schoo' building. Before
sufficient help could be secured, the school had completely burned. From then until
time would permit the construction of a new building, classes were held in the
drugstore, which was located a short distance south of our present post office
After a few months of combined efforts of the settlers a new and larger school
building was finished and ready for occupancy. This was located in about the same
place as the former. Several improvements had been made over the older build-
ing, and a new and more efficient set of textbooks had been installed.
Another sawmill operated by Richard Butler and William Granton had been
built north of the established village. With the continual development in size and
population, Unity was not satisfied with the small one-room church that had so
faithfully served the purpose. The various denominations that had emerged wished
a distinct church of their own in which to worship. Therefore, the Disciple Church
was built located north of our present schoolbuilding. It was followed by the small
Swedish Lutheran and the original one-room building was used by the Methodists.
At this time Mr. Salter, who had discontinued his duties as teacher, had now
gone into the combined grocery and dry goods business with H. G. Healy. He
later built the present Ayer Grocery in which business he was interested for many
years. The present Ray's Market building was built shortly after as well as numer-
ous other buildings, including the Post Office, Drug Store, a Bank, Hardware
Meat Market Barber Shop, several Ice Cream Parlors, an Undertaking Parlor-
Furniture Store, Telephone Office, and several small grocery stores located in
different sections of the town. Also, the construction of a new school including
both grades and high school was brought about, occurring in the year 1910.
Perhaps many of us are unaware of the scenes of wonder bestowed upon our
village previous to this time. One thing of interest was the building of an arch
bridge across the railroad track almost directly in front of the present Texaco
filling station. Near the bridge was a flagpole which showed the intense patriot-
ism of the villagers. This, together with the bridge, long remained objects of
admiration and novelty to the settlers.
Wouldn't we have been amused to see our community as it was then? A happy
group of settlers living and loving their surroundings, did, and were doing all
in their power to make theirs a desirable dwelling place.
This concludes the story of our early days as related in the essay in the
"Dawn of Unity".
As we continue our story at the beginning of the new century, Unity is a
thriving settlement, yet a change was imminent. The large Spaulding mill which
had employed about three hundred (300) men had closed. About then Peter Fritz
had started a mill north of town (later known as the A. Perschke Mill); this was
a much smaller mill and could not give employment to all. Many bought land which
the railroad companies offered for sale.
The task of clearing the land of the stubborn stumps was hard work and
seemed endless. The pioneer spirit prevailed; the remains of the verdant forests
gave way to the open fields. Men tilled the fertile soil and agriculture became an
important industry to this area. Once again a new frontier had opened.
The evidence that this was a flourishing community is included in an essay,
"A Look Backward", written by Mrs. John Fuller (Mary Sheldon) for her grad-
uation from high school in 1906 in which she concluded saying, quote, "Unity now
has four stores, three hotels, two halls, one drugstore, shoe shop, a blacksmith
depot, post office, two butcher shops, two hardware stores, one furniture store,

Go up to Top of Page