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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Chapter XI,   pp. 665-697 PDF (18.3 MB)

Page 689

     The officers for 1878 were the same as in 1877, Messrs. Chadbourn, Topp
and W. M. Gris-
 wold being elected Directors for three years. On the 29th of April, 1878,
an executive com-
 mittee was appointed, consisting of E. S. Griswold, J. Topp and W. M. Griswold.
   . In 1879, M. Lowth, E. S. Griswold and L. R. Rockwell were re-elected
President, Vice
 President and Treasurer, respectively, Mic Adams succeeding C. L. Dering
as Secretary.
 The Directors were J. Q. Adams, D. S. Fuller and Edward Bowen. The same
executive com-
 mittee chosen in 1878 were re-appointed, and Flora Walsh succeeded to the
position of Librarian,
 holding it till November, 1879, when Helen Walsh was appointed.
     In 1880, the only change in officers was the election of R. W. Earll,
D. C. Davies and E.
E. Chapin as Directors, and the appointment of M. Adams, D. S. Fuller and
J. Topp as the
executive committee.
     The first purchase of books was made in March, 1877, of Jansen, McClurg
& Co., to the
amount of $550. Various purchases have been made since then, the total amount
expended to
the present time being $830. In 1878, the young ladies of Columbus presented
the association
with $59 in cash, the proceeds of a concert given by them for that purpose.
Quite a number
of donations of books have been made.
     The association is composed of seventy-five life members, each of whom
paid $10. One of
the rules of the association provides for the admission of annual members
at $1.50 each for the
first year, and $1 for each subsequent year they remain as such. The annual
membership has
grown to important proportions. There are 1,000 volumes in the collection.
Nearly one-fourth
of this number is continuously in the- hands of patrons.
     When the village of Columbus was platted by Lewis Ludington, it presented
a promising
picture-on paper. Passing through the eastern limits, the rippling Crawfish
marked its wind-
ing course. Leading away to the southwest from the river's oak-fringed banks
to the borders of
clustering groves in the distance were broad avenues with other avenues crossing
them at right
angles. Near the river's edge was an entire block marked "public square,"
and not far away
a " park," "schoolhouse," " church," "hotel,"
etc.-all donations from the proprietor of the
village. H. A. Whitney was the lucky possessor of that portion of "the
plat indicated as the
"hotel," corner of James and Ludington streets, and in the summer
of 1844,' he secured abso-
lute title to it by building a hotel upon it. It was a one-and-a-half-story
frame. Most of the
lumber of which it was built was hauled from Aztalan. In the lower portion,
Mr. Whitney
kept a small stock of goods. About 1848, it passed into the hands of a man
named Thomas,
who devoted the entire establishment to the accommodation of the public.
A. P. Birdsey pur-
chased from Mr. Thomas. He built an addition to it and conducted it for a
number of years.
Whitney & McCafferty were the next landlords. At the end of a year and
a half, they retired
from the business, and the concern was then rented. On the 8th of October,
1857, it was com-
pletely destroyed by fire. The work of rebuilding commenced at once. Winter
was approach-
ing and Columbus was without a hotel. There are few instances to record where
so much energy
is displayed as was the case in the construction of the present Fox House.
Within eighteen
days from the time the first shovel of earth wasremoved in excavating for
the foundations, a
substantial four-story brick had been erected, and workmen were engaged putting
on the roof.
Mr. Whitney surprised himself as well as his friends. The following spring,
it was rented to a
Mr. Gardiner, and not long afterward Mr. Whitney took the management upon
himself. At
the end of four years, he sold out to G. Fuller, but was compelled to take
it back. Soon after-
ward, an old ex-sea-captain piloted his bark into Columbus, and, purchasing
the Whitney House,
anchored for a brief time. But the winds were unfavorable, and the old salt
turned the house
over to Mr. Whitney. Enoch Pulver then became the purchaser. A man named
Graves bought
of Pulver, and Julius Fox, the present owner, purchased of Mr. Graves.
    One of the.early institutions of Columbus was the old Mountain House,
which stood on the
high ground not far from J. T. Lewis' residence. Its career as a hotel was
brief, though how
brilliant is not known.

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