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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 690

                                 COLUMBUS OPERA HOUSE.
     In 1872, the old Methodist church building was purchased by J. T. Henderson.
It was
then located, near the present site of the foundry. From there it was removed
to Broadway
and converted into a public hall, and, in 1877, it was "made over"
into an opera house. It was
thought to be a fine edifice in its day. The voice of prayer has often been
heard within its
walls, and it has echoed to much pulpit eloquence of all sorts. In it Mrs.
Van Cott made her
series of public appeals and won sinners by her personal magnetism. When
it had been
decided to convert it into an opera house, a structure 16x35 was added for
stage purposes. On
the first floor are two rooms for rehearsals, etc., and the second floor
is used entirely as a stage.
Mr. A. Leibig, of Mayville, Dodge County, who was a scenic painter before
he left Germany,
executed the stage decorations. The total cost of the stage improvements
is $1,200, of which
$500 is for scenery. The hall will seat nearly four hundred.
                                 THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
    Among other important clauses in the original city charter of Columbus
was one providing
for the establishment of a fire department. Accordingly, on the 26th of December,
the City Council entered into a contract with the Babcock Manufacturing 'Company,
of Chi-
cago, for two of their extinguishers and one hook and ladder truck, for $1,800.
At the same
meeting of the Council, authority was granted for the formation of three
fire companies. On
the 19th of October previous, the Germania Fire Company was organized by
the election of
Fred. Hanneman, Foreman; John Topp, First Assistant; H. A. Lueders, Second
Fred. Wirth, Treasurer; E. Von Briesen, Secretary, and V. Batz, Marshal.
 The other mem-
bers- of the company were D. Stark, G. Link, J. Lemcke, C. Topp, C. Ulm,
C. Mirow, J. Engel,
M. Rueth, F. F. Wilske and A. Miller. The present officers are: H. A. Lueders,
John Topp and G. Link, Assistants; G.' Woehlert, Treasurer; E. V6n Briesen,
Secretary, and
W. Hanneman, Marshal.
      On the 6th of December, 1877, Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was organized
with the
 following officers: E. Blasius, Foreman; J. McCabe, First Assistant; W.
Vanaken, Second
 Assistant; T. Robinson, Secretary, and T. Morris, Treasurer. The other first
members were
 M. Houghton, J. Mettler, T. Clatworthy, T. Nix, G. Mohring, C. Kellar, J.
Cagney, A.
 Hirscher, S. Harding, S. McConnell, G. H. Colville, S. F. Strehmel, 0. Schmidt,
J. C. Hutch-
 inson and J. A. Welton. The present officers are: M. J. Durkan, Foreman;
J. A. Welton
 and J. Dreyer, Assistants; J. Schaeffer, Secretary; 0G. H. Colville, Treasurer;
J. B. Barney,
      Columbia Fire Company was organized December 10, 1877.    Officers
and members: W.
 G. Bresee, Foreman; J. Jackson and R. Cunningham, Assistants; C. E. Fowler,
 T. F. Sweeney, Treasurer; Charles Mohring, E. J. Davis, C. Randall, E. Kendall,
J. Kendall,
 1. Annis, C. Cooper, D. McLarty, D. Griffiths, S. B. Kendall, L. Zick and
J. Richards. This
 company was disbanded'on the. 9th of April, 1880.
      On the 13th of November, L. J. Sawyer was elected Chief Engineer of
the Fire Depart-
ment, by the Common Council, but did not qualify. J. Cagney was chosen Assistant
and the City Clerk and City Treasurer appointed to act as ex officio Clerk
and Treasurer.
The present Assistant Engineer is Andrew Hirscher.
      Since the organization of the department, there have been three fires
in Columbus. March
 19, 1878, the calaboose was destroyed; March 27,'the same year, J. J. Sutton's
dwelling and
 barn, a somewhat memorable fire in the annals of Columbus; September 27,
1878, J. Kuhl's
                                  LODGES AND SOCIETIES.
      The common tendency of civilized people to form themselves into societies
for mutual
 advancement developed itself at a very early day in Columbus.  From records
still in existence,
 we find that a lodge of Odd Fellows was founded here, in 1849. It was called
Columbus Lodge,

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