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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter XIX: Incorporated villages,   pp. 164-201

Page 173

the mail was brought from Ienomonie and hung up or thrown down in any con-
venient place outside the residences of the respective families, or persons, to whom
it was addressed; and that sometimes after a snow storm it would not be found and
would remain where it was until spring. When J. B. McKahan established his
store, however, in 1870, and engaged W. R. Culbertson to matnage it, the latter
was appointed postmaster, the office being then established. Later, when Mr.
McKahan sold out to J. D. Simons, the latter took over the office and held it sub-
sequently for a number of years  Then Miss Jessie Mathews was appointed, and
it seems had it for at least several years (she was serving in 1897); and after her N. A.
Lee, during whose administration the first two rural routes were established, a
number since increased to five. On September 1, 1915, J. D. Burns succeeded Mr.
Lee and has since remained postmaster The office is now in the third class and is
installed with 195 boxes, the building which it occupies being owned by Mr Bums.
After the entry of the United States into the World War, a large war stamp business
was done.
On Jan. 1 , 1912, the telephone building was burned and the village was tempor-
arilv without service. About 1902 Oluf Olson established the Colfax Cement
Block Works, which he had conducted successfully ever since, having built up a
considerable business.
The water-power flour and grist mill of John D. Simons was erected in the late
80's. A few years later he sold it to James Anderson. It subsequently passed
through the hands of Elbert E. Hill and T. E. Thompson, the latter selling out in
1910 to Carl 0. Larson. It was then known as the Colfax Feed Mill and Electric
Power Plant, and was operated in its double capacity by Mr. Larson until 1920,
when he sold the light plant to the Colfax Light & Power Co., but is still conducting
the feed mill with his son, Reuben 0., as partner. The power plant is situated
on the Red Cedar River, two miles north of the village and was built at a cost of
8500,000. A large irregular bend of the river was cut off by the construction of a
half-mile channel, by which means a 22-head of water was obtained. The generator
is composed of two separate units, one of 500 kilowatts and the other of 1,000 kilo-
watts. The plant, which is connected with the Northern Wisconsin Power Co.,
went into operation April 21, 1921. The main office of the company is at Amery,
Wis., E. J. Snyder being president. The local plant is in charge of R. D. Winger.
The original water supply of Colfax was derived from individual wells, but in
1889 the business men, realizing the necessity of better fire protection, got together
and laid a main (on Main street) from the mill to Railway Avenue, putting a rotary
pump into the mill which furnished direct water pressure. A hand chemical and
hand-drawn hosecart were also purchased and were in use until 1921, when a motor-
chemica fire truck was bought, together with a hook and ladder truck, which
constitute the present fire extinguishing apparatus. The department is organized
on the voluntary system, the members being paid S3 each for actual fire duty and $1
for practice duty. In 1914 the present domestic water system was instituted, the
leading spirit in the enterprise being 0. G. Kinney. A standpipe and tank resevoir,
115 feet high, were erected, the tank having a capacity of 40,000 gallons, the water
being pumped into it by an oil engine from a well 270 feet deep. Since the inaugura-
tion of this system the village has had a good pipe line supply.
The Colfax Telephone Exchange was installed in 1903 by Oscar I. Anderson,
previous to which time the village had no local exchange but only a long distance
toll line from Menomonie, controlled for some years by Louis A. Tainter. Mr.
Anderson operated the local exchange until Jan. 1, 1911, when he sold it to T. E.
Thompson, the present proprietor. At the time of the purchase it had 200 phones,
a number since increased to 475. In 1897 J. L. Smith became local agent for the
"Soo' railway, which position he held for 14 years. He then spent several years
in other business pursuits, and in 1915 bought the Hotel Colfax, which he has since
conducted. This hotel had been built by Aaron A. Owen and run by him for eight
The Colfax Messenger was founded by Andrew C. Chase in April, 1897, the first
number being issued on Friday, April 30. Mr. Chase was born in Sauk County,

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