Glencoe was organized around St. Joseph Catholic Church in 1857. In 1867, a new church was built and dedicated by Fr. Spitzenberger who attended it from Fountain City. St. Joseph Church was made a mission of the OLPH Church in Arcadia from 1888 to its closing in 1947. The church bell from St. Joseph resides in the Bell Tower of the Museum.
Oct 10, 2022
Oct 10, 2022
In the beginning, before Dodge was born, it was home to the Winnebago Indians (now known as the Ho Chunk Nation.) Chief Decorah ruled the tribe from a village at the mouth of the Black River. In about 1854 Michael Cierzan became the first settler of Dodge, but the town was not named until 1866, or platted until 1874. It was never incorporated.
A stagecoach line served Dodge on a route from Trempealeau to Fountain City and Arcadia before the coming of the train. The horses were rested and changed in Dodge.
Land for the railroad line through Dodge was donated by Fred Hoesley (1851-1936) and the first train arrived in Dodge carrying passengers, freight and express mail in December 1875. Dodge was named for William E. Dodge, a New York Philanthropist and Banker who engaged in the construction of a railroad through the Trempealeau River Valley in 1873.
Dodge drew a bustling business from both sides of the fertile Trempealeau River valley. It had a bank, three general stores and four taverns. Fred and Rosa Hoesley built the Dodge Hotel and for many years accommodated salesmen, visitors and railroad workers. The town also boasted a saw mill, creamery, three blacksmith shops and a school. The church was built in the "sister city"; of Pine Creek about two miles away. Louis Literski was an early postmaster and merchant in Dodge from 1889-1897.
During the Prohibition Era there was a whiskey still located just north of Dodge on the Alex Pellowski farm. The sugar for the still was brought in by rail to Dodge and then trucked north to the farm. The still ran for about three months. The finished product was transported by automobiles with tanks built under their seats to Chicago. Al Capone, the famous gangster, financed the operation of the still.
Another contribution to the history of Dodge was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp located near the south edge of the town on the former John D Herek farm in 1933. The CCC was part of the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Dodge camp was one of Wisconsin's largest.
Oct 10, 2022
Arcadia was founded and settled by four men from Dodge County, Wisconsin.
- Collins Bishop
- George Dewey
- George Shelley
- James Broughton
They arrived in the autumn of 1855 and Bishop hired Broughton and a Mr. Davis to build a house on his land. In 1856, the settlers petitioned to become a town. They needed a name for the new town, which up until this time had been called Bishop's Settlement, for its founder, or Barntown, for the many barns built by the early settlers. At a meeting, the women of the settlement were given the privilege of naming the town. Mrs. David Bishop offered the name Arcadia, which had been suggested to her by Noah Comstock. Comstock, a well travelled resident, said that the area reminded him of the mountain region of far away Greece, where the Arcadian peasants led a life of simple contentment amidst their wild surroundings.
At the first town meeting, in the Spring of 1857, Bishop was elected chairman. The first school was started that year, with Sarah McMasters the first teacher. George Shelley opened a store, and Albro C. Matterson started a blacksmith shop the next year, 1858. Dr. Briggs and David Massuere began work on a flour mill in 1860, but all development slowed to a crawl while the Civil War raged, and the mill didn't begin operation until after the war.
By 1867 times began to improve leading up a big boost in 1873 with the completion of the Green Bay and Lake Pepin Railroad. There was some difficulty planning the railroad's route. Its final placement along the Trempealeau River caused the town of Arcadia to move from the original upper town to the lower town where it is located today. The story is told that part of the reason for the final location of the railroad was that the person that owned the land in lower Arcadia gave the railroad the right of way so that the rest of his land would become more valuable. Arcadia has suffered from regular flooding ever since. The railroad was important to the growth of Arcadia and still plays an important role in its continued prosperity.
We have created this website to share some of the rich history of Arcadia. Please take a little time visiting our web pages which include mostly historic views of the Arcadia Area. Our museum is available for a far more in-depth study of the history of our area. Please visit us sometime.