Velkommen til Westby

Velkommen til Westby

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Second Street about 1907

Photo taken sometime between 1905 and 1909 from the Cargill grain elevator shows Second Street at the intersection of today’s Polly Rude Way. La Crosse & Southeastern railroad tracks are on the left. The white church is Our Savior’s church and the white building with six windows is the former grade school. When this photo was taken the Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran church had not been built.
More than 100 years ago Second Street was the fourth most important street in Westby, after Main, State and First streets. It is unknown if the city leaders of the 1890s had plans for a Third Street or not.

Businesses past and present that have been, or are, located on Second Street starting on the top of the hill and continuing west on the south side of the street are the following.

Today in 2015 the creamery warehouse is located where more than 100 years ago Ole Evenson had his Hard and Soft Coals, Ice and Cement Blox business. In 1951 when the business ended it was Evenson Coal & Equipment. Sometime between 1951 and 1957 all Evenson buildings disappeared being replaced by a small building that housed Dahlen & Gabrielson Television Service. Gabrielson only lasted for one year when the business became Dahlen Television and finally until 1965 it was Dahlen’s TV and Gun Shop.

The only house on this side of the street has had numerous owners but the one who most will remember is Cora Ruud, the city librarian for about one-third of the last century.

Ballsrud’s Grocery, built in 1949, is next as we go down the hill toward Main Street. With different owners, the grocery store continued until 1969. Until recently Rudy’s Lawn Care was located in the Ballsrud Grocery building.
Located on the corner of Man and Second streets since 1979 is Mark Anderson Insurance. Built as a filling station in the 1920s it was first known as the Perfect Oil Company. Later it was Holte’s Service Station until 1950 and then until 1966 it was Larson Mobil Service.

Crossing Second Street, the first business with a Second Street address was Tri-County Farm Supply followed by Badger Environmental & Earthworks. These businesses were located in a building built in 1978 as a hearse garage for Vosseteig Funeral Home. This was formerly the location of Virginia and Ray Way’s house.

Continuing up the hill, the Westby Times building was built in 1950 and continued as the Times office until 1995 when Ron’s (Rood) Pallet Repair moved in and continued until 1999 when Yesteryear’s Restoration moved there.

Today Old Times Group Home is located where the Times building and Vosseteigs Garage was located.

The last building to discuss is the biggest as well as the one with the longest and most varied history. For about 75 years it was a feed mill. Built in 1905 for H.E. McEachron Company with Cargill painted on the grain elevator. For all of the ‘20s and ‘30s the feed mill was known as the Westby Co-operative exchange with E.C. Ballsrud, Olaf Walby, Melvin Svenson, S.O. Johnson as the different managers. In 1941 Ben Logan bought the mill and renamed it Westby Feed & Seed. Logan sold the business in 1967 to Vernon County Farmco and in 1975 it became Great Rivers FS Cooperative who continued their Westby operation until 1991.

Yesterday’s Restoration moved their business into the old mill in 1997 and stayed there until moving next door to the old Westby Times building in 1999. After numerous and extensive remodeling, starting in 1999, Ocooch Mountain Acres was followed by Ben Logan Mill Lodge, both being owned by Ruth and Ken Rupp.

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