Discover Cranberries Museum "Bonus Features"
Construction of the George Warren Company Wood Planing Mill
The home of Discover Cranberries & Cranberry Country Café was built in 1900 as the George Warren Company’s new wood planing mill. Over the years, the building had several owners and uses until becoming a cranberry museum in 2004. Below are articles which appeared in the Warrens Index between 1899 and 1901 detailing the construction of the planing mill.
Barber & Warren have made a contract with S. Cook & Son to quarry one hundred cords of stone from their quarry on the Pankoff place. D.T. Moseley has also decided to secure stone for building purpose from S. Cook & Son. – Warrens Index Aug. 4, 1899. (We’re still seeking information on the source of the stone used to build the George Warrens Company planing mill. We’ve been told it came from what is now McMullen County Park and others believe it came from Saddle Mound.)
The Geo. Warren Company is razing the old mill building and will build a new stone basement and foundation under it. The basement to be seven feet high and the wall will be brought to a level with the foundation of the grist mill. The mill building is 24 by 80 feet in length, and it is possible that an addition of fifteen feet will be built on the front, bringing it even with the front of the grist mill. This will be a great improvement. The railroad company will build a spur track to run between the grist mill and the old mill building, making the loading and unloading of freight very much more convenient. – Warrens Index Sept. 1, 1899.
It is now quite certain that the old Geo. Warren Company shop will be torn down in a short time, and a new stone building erected in its place. This will make it much more convenient for the workmen, and it will be a great deal warmer place in the winter. – Warrens Index April 13, 1900.
The work on the new stone shop is progressing rapidly, a large force of men being employed. The wall on the west side has reached the height of about twelve feet. The stone used is of a very light quality, and all stone is neatly trimmed, and it will make a splendid appearance when completed. The old planing mill building has been torn down. – Warrens Index July 13, 1900.
The work on the stone building has been interfered with by rains during the past week, but the stone wall is steadily going up. The building is to be a light-colored stone, and each stone is nicely trimmed before being set into place. The stone cutters are Tom Neilsen and S. Cook. The work of mason is being done by Masons F. Rudolph, R. Rudolph, Brewer Smith and Louie Grant. The building when finished will make a fine showing and will be a credit to the village. – Warrens Index July 20, 1900.
It is proposed to have a church social in the new Geo. Warren Co. stone shop as soon as it is enclosed, when the Warrens band will play for the first time. – Warrens Index July 20, 1900.
C.O. Snippen, Superintendent of the Geo. Warren Co. interests, informs us that the stonework for the new shop is about completed, and that workmen will being at once to put on the roof, and inside furnishings. The foundation for the office to the south of the shop, and attached to it, will be commenced this week. – Warrens Index Aug. 17, 1900.
(The Aug. 17 issue also carried the obituary of George Warren, who passed away at his home in Fox Lake, Wis., on Aug. 15, 1900.)
The carpenters under supervision of O. Premo have been making good headway on the woodwork of the new shop, and the roof will be on in a few days. – Warrens Index Aug. 24, 1900.
The Geo. Warren Co. has placed an arch bearing the sign “Geo Warrens Co” on the top of the west side of the new shop building. They have had masons at work building a new double blacksmith forge of white brick in the west room of the shop. When finished it is intended to make a model of convenience. It is probable that the company has abandoned the project of having a “housewarming” in the shape of a church social as was planned at one time, as they have already placed some of the machinery in position for use. – Warrens Index Sept. 7, 1900.
The Geo. Warren Company intends to change the front foundation of the office connected to the shop and extend it five or six feet toward the street. As soon as this is done, they will commence the erection of the office, which is to be built of white pressed brick, and will be an ornament to the shop. The building will be made large enough for the storage of sash, door and pump supplies, thus obviating the necessity for going across the street every time a sale of these articles is made. – Warrens Index Oct. 26, 1900.
The Geo. Warrens Co. has the brick work and exterior for the new office building for the shop nearly completed. – Warrens Index May 17, 1901.
Famous Prince Onward
Advertising his trick horse Prince Onward as the most highly educated equine of his day, Harry Moseley and his horse performed for audiences around the Midwest from 1909 to 1913.
Harry was the oldest son of Sarah and Daniel Thomas Moseley who had a fruit and vegetable farm in Star Valley southeast of Warrens and were one of the largest producers of potatoes in Monroe County.
In 1909, the 20-year-old Harry and Prince Onward began performing in local shows. The following year the pair traveled to California to perform at the 1910 San Francisco Day festivities, held Sept. 8-10, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of California’s admission to statehood.
According to family lore, William F. Cody made an offer to purchase Prince Onward for his Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show while Harry was in California.
The handbill on display in the Discover Cranberries Museum reads, “Prince Onward has no equals in this line and audiences go wild over his various
performances. It is only six months ago since he received his first lesson, and it is safe to say that no other horse in the world who, with so little handling, could perform as many tricks and do it so well."
The poster goes on to say that some of the tricks Prince Onward could perform include playing dead at the sound of a gunshot, counting, spelling, working without line or bridle, as well as working in harness, under saddle or in the ring. Harry and Prince Onward continued to travel and perform in shows in the Midwest for the next three years. But by 1913, the rising popularity of movie theaters made it difficult for the “Moseley Horse Show” to draw sufficient crowds to continue performing on the road.
Prince Onward lived the rest of his days on the Moseley farm in Warrens. Descendants of D.T. and Harry are still involved in growing fruits and vegetables in the Warrens area today.
Wisconsin's First Cranberry Grower?
George Peffer, owner of Pewaukee Fruit Farm & Nursery, began cultivating cranberries on his farm in 1853. That is the earliest record we’ve found of cranberries being grown commercially in Wisconsin.
Mr. Peffer grew apples, pears, grapes and cranberries on his 162-acre fruit farm in Waukesha County.
Speaking at the 1876 Wisconsin Horticultural Society annual meeting, Mr. Peffer said, “The cranberry is destined to be one of the most important of our small fruits and one for the cultivation of which no other state in the Union has equal advantages.”
One of the apple cultivars Mr. Peffer bred – ‘Pewaukee’ – is still grown today. Mr Peffer, who was born in Bavaria in 1829, died at his home in 1908.
Retired sea captain Henry Hall of Dennis, Massachusetts, is credited with being the first to cultivate cranberries in the United States. In 1816 Captain Hall observed wild cranberries growing near the beach grew better when sand blew over them.
He began transplanting cranberry vines and spreading sand on them to increase production. His experimentation
led to the development of the cranberry as a viable commercial crop.
Champion Cranberry Rakers
During a 10-hour contest in 1924, Ed Gebhardt of Warrens (left) and Henry Westfall of Wisconsin Rapids eached raked 250 boxes - or a total of 16,000 pounds - of cranberries for a tie win. Their record has never been broken.
The contest was held on the Oscar Potter cranberry marsh (now Potter Cranberry Company) east of Warrens. Ed was Oscar's full-time employee, working from 1924 - 1927.
Hank began working on the Potter & Son Cranberry Marsh when he was 14. He later became a marsh manager and worked for Melvin Potter, his son Roy, and then Roy's sons, Jack and Mel, until retiring in 1982 at age 82.
Case Berry Picking Machine
The idea of using a machine to pick cranberries was first mentioned in 1885. The reported in 1901 that inventor Clark Stevens demonstrated a cranberry picker on the Wyatt & Purdy Marsh in Valley Junction “that promises to revolutionize the cranberry business.”
Stevens’ machine ran on two wheels and was drawn by two men and cleaned a track about a foot wide. While the editor was impressed by the machine’s performance, we found no other record of its use after that initial demonstration.
Cranberry growers in other parts of the country were also striving to develop mechanical cranberry pickers and a few had working models. A handful of Wisconsin growers had also patented designs. But it wasn’t until 1943 that the first successful picker made in Wisconsin was unveiled.
Robert “Bob” Case was commissioned by eight cranberry growers to design a machine to harvest cranberries as a way to reduce labor costs. “The Wisconsin Picker” was tested for six years on the Oscar Potter marsh before the first-generation Case raking machines were made available to the investors.
Bob and employee Robert Hendricks continued to improve the design and built 11 second-generation pickers in 1951. A first-generation Case machine is on display elsewhere in the museum along with more information on its inventor.
Photo from the Wetherby Library Digital Collection
Warrens Fruit Growers Association
Herbert H. Harris moved to Warren Mills in 1878 and established his Oak Hill Farm with his wife, Libbie, and their three sons. The family raised Guernsey cattle, poultry, apples and raspberries. Henry started growing strawberries in 1881 and sold his first crop for $2.50. The following season he increased his sales to $28. Others in the area soon followed his lead and began raising strawberries.
After shipping through the Sparta Strawberry Exchange for several years, the Warrens growers formed the Warrens Fruit Growers Association in 1921. During the season, train carloads of strawberries, blueberries and other fruit went out from Warrens several times a day headed for Chicago or the Twin Cities.
During the 1923 season, 50 train carloads of strawberries were shipped from Warrens for the fresh fruit market. The association established its own facilities for icing the refrigerator train cars used for shipping the strawberries to far off places like Colorado or Texas.
The association continued operations until 1954 when rapidly rising costs of packing materials and transportation, coupled with the increasing difficulty of securing an adequate labor supply, made further operations unprofitable.
Mike and Harriet Rattle were one of those who sold strawberries through the association. Daily during strawberry season, the Rattles would be on the road at 4 a.m. with their old white horse, Billy, to make the 6-mile trek to the train station in Warrens to get their strawberries shipped out on the early afternoon train.
Theresa (Rattle) Anderson remembers her grandfather using punch tickets to keep track of how many boxes of strawberries each person picked. Theresa was paid 1½ cents for each box of strawberries she picked or 9¢ for a tray of six boxes.
Flora , Fauna and Fun!
Cranberry marshes require support lands which consist of natural and man-made ponds, woodlands and uplands. The support land is not used for growing the crop, but is important for the series of ditches, dikes, dams and reservoirs necessary to have an adequate water supply. The natural wetlands help control flooding as well as filter and recycle water.
Cranberry marshes are home to a variety of wildlife and even some endangered species. Pictured here are a tuberous grass pink orchid, North American river otter and a den of coyote pups.
Cranberry marshes also provide many recreational opportunities.