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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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080217frontpicnic.jpg

Crivitz To Host Settler's Picnic at Museum on Aug. 5

In commemoration of the popular Settler's Day Picnic held in Crivitz in 1915 another Settler's Picnic is Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Crivitz Museum. Two pictures from the 1915 event are shown.

After the early logging era ended in Marinette County in the late 1800's, loggers switched from logging to selling the cutover lands to immigrants as farm land. Early Crivitz area timberman Heironymous Zech had sold over 20,000 acres of land in Marinette County for farm land, as reported in 1899, bringing over 100 farmers to the area. He later sold his land holdings and businesses to a short lived endeavor known as the Polske Industrial Association, whose goal was to bring over 200 farm families to the area. While they were successful in bringing the farmers, their business failed within a few years and the company went bankrupt. What remained were the farmers. Marinette County farm community was here to stay.

As farming became more established in the area farmers began to gather together to share ideas. In 1911 a gathering of about 45 settlers from Illinois gathered at Lake Noquebay for the first of what became known as Settlers' Day Picnics. The fourth such gathering was held at the UW Experimental Farm in Crivitz and attracted, over 4000 visitors. They were transported by special trains that ran from Marinette and Pembine to Crivitz and over 400 automobiles drove from throughout Marinette County and surrounding counties. Visitors came from as far away as Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.

The event in Crivitz was the first to include demonstrations of agricultural equipment. Crivitz Implement dealer Joseph Dama generated a tremendous amount of excitement in the crowds with his demonstrations of harvesting equipment, manure spreaders, plows and corn planters. There was also much interest in the tractor demonstration given by the International Harvester Corporation. The tractor was used to turn over a field of clover using two 12 inch plows proving to the farmers the future of farming was not in horse drawn equipment, but tractors.

Other exhibitions included cow stanchions, stump pullers and milking machines. A representative of E.I. DuPont de Neumours Powder Company gave a demonstration on the use of dynamite for removing stumps and showed how dynamite could be used to create a ditch. A ditch 50 feet long was blasted using a method known as the "propagation method".

Many university professors spoke to the crowd about farming practices; the central theme of the topics was using legume crops such as clover, alfalfa, soy beans and sweet clover to build up the soils. In one of the demonstration plats on the farm, farmers were shown the actual increased production of corn planted in a field that a year earlier had been planted with soy beans. The yield of the corn crop was over 60 bushels per acre as opposed to 20 bushels in fields that had not been previously planted with soy beans, which not only increased production but profitability as well.

While the crowds were reported as large they were also reported as well behaved. Comments in several reports marveled at the intelligence of the attendees and how they were at the picnic to learn how to improve their farms. An individual visiting the event from Illinois commented, "It was the best behaved picnic crowd I ever saw in my life. There was no disorder at the grounds or even in town."

ThisSaturday, Aug. 5 the Crivitz Museum will host a Settlers' Day picnic from noon until 6 PM. On display will be a large number of farm equipment and tools that would have been used by farmers of that earlier era. The event will held at the Crivitz Area Museum, which is located on the same land where the 1915 Settler's Day Picnic was held, one block west of McDonald's in Crivitz. There will be fun and games for all ages, food and refreshments available throughout the day. Live music will be provided by Dave Stodola and the Party Boys from 2 until 6 PM. Monies raised at the event will be used to relocate a 1909 era barn to the museum grounds to house the farm equipment currently displayed outside, providing protection from the weather.


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