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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"


History of the Foster District

by Ronald Goetsch

"Foster, Wisconsin, an enterprising village, an up-to-date thrifty young city that is marching on to success.  Foster, population 100, and 17 miles from Eau Claire has a modern elevator and feed mill owned and operated by Jones Brothers who also operate at Allen and Cleghorn, an up-to-date creamery owned by Frank Welke.  They have a good bank, the State Bank of Foster, American express and telephone connections.  Land is still cheap, only $50 to $125 per acre.  At all times the people have been ambitious for the future.  They have appreciated the great wealth of natural resources, and the inexhaustible opportunities for the investment of capital.  They have had a firm and abiding faith that a substantial city would be built.

God touched the earth in kindness,
And, low it dimpled there,
It felt his might finger,
And a valley nestled there.
And he told the artist angel,
To paint a sky more blue,
Than over dainty violet,
Or airy blue-bell know,
And to stretch it o'er the valley,
As a promise from it's God,
That peace and plenty
There should spring,
Like flowers from its' sod.

The room is here for thousands of people; those who are just starting out in life or desire to change their location; some with limited means and a laudible ambition to possess a home; others with capital who desire to get in on the "ground floor", and secure property that must of necessity, in the next few years, increase greatly in valley.

All branches of trade are well represented, and the history of the growth in farm products, in the township, shows it to have been very healthy."

This is the description and advertising found in a folder published in 1917 urging people to settle in Foster.

How did this village have its origin?  Where did it get its name?  Our history is a long and interesting one.

Before the Civil War much of this land had been homesteaded by Emmett Coon and his family.  Farmwork was then done by ox teams, grain was cut with a cradle, there were no self-binders.

As the land was broken it was planted in wheat.  Wild hay from nearby marshes was used for food.  They then had to haul grain to Sparta for grinding.

The stage-coach road then ran north of Foster through Ed Dehnke's land and across the creek.  McLellan's was an early stage-stop where horses were changed, and mail left off.  Brackett was also another stop for the stage-coach.  The post office changed each time the President changed.  Each person had to pick up his own mail as it was much later that we had Rural Free Delivery.

The first building which Foster had was the Blacksmith shop.  It was built by Merrill Merrick about 1910.  The first store was built where H. A. Jones now lives, and was built by Mr. Bovee.

Around 1912 to 1913 the first railroad was put in.  The line from Fairchild to Foster at first and was later extended to Cleghorn.  This was called the "Fairchild, and Northeastern".  A huge celebration was held before its' building, and one upon its' completion.

The village was plotted and it was decided to name it "Emett" in honor of the owner of the land.  The name was never formally adopted, however, as citizens chose "Foster", rather in honor of Mr. Foster who built the railroad.

A depot was built at that time for passengers.  It was later used as a storehouse.  This building was town down about two years ago (1947).  Stock-yards and shipping yards were built at this time too.

Mr. La Blanc's elevator was located close to the railroad tracks, yet it was necessary to pipe grain about twenty feet from the elevator into the box cars.  Later the tracks were moved.

About this time the Canning Company bought 7 lots from Horace Coon.  They put in a well, and plans were made for building a factory.  This never developed and so they let the land go for taxes.

Soon after the railroad came in R. E. and R. A. Jones Brothers; completed the Jones mill.  The lumber for building was brought in on the new railroad.  Up to this time it had been necessary to take food to Osseo to have it ground.

The first garage was the same building which is used now.

A shoe-shop was built south of the church, in which harness was repaired.  A large pickle factory was built near the Jones Mills, and the stock-yards.  The first store was built by R. J. Woldt.  A building was put up for a meat-market at this time, but was used later as a billiard hall and a barbershop.  The first creamery in Foster was a cheese-factory.  A restaurant was owned and run by Mattie Olson.

The first filling station was a City Service.

The first doctor was Dr. Schneider.

The main road running through the village was the Old Sparta Road.  Later the road was changed, and in 1931 became Highway 53, a paved road.

The first school which was built, was sold to Art Matz was used for a house until a new house was built.  The first school was built by Ed Howard.

The first Lutheran Church was located on the out-skirts.  Because of trouble in the church it was decided to build one in Foster.  St. Peters church was built in 1918, which replaced the old church, and St. Lukes in 1916.  The Holy Guardian Angel church was built on Highway 53.

Perhaps Foster has not become a city which its' fore-fathers had hoped it would be, but it is still a comfortable, happy, and thriving village.  A village in which the people are taking an active part in the progress of Wisconsin, and our nation.



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