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A History of Colfax: 150 Years in the Making

In the beginning …

The year of 2014 marks the sesquicentennial celebration for the village of Colfax.

The 150th birthday for Colfax was based upon the earliest settlers who came to this area, two men from Waukesha, Cyrenius Baldwin and James Mathew.

Baldwin and Mathew came to Dunn County in April of 1858 looking for good farmland and eventually purchased land in the area that would eventually be known as Colfax.

Baldwin, his wife and two children packed up in November of 1864 and moved to the land he had bought in Dunn County.

 A month before Baldwin and his family arrived here, two other men from Waukesha moved a flock of more than 100 sheep to the Colfax area.

Unfortunately, a prairie fire killed all of the sheep in May of 1865.

Other early settlers in the area included the Silas Pooler family (1850s); the Ole Larson family (1861); and the O.J. Running family (1862).

J.D. Simons

The distinction of being the founder of Colfax goes to a man named J.D. (John D.) Simons.

In 1865, Simons settled on land at the junction of the Red Cedar River and Eighteen Mile Creek.

In 1867, Simons built a log cabin there and then built a grist mill on the creek two years later.

The grist mill was a successful operation and attracted enough customers to allow Mrs. Simons to open a dry goods store in one room of her house.

Mrs. Simons sold calico, needles, thread and other sewing items.

About that time, Simons planted rutabagas. The nature of rutabagas is that they grow very well on land that has recently been cleared.

Enough rutabagas were grown in the area that before Colfax was named Colfax, it was called Begga Town (or Baga Town or Beggy Town, according to various sources).

In the “Official Register of the United States” dated September 30, 1875, J.D. Simons  was listed as the Colfax postmaster and received a salary of $66.11 for the year.

Over the years, J.D. Simons had many business interests in Colfax.

Eventually, he moved to Bellingham, Washington, with one of his daughters, a girl he adopted named Violette.


Here is the obituary of J.D. Simons as it was printed on the front page of the Colfax Messenger on Thursday, May 9, 1918:

John D. Simons Called by Death (Founder of our Village Succumbs to Injuries Received in Auto Accident — Died Sunday)

Word was received last Sunday evening by Alvin Running announcing the death of John D. Simons who passed away that morning at Bellingham, Washington, the result of injuries received in an automobile accident. No details of how the accident occurred were received. Mr. Running left Monday morning for the West, reaching there last evening, barring accident or misconnection of trains.

The news of the death of Mr. Simons came as a shock to the citizens of Colfax and the vicinity for he was known and highly respected by all. He was the pioneer of Colfax pioneers, leaving here nine years ago for the western state of Washington, where he was quite extensively interested in lands and business enterprises.

The deceased was born in New York State July 26, 1834, where he lived on a farm until 1852. He came west to Michigan, where he remained for a period of 10 months. He then returned to New York State, remaining until 1854, when he came to Wisconsin, shifting about in the southern part of the state until 1861, when he moved to Colfax, residing here until nine years ago. Mr. Simons at one time owned the land on which our village now stands, it being his farm. He was one of the most influential characters in the early history of this locality, and many a poor man could point to him as the man who “helped him out” in time of dire distress. He served as Postmaster in Colfax from 1872 to 1894 and held many offices connected with local affairs. He was engaged in several different lines of business here, first as a farmer, then a miller and merchant. He operated a general store for many years in a building on the corner where the Peoples State Bank now stands.

Since leaving Colfax nine years ago, Mr. Simons had missed but one annual visit back to the old home town. He was here last summer and spent several weeks with relatives and many old friends. He had made plans for another journey here this summer in spite of the fact that he would have reached the ripe old age of 84 years had he lived till next July.

It is with pleasure the editor of the Messenger will remember his first visit with Mr. Simons last summer. He told many interesting tales of the pioneer days in Colfax and Dunn County, displaying a wonderful memory for dates and happenings, and he had a most interesting way in relating them.

The deceased is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Henry Todd of Madge, Wisconsin, an adopted daughter, Mrs. Thompson, Bellingham, Washington. There are brothers and sisters whose names and addresses could not be ascertained. There are 7 grandchildren, 3 residing in Colfax, as follows: Alvin Running, Mrs. W.A. Smith, and Miss Mamie Running.

The probabilities are that the remains will be brought back to Colfax for interment, although that should not be known positively until Mr. Running reaches the West.

Coming home

Mr. Running did, indeed, bring back the body of J.D. Simons, as was noted in the next issue of the Colfax Messenger.

Mary Simons had died several years before the Colfax Messenger was founded so there is no obituary in the Messenger available for her.

We do know, however, that Mrs. Simons is buried west of Colfax in Hill Grove Cemetery on county Highway BB.

According to the next issue of the Messenger, after the funeral for J.D. Simons, Colfax residents followed the casket out to — Oak Grove Cemetery.

A call to the Dunn County Register of Deeds revealed that there is no Oak Grove Cemetery in Dunn County.

And, unfortunately, there was no stone for J.D. Simons out at Hill Grove Cemetery.

So what happened to Mr. Simons? Where is he buried?

In early February of 2014, Jackie Ponto, the village administrator-clerk-treasurer, was looking for information about someone else in her old records and came across the burial permit for John D. Simons.

The burial permit lists the place of burial as Hill Cemetery, and the date of death as May 6, 1918, in Bellingham, Washington.

The cause of death is described as “shock following a fractured femur and tibia.”

The undertaker is listed as A.J. Running.

It is indeed likely, then, that J.D. Simons is buried in Hill Grove Cemetery on county Highway BB west of Colfax.

Then the question becomes — where in Hill Grove Cemetery is J.D. Simons buried?

One would assume that J.D. is buried next to his wife, but short of digging up the cemetery, there is no way to know for sure.

Part of the Colfax Sesquicentennial Celebration in July includes a stone for J.D. Simons at Hill Grove Cemetery next to his wife, Mary.


All of the sources that talk about the origins of the name for Colfax agree that Colfax was named after the 17th vice-president of the United States, Schuyler Colfax, who served with President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869 to 1873.

Colfax and Grant were 46 and 45 years of age at the time they were elected and were the youngest presidential team until Bill Clinton and Al Gore were inaugurated in 1993.

There are also places named Colfax in California, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Washington.

The railroad did not come through Colfax until 1884.

Colfax was incorporated as a village in 1904.

Before the railroad came through town, development of the village was on the north side around Eighteen Mile Creek.

After the railroad came through, development also started on the south side of town.


Here is a timeline of Colfax from the Souvenir Program of the Colfax Centennial:

1864 — John D. Simons was the first settler in the area now known as Colfax. The first school was built, and Mr. Simons built a non-denominational church.

1876 — Holden Lutheran Church was built north of Colfax on what is now county Highway M.

1878 — Running Valley Lutheran Free Church; Eli Monteith (doctor); Hamp Barden (dentist); Mrs. Monteith (music instructor); David Philander (farmer and preacher); Halver Erickson (blacksmith); Margaret Miller (school teacher); Thomas Leach (barber); W.R. Culbertson (postmaster); Running and J.E. Mathews (storekeepers).

1884 — Wisconsin Central Railway completed to Colfax. Peter Running opened a hardware store. Mrs. A.C. Hayner opened a millinery store. O.G. Kinney and Severin Fjelstad opened Kinney Mercantile Company.

1892 — The population of Colfax was about 100. Water power flour and grist mill erected. Privately owned bank opened by George Bartlett and G.T. Vorland.

1894 — Ole Noer, licensed pharmacist, handled drugs with other merchandise in his store.

1896 — The first newspaper, “The Colfax Record,” was published for about six months.

1897 — The “Colfax Messenger” was founded by A.C. (Andrew) Chase and his wife, Jennie Chase. A water system was installed in Colfax.

1898 — 272 carloads of potatoes were shipped out. Agent Smith reported an average of 10 to 25 train cars each day for six weeks.

1899 — Methodist church was built. Kinney Mercantile Company opened a new store and is now the present Noer Drug Store (in 2014, The Colfax Health Mart). A library was started by the Reading Club, which eventually became the Colfax Woman’s Club.

1900 — The population of Colfax is 404. Colfax Creamery opened in March with Ludvig Ludvigson  of Elk Mound as the buttermaker. Work began on the starch factory on July 13. The building was 40×110 feet and cost $15,000.

• 1903 — Colfax Telephone Exchange was established by Oscar Anderson.

• 1904 — Colfax incorporated as a village.

1905 — The dam on Eighteen Mile Creek washed out, and there was no electricity to power lights in Colfax. The engineer and fireman were killed when the railroad bridge collapsed because of flooding in the Red Cedar River. Area farmers got together and purchased the creamery, changing the name to the Colfax Cooperative Creamery.

1907 — A tobacco sorting house was built, 32×80 feet at a cost of $3,000. Passengers were allowed the privilege of boarding the train. A Sons of Norway trip to Chippewa Falls by train cost 65 cents.

1908 — The Lutheran church was built. Dr. L.A. Larsen owned the first car in town, a Stanley Steamer.

1910 — A high school building was constructed.

1911 — Soo Line took over Wisconsin Central on a 99-year lease.

1914 — A village band was organized by Dr. L.A. Larsen.

1915 — Silent movies were started by G. Hammer in the Colfax Municipal Building. He had his own generator. Peoples State Bank was founded. W.W. Mathews was the first president.

1916 — Boy Scouts were organized. D.J. Toycen was the first scout master.

1918 — John Danielson received a check for $10,529.90 for a tobacco crop.

1919 — American Legion and Auxiliary was organized.

1924 — The population of Colfax was about 1,000, making it the largest village in Dunn County. The park now known as the Colfax Fairgrounds was given to the village by the Scandinavian American Fraternity. The park was developed in 1910 as the Independent Scandinavian Workingmen’s Association (ISWA) Park.

1927 — The Rod and Gun Club began.

1928 — Colfax schools had the first school bus from the Wheeler area.

1930 — Girl Scouts were organized.

1931 — Peoples State Bank was robbed September 8. Fred Moe, son of Theodore Moe, went to Siberia for two years to be an instructor in Caterpillar tractor factory.

1932 — Lloyd Ellingson selected as a member of the Olympic team to represent the United States at Lake Placid, New York, in February. Colfax Stone Mill received an order for limestone for the Sacred Heart Church at Aberdeen, South Dakota. L.E. Root advertised a 10th anniversary sale of beef roast 8 cents; steak 13 cents; pork chops and hams, whole or half, 12 cents.

1933 — Lyman Paul and John Russell tapped 85 maple trees for sap. Orin Larson started a chicken hatchery in February.

1934 — Flood disaster. The bridge across Eighteen Mile Creek washed out, and overnight, a feed mill, gas station, garage and car owned by Reuben Larson went downstream during the night. The Red Cedar River flooded, and residents in River’s Bend were rescued from the second floor of their homes by boat.

1936 — Peoples State Bank robbed August 25. The robber obtained $2,408.

1939 — A celebration on May 15 for Ebert Sorkness, the oldest living Civil War Veteran in Dunn County, who was 100 years old. Mr. Sorkness died eight months later, Edward B. Rosenberg won Grand Sweepstakes at the Minnesota Gladiola Show. The gladiolus were grown on a 40×60 plot.

1940 — Mr. Fladoes opened a refrigerated locker plant.

1941 — Dedication of Colfax Vocational and Farm Shop building. Egg drying was in operation at the creamery. A total of 360,000 eggs were handled daily. The creamery turned out 10,000 pounds of egg powder daily.

1942 — County Trunk G from Colfax to Wheeler becomes state Highway 170. A total of 17 mothers organized the War Mothers’ Club with Mrs. B.C. Gullickson as president. The Colfax Cooperative Creamery burned the mortgage with entertainment, free barbecues and speeches on October 3.

1943 — Lieutenant Colonel Howard Lowry was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his distinguished service as a liaison officer for French and American forces during the Tunisian campaign.

1949 — The Colfax Garden Club planted 5,000 Norway pine on the old ball field on the west side and was instrumental in installing playground equipment and trees and shrubs in Iverson Park. An Easter cantata with 120 singers from the community performed at Colfax and Sand Creek. Vernon Iverson was the conductor.

1953 — The sewage disposal plant was completed.

1958 — The June 4, 1958, tornado left 12 dead and many hospitalized. The Eau Claire Jaycees donated and installed playground equipment at SAF Park (the fairgrounds).

1962 — Sylvia Lee, daughter of Alf and Hazel Lee, was elected by a panel of judges from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture to be Alice in Dairyland.

1964 — New elementary school and addition to the high school was dedicated May 10.

The Next 50 Years

Here is a timeline of events from the Colfax Centennial in 1964 to the Colfax Sesquicentennial in 2014. The information was gathered from the Colfax Messenger.

April 1965 — The Red Cedar flooded, causing the village’s wastewater treatment plant to be shut down and forcing residents to move out of their homes in River’s Bend.

May 1965 — Goodrich Funeral Home of Menomonie bought the Bremer Funeral Home in Colfax.

June 1965 — Construction began on the Area Nursing Home.

November 1965 — Duane Dickman of Turtle Lake, North Dakota, was selected as the first administrator of Area Nursing Home.

November 1965 — Construction was completed on Area Nursing Home.


• January 3, 1966 — Lydia Klukas became the first resident at Area Nursing Home. Then shortly after her arrival came Olga Satter, Mary Hoff, Peder Rasmussen, James Gunderson and Maier Olson.

• January 30, 1966 — An open house was held at Area Nursing Home.

• March 24, 1966 — Area Nursing Home was almost filled to capacity with 36 people and only two open beds.

• August 1966 — Merchants in downtown Colfax held the first Crazy Days. Sweet corn was 29 cents a dozen; ground beef was two pounds for 89 cents; Festival Ice Cream was $1.19 a gallon.

• October 1966 — The Farmers’ Store celebrated its 75th anniversary.


• January 1967 — A temperature of 40 degrees below zero was recorded in Colfax. One week later there was rain, thunder and lightning.

• February 1967 — Residents on First Avenue were adamantly opposed to installing curb, gutter and sidewalk. (In 2014, Colfax residents are still adamantly opposed to installing curb, gutter and sidewalk in residential areas of the village.)

• February 1967 — The Colfax Cooperative Creamery reports $2.5 million in business for the year that ended October 31, 1966.

• April 1967 — The Red Cedar River flooded again and once again flooded the wastewater treatment plant. Northern States Power (NSP) announced that the NSP plant on the Red Cedar River will be closed permanently.

• May 1967 — Tom Earl of Goodrich Funeral Home informed the Colfax Village Board that Goodrich would cease operating the ambulance service September 1.

• May 1967 — The Colfax Village Board awarded bids for the new fire station. The total amount of the bids was $20,130.15. (The new fire station built in 2012 cost $750,000.)

• October 1967 — The new fire hall was dedicated October 7.


• February 1968 — Editor and Publisher Kenneth Reed sold the Colfax Messenger to Lyle and Inez Christianson.

• February 1968 — The Colfax Fire Department took over operating the Colfax Rescue Squad.

• February 1968 — The Colfax Cooperative Creamery held its 60th annual meeting.

• May 1968 — The Martin Anderson Gymnasium at Colfax High School was dedicated.

• August 15, 1968 — “Published in the Friendliest Little Town in Wisconsin” first appeared at the top of the Colfax Messenger.

• September 1968 — The 2nd Annual Firemen’s Ball.


• February 1969 — The Colfax Cooperative Creamery reported $3.047 million in business.

• May 1969 — A road was being constructed on Frank Henderson’s land to what will eventually become the City View Villa Court.

• July 1969 — The 50th Annual Colfax Free Fair.

• July 1969 — An addition is planned for Area Nursing Home. The open house was held in May of 1970.

• July 19, 1969 — The Colfax Kiwanis received its charter.


• April 5, 1970 — The Colfax firefighers’ clunker car went down on Mirror Lake at 9:56 p.m. The funds raised from selling tickets will be used for cabinets and furniture at the fire hall.

• June 1970 — The village sponsored the first Summer Recreation program.

• September 1970 — Falls Dairy purchased the Colfax Cooperative Creamery.


• February 1971 — A Friday night fish fry at Sundstrom’s Cafe cost $1.25.

• February 1971 — The Colfax Village Board passed a snowmobile ordinance.

• February 1971 — The Colfax Sno-drifters Snowmobile Club was formed.

• March 1971 — People’s State Bank acquired a coin sorter and wrapper.

• April 1971 — Someone took three shots at Dr. Neumann’s polar bear on display in his dental office. The window was valued at $800 and will be boarded up.

• May 1971 — The Colfax Kiwanis installed house numbers on homes in Colfax.

• December 1971 — A Friday night fish fry at Cart’s Place cost $1.


• July 1972 — Dr. O.M. Felland retired after 45 years of general practice.

• September 1972 — Martin Anderson, former school superintendent for whom the Martin Anderson Gymnasium is named, died at Area Nursing Home at the age of 89.


• January 1973 — An educational television-radio tower is to be built near Wheeler.

• February 1973 — Dr. G. I. Gregory, veterinarian, died at the age of 80.

• May 17, 1973 — A new footbridge was built over Eighteen Mile Creek by the Colfax Fairgrounds.

• September 1973 — The Colfax Village Board approved a $94,000 clinic wing for Area Nursing Home.

• November 1973 — The Colfax Village Board approved a resolution designating the Colfax Rescue Squad as a department of the village.


• January 1974 — The Colfax Messenger published a warning for people to stay off Mirror Lake, including children and snowmobiles, because the ice was not safe and was starting to break up.

• February 1974 — The cost of a one-year subscription to the Messenger increased to $5.50 within the 547- ZIP code and $6 outside of the 547- area.

• April 1974 — Colfax stores closed at noon on Good Friday and opened again at 3 p.m.

• May 1974 — A total of 75 youngsters from the Colfax area rode in the 50-mile “Hike-Bike.” All together, there were 365 participants in Dunn County. The Hike-Bike raised $6,587 for the Dunn County Chapter of the Youth Association for Retarded Citizens.

• May 1974 — Dr. O. M. Felland died at the age of 76.

• August 1974 — The Colfax Kiwanis decided to name their canoe-landing project on the Red Cedar River Dr. Felland Memorial Park.


• January 1975 — Charles Hagen took over as editor and publisher of the Colfax Messenger. Lyle Christianson remained on staff as the shop foreman.

• June 1975 — Charles and Lorraine Hagen purchased the Boyceville Press Reporter. The Press Reporter will be a combined publication with the Colfax Messenger.

• August 1975 — Two U.S. Navy men were charged in Portsmouth, Virginia, with the murder of Teri Christianson of Colfax, who was also serving in the Navy.


• January 1976 — Robert and Eileen Hoton, owners and operators of Hoton’s Bakery for 20 years, will close their business in February.

• June 1976 — Lyle and Inez Christianson bought the Colfax Messenger again.

• November 1976 — The Colfax Village Board approved the purchase of land from Frank Henderson for a proposed industrial park.


• April 1977 — The Colfax Board of Education accepted low bids for a new junior high/high school building at a cost of $2.8 million.

• May 1977 — Construction started on the new junior high/high school.

• September 1977 — The assessed value of Colfax was $9.8 million.

• October 1977 —  The Colfax Apartments on University Avenue were finished and an open house was held October 30.


• March 1978 — The Colfax Vikings boys basketball team won the state Class C championship in Madison.

• May 1978 — The Running and Martin building on Railroad Avenue was torn down. The building was originally owned by Peter Running.

• May 1978 — Woods Run Forest Products received approval from the Colfax Village Board.

• July 1978 — Construction started on Viking Bowl in the Town of Colfax.

• September 1978 — The first men’s league bowled at Viking Bowl.


• February 1979 — The Wisconsin Transportation Commission ordered signals and gates for the railroad crossing on Main Street citing accidents at the crossing in 1952, 1969, 1970, 1973 and 1977. The railroad has a long history of killing and injuring people in Colfax, dating back to the days of horse and buggy.

• April 1979 — The Town of Grant voted to remain dry.

• July 1979 — Two armed men robbed Cart’s Place on Main Street at 3:20 p.m. and took money from the cash register and one customer.

• August 1979 — The Bartz family of Colfax was being treated for rabies after one of their dairy cows died of the disease.


• May 1980 — The 40×80 foot livestock building at the Colfax Fairgrounds was finished. The building fund accrued donations of $12,500. The goal was $10,000.

• November 1980 — The Colfax Village Board established the first Tax Increment Finance District (TIF).

• November 1980 — The Peoples State Bank/First American Bank building on the south side of town was finished.


• January 1981 — The state Department of Natural Resources ruled that Colfax must build a new wastewater treatment facility. The old mechanical facility on state Highway 170 on the west side of town, which was originally going to be updated, was located in the floodway.

• April 1981 — The Colfax Village Board approved building a new lagoon system.

• October 1981 — The Colfax Village Board accepted a bid of $473,347 from Merrill Gravel and Construction for the new lagoon system.

• December 1981 — Colfax sewer rates will increase by 336 percent due to the cost of the lagoon system.


The year 1982 is missing from the Colfax Messenger archives.


• January 1983 — The new lagoon system is not yet operational. The wrong pumps were delivered. The pumps were the submersible kind, but they will be operated under dry conditions.

• March 1983 — The Colfax Village Board declined an opportunity to buy what is now the Karl’s Chevrolet dealership lot for public parking. First American Bank offered it to the village for $16,000. Village board members said parking was not a problem in Colfax and that a parking lot was not needed.

• April 1983 — Former Colfax resident Stuart Barstad is the first American Lutheran Church pastor to be promoted to a rank of general in the United States Air Force.

• June 2, 1983 — The Colfax Messenger published the 25th anniversary edition about the June 4, 1958, Colfax tornado.

• June 4, 1983 — Colfax held Colfax Appreciation Day to mark the 25th anniversary of the Colfax tornado.

• August 1983 — The Colfax Village Board approved a cable franchise for cable television with S&K T.V. Systems.


• February 1984 — Colfax United Methodist approved preliminary building plans for a 30-foot addition for $100,000. Groundbreaking was scheduled for April 8, and the scheduled completion date was August 1.

• April 1984 — Dr. Bruce Buckley D.V.M. opened East River Veterinary Clinic on April 23.

• July 1984 — Lyle Christianson, publisher of the Messenger and the Boyceville Press Reporter, sold the Press Reporter to Carlton DeWitt of Glenwood City. The Boyceville Press Reporter and the Glenwood City Tribune will be combined into the Tribune Press Reporter.

• October 1984 — The Colfax Board of Education voted not to reinstate the wrestling program. The program was dropped in 1983. Six students went out for wrestling in 1984. (In September of 1985, the wrestling program was reinstated.)


• June 1985 — Pauline Buchner, Jenny Gilbertson and Henry Wieland celebrated 100th birthdays at Area Nursing Home during an open house June 30.

• July 1985 — The farm activist group Groundswell staged a protest at First American Bank and herded cows into the parking lot and blocked the driveway and parking lot with old machinery. The group was protesting bank lending practices and farm foreclosures.


• February 1986 — An informational workshop on the new herd buy-out program in the 1985 farm bill was held at the Colfax Village Hall.

• February 1986 — The Viking statue arrived at Colfax High School. It was sculpted by Jerome Vettrus, a Colfax High School graduate.

• May 1986 — Six girls will be vying for the title of Colfax FFA Alumni Fair Queen at the 67th annual Colfax Free Fair. The queen was selected solely on the number of $1 tickets sold in her name.

• June 1986 — The Colfax Woman’s Club held the third annual June Jamboree.

• July 1986 — The Dunn County Centennial Fair will feature Colfax and Elk Mound.


• August 1987 — The Colfax Village Board approved blacktopping four streets for $36,629. (In 2014, the cost for one street is about $350,000.)

• September 1987 — Lynn and Bruce Sampson of Whitehall purchased Goodrich Funeral Home. (Sampson Funeral Home is still in existence in 2014, although it is under different ownership.)

• October 1987 — The Colfax Village Board approved a resolution for candidate nomination papers instead of a village caucus.

• December 1987 — Colfax area merchants will be giving away 46 turkeys during the holiday season.


• January 1988 — Approximately 1,500 people turned out for the Old Tyme Fishing Contest on upper Tainter Lake.

• February 1988 — More than 1,200 people attended the FFA Alumni farm toy show at Colfax High School.

• April 1988 — Former publisher of the Colfax Messenger, Kenneth Reed, 82, died at Area Nursing Home.

• April 1988 — Southside Grocery closed on April 1. Larry Dobbs had run the business since March of 1980.

• May 1988 — The Colfax Village Board granted liquor licenses to Kirkwood’s IGA and Express Mart.

• June 1988 — The National Weather Service reported the driest June on record.

• July 15, 1988 — The First American Bank temperature was 106 degrees.


• April 1989 — The Colfax Village Board approved buying a new warning siren from Federal Warning Systems, Rochester, for $9,995.

• August 1989 — The deck was replaced on the Highway 170 bridge. Work on the Highway 40 bridge will start after the Firemen’s Ball in September.


• May 1990 — Mike and Diane Werner purchased the drug store from Juul Noer. Three generations of Noers had operated the pharmacy since 1896.


• January 1991 — Area Nursing Home celebrated its 25th anniversary.

• April 1991 — Mike Gullickson’s industrial arts students began building a gazebo in the park next to the Colfax Municipal Building.

• April 1991 — Bryan and Jane Dobbs asked the Colfax Village Board for sewer and water service to a property where they planned to build a car wash on Highway 40. The business opened in July.

• June 1991 — The Colfax Board of Education awarded a bid to Fritz Koepl Inc. to build a new athletic complex at Colfax High School for $208,000.

• August 1991 — Dr. L.R. Phillips transferred his dentist practice to Colfax from Eau Claire. He is affiliated with Dr. G.J. Neumann.

• August 1991 — Dr. H. Gaylon Greenhill, former Colfax resident and a 1954 graduated of Colfax High School, was appointed chancellor at UW-Whitewater.

• December 1991 — Tom Prince, head custodian at Colfax High School and former village board member, died December 6.

• December 1991 — Bob Gregory, one of the first administrators at Area Nursing Home, died December 23.


• January 1992 — Kirkwood’s IGA installed scanner registers.

• February 1992 — Colfax United Methodist opened the Caring Ministries Food Pantry.

• May 1992 — Commercial Testing Lab Inc. celebrated its 40th anniversary in Colfax.

• June 1992 — A hard frost June 21-22 damaged many acres of corn in the Colfax area.

• July 1992 — The Colfax Rescue Squad and the Colfax Fire Department are now dispatched by Dunn County.

• August 1992 — The Colfax Village Board agreed to participate with the Colfax Development Corporation in constructing a business building in the industrial park at an estimated cost of $300,000.

• October 1992 — The Colfax Board of Education accepted a gift of 30 acres along the Red Cedar River from Charles Bille to be used as nature conservancy.

• November 1992 — The Colfax Woman’s Club outlined a proposal to the Colfax school board to build a community center and swimming pool for $1 million. The school board approved use of school property for the project in December.


• February 1993 — The Colfax Board of Education voted to discontinue the wrestling program again. The program been operated cooperatively with Elk Mound.

• March 1993 — Dr. Roy Baird purchased Dr. David Frogner’s dental practice. Dr. Frogner had operated his practice for 34 years.

• July 1993 — A satellite dish for educational programs and classes was installed at Colfax High School.

• September 1993 — The Colfax Village Board approved construction of Bremer Avenue through the industrial park.

• October 1993 — The Colfax Village Board leased the new building in the industrial park to Dry Blend Specialties, Inc., formerly operated in the Knapp Creamery Building.

• November 1993 — Bob Kirkwood talked to the Colfax Village Board about a new location for the grocery store currently operating in the old Farmers’ Store building in downtown Colfax.


• February 1994 — The Colfax Woman’s Club celebrated its 90th anniversary.

• March 1994 — The Colfax Village Board gave its blessing to Herb Sakalaucks, Jr., to renovate the old rail depot and surrounding property.

• July 1994 — Mike and Julia Flynn celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

• August 1994 — Four Seasons FS Farm Supply cooperative announced plans to build on Highway 40 south of Colfax near Elk Mound.

• September 1994 — A ceremony on September 10 formally dedicated the Colfax softball park in memory of Tom Prince.

• November 1994 — The DNR informed the Colfax Village Board that phosphorus levels in the lagoons were too high.

• November 1994 — Lyle Christianson, publisher of the Messenger since 1968, sold the newspaper to Ellis Bloomfield of Wanamingo, Minnesota. Bloomfield is the sixth publisher since A.C. Chase founded the paper in 1897.


• January 1995 — The Colfax Village Board authorized the drafting of a grant application to abandon the dam on Eighteen Mile Creek. The village board also announced that the application had been approved for funds to help build a new water tower.

• May 1995 — Colfax residents favored abandoning the Eighteen Mile Creek dam at a cost of $200,000 in a referendum election vote of 170 to 114.

• June 1995 — Jay Starkweather, 36, rural Colfax, was charged with killing Ted Demery, 57, of Colfax, and wounding Marty Austreng, 37, New Richmond, and Wayne Kittelson, 35, Colfax. Starkweather was wounded in a shoot-out with Dunn County Sheriff’s deputies.

• July 1995 — Ground-breaking was held for the Kirkwood’s IGA new grocery store in Colfax on the south side of town. The store was expected to be completed in November.


• April 1996 — The Colfax Village Board voted to paint the new water tower white with black lettering and the Colfax Vikings logo.

• April 1996 — Colfax school district voters approved a $1.975 million school building referendum April 13 on a vote of 583 “yes” to 65 “no.”

• June 1996 — Construction on the new water tower began June 5 and was finished July 8.

• August 1996 — Johnson Excavating was awarded the contract for demolishing the Sportsmen’s Bar on Main Street. The building had formerly been the Colfax Hotel.

• September 1996 — The Colfax High School student council voted to not have a homecoming parade.

• October 1996 — The Dunn County Board approved building a new jail and judicial center for $12 million.

• December 1996 — A leaky valve made it impossible to drain the old water tower. Demolition of the water tower was delayed until the spring of 1997.


• January 1997 — Bill Everson died February 6 at the Area Nursing Home. Everson was the Colfax village president during the June 4, 1958, tornado.

• March 1997 — Carlton DeWitt, publisher of the Glenwood City Tribune Press Reporter, purchased the Colfax Messenger from Ellis Bloomfield. Carlton DeWitt is still the owner and publisher of the Messenger in 2014.

• May 1997 — Dr. Harlan Earnhart, 64, died. He had practiced in Colfax since 1961.

• May 1997 — The Colfax water tower next to the Colfax Municipal Building was taken down by Isle Engineering. It was constructed in 1914.

• September 1997 — A ribbon cutting was held September 12 for Colfax Prairie Homes on the south side of the village.

• December 1997 — A contract to remove the dam on Eighteen Mile Creek was awarded by the Colfax Village Board to Timme Inc. The work was expected to begin January 12.


• January 13, 1998 — Crews from Timme Inc. began to remove the dam on Eighteen Mile Creek and began dredging the area behind the dam and east of the Highway 40 bridge. The bulk of the project was expected to be finished by the end of February, and the DNR then planned to work on turning the creek into a trout stream.

• April 1998 — Mark Ackerman, Ackerman Dairy Products, Inc., Eau Claire, recently began liquid drying operations at the former Colfax Cooperative Creamery.

• April 1998 — The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin proposed a water rate increase of 125 percent and a sewer increase of 23 percent. The average residential water bill for 13,000 gallons per quarter would increase from $25.64 to $57.20. The proposed sewer increase would raise the average residential bill quarterly from $45.08 to $55.71. The increases were due to increased operating expenses for both utilities.

• May 1998 — The Country Shoppe, operated by Kim Borofka and her mother, Mary Jane Higbie, opened on Main Street. (The Country Shoppe, known as The Farmhouse in 2013, closed its doors in October of 2013 and moved to Bloomer.)

• September 1998 — The Colfax Fire Department celebrated 100 years of community service. A fire at the Wisconsin Central Depot that destroyed the depot and the agent’s house on August 31, 1898, prompted Colfax to form its own fire department.

• September 1998 — Steam engine excursion trains ran from Chippewa Falls to Colfax September 20 and stopped at the depot in Colfax.

• October 1998 — Brian Krall has rebuilt and reopened the former Fennie Meat Plant on Highway 40 south of Colfax. The business is called Bri’s Processing.

• October 1998 — Marion Loew, president of the Colfax school board, received a Level Five Wisconsin Association of School Board’s service award — the highest award of its kind given by WASB.

• November 1998 — First American Bank became Bremer Bank November 2, with Royed Wollberg as president.

• November 1998 — The Colfax Railroad Museum was completed and open for visitors.

• December 1998 — The Colfax school district entered the technology age with school-wide Internet access. Last year, the school only had one computer terminal with Internet access.


• January 1999 — The Otto Bremer Foundation awarded a $15,000 grant to develop a Colfax Community Youth and Family Recreational Area at the Tom Prince Memorial Ball Field. The Colfax Bremer Bank added $500 to the total.

• February 1999 — Herb Sakalaucks, Jr., of Aid Association for Lutherans, presented a $1,000 grant to Bethany Lutheran to help the church celebrate its 100th anniversary October 3.

• April 24, 1999 — The completion of the Eighteen Mile Creek trout stream restoration project was celebrated at the Colfax Fairgrounds.

• April 1999 — The Colfax Community Pool Committee of the Colfax Woman’s Club disbanded after six years and raising $35,000 in cash and $65,000 in pledges. The goal was $1 million. All of the money was refunded to the appropriate group, organization, business or individual.

• May 1999 — The Colfax Village Board accepted the resignation of Ron Hodgson, Colfax police chief.

• June 1999 — Elsa Johnson, a 1999 graduate of Colfax High School, received a full scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

• June 1999 — H. Gaylon Greenhill, a 1954 graduate of Colfax High School, retired as chancellor of UW-Whitewater.

• August 1999 — Colfax Methodist celebrated its 100th anniversary.

• August 1999 — The Colfax Village Board voted to offer the police chief position to Pete Gehring of Bloomer.

• October 1999 — Adina Felland, wife of Dr. O.M. Felland, celebrated her 100th birthday October 13.

• December 1999 — Construction began on the new Colfax Farmers Union warehouse at the corner of Balsam Street and Railroad Avenue.


• January 2000 — The Otto Bremer Foundation awarded an $11,900 grant to the Colfax school district to pay for a shelter and restroom at the district’s environmental site on the Red Cedar River.

• May 2000 — Colfax Lutheran celebrated its 100th anniversary.

• August 2000 — The Colfax Farmers Union contracted with Pete Johnson, Johnson Excavating, to tear down the E.J. Crane Company building.

• September 2000 — The Highway 170 bridge over the Red Cedar River and the Highway 40 bridge over Eighteen Mile Creek were painted.

• October 2000 — Dave Hovre, after 44 years of family ownership, sold Hovre Chevrolet to Karl Rynish of Bloomer. Rynish still operates Karl’s Chevrolet in 2014.

• October 2000 — Menomonie Farmers Union, Colfax Farmers Union, and the Eau Claire Cooperative Oil Company formed Crossroads Ag LLC to purchase Four Seasons Farm Supply on Highway 40 just north of Elk Mound.


• January 2001 — The Colfax Merry Mixers senior citizens group moved into their new home at the Grapevine Nutrition Center. The Merry Mixers purchased the building that was formerly known as the Grapevine Restaurant with an anonymous donation of $100,000 from a Colfax resident and a $30,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The building originally was a Texaco station that was partially destroyed in the 1958 tornado.

• January 2001 — Don Berge and Ken Bjork were both honored for 20 or more years of service on the Colfax school board during the state school board convention in Milwaukee. Berge, who served as president of the school board for many years, declined to run for re-election in 2014 and retired from the board.

• July 2001 — Lutheran Brotherhood presented North Running Valley Church with an artist-commissioned pen and ink drawing to note the congregation’s 100th anniversary.

• September 2001 — On the night of September 11, after terrorist attacks in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and New York City, cars lined up for several blocks on Main Street and Railroad Avenue waiting to get into two Colfax gas stations after rumors circulated of large increases in gas prices.

• December 2001 — The Colfax school district received state and federal grants of more than $300,000 for a charter school, staff development, technology, special needs, reading and math.


• April 2002 — The Colfax Farmers Union feed mill was locked, and the machinery sat silent. The feed mill’s former functions were moved to Crossroads Ag.

• July 2002 — A feasibility study recommended Colfax as the top site for an ethanol plant.

• August 2002 — Signs saying “NO! Ethanol in Colfax” began popping up.


• March 2003 — The Colfax Farmers Union feed mill was burned down as an exercise for firefighters. The feed mill lot eventually was turned into a parking lot for the Colfax Farmers Union convenience and hardware store.

• April 2003 — Large cakes of ice were deposited on the shore of the Red Cedar River by the Twenty-Two Mile Ford Bridge. Witnesses say the river rose to less than one foot from the bottom of the bridge. An ice jam farther down the river caused the water to back up.

• June 2003 — The Colfax Comets 4-H Club put up the sign on Highway 40 south proclaiming the exploits of the 1978 Colfax High School basketball team’s Class C state championship. It was not clear from the Messenger whether the Colfax Comets paid for the sign or whether the 4-H club only paid for having the sign put up.

• July 2003 — H & H Plumbing’s new building in the Colfax Industrial Park was under construction.

• August 2003 — Windmill Dairy was under construction on the John Higbie Jr. farm just north of Colfax on county Highway M.

• October 2003 — The Dunn County Zoning Board of Adjustment held a public hearing on the proposed ethanol plant in the Town of Hay River. Western Wisconsin Renewable Energy had originally proposed building the ethanol plant in Colfax, but village residents were so opposed that the cooperative began looking elsewhere for a site. After ten hours of testimony, the BOA delayed making a decision on the proposal.


• March 2004 — The Colfax Municipal Building was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places as of January 28. A few years earlier, the basement of the building suffered water damage that caused the wooden floor to buckle. Village residents indicated they were in favor of saving the building constructed in 1915, although they were not especially in favor of spending any tax money to preserve it.

• May 2004 — Work begins on the Highway 40/Main Street reconstruction project. The village board borrowed $1.7 million to cover the village’s share of the project.


• April 2005 — Cara Turner of Colfax was selected as Miss Rodeo Wisconsin.

• April 2005 — Colfax Elementary and Middle School principal Bill Yingst is home again after serving with the United States Army Reserves for one year in Afghanistan.

• October 2005 — Adina Felland, wife of Dr. O.M. Felland, celebrated her 106th birthday at Area Nursing Home. Mrs. Felland died on December 9, 2005.

• November 2005 — Construction began on the Anderson Bridges building in the Colfax Industrial Park.


• July 2006 — Construction started on Dr. Larry Phillips’ second building in the Colfax Industrial Park.

• October 2006 — A grand opening was held for the Western Wisconsin Renewable Energy ethanol plant between Wheeler and Boyceville in the Town of Hay River.

• November 2006 — The Colfax Village Board approved a developer’s agreement with JHT Logistics for the last available lot in the Colfax Industrial Park.


• April 2007 — The Tainter Plan Commission held a meeting at Colfax High School about the proposed sand mine in the Town of Tainter. The sand would be used in the oil and natural gas industry as frac sand for hydraulic fracturing. The plan commission voted to recommend that the Tainter Town Board deny a permit to operate a sand mine near the Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area.

• April 2007 — The Tainter Town Board held a meeting at Colfax High School and voted unanimously to oppose the sand mine.

• May 2007 — The Colfax Village Board approved buying the Colfax Farmers Union Warehouse on Railroad Avenue for $270,000 and agreed to develop part of the building for the Department of Public Works.

• August 2007 — Dan and Brenda Dahl took over ownership of the former Village Inn and changed the name of the business to the Buck Snort Bar and Grill. Dan’s father, Carsten (Cart) Dahl, opened Cart’s Place in that location in 1967.

• October 2007 — Signs were placed for Anytime Fitness and Mom’s Restaurant and Pub on the newly constructed building west of Bremer Bank.


• January 2008 — The Colfax Messenger began a series of interviews conducted by LeAnn Ralph of the people who survived the June 4, 1958, tornado in preparation for the 50-year commemoration in June. Some survivors of the tornado chose to write their own stories.

• June 4, 2008 — The granite tornado memorial bench in Tower Park next to the Colfax Municipal Building was dedicated.  The bench is inscribed with the names of the people in Colfax who died in the tornado.

• June 4, 2008 — An estimated 600 people attended the Memorial Service at Colfax High School for victims of the June 4, 1958, tornado in Colfax.

• June 2008 — Anderson Bridges installed a new footbridge over Eighteen Mile Creek at the Colfax Fairgrounds.

• August 2008 — The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group received $30,000 from the estate of Dr. Gordon and Mabel Holter.

• September 2008 — Area Nursing Home changed its name to the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center.

• September 2008 — The Colfax Messenger began a series of interviews with local veterans of various wars from World War II onward.


• January 2009 — The Tainter Town Board decided to withdraw from the Colfax Fire Protection District and put the entire township into the Menomonie Rural Fire District. Twenty-three of the township’s 36 sections were in the Colfax Fire District. The change is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2010.

• January 2009 — According to the financial report, during the 12-month period prior to August 31, 2008, Colfax Farmers Union had total sales exceeding $8 million and almost $2 million more in sales than the previous fiscal year.

• March 2009 — A car driven by 77-year-old Clyde Rodewald of Colfax was traveling south on Main Street when it went out of control, jumped the curb and struck the front of A Little Slice of Italy restaurant. Rodewald was transported by ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

• March 2009 — Remodeling is not an option favored by member communities of the Colfax Community Fire Department, according to a report given to the Colfax village board of trustees March 23.

• April 2009 — Marlin Raveling, news editor of the Messenger, planned to retire after nearly 50 years in the newspaper business.

• May 2009 — The Dunn County Dairy Breakfast will be held at Higbies’ Windmill Dairy near Colfax.

• May 2009 — The Colfax Car Wash was burglarized. The burglars gained entry to the building by cutting a hole in the metal roof. It was learned later that a car wash in Bloomer had been entered in a similar fashion the same night.

• May 2009  — More than 1,500 people attended the Dunn County Dairy Breakfast May 30 at Windmill Dairy just north of Colfax.

• June 2009 — The 90th Colfax Free Fair took place at the Colfax Fairgrounds.

• July 2009 — “The Friendliest Little Town in Wisconsin” was removed from the top of the Colfax Messenger to make room for the newspaper’s website address. The slogan had been there for more than 40 years and had originally been coined by Colfax resident Sam Iverson and appeared on a sign near the intersection of state Highways 40 and 29 near Elk Mound.

• July 2009 — Planning started for the Colfax High School All School Reunion in June of 2010.

• August 2009 — The Colfax Village Board denied a request for $90,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funding to build a 9,000 square-foot Dollar General store in Colfax.

• September 2009 — Demolition of the stone and masonry building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and state Highway 40 the week of September 14th marked the end of an era. The building, constructed by George Suvada in 1958, was demolished to make way for a Dollar General store. Suvada had originally operated his tractor repair business and implement dealership in a building across the street, where Mike’s Auto Repair is now, that was destroyed in the 1958 tornado.

• September 2009 — A memorial service for former Colfax resident United States Air Force Chief of Chaplains Major General Stuart E. Barstad was held September 27 at Colfax Lutheran Church. Barstad will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in November.

• September 2009 — Members of the Colfax High School class of 1938 held a 71-year class reunion in Altoona. Attending from Menomonie were Javerna Morrill and Racile Larson; from Eau Claire were Gladys Bjerkness, Bette Hadt, Jewel Myers and Lorraine Miller; from Colfax were Clarice Larson and Alice Rude.

• October 2009 — It was 25 years ago this fall when the Colfax football team made its first and only appearance in the WIAA state championship game in Madison.


• February 2010 — The Colfax Village Board approved moving the rescue squad to the Department of Public Works building.

• March 2010 — Marlin Raveling, News Editor at the Colfax Messenger from 1989 to 2009, died Saturday, March 6, at Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center. He celebrated his 68th birthday on February 28.

• April 2010 — A model of Roald Amundsen’s ship, the Gjoa, built by Colfax resident Theodore Moe in 1898, was purchased by Jim and Shirley Puhl and donated to the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group. Amundson, who sailed the Gjoa through the Northwest Passage to the North Pole, visited Colfax in January of 1908. His visit was sponsored by the Young People’s Society of the Holden Church.

• April 2010 — The Village of Colfax was awarded a $179,300 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Governor Jim Doyle’s office announced the grant awards April 6.

• May 2010 — The Colfax Railroad Museum was vandalized the night of May 4 or the morning of May 5. Vandals broke six windows on one of the rail cars, three windows on the outside of the museum and one window on the inside of the museum.

• June 2010 — Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center is seeking non-profit status.

• June 2010— The Colfax Fire Board on June 1 approved an option to purchase five acres of property from Jim and Mary Schindler for $75,000 as the location for a new fire station.

• June 2010 — An estimated 1,500 people attended the Colfax All School Reunion 100th Anniversary Celebration June 11 and 12.

• June 2010 — Members of the Colfax Fire Board agreed at the June 29 meeting to offer to the village the existing fire hall and the lot on which the rescue squad building is located for $100,000. The village board turned down the offer. In April of 2012, Cedar Country Cooperative (Colfax Farmers Union) purchased the property for $240,000.

• August 2010 — A seven-inch rain storm on August 10 resulted in a variety of damage in the Colfax area and left 18-Mile Creek looking like a river the next morning.

• August 2010 — The Colfax Village Board declined to name an acting clerk-treasurer even though John Jahr, clerk-treasurer, was experiencing ongoing health problems that required him to be out of the office several days every week.

• August 2010 — The Colfax Rescue Squad moved into the new facility at 614C East Railroad Avenue in time for the annual meeting August 31.

• September 2010 — Nearly 45 years after Rod Johnson of Colfax lost his class ring, the ring was returned to him. Bill Smith, now almost 97 years old, had been the manager of the Holiday Station in Menomonie and had found it and held onto it all those years.

• September 2010 — Colfax resident Nancy Hainstock, who has worked at the Colfax Post Office for 28 years as a rural mail carrier, received a plaque for driving one million miles without an accident.

• September 2010 — Colfax, Boyceville, Elk Mound and Glenwood City firefighters trained at the ethanol plant near Boyceville on September 25. The exercise was a good test of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS).

• October 2010 — Ada Lee, who wrote the Ridgeland news for the Colfax Messenger for a number of years and for the Barron News Shield for 44 years, died October 7 at the age of 82.

• November 2010 — Republican Tom Larson of Colfax won the November 2 election to become the representative for the state’s 67th Assembly District.

• November 2010 — Patrons of the Menomonie Farmers Union and the Colfax Farmers Union approved a merger of the two cooperatives that will go into effect on January 1 and will be known as Cedar Country Cooperative.

• November 2010 — The Colfax Fire Board and the Colfax Village Board met in closed session November 8 to discuss which entity owned the Colfax Fire Department building and the former Colfax Rescue Squad Building. As it turned out, the village owned the rescue squad building, but the fire department owned the entire lot and the fire station. According to the original agreement, when the rescue squad no longer occupied the building, the fire department could ask the village to tear down the building or move it.

• November 2010 — John Jahr, clerk-treasurer for the Village of Colfax for 32 years, died November 22 following a five-month illness.

• December 2010 — A snowstorm December 11 and 12 dumped up to 22 inches of snow around the area.


• January 2011 — Chad Derleth, Christy Olson and Bonnie Nierenhausen, all of Colfax, were honored at the Brave Hearts and Real Heroes American Red Cross Banquet in Eau Claire on January 27.

• January 2011 — The Colfax Village Board authorized an administrator clerk-treasurer charter ordinance at the January 17 meeting.

• February 2011 — Kathy Morse, clerk-treasurer in Rice Lake, began serving as the interim clerk-treasurer in Colfax. She will work mostly evenings and weekends.

• February 2011 — After 48 years of serving the township, Dick Johnson decided to retire from the Grant Town Board.

• February 2011 — Teachers from Colfax and Elk Mound joined in protests at the state capitol in Madison to protest Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill that eliminated most collective bargaining rights for state employees.

• March 2011 — The Towns of Cooks Valley and Howard, east and north of Colfax, could have 1,800 acres of frac sand mines if all of the active reclamation permit applications are approved.

• March 2011 — Members of the Colfax Village Board wanted the Colfax Fire Department to purchase the old rescue squad building for $60,000, even though the original agreement stipulated that when the building was no longer used for ambulances, the fire department could ask the village to tear down the building or move it.

• March 2011 — Plans for the proposed new fire station were available for the public to see during an open house at the Colfax Community Fire Department March 22.

• April 2011 — Lloyd Peterson, the oldest living Colfax High School graduate, died February 19 in Spokane, Washington. Peterson was born September 13, 1912, in Colfax.

• April 2011 — Electors in the Towns of Colfax, Grant and Otter Creek approved building a new fire station at their annual meetings held on April 12. The Colfax Village Board eventually followed suit and approved the new fire station as well.

• April 2011 — Former Colfax resident Millie Mork was honored as a World War II veteran for National County Government month at the April 20 Dunn County Board of Supervisors meeting.

• April 2011 — The Dunn County sheriff’s foreclosures sales climbed to $16 million in 2010 as a result of the Great Recession and the collapse of the housing market.

•  May 2011 — The Colfax Village Board approved an ordinance that allows village residents to keep up to ten hens.

• May 2011 — Voters in the Village of Colfax approved the administrator/clerk-treasurer position in a referendum held May 19 in which 102 village residents voted for the position and 35 voted against changing from a clerk-treasurer.

• June 2011 — At a special meeting June 1, the Colfax Village Board gave Cedar Corporation approval to move forward with advertising for bids for the Colfax Municipal Building project partially funded by a $180,000 energy-efficiency grant. Total cost of the project was around $340,000. CMBRG donated $100,000 toward the electrical upgrades.

• June 2011 — Dick Toycen and Vern Hoveland of Colfax were members of the Freedom Honor Flight from LaCrosse to Washington D.C. May 14.  The flight was the organization’s seventh to honor WWII veterans.

• July 2011 — Rip-rapping along the wastewater treatment lagoons to keep the bank from collapsing into the Red Cedar River could cost Colfax $400,000. The seven-inch rainfall in August of 2010 started several gullies near the lagoons.

• July 2011 — The Colfax Village Board awarded a bid of $341,000 to Dell Construction out of Eau Claire for the Colfax Municipal Building project.

• August 2011 — The Colfax Fire Board awarded bids and agreed to other expenses totaling $747,000 for a new fire station August 18. The general contractor is S.D. Ellenbecker out of Athens.

• November 2011 — Tom Cogswell was hired as the first administrator in the village. He is from Michigan, but has ties to Wisconsin. Five of his brothers and sister and his mother were born in Superior.

• November 2011 — Construction has started on the new fire station. The slab has been poured and materials delivered for the new fire station on county Highway M just south of Railroad Avenue.

• December 2011 — S&S Glass and Door out of Rice Lake started working on replacing the big window in the Colfax Public Library that faces Main Street on December 1.

• December 2011 — Colfax resident Leonard Larsen attended a holiday reception at the White House in Washington D.C. on December 14 along with his daughter, Stephanie Larsen.


• January 2012 — Crews have been making progress by leaps and bounds on the new Colfax fire station on County Highway M. As of December 30, the building had a roof and walls. Construction on the $750,000 building is expected to be completed by the end of February.

• March 2012 — The Colfax Village Board decided at the March 12 meeting to cut down the big evergreen tree in Tower Park next to the municipal building because the tree is diseased.

• March 2012 — The Colfax Village Board has fired new administrator, Tom Cogswell, effective March 5. Cogswell began his duties as administrator on October 3, 2011.

• April 2012 — Colonel Rodger Loofboro of New Auburn auctioned off the old fire station and rescue squad property on April 21 for $240,000 to Cedar Country Cooperative. Thaler Oil/Express Mart also bid on the property.

• June 2012 — In what is believed to be the only wedding ever held in the Colfax Municipal Building auditorium, Troy Knutson and Michelle Riba were united in marriage June 9.

• July 2012 — Jackie Ponto, administrator-clerk-treasurer, began her duties in Colfax.

• July 2012 — The Village of Colfax was one of the participants in the “Power of 10” workshop on July 11. The workshop was the result of a grant from the Project for Public Places for which the West Central Regional Planning Commission had applied.

• July 2012 — The Colfax Village Board approved a Certified Survey Map for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s building project for a new nursing home on the south side of town. Construction began on the project July 19.

• July 2012 — The Colfax Village Board agreed to an 80/20 split of the cost with homeowners for the process of attempting to remove certain properties from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) floodplain maps.

• August 2012 — Lifelong Colfax resident Dick Toycen, 87, performed his final concert with the Ludington Guard Band on July 31 after 32 years.

• August 2012 — Ray’s Metal Works was honored for 40 years as a Lennox heating and air conditioning dealer on August 22. Ray and Marlene Johnson received a plaque commemorating their 40 years of service from a Lennox representative.

• October 2012 — An open house was held at the Colfax Community Fire Department’s new $750,000 fire station on county Highway M on October 27. The fire department had moved into the building in early summer.

• November 2012 — Tom Larson of Colfax won a second term as representative for the state’s 67th Assembly District in the November 6 election.

• December 2012 — The first snow day of the year for the Colfax school district occurred December 10 following more than a foot of snow on December 9.


• January 2013 — Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center launched a capital campaign, and volunteers plan to raise $500,000 for the loan requirement to build the new $12 million facility on the south side of Colfax.

• January 2013 — Colfax will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2014, and Colfax historian Troy Knutson is looking for more photographs for a book due out in 2014.

• January 2013 — A natural gas explosion sparked an inferno at the St. John Lutheran Church at Popple Creek on Sunday evening, January 13, and the church was completely destroyed by the fire. Popple Creek Church is about ten miles north of Colfax on county Highway W. The church was built in 1913.

• February 2013 — Several fire departments, including Colfax and Menomonie, responded to a barn fire at the Mike Schmit property on 850th Avenue in the Town of Tainter. The 80×140 foot pole building was a total loss. An estimated 30 to 40 alpaca died in the fire. Firefighters were told there were 110 alpaca in the barn.

• February 2013 — The Colfax Village Board approved a zoning change from public use to Commercial B2 February 11 that will allow Cedar Country Cooperative to move forward with plans to use the old fire station and the rescue squad building for car repair.

• March 2013 — The Colfax girls’ basketball team lost to Algoma, 46-30, March 16 at the WIAA Division 4 state championship tournament in Green Bay and took home the silver trophy.

• April 2013 — A fire in the early morning hours of April 5 destroyed the scragg mill at Big Timber Sawmill in Colfax. The Elk Mound Fire Department and the Menomonie Fire Department provided aid to the Colfax Fire Department.

• April 2013 — Bryan Yantes of Coit Cleaners in St. Paul re-installed stage curtains and the valance in the Colfax Municipal Building Auditorium April 4. The 80-year old curtains and the valance were cleaned by hand.

• April 2013 — The Colfax Village Board approved annexing 1.6 acres from the Town of Colfax at the April 22 meeting for a proposed expansion by Timber Technologies.

• May 2013 — A “winter storm” that stretched from Texas to Lake Superior dumped up to 18 inches of wet, heavy snow in West Central Wisconsin May 2, prompting one gentleman to ride his snowmobile through Stewart Park the next day.

• May 2013 — The Colfax Commercial Club was revived at a meeting May 7 to promote the Colfax area and to plan the Colfax Sesquicentennial in July of 2014.

• May 2013 — A total of 24 Colfax graduates collected over $240,000 in scholarships this year.

• May 2013 — Denmark Dairy, south of Colfax on county Highway B, will be the host this year for the Dunn County Dairy Breakfast. Denmark Dairy is owned an operated by Mary and Dennis Kragness and Mandy, Karl and Olivia Kragness.

• June 2013 — The Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s capital campaign has raised $135,000 as of June 3.

• June 2013 — The Colfax Sesquicentennial is scheduled for July 17 through July 20, 2014.

• June 2013 — The Colfax Board of Education approved a $1.9 million energy efficiency project.

• July 2013 — A flagpole and a memorial were dedicated in memory of Pete Johnson at the Colfax Rescue Squad building July 3, which would have been Johnson’s 64th birthday. Johnson was the former owner of Johnson Excavating. He was killed in a traffic accident in the Twin Cities.

• July 2013 — The Colfax Village Board approved site plans for Timber Technologies, Cedar Country Cooperative and Anderson Bridges July 8 following a recommendation from the Colfax Plan Commission at the July 2 meeting.

• July 2013 — Crew members from Lane Tank of Menomonie worked on painting the Colfax water tower the second week of July.

• August 2013 — Clinton and Margaret Jenson celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary August 3.

• August 2013 — The Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s Board of Directors held a ribbon-cutting ceremony the morning of July 31 in anticipation of residents moving into the new $11 million building on August 1.

• August 2013 — Church members and some of the construction crew held a ground-breaking August 6 for the new St. John Lutheran Popple Creek church on county Highway W north of Colfax. The church burned down in January following a natural gas explosion.

• August 2013 — Work began to tear down part of the Cedar Country Cooperative convenience store and the car repair shop (Colfax Farmers Union) to remodel the store and improve the gas pumps.

• September 2013 — The weather was perfect for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center’s grand opening of the new $11 million facility on Park Drive September 5.

• October 2013 — A photo that recently surfaced of downtown Colfax labeled 1898 shows circus posters on the side of a building — the same circus posters are now on display in the Colfax Municipal Building, thanks to Colfax historian Troy Knutson.

• October 2013 — Bess and Merlin Jackson of Colfax celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary October 6.

• November 2013 — The Colfax Village Board on November 12 approved changing the street name by the Cedar Country Cooperative car wash from Park Drive to Short Street and changing the Park Drive by the fairgrounds to Fairview Drive.


• January 2014 — Exactly one year to the day after the St. John Lutheran Popple Creek Church burned down, the congregation held the very first service in their new church.

• February 2014 —An ordinance to annex Evergreen Cemetery into the village was approved by the Colfax Village Board. The annexation includes the First Addition to Evergreen Cemetery and the Second Addition, all located in Section 15 of the township. The Second Addition is on land that was previously used as a school forest. Peoples State Bank deeded 28 acres to the Colfax school district in 1943 to be used for a school forest. The new addition to Evergreen Cemetery will add 2,450 burial lots and 480 cremation lots.

• February 2014 — As of the evening of February 5, Colfax residents and businesses were asked to turn a faucet on and leave it running continuously at a pencil-sized stream until further notice.

• March 2014 — A water main broke on Railroad Avenue near Sampson Funeral Home. Village crews have thawed out about 40 frozen water laterals so far this year. Unrelenting sub-zero weather from December to March has played havoc with water lines. The winter of 2013-2014 is tied for coldest on record since 1904-1905. The frost has gone down anywhere from six to nine feet.

• March 2014 — The Colfax Village Board has agreed to pay $3,000 toward new banners for Main Street. The Colfax Woman’s Club will put $500 toward the project. The banners are expected to be up in time for the Colfax Sesquicentennial in July.