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Area Information - Centennial Celebration in 1973

Centennial Celebration To Reach Peak This Weekend
1973 Newspaper Article

CHILI – The town of Fremont in Clark County with its lively little hamlet of Chili, will celebrate its centennial Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15.  Mr. And Mrs. Albert Grimm, route 1, Chili the eldest couple active in farming will be honored in the parade on Sunday.

The town of Fremont was created from the town of Lynn in 1873 with its first meeting being held in the Heathville School the next spring.  It did not grow up as a farming community with homesteads because many of the first settlers had the poorer land, while lumber companies held the best until they could harvest the choice timber.  For the convenience of the lumbermen tracks of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul; Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Omaha and the Wisconsin Central all crisscrossed.  Amherst Station and Harris Station have disappeared but Chili remains.

According to “Romance of Wisconsin Place Names,” authored by Robert E. Gard and L. E. Sorden, “one cold day” during the winter in the 1880s the railroad officials came to Chili for the purpose of selecting a name.  “It was so cold they did not want to get out of the train so one of them said 'let's call this stop chilly because its really cold here.'”

The authors of the book however, do not explain how the spelling of “chili” came to vary from the accepted dictionary form.

Settlers took advantage of the productive soil, moving to better locations when the lumber barons left.  Each succeeding generation has had outstanding farmers recognized through Future Farmers of America and 4-H members bringing honors as sons of the soil.

Three active churches are located in Chili – Christ Lutheran, St. Stephen's Catholic and Immanuel United Methodist.  They provide various organizations for young and old alike.  There is also a Boy Scout troop pitching in for the festivities.

In the earliest days settlers trod through the woods to do their trading.  Even the Windfall cemetery at Granton has crumbling markers bearing the testimony of the days before Yolo cemetery was established at Chili, indicating their direction of communication.

Names have disappeared from the immediate area, like the Harding family with the impressive two story log house at the end of an improved road at the turn of the century.  The road has become County Trunk H and is the main thoroughfare from Neillsville to Marshfield.

Chili has a modern elementary school which is part of the Marshfield Consolidated District.  There is a dairy plant, hardware store, grocery, and a feed mill as well as a number of other business places.  The community has an efficient sewage disposal system.  The volunteer fire department includes 22 active men.  It is an annual activity of the firemen to hold a street dance which is being included in the festivities this year.

This is definitely not a “one horse community” as Willis Stickert has proven time and again with his sleek Belgian draft horses appearing in parades.

The name of Chili gained state-wide recognition in 1958 when Barbara Haslow became Alice in Dairyland and again in 1968 when Sandra Meissner became Miss Wisconsin Rural Electrification.  Sandra went on to claim the title of Miss National Rural Electrification the following year.  It is proof that a small community can develop both poise and talent!

Everett Kauffman, the chairman of the town of Fremont, has devoted much time in collecting family profiles for a centennial book which will be ready for the big event.

Highlighting their two day centennial will be the mini-tractor pull this Saturday.  In the evening there will be an annual street dance.

A big parade is scheduled for 1 o'clock Sunday along with a kiddie parade.  In mid-afternoon the ball game begins.  On both days there will be antiques exhibited in the fire hall, a flea market for bartering, and a carnival for all.

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