Histories: Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:
"100 Year Historical Album of Independence, Wisconsin, 1976":
Donated by Bill Russell
Independence - Community Organizations...
ROD AND GUN CLUB
The Elk Rod and Gun Club is one of the oldest as well as one of the most active organizations in the Independence area. Membership is from all walks of life.
The broad aim of the club is to promote conservation of natural resources with particular attention being directed to the local problems.
Some of the clubs activities have been the development and protection of the fish and game animal habitat; preservation of wetlands; pollution control; control of stream erosion; soil conservation; propagation of fish and game birds and promotion of good sportsmanship; all for the benefit of the general public.
Some of the specific actions of the club are as follows:
In 1974, Ivan Stendahl, president of the Elk Rod and Gun Club received the "Sportsman of the Year" award given by the Winona Daily News.
Current club officers are: Ivan Stendahl, president; Joseph Wozney, secretary; Edward F. Kulig, treasurer.
INDEPENDENCE COUNCIL 2787 OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
The Knights of Columbus, a fraternal society of Catholic men, was chartered in 1887 by the State of Connecticut. The Supreme Council has remained there ever since. Subordinate councils have been instituted in all states of the Union and in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Phillipines.
In Independence the Santa Maria Council was instituted in December 12, 1937 through the efforts of John F. Kulig, Archie Anderson, Msgr. Lucian Kufel and Rev. Francis Piekarski.
During the years the Independence council has participated in a variety of community and church projects, such as furnishing a room at the Tri-County Memorial Hospital, Whitehall; sponsored delegates to the annual American Legion Boys State; sponsored the Winter Craft and Bake Sale put on by the children of the Elk Creek school; joined the other councils in the campaign to raise funds for the retarded persons program. The council has provided assistance for the parish school library, the athletic and other activities and has assisted the parish in other ways.
Past Grand Knights
Past State District Deputies
The 1976 Members of the Independence Knights of Columbus
Santa Maria Council 2787
Current Officers of Knights of Columbus (1975-1976)
SURA-WIERSGALLA POST 186
After the Armistice of World War I a group of American servicemen held a meeting in Paris, France and the organization known as "The American Legion" was born. The membership consisted and was restricted to veterans of World War I. Later membership was extended to veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Post 186 in Independence was organized in 1919 and was named after Ludwig Wiersgalla and Peter Sura both casualties of the war.
From the beginning the Sura-Wiersgalla Post has participated in many civic affairs and sponsored community projects such as child welfare, rehabilitation of the disable veterans, medical aid, and other charitable programs. Each year the Post has sponsored two local high school boys to the Boys State at Ripon. In 1961 the Post donated $3000 for the Bugle Lake improvement project. To finance the many activities the Post for many years ran a successful movie program at the city hall. When talkies came the Post spent many thousands of dollars for new equipment to replace the old disk system where the speech did not always synchronize with the actor's lip movement.
In 1938 the Post became the first fully uniformed Legion Post in Wisconsin and perhaps the nation. Its claim to this distinction has never been challenged.
Since its beginning the Post meetings have been held in the city hall in rooms provided by the city. However, for its bigger activities the Post in 1943 bought a building from Stanley Morchinek on Highway 121, between Independence and Whitehall. It became known as Club 186. Many social affairs have been held there since.
Many costly improvements have been made on the building and grounds. Additional land was purchased from the state and from Gene Rebarchek, for the club's expanded activities. Tractor pulling contests, drawing large crowds, have been held on the enlarged grounds. The Post and the Independence Softball team have developed a fine baseball diamond and related facilities. Ball games are played on regular schedule and in the fall league games are staged there, attracting people from a wide area.
Each year on Memorial Day, the Post conducts solemn memorial services for the departed veterans. Graves of service men and women in local cemeteries are appropriately decorated.
The Post each year joins other organizations in sponsorship of the Independence Days Celebration.
Sura-Wiersgalla Post 186
1976 Membership Roll
AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY
Womens Auxiliary of Sura-Wiersgalla Post 186, American Legion, Independence was reorganized on April 11, 1928.
The following, who were present, became charter members:
Elected at the next regular meeting were:
The auxiliary is service oriented and has been active in many projects such as: child welfare, rehabilitation of the disabled, poppy sales, Americanism essay contests among school children, scholarships, providing comforts to hospitalized veterans, annual sponsorship of a girl for Badger Girls State and other community services.
Several auxiliary members have held offices in the county and district auxiliaries. The following have served in the county units.
Presidents: Marian Anderson, Bessie Wiemer, Helen Lyga, Maria Kuka, Helen Hanson (also served as secretary), Proxeda Skroch, secretary and Patricia Pietrek, secretary-treasurer.
Bessie Wiemer has served as District President, Vice President, and District Historian. Helen Hanson has served as District Secretary.
Bessie Wiemer has also brought recognition to the local auxiliary by becoming the State Auxiliary President in 1950. She has also held other state auxiliary offices, namely: historian, chaplain, treasurer and vice president. She also held various offices in the local unit.
The 1975-76 officers of the Sura-Wiersgalla Auxiliary are:
INDEPENDENCE LIONS CLUB
The Independence Lions Club was organized in 1951, on September 17, and its first meeting was held at Club Midway at Independence, Wisconsin. Lon F. Tubbs was temporary president, but at the meeting on September 17, 1951, Ed J. Kulig was elected president for the ensuing year, Leonard Kern was treasurer, Gene Bijold was lion tamer, Howard Reynolds was tail twister, George V. Bautch was 1st Vice President, Martin A. Weimer was 2nd Vice President, Lon F. Tubbs was the 3rd Vice President, directors for one year were, Marcel Lyga and Louis Berg and the directors for two years were John Markham and Lester A. Senty.
Thereafter the leadership of the organization was shifted around to the various members and as additional members joined the club they served in various capacities and offices in a rotating fashion. The minutes of the club meeting show an excellent membership, gain, and also show an excellent attendance. The purpose of the Lions Club was primarily for civic and community betterment. In 1951 the Lions Club sponsored its first Halloween Party at which 250 children attended; where prizes were given and entertainment was provided. This program of entertainment for the children has been carried on ever since the Lions Club was formed. It has been the practice of the Lions Club to have a social gathering at least three times a year at which the wives and sweethearts of the lions are invited.
The Lions Club is particularly dedicated to community development and community betterment such as sponsoring Boy Scout troops at Independence, providing equipment and supervision of public play grounds during the summer and one of the outstanding programs of which each Lion member takes great pride is in the support given each year to the seeing eye dog and the camp for the blind children at Rosholt, Wisconsin. The Lions Club has for many years sponsored a scholarship to the Independence High School students and have also sponsored a boy to Badger Boy's State. Over the years the Lions Club has sponsored the summer trips to the Arcadia Swimming Pool where several hundred children would enjoy the privileges of the pool at Arcadia all sponsored and paid for by funds raised by the Lions Club. In addition to the foregoing the awards banquet in connection with the athletic division of the high school was sponsored by the Lions Club and the Livestock Show was sponsored by the Lions Club for many years until it was discontinued in support of the high school program under the FFA.
The garbage collection cans that are still located along the city streets of the City of Independence, Wisconsin, were donated to the City of Independence, by the Independence Lions Club.
At various times noted personnel or persons from the community were honored, such as Professor Graul, who was an outstanding agronomist at the University of Wisconsin.
In the early years of its existence, the Lions Club was very instrumental in procuring a doctor and even since that doctor was procured, the first one being Dr. C. F. Meyer, Independence has had a doctor at its I. M. D. clinic.
The sponsorship for the house numbering in the City of Independence, Wisconsin was one of the projects which has benefited the City of Independence, Wisconsin throughout the years. In 1954 Professor Truog from the University of Wisconsin was honored for his contribution to the education at the University of Wisconsin as being a native citizen.
Throughout the years the Independence Lions Club has actively supported the Independence Days Celebration.
The Lions Club is taking an interested part and active part in the Independence Centennial Days with Lee Anderson acting as President, Mike Huberty, Secretary, and Vitus Kampa, Treasurer.
International Lions Club
HISTORY OF THE RAINBOW HOMEMAKERS CLUB
Based on the premise that we should really "expand our horizons" (in addition to other "expansions" due to maternity!), we banded together on September 25, 1963, to form the Rainbow Homemakers Club. We elected Mrs. Ed (Charlotte) Gamroth as our first President; Mrs. Richard (Clarice) Smieja, Vice President; and Mrs. John (Anne) Pietrek as Secretary-Treasurer.
We decided at that time to limit our membership to twelve because most of us had dishes for only twelve. To be frank, many of us did not even have that quantity of dishes and, interestingly, now that we do, after almost thirteen years' experience, we often use stryofoam cups (a "sign of the times!") But back to our story:
In our youth, we thought we knew so much about so many things, and decided to concentrate on arts and crafts type projects. But, as time progressed and the wisdom of age set in, we grew wise enough to admit that we needed to know more about so many things. Thus followed presentations on a wide variety of subjects ranging from "safety in the home" to "prejudice" to "drug abuse" and all the nooks and crannies betwixt and between.
From emphasis on chiefly family and home-related subjects, we expanded our scope of interests to include cultural arts and the study of other countries, and eventually found ourselves deeply involved in community development projects. As we tackled bigger and better projects, we feel we acquired valuable ever-increasing expertise in "making things happen." Of course, there were fiascos, fizzles and fuming, but interwoven through out were fun, friendship and fulfillment. We've been grumped at and greeted, taken our lumps and our "lauds", our "karate chops" and our kudos as well.
In working cooperatively with our community groups and facilities, we have gained a reputation for being an organization that can do the job. Perhaps that wounds as though we're blowing our own horn, but we do admit to being mighty proud of our club and its accomplishments. In an "alphabetical nutshell," some of our most memorable accomplishments, activities, and participations have been:
We've made every effort to participate in all county-level training sessions, projects and activities, but...
Now, thirteen years after the Club's inception, virtually all of our members, in addition to caring for family and home, hold part or full-time jobs, thus adding another dimension to already full lives. Even at that, we're still eager to further "expand our horizons" through our membership in the Extension Homemakers. We're grateful to our friend in the community who lend us their support and encouragement, and we thank our husbands and families for their help, too!
We stand ready to meet the challenge, for...
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow skies are blue, And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true!"
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