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Histories:  Trempealeau County Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 11:


-As transcribed from pages 248 - 250

Eleva is a popular trading center in the northern part of the county on the Mondovi branch of the Omaha. It is located on the north bank of the Beef River, and is intersected by the Big Creek.  Trout Creek comes in from the south a short distance east.  The mill pond is north of the village.  The business section is west of the creek, while the area east of the creek is, except for the creamery entirely devoted to residences.

The churches are of the Norwegian Lutheran and Methodist Episcopal faith. The sightly brick school building of four rooms covers twelve grades of school study.

The bank, mill and creamery, the two elevators and a lumber yard are in flourishing condition, and the usual business houses are well patronized.

A private park consisting of a two-acre grove east of the mill pond furnishes health and recreation.

The electric light service was inaugurated in December, 1914.  The village furnished the plant and Henry Ruseling erected the building.  The power is furnished from the Ruseling mill.

Eleva was incorporated in 1902.  November 29, 1901, Alex A. Arnold made the survey under the direction of N. I Gilbert, M. C. Whipple, Even Bratberg, A. C. Danuser, Ole Halverson, F. J. Hartman and F. E. Brown.  The next day, F. J. Hartman took the census and found a population of 314 persons.  A petition was duly presented to the court by N. E. Bersing, Ole Halverson, Even Bratberg, O. A. Breakey, Ole Vold, A. C. Danuser, F. J. Hartman, J. Vold, J. B. Rice, E. S. Englesby, H. H. McNish, F. E. Brown, K. Jenson, N. Gregerson, N. B. Nelson, Carl Voss, Peter Steen, N. I. Gilbert, A. P. Davis, Wm. Jackson, Martin Olson and C. H. Elkinton.  The court granted the petition January 14, 1902, and ordered an election to be held February 11, 1902.  The election resulted in 53 votes for the proposition and 11 against it.

The first election of officers was held March 11, 1902, and resulted as follows:  President, F. J. Hartman; trustees, N. Gregerson, Andrew Olson, F. E. Brown, Ole Vold, K. Jenson and William Cleasby; clerk, G. H. Snoyenbos; treasurer, N. E. Bersing; assessor, Sever Nicholson; supervisor, Henry Ruseling; constable, A. C. Danuser; police justice, N. I. Gilbert; justice of the peace, H. H. McNish and F. Mason.

Situated on the broad flats of the Beef River Valley, Eleva, like nearly all the other villages of Trempealeau County, is situated at a natural center of travel.  A long stretch of the Beef River Valley, and the fertile expanses of Big Creek and Trout Creek are immediately tributary to it.  Through this point in the early days, passed the stage lines from Fairchild to Mondovi, and from Eau Claire to Independence and Whitehall in the Trempealeau Valley.

In this locality, probably about 1876, Philo Englesby erected a hotel on a small hill overlooking Big Creek, the present site of the home of H. H. McNish.  Jan. 20, 1877, Geo. O. Babcock platted the village on land of E. J. Carpenter and R. P. Goddard.  About this time Mr. Carpenter built the dam and the grist  mill, since replaced by the mill of Henry Ruseling.  Mr. Goddard put up a store on what is now the northwest corner of Main and Mondovi streets, the present site of the Fogland Brothers' store.  In his store the postoffice was kept.  In the year that followed, a number of business houses went up.  John Redfield put up a blacksmith shop.  A. C. Hallanger built a large store, Knute Jenson a blacksmith shop, Martin Olson a hardware store, W. W. Wyman a drug store, Thomas Olson a confectionery store, Ole Halverson a meat shop, Henry Moxen and John Cook a boarding house.  The Methodist church was also erected.

The railroad came through late in 1889, and on Dec. 13, 1889, an excursion was given to celebrate the installation of the first passenger service.  The first mail arrived by train Feb. 18, 1890.

Dec. 30, 1889, Henry Ruseling, who owned a mill there, shipped the first load of flour sent on the railroad, and Gilbert & Hallanger shipped the first load of stock and grain.

At that time, as at present, the center of the village was at the intersection of Mondovi and Main streets.  The arrival of the railroad brought several additions to the business life of the village.  Gilbert and Hallanger put up an elevator, an outside concern put up another elevator, N. C. Foster opened a lumber yard, and Knute Jenson and David Odell opened hotels.

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