By Kris Leonhardt
Eidsvold was a growing community located between Stanley and Thorp, hitting its stride around 1890-1905.
Located just off of County Highway X in the township of Thorp, the community once referred to as “North Fork” found its beginnings in a lumber mill built by Joseph Hadley in the early 1880s.
A post office followed in March 1884, with Jacob Bye as postmaster. While it can’t be confirmed, the village’s moniker is thought to be tied to Eidsvoll, Norway, where their assembly declared Norway an independent nation in the early 1800s.
In 1877, the North Fork community banded together on their first school – a log building. The first term began in November 1877, with theschool’s first instructor, Anna Jerard. A frame building was later constructed,and eventually added onto to become a two-room, stated-graded school.
An 1887 article said of Eidsvold, “Eidsvold contains a combined saw, shingle, and hoop mill, employing about fifty men, a blacksmithshop, a boarding house, a post office and a general store. The Eau Claire Lumber Co. has a dam across the North Fork of the Eau Claire River near thisplace, and Jacob Bye & Co., proprietors of the sawmill, plan to build another in the spring for the purpose of forming a pond to hold logs.”
In January 1899, fire destroyed the Nye, Lusk & Hudson facilities. The mill was rebuilt and resumed operation in May of that year, nowoperating with modern equipment and improved operations.
An October 1900 article announced the “grand free opening”of a new saloon in Eidsvold by Jack McTague. That same year, a new church was added to the village, and in 1908 a section church was added.
Now producing lumber, shingles, and lath, 20 houses grew up around the mill, along with a grocery store, general store, planing mill, horsebarn, boarding house, dance hall, and a freight depot, built on the Soo Line/Wisconsin Central siding.
The village was also home to two blacksmith shops, a baseball club, ice cream parlors, and croquet grounds
While a right-of-way was surveyed for the “Eidsvold &Northern R. R.” “as far as the flood dam,” the new line never came to fruition.
The sawmill moved north in1907.The general store, originally named the “North Fork Store” was sold to the townspeople, who later converted it into a town hall.
With the saw mill vacant, a factory was built that first produced cream, and later cheese.
In 1908, passenger trains were stopping Tuesdays andFridays, and in 1914, after 30 years of trying, the village finally got a passenger depot.
However, the village never recovered from the loss of the mill, nor gained any substantial new industry.
Eidsvold gained its notoriety long after its heyday, when a search for a murderer hit the headlines across the Midwest. In April 1929, law enforcement was on the hunt for the “stranger with the bloody clothes” in connection with the murder of Mrs. L.K. Lindgren, 75, in Eidsvold.
Clark County authorities said the “young woodsmen” they were seeking had appeared at the Eidsvold store the night of the killing and washed blood from his hands and clothing, stating that “he had been in a fight with a motorist.”
The young man, identified as a former sailor, was staying with a neighbor of Lindgren, who later discovered her.
The woodsman managed to slip through the grasp of authorities before anyone could connect the dots.
The Sentinel is seeking more photos and information on Clark County ghost towns. If you would have anything you would like to share, please reach out to us at email@example.com or Kris Leonhardt, 104 E. SecondSt., Marshfield, WI, 54449.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.