CStPM&O & CNW
Turning East just South of County Trunk "M" about a mile North of Holcombe, the Chicago Saint Paul Minneapolis and Omaha Railway at one time headed for Arnold WI. County trunk "G" merges with "M" a few miles out of Arnold and it splits here at Arnold. "G" goes South from here just like the Wisconsin Ruby and Southern did at the turn of the last century. At one time Arnold had a number of residents, and we were somewhat surprised to see that the town existed of a handful of houses, a maintenance shed for the town equipment, the town hall, and a bar. We stopped and asked some questions at the bar and found out we were talking to the grandson of the last Stationmaster at Arnold. We found out that the bar stools we were sitting on were just feet from where the old depot had been. "Out by the woodpile" was the approximate location given for the depot. It was a great visit with great people. I have recently been informed by a visitor the web page that where the bar was last year may be a church this year. Either way, we were invited back to the local annual festival called "Arnold Days" which happens each year the weekend before Labor Day. It is held in the town hall, and Shed. Entrance fee is a dish to pass and some old memorabilia of the area. We just have to go back for more information regarding this little community.
One of the readers writes back, and I would like to share what he remembers about Arnold, his place of residence during childhood.
"When my father bought the land at Arnold, there was only one train a week, on Thursday I believe, that brought in goods for the two stores in Arnold, Taintor's (or Tainter) and Lompa's. The Lompa store used to be a boarding house/hotel during the logging days. When the railroad finally got permission to drop service to Arnold, the handcars left behind were great toys for the kids, back and forth to Holcombe. My father made a deal for ties and hauled many dozens of them to our land where he used them to build a barn. Tarred, they lasted forever.
The railroad station that was turned into a tavern burned down a few decades ago, I was told, and a replacement building was up. The dances in the tavern were great. There were a lot of Slovenes and Poles in the region who retained their culture for quite a while. I remember a Slovene surrounded by a cheering crowd as he was down, doing the Gopak -- a dance where a man virtually sits on the floor and kicks his legs out, with his arms crossed. Real Slavic. Dancing was Polkas, Waltzes and the Shottish. After the war, all that was history.
(Map above showing intersection from courtesy of Craig
Sinclair from the Ruby Township Centennial 1906-2006)
Arnold was a central part of the logged-over area and the history is slipping away. There were huge pines there, some of the rejected logs were rotting for decades and the roots had to be blown out by dynamite or pushed out by bulldozers. The land was lousy for farming because of the acidic soil from the pines and also there were rocks, rocks, rocks from the last glacier. Farmers would clear the fields and then the winter freeze would somehow push more to the surface for the next year's toil.
The tavern (RR station) was opened by a Lompa brother who sold it to a man named Troupe. The Lompas came from Germany after World War I. One owned the store, another had a farm and there was the one who owned the tavern. Maybe others, too.
In 1942, Joseph Lompa's beautiful and heroic wife who drowned in Jump River trying to save her niece, who had stepped into a deep area in an otherwise shallow river. They are buried in a private plot near the Fischer River. Floyd Taintor had the other store (originally a log cabin) down on the corner opposite the school (now gone). He went into the army and his wife ran it. He sold it to George Ronney who sold it to the Walds. Two Ronney sons settled in Seward, Alaska, after the war ended."
If you have any information, stories, corrections, or pictures regarding this or any of the other towns along the Hannibal branch line, Please let me know, < E-mail > along with your permission to publish your personal memories in an attempt to keep the history available for future generations. Non-digital pictures and documents will be returned upon request.
Thanks for looking