Sandy Burleigh

I’m not talking about the 1990’s, but rather, the 1890’s. Let’s roll back through the Baldwin Bulletin news to see what›s to be learned. In 1890, one of Baldwin›s very earliest dwellers, Ove Olson, died. He’d come around 1867. Baldwin’s second large fire took place in 1893, their first having occurred in Dec.,1883. That 1883 fire had been tormenting, burning two major businesses in just one hour’s time, but Baldwin fought back. The “burnt out district” was soon rebuilt, but while those replacement buildings were being constructed, the retailers just moved their salvaged wares into another merchant’s building, carrying on business as usual. They weren’t quitters and they had each other’s backs!

The Feb. 20, 1891 Baldwin Bulletin reported 800 people resided in Baldwin. The Hawley brothers started running the paper in 1892, beginning the long-term Hawley family ownership of that paper. D.R. Bailey, in Sioux Falls, S.D. by that time, was elected State›s Attorney for Minnehaha Co. His son, N.B. Bailey, was just opening a bank in Baldwin. Baldwin lost their «founding father» to S.D., but got D.R.›s son, Nelson Bailey back in Baldwin where he›d grown up since a young lad.

It was stated Baldwin was listed as the largest place of trade on the Omaha Road between Menomonie and St. Paul in 1892. Once considered a mill town, by 1892, it was known as a lively commercial town. In 1892, the Baldwin sawmills shut down, moving to Ironwood, thereby making it necessary for a lumberyard to be opened in Baldwin. Always before, Baldwin had lumber fresh from the woods. Now, it came in by train cars or wagonloads. Once the standing timber was exhausted, Baldwin became a lumber supply port, supporting the needs of farmers and other smaller surrounding communities around them.

As more land was bought up and more homes built, Baldwin was showing much increased activity. Even after several families joined the “westward movement”, new settlers kept moving in, repopulating the village. Baldwin encouraged new business ideas into their village. Special lumber and wood, shipped from Eastern states, was incorporated into new Baldwin buildings. Vermont stores shipped in beautifully carved fireplace mantles to be built into new Baldwin WI homes. Baldwin, located halfway between Hudson and Menomonie, was one of the area’s highlighted points of success in 1892.

The April 15, 1892 Baldwin Bulletin reported Baldwin had become a supply point for several rural towns including Brookville, Woodville, Hersey, Cady Mills, and Emerald. A study estimated 10,000 folks were within reach of shopping with Baldwin.

Their “wooden built” town required good firefighting equipment. In 1892, Baldwin was reorganizing their Fire Dept. Fortunately, they still had the engine house, so no problem there, but that fire dept. was put to the test during their 1893 fire which raced through a large portion of town. What devastation, and yet, it only spurred Baldwin to work faster toward new progress.

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