Friday, April 16, 2010

Porcupine, Wis.

Where located
In Pepin County, Wis., at intersection of County Road D and County Road SS

g Most of the Bignell, Hill and Place family members who settled Wisconsin

For a history of daily life in Porcupine and the surrounding area from the mid 1910s through the Great Depression, see "Within the Triangle" by Lyle C. Dahlgren (published in 1993 by Altoona Printing Co., Altoona, Wis.)
g Mid-1800s: Before white settlement of the area, Chippewa and Sioux Indians would battle one another along creeks south of Porcupine, specifically on what later would be the Biles family farm
g 1861/62: Levi B. Place, an immigrant from Pennsylvania, shoots a porcupine in the valley and names the area after the creature
g May 1908: A general store, school, blacksmith shop, general store, post office and a Reorganized Latter Days Saints church stood in town
g Early spring 1922: Following a diptheria outbreak in the region, immunization clinic was held at the West Frankfort school in Porcupine
g 1922: A general store stood across the street from the school (it later burns down on a cold night, probably from an overheated stove)
g Early 1920s: During fall and spring at West Frankfort School, noon recess was an hour long. In winter, it was reduced to a half-hour.
g 1920s: Village boasts a garage and filling station
g Late 1920: Frankfort Township rebuilds bridge over creek near Porcupine's garage.
g Late 1920s: Hiram Claflin and son Ivan run blacksmith shop just north of Porcupine Store. It burns shortly after closing, probably around Christmas 1930
g 1920s-1930s: Dances and moonshine parties held at Red Hall and The Notch (aka the Woodman Hall), two community halls/stores. Chester Bignell sometimes played at the Red Hall and had a reputation as a rough place where fights often broke out. The Notch was located about a quarter mile up the road from the school, and dances were held on the second floor until that floor was condemned (its first floor was a store operated by a Biles, R.D. Bignell and then Dale Rageth). Due to moonshine, which probably was locally brewed, a number of fights occurred at the halls.
g 1920s-1930s: Community boasted a quality baseball team, which played on Sundays.
g 1920s-1930s: Roy Bignell builds and operates a grist mill powered by a World War I army truck engine; after a few years, the mills closes after overheating in the asement and parts no longer were available to repair it. This forced area farmers to bring their feed to Arkansaw, Durand and Plum City for milling. The mill later reopened when a replacement single cyclinder powerplant was found; about five feet in diameter, it had to be disaseembled to be taken into the basement then reassembled. Whenever the new mill's exhaust popped, it could be heard miles away.
g 1920s: After first general store burned down, the garage (which was the site of a former grist mill) at the four corners was purchased by Clive Metcalf and ran as a combination grocery, gas station and animal feed store. Better quality roads and the rise of larger towns following World War II causes the store to close; Clive then retires to caring for his invalid wife and is voted in as pastor of the Porcupine reorganized Latter Day Saints church.
g March 1931: Big snowstorm strikes area; a play, ""Yimmy Jonsons Wedding" held at school to raise money for it
g 1966: General store closes because of owner Clive Metcalf's health and wife Dell Metcalf's arthritis.
g NA
g 1959: Post office (the old Shaw house) tore down

Location of Porcupine


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