125 years ago — 1895
• The election in this city Tuesday was hotly contested on both sides and while passed off good naturedly, great enthusiasm and earnestness was manifested by all concerned. Both sides were so confident of success that money freely exchanged hands, and many other novel wagers were made. When the results were made known and a majority of 18 votes announced for H.T. Hanson and his enthusiasts went wild with joy and excitement, Main street was lined with people and headed by the band they matched to the residence of the newly made mayor. After the serenade a few well chosen remarks were made by Mr. Hanson, promising a clean and economical administration. While the Rasmussen men may feel somewhat disappointed in the results they will fully acquiesce in the verdict of the people.
• A well-remembered Stoughton boy, H.E. McEachron, was elected mayor of Wausau this spring. His father was a grain-buyer in this city years ago.
• The crop season of 1895 opens fully as early as usual, but owing to the absence of spring rains the frost is slow coming out of the ground. The surface, is, however, in fine condition, and farmers are taking advantage of the variable weather to push forward the spring work.
• Julius Johnson purchased Geo. Nichols twelve of the best hogs ever brought to Stoughton. They were a pure white, ten months old, and average 340 pounds each. Julius says in all his experience he has never killed such beauties.
• The “kids ordinance” is being quite generally passed in Minnesota and also in some of our neighboring towns. It prohibits children under fifteen years of age to be on the streets after nine o’clock at night unless accompanied by a parent or some guardian. It is a good law and should be enforced in every town. It would add much toward saving the boys, and some of the daughters, too.
75 years ago — 1945
• Mayor A.E. Skinner, Jr. defeated Sam Tiesberg for mayor Tuesday by a vote of 839 to 494. In the referendum on levying a tax on property for high schools aids, Stoughton voted 683 no’s and 503 yes’s.
• Esther Hovland and Ford Horn, Jr., Stoughton High School juniors, have been awarded the Spade and the Spoon, the highest honors that can be awarded students in their junior year here.
• Franklin D. Roosevelt was to leave at 10 a.m. CWT, for his last journey to the White House. His body was placed in a copper-lined mahogany casket. Four service men stood watch as a guard of honor as the special train that brought him to Warm Springs, Georgia, for a rest was preparing for the sad return as a funeral cortege. Mrs. Roosevelt, bearing her sorrow bravely, flew here to make the sad journey to Washington with the body. The president died at 3:35 p.m. CWT Thursday if a cerebral hemorrhage that struck him 2 ½ hours earlier. Death came to him in a small bedroom of the “Little White House” at the Warm Springs Foundation, his “other home.” He was 63.
• Stoughton establishments will be closed from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Stoughton school observances will take place here Friday. Stoughton clergymen at once made plans to change their Sunday service to one of a memorial character.
• Sgt. Vernon Earl Pederson, 25, was killed in action in Germany on March 30.
50 years ago — 1970
• Dedication ceremonies for the new Methodist Hospital, 309 W. Washington Ave., will be held on Friday, May 8 at 2 p.m. The dedication will be the culmination of a $6 million expansion program which is the first major addition to the hospital since 1927 and has resulted in a totally new hospital building.
• Mayor Liniel H. Cooper has signed a proclamation designating May 2 as a city-wide “Youth Clean-in Day” to beautify Stoughton. Witnessing the signing were Karen Pfundheller and Jean McGruer of the Stoughton Viking 4-H Club.
• In a special meeting of the board of education Thursday evening, architect Walker Patton told the members that “serious thought should be given to phasing Central Grade School out.” Representing the Madison architectural firm that conducted a survey of the four oldest elementary schools in Stoughton, Patton declared that he couldn’t recommend spending the $140,000 needed to completely renovate Central, which he described as a “monument of inflexibility.”
• Thursday afternoon, after school, Lois Vetter, Karen Pfundheller, Randy Comstock and Pam Venske were named winners in a spelling contest at the Stoughton junior high school. Runners-up in the competition were Richard Breyman, Bob McAllister and Theresa Iverson.
• James W. Lins, 23, son of Dr. and Mrs. L. Joseph, Lins, Route 3, was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from Officer Candidate School at the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center, Ft. Still, Oklahoma, recently.
25 years ago — 1995
• A venerable City Council member was knocked off by a political novice in the biggest local election day surprise Tuesday. Dist. 1 Ald. Haskell Friedman, who has served 30 years on the council, was beaten by Kay Weeden, making her first run at elected public office. The tally was 208 to 193. No one was more surprised than the victor. “To be honest I didn’t believe I would win because he has such a following, To put it mildly, I was very surprised.”
• Preliminary cost estimates for a new middle school addition range from just under $5 million to almost $6 million, and from about $1.7 million to $2 million for an addition to Yahara Elementary School. Supt. Matt Gibson, emphasizing the figures are “conceptual” and subject to change, released the estimates to the Stoughton Board of Education Monday.
• Investigators have yet to determine what caused a Monday afternoon fire that gutted a home on the northwest side. The basement was destroyed and there was heavy damage elsewhere in the one-story Don and Hail Beckwith home at 1009 Kreidman Dr. One firefighter suffered a heart attack fighting the blaze, and six family pets perished.
• Stoughton Trailers, Inc. has received a $40 million order from United Parcel Service (UPS) to construct 2,500 containers and trailer chassis for intermodal shipping, a combination of shipping by truck and rail. Don Wahlin, Stoughton Trailers’ owner, said although the special order will not immediately lead to increased hiring by the company, the long-term implications for the shipping industry, and by extension, Stoughton Trailers, could be significant.
• A town of Dunkirk couple has filed a lawsuit against the Stoughton Conservation Club alleging the outdoor shooting ranges of the nearly 750-member club “constitutes private and public nuisances.”
“It’s their hobby, but it’s our life,” saud Cynthia Sagmoen, referring to the lawsuit she and James Steindl filed against the club in Dane County Circuit court last week.
10 years ago — 2010
• Residents of the Stoughton Area School District go to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots on two referendum questions tied to the district’s finances: An $8.4 million, non-recurring operational referendum that will help support current level programs and services offered at the district over the next four years. The other, a $7.25 million maintenance referendum, will address capital improvement projects the district has either had to postpone due to lack of funds, or projects with a life expectancy expected to run out within the next 10 years.
• A mayoral election between incumbent Jim Griffin and challenger Donna Olson tops the slate of ballot items facing voters Tuesday. Griffin, a former alderman who was appointed mayor early last year following the resignation of former mayor Helen Johnson, cites his experience as an elected official as a key factor in the race. Olson says she has plenty of experience, including having worked at city hall for a dozen years, including nearly a decade as administrative assistant to the mayor.
• Yes, yes! That’s what residents said by passing both the operational and maintenance referendum questions on Tuesday’s election ballot. Board president Liz Menzer said the district has been “creative and resourceful” in the past few years dealing with budget deficits.
• Instead of having the Brewers game sprawled across its big screen Tuesday night, Main Street Pour House was streaming election results to a different group of fans, the Donna Olson campaign. Residents gathered around tables sharing drinks and laughter as supporters waited to see if their months of pushing for a new mayor paid off. Shortly after 9 p.m., the answer was made clear. The room erupted with cheers, hoots and screams as it was announced that Olson had defeated incumbent Jim Griffin. “It’s; all done together,” Olson said after hearing the results.
• After 10 years in Stoughton, superintendent Mary Gavigan announced she has accepted a position with the Whitefish Bay School District. The announcement came last Wednesday, just a day after residents passed the district’s two proposed referendum questions totaling around $17 million. “Whitefish Bay presents a wonderful opportunity and challenge for me,” said Gavigan. “One that really only comes around once in a person’s career.”
Editor’s note: In July, the district hired DeForest High School principal Tim Onsager, the current superintendent, to succeed Gavigan.