from “Memories of Old Angelica” by McGillivray - Berndt
Contributed by Carol Paska


Zachow is located in the township of Angelica, Shawano County, Wisconsin. The following history is retyped from an article recorded by Henry G. Dirks, a onetime resident of Zachow. Mr. Dirks obtained his information from Elmer Zernicke and Harry Hoefs, both lifelong residents of Zachow.

In 1890, the late Fred Braumschreiber started a general store on a crossroad about one mile North of the present site of Zachow. His store also served as a post office, and he named the post office after his little daughter Nayda. After the mail arrived at Nayda from Green Bay via Pulaski, it was shuttled between Nayda and Bonduel by crews of the late Martin Zernicke. The early settlers had to come to these post offices to pick up their mail as there was no rural mail delivery.

Nayda is now the Mrs. Nayda Stiede, and currently lives at 304 W. Richmond Street, Shawano Wisconsin.

The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in 1903 extended their line from Green Bay to Eland Junction. The clearing of the right of way and grading of the bed went to a contractor by the name of Alfred Lynn, and all the work was done with horses and manpower. After train service was established, Mr. Braumschreiber moved his business near the depot, which was then called Netley. The land surrounding Netley was owned by the late Martin Zernicke and Bernard Reinke.

The first cheese factory in the area was located just West of Zachow in the Southwest corner of the intersection of County Highway F and the Zachow Main Street. It was established in 1886 and was owned and operated by the late Wallace Mills. The cheese as well as other farm produce from the area was hauled to Green Bay, a distance of 25 miles. Most of the produce was hauled by horse and wagon, but as late as 1890 oxen were still used. The two-day trip was frequently made on foot and any supplies then had to be carried on the travelers’ backs.

In 1900 the Zion Lutheran Church was built half way between the original site of Nayda and the new location of Netley. This congregation was first served by the late Reverend Kannies. The present pastor serving the congregation is Reverend Claussen of Cecil.

In 1905 Martin Zernicke built a sawmill near the creek, which is the Pensaukee Lake Outlet, and forms the headwaters of the Pensaukee River. At that time, this was an excellent trout stream. The mill was operated by his son Elmer in later years. It was destroyed by fire during the summer of 1948. The fire started when Elmer had the Minneapolis Moline Steam Engine fired up and was backing it out of the mill when it broke through the floor. This broke the smoke stack, spreading sparks over the mill. The mill burned very fast destroying the building and equipment. The steam engine suffered only minor damage, melting brass fittings and babbitt in the flywheel housings. It was soon repaired by Elmer and sold to a steam engine buff from Little Chute for $800 in the fall. This was a 24-horse power engine. Zernicke's also had another steamer, which was a 12-horse power engine and ran the shingle mill. One of these engines was also used for threshing grain.

Things moved faster now considering the circumstances, and it was about this time that an enterprising young business man, the late W. C. Zachow of Cecil entered the picture and for a price succeeded in permanently changing the name of Netley to Zachow.

Soon several other business places were established. A farm grainery was converted to the first blacksmith shop in 1908. It was operated by the late William Marquardt who also doubled as the local tooth puller. Unfortunately it was said that he didn't always get the right tooth on the first attempt. Filling teeth was uncommon those days, so they were pulled as soon as they showed excessive wear or aching became unbearable. Other business places were Arndt's General Store and Post Office, the late Robert and Otto Bohm's planning mill, Brusewitz and Deering Hardware and Implement Store, The Farmers State Bank with the late Jim Lutsey as cashier, the Ole Hanson Creamery in 1910, now known as the Graf Creamery, and a farm machinery supply depot with the late Frank Bohm as it traveling salesman. The Pauly and Pauly Cold Storage built in 1919, which was cooled with ice cut annually from Martin Zernicke's pond. This company attained a peak production of over 185,000 pounds of cheese per week. It is presently owned by Swift and Company. The Radtke Hardware Store was built in 1907 and was owned and operated by Herman Radtke of Zachow until recent years.

The first auto in Zachow was owned by Ole Hanson in 1910. It was a buggy wheel type with solid tires and chain drive. The first garage was owned and operated by the late Dawson Cowden and is now the Albert Radtke Garage Inc.

In 1907 the Cargill Elevator Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota built and operated what is now known as the Zachow Feed and Lumber Company. Zachow also had a combination hotel with 13 rooms, saloon, barbershop and dance hall. Later a livery stable complete with horses, buggies, and carriages was added to the services offered to the hotel guests, which consisted mainly of traveling salesmen and an occasional visitor. This was called Starkes Hall and was raised in 1940 and replaced by a home owned by the Henry Dirks family who also owned and operated the Zachow Elevator and Lumber Company from 1935 to 1966.

To supply variety and entertainment, the late Nick Matz opened the first saloon in Zachow. It was soon followed by four others. Whiskey was 10 cents a glass and came in wooden kegs. The whiskey was siphoned from the kegs into bottles by the saloon keeper and quite frequently it was siphoned directly into the mouths of the patrons if the bartenders attention could be directed elsewhere.

The health needs were administered by the late Dr. Pfiffer whose office was located on the second floor of the present Gerhardt Klevesahl's residence just west of the Albert Radtke home. His services were oft times supplemented by the midwives, the late Mrs. Fred Deering, Mrs. William Deering, and Mrs. John Busch, mother of Reverend John Busch of Bonduel. People in those days didn't request the services of a doctor until they were very sick and all home remedies failed. Dr. Pfiffer charged $1.00 per house call and a complete bone setting job for Elmer Zernicke, who broke his leg when he was twelve years old, cost a total of $35.00. Those were the good old days.

Zachow developed into a cattle, beet sugar, cheese, butter and grain shipping center. The stock yards were located West of Zachow Elevator and Lumber Company where the Westerfield Oil Company now has its storage tanks.

Zachow was also known as a baseball town, second to none in Shawano County. This was during the early 1920's. Some of its best players were John and Henry Radtke of Shawano, Herman Radtke of Zachow, Alfred Radtke of Mountain, the late Emil, Eddie and Bill Radtke of Zachow, and the late Ervin, Art and Leo Kobs of Advance.

Zachow was once on the main line of travel between Green Bay and Shawano and prospered. With the advent of cars and trucks and the decreasing use of the railroad as a means of travel and as a common carrier, the growth of Zachow stopped. Today Zachow is a quiet neat village with a population of about 150, with about 10 business places and it supplies the needs of the community and surrounding farmers, Zachow's future depends on its ability to attract young people. It will attract them, though it will be a slow process. These future residents will be employed elsewhere, such as Green Bay and Pulaski, but they will make their homes in Zachow as it offers the people a chance to live in a quiet community and own a nice home on a large lot while still being near the big city for shopping and entertainment.