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Spooner Heritage Tour
Old homes once owned by notable pioneer residents are among the tour's initial stops:      Bright flames lit the sky over Spooner one June night in 1904, as a roaring, wind-fed blaze tore through the downtown area, destroying nearly all the retail businesses. Fortunately, the old wood structures lost in the fire were quickly replaced with the sturdy brick ones that still line the 100 block of Walnut Street today.
    Now you can take a trip back to Spooner's early days, guided by the 56-page "Spooner Heritage Tour"  booklet that contains nearly 50 pictures borrowed from local residents' historical collections. The booklet was written in 1998 by local historian Sharon Tarr and published by the Spooner Area Chamber of Commerce. Recognizing the public's growing interest in local history, the Chamber of Commerce has also arranged for decorative bronze plaques to mark each of the locations of the tour.
  • Frank Hammill, whose home is the first stop, came to Spooner as a railroad man, bought the local newspaper, served as mayor and even represented the area in the state legislature for a time. Because of his unflagging promotion of the town, he was known as the " Father of Spooner".  In 1922, a year after his death, a new elementary school was built. It was named the Hammill School in his honor.

  • Jesse Thomas, whose name is next on the tour, was an early resident who came to Spooner to manage the popular Railway Eating House and stayed on to become a prominent citizen and bank administrator.

Pioneer George V. Siegner built this ornate home. It sits atop the hill on the west end of the main street. As the twentieth century dawned, Steiger had a title too. He was known as "the wealthiest man in Washburn County".

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      Among other tour stops are the public library, formerly house in a retired doctors home; the huge civic center, located were Hammill School once stood.; a gasoline station/store, located near where Spooner's first school was erected in 1886; and two city parks, one was once the site of the first hotel/rooming house, while the other was once the "Corner Tavern" where Aggie, Spooner's infamous redhead, presided at the bar. In later years, after Aggie was gone it became the notorious "Chatterbox Bar" where daringly dressed  go-go dancers were the chief night-life entertainment until the city stepped in and had the building torn down.
   There is a spot on the tour where two men once fought over a butchered hog. One of the men died. You will have to take the tour to find out the rest of that story.

    Heritage booklets are for sale at Northwind Book & Fiber Store, Spooner Advocate, Spooner Mercantile and Washburn County Information Center. The books are $5.00 per copy.

Text and photos courtesy of Sharon Tarr

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