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Historic Photos

Rognstad School

Carol Homstad was the teacher at Rognstad school when this photograph was taken sometime during the 1938-39 school year. Thanks to Dave Kreir who saw this photo and recognized the Bellamy Salute. From Wikipedia: The Bellamy salute is a palm-out salute described by Francis Bellamy, the author of the American Pledge of Allegiance, as the gesture which was to accompany the pledge. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the "flag salute". Both the Pledge and its salute originated in 1892. Later, during the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazi Germans adopted a salute which was very similar, and which was derived from the Roman salute, a gesture that was popularly (albeit erroneously) believed to have been used in ancient Rome. This resulted in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States. It was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.

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Alice Rogers Christmas tree

The Christmas tree and gifts depicted in this photograph were given to Alice Rogers, sometime in the early 1900's. Alice was born on May 15, 1903 in Viroqua to Henry Earl Rogers and Ella Larson Rogers. Henry was a prominent merchant who established his own dry goods store in Viroqua in 1906 and remained in business for 41 years. Alice married Langdon Divers in 1930 and settled in Madison. Alice passed away at the age of 91 on March 21, 1995. Her husband joined her on Dec 9, 2007 at age 105. Many wonderful photographs from their estate were donated in 2010.

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1947 Snowstorm

It was Wednesday, May 28, 1947, two days before Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day. Temperatures were normal, in the 60's and 70's until a cold front moved in from the west and then from the north. To the west, in Wyoming and Colorado, rain turned to snow and moved east through the center of Wisconsin and by the time the storm was over, Viroqua received approximately 9 inches of snow. Ten inches fell in Gays Mills. Large limbs and whole trees fell to the ground, damaged phone and electric lines and made city streets impassable, the worst since an ice storm in 1922. Emergency crews came from Sparta, Winona and La Crosse to restore those services to the citizens. Most of the snow was gone by Friday and the Melvina-Cashton baseball game went on as scheduled that afternoon. This photo, taken on May 29, of S. Rusk Street, is from the Henry and Ella Rogers photograph collection housed at the Vernon County Museum.

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Easter Bonnet Parade

Posing for the Viroqua Country Club's Zany Easter Hat Parade in the front row: Doris Smith, Garnet Sands, Barbara Curtis, Bonnie Getter and Vivian Fortney. Back row: Liz Dyson, Doris Cox, Vada Schreiter, Lois Heck, Clara Bekkedal, Margaret Mc Intosh, Jeanette De Lap and Helen Felix. Most of the ladies constructed their own hats made with and assortment of materials like baskets, plates, birdcages and lampshades. For more information about the Viroqua Country Club, visit the Vernon County Museum.

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Pictured are early 20th century area deer hunters, Torkel Ofte and William Thrune. Torkel (1855-1932), son of Gunlik (1816-1900) and Margit (Raumdal) Ofte (1817-1852), farmed in the Town of Coon. William (1876-1921), son of Gottlieb (1841-1922) and Johanne (Gurn) Thrune (1845-1923), farmed in the Town of Hamburg. William married his neighbor, Alma Ronken (1894-1915), daughter of Ole Andreas (1855-1936) and Anne (Gilbertson) Ronken (1855-1919). Torkel moved to Montana prior to 1920 and died there in Daniels County. Torkel, William and Alma are buried at the Coon Valley Cemetery. Visit the Vernon County Museum for extensive cemetery and family files available for your consultation.

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