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Index to Year 1979


Sussex-Lisbon-Lannon, 30 years ago

Photos from the collection of Sussex Village Historian Fred H. Keller

What happened 30 years ago was a generation ago. The funny thing in Lisbon was that just before the year turned to 1979, the young punks got handy and rearranged the block letters on the developing subdivision of the former James Will, later Henry Peterson and then the Yarotta Horwatich 160-acre farm. The sign went from Beacon Hills subdivision to Bacon Hills subdivision. Some soreheads immediately changed it back to Beacon Hills, and so it is today in 2010.

Lisbon already had its big population explosion back then, as it went from the U.S. Census of 1970 count of 4,709 to 8,443 in 1980. Meanwhile, Sussex was still under the big growth, as 1970 saw their population at 2,758, and only a modest growth to 3,403 by the 1980 census. Both are around 10,000 now, with Sussex slightly higher.

The big news in 1979 was that Hamilton had a year of years in boys basketball, with Tim Paterson, Wayne Battle, Jim Schramek, Paul Taubner, Danny O'Rourke, Jeff Kronberg, Dan Wnuk and the first-team All State Terry Youngbauer on the team. The biggest victory of the season was a 105-92 win over Menomonee Falls High School, and then the regional and sectional victories to qualify for state, with Hamilton finally losing a close heart-breaker in the state semifinals. Youngbauer set a school record in scoring with 1,004 points. Only this past year, 30 years later, did Cameron Cerroni break this record. He is now the all-time Hamilton boys basketball scorer.

Hamilton boys basketball, under coach Rich Ludka, had won the 1975 and 1976 Braveland Conference titles, and the 1979 title made it three in five years. Hamilton, however, never won another conference title. It took 30 years before Cameron Cerroni broke Youngbauer's single-game record of 36 points in the league-clinching game against Brookfield East.

In other 30-year-old news, three Sussex punks were charged with a snowy daylight armed robbery of Petro Pantry.

Meanwhile, the Town of Lisbon, led by Supervisor Al Schroeder, was after the elected town constable, Jerry Wolfgram, to clean up his act.

Sussex had Iwo Jim World War II veteran Arnie Peterson as the chief of the Sussex Fire Department.

A community study suggested that there be a joint library between Sussex and Lisbon. However, at the annual Lisbon town meeting, it was resoundingly voted down by Lisbon electors.

Too much snow! With Sussex buried under an accumulation of more than 2 feet of snow, there was no more room to put it on the side of Main Street, so for #10,000, a massive cleanup of Main Street was conducted, from Olde Templeton Inn to the Village Park. All the roadside snow was scooped up and hauled to the Village Park and put into a mountain just beyond the Sussex VFW Club hall. It never snowed again that winter of early 1976, and further hauling was unnecessary.

The Sussex Teen Club lobbied to raise funds for a local teen club.

Triplets - all boys - were born to a Lisbon couple, Charles and Patricia Vento.

In Lisbon, political activist Don Roskopf resigned in a dispute with the electorate and park neighbors over the development of Plainview Park.

Gabe Kolesari, a former Sussex Jaycee bigwig, challenged incumbent Village President Paul Fleischmann, and lost 372 to 247. He soon became a Sussex village public works employee.

Hamilton was put into a new 14-team Braveland Conference realignment that included Kenosha Bradford as part of the Milwaukee Public Schools realignment of sports conferences to address racial imbalances.

A Lisbon group called for a boycott of Sussex business, but later at a meeting at Marchese's Dance Land, the boycott was called off.

Meanwhile, Lisbon was opting to try to incorporate as a fourth-class city, and ultimately failed to achieve it.

Ruben Mindemann was constructing a trucking terminal where Quad/Graphics is today in the old Viergust/Mamerow forest east of Olde Templeton on Highway 74.

The Sussex VFW Club, built in 1963, burned its mortgage. Meanwhile, in February, the VFW held its second annual state tiddlywinks tournament.

Lannon announced that it would have a professional softball team play at Joeck's Field, the Lannon Schlitz team.

A record 346 students graduated from Hamilton High School.

The McLaughlin Mobile Home Trail Court was sold to an Illinois interest.

Frost touched growing fields of corn on June 24, 1979.

This is the first of four parts about 30 years ago, a generation plus.

Sussex, Lisbon, Lannon 30 years ago Photos from the collection of Sussex Village Historian Fred H. Keller

Second of a three-part series

Thirty years ago is just a blink of the eye, less than a third of a century ago. However for Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon, it was a jump-off year of key happenings that leads to what we have today in the area.

The Sussex Sun was 15 years old in 1979, (started in 1964). The cost of a copy of the Sun in 1979, was 15 cents and just as 1980 began, it went up to 20 cents a copy. Now at 75 cents a copy, an increase of 55 cents, in 30 years, it has gone up in price less than 2 cents a year.

My home in Sussex had a $50,000 assessment and my present assessment is $120,000, an increase of nearly $5,333 per year. Meanwhile this reporter has worked for the Sussex Sun for 34 years as I started in January of 1976.

By 1979, the Sussex Sun was the official newspaper of Lisbon, Lannon Hamilton and Sussex.

In 1979, much of the community, just like today, revolves around the Hamilton School District, particularly the high school. The kids that were attending Hamilton in 1979 are now in the age group of 44 to 49 years old. Many have children that are now in high school and some in college. There might even be a few that have grandchildren.

The big news in 1979 was the Village of Sussex annexed 164 acres of land from Brahm and Mamerow farm, plus a sliver of land owned by Tom Knoebel that is east of Sussex between Silver Spring Drive and Highway 74. The first big tenant was Sterling Tool & Manufacturing. However, the predecessor was much larger which was Quad/Graphics in 1980.

The neighbors of Menomonee Estates built a baseball field at the Lisbon Plainview Park.

In spring of 1979, the Lannon Land O' Lakes baseball team hosted the team from 30 years earlier, the 1949 Lannon Grand Championship team at the very first game of the season at Joeck's Field.

At the spring Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) state track meet in Madison the Hamilton girls track team took the gold and silver in the 880 and 440 relays. In both events, Hamilton had the same girls competing, Kim Fisher, Lisa Bantin, Robin Haertle and possibly one of the best Hamilton sprinters of all time, Beth Schoedel, from Lannon. She was a four-year starter in girls basketball and eight-year letter winner as she was varsity for four years in track. She still holds many Hamilton track records after 30 years.

The Sussex Robbinets celebrated the Baton Corps 10th anniversary. This group had already appeared in parades in Washington DC, Havasu, Ariz., and several other places. The main leaders during these 10 years were Carol Keller and Roxanne Goetz, who were honored at the Lions Daze parade.

Sussex was getting into the senior citizen and low-income housing in 1979 as the Chichester Court project was given the go ahead. In time this became the Bristol Court project on the former Art Manke farm west of Sussex. The Art Manke barn was one of the biggest in Lisbon before it was annexed by Sussex and torn down in 1979.

The Sussex Fire Department had a record 30 rescue calls in June and broke it in July with 33. One must remember that the Sussex Fire Department covered both Sussex and Lisbon back in 1979. Today, these two fire departments have more than 1,200 calls per year with 100 rescue calls usually recorded in a month.

In the summer of 1979, the North Western Railroad depot was moved to downtown Sussex. After remodeling, it opened as an ice cream parlor and quality paper products store. Today, it is the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society Museum.

In 1979, the Sussex Library got its start with a grand opening in 1980 using the Orchard Drive School which was closed by the district.

The big controversy in the Hamilton School District 30 years ago was SPLASH against DRAIN. SPLASH stood for Supporters of the Pool Located at Sussex Hamilton and DRAIN stood for Defeat Recession Inflation Now.

DRAIN was the winner as the vote for the pool at Hamilton High was soundly defeated.

Sussex, Lisbon, Lannon 30 years ago Photos from the collection of Sussex Village Historian Fred H. Keller

Third of a three-part series

In this third part of a review of the happenings in 1979 in the greater-Sussex area we start off reporting that The Schroeder Implement had its second burglary in two weeks. Proprietor Al Schroeder was a long time supervisor for the Town of Lisbon and a lifetime Sussex businessman.

Meanwhile, Lisbon was knee-deep in the pheasant business as the Zindl farm on what is Highway 164 today raised more than 50,000 pheasants per year for hunting preserves and gourmet food customers.

In Sussex, Arleigh Dashner's home had a garage fire and when Dashner opened the home's door leading to the garage to see what was making so much noise, the door to the house was not closed and the house fire spread to a point that even telephones melted off the wall. It was a total loss, estimated at $75,000 which included the garage, house and their contents.

Four days later, on July 4, wayward fireworks caused a $100,000 fire in the Irene Steadman buildings on Good Hope Road. Lisbon resident and a Templeton Middle School eighth-grader, 14-year-old Julie Schiellack is a national class "Miss Majorette of the North" champ who advanced to national competition. She went on to be an outstanding student, cheerleader and athlete at Hamilton, being chosen as "Miss Junior Miss of Hamilton" in her senior year as Hamilton ran a Miss Junior Miss competition back in the 1970s.

The Sussex Land 'O Lakes Baseball team had seven members who made the league all star game roster which included: Steve Zimmerman, Tom Konkol, Neil Reimer, Arnie Schaick, Jim Gasper, Russ Lang and Randy "Rango" Steffen. Schaick would go on to win the western league batting championship with an average of .460.

The year 1979 saw Hungarian immigrant Steve Babits along with his French wife, Nicole, take over the M&M Restaurant in downtown Sussex, and they are still running it 30 years later with the help of their family.

Area citizens are pushing for Sussex to take over the Main Street School and the adjacent Orchard Drive School for use as a library and senior citizen center.

Meanwhile, the abandoned North Lisbon School is also figuring in community betterment as this third Hamilton School District-abandoned grade school is being sought by the Town of Lisbon for an offer of $80,000 for the two-room somewhat modern school and its adjacent nine acres. It was appraised at $120,000. Both Sussex and Lisbon are eventually successful at taking over these no longer needed grade schools. North Lisbon School is now the Lisbon Town Hall and in 1990, Sussex remodeled the Main Street School into the Village Hall.

Tim Patterson, one of the great all time, all-around athletes at Hamilton, Dan O'Rourke and Dan Wnuk are all-conference in Braveland Baseball. The team wins the regional and sectional and advanced to state but lost its first game with a score of 1-0 to be eliminated.

The Wisconsin State Historical Society does an in-depth investigation of the last lime kiln in Sussex-Lisbon which today is behind Quad/Graphics.

Hamilton's veteran football coach, Stan Grove, had 106 upper classmen fall out for the first football practice.

A new wrought iron fence is constructed around the historic St. Alban's Cemetery after a donation from the extended Cooling family.

Lisbon lifetime farmer Frank Weber paints a little part of the township by raising 14 acres of monstrous green and gold sunflowers on Waukesha Avenue. When the sunflowers bloomed, they left a panorama of golden yellow heads facing the sun as it traveled across the sky. It took 35 pounds of seed to plant the 14 acres. It ended up being the only time in the history of Lisbon farming that a major field of sunflowers for seed heads was ever raised.

In Sussex and Lisbon the order went out that everyone receiving mail via road-side mailboxes had to locate them on the same side to speed up delivery time. In some cases, fighting neighbors had to make peace so that the delivery boxes could go up across the street.



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