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Another important gift
Random Thoughts - September 15, 2022
Random Thoughts by Wendell Smith

MUSCODA - A couple of weeks ago I used this column to present information regarding Muscoda’s Pickering Park and Dr. Pickering who made it possible by leaving money in his will for a lasting memorial. This week I’m passing along a little information about another man who gave the community a lasting boost.

September 8, 1959 was a special day in Muscoda as the new Kratochwill Memorial Building was dedicated. It has since served as the center of village government and many social activities.

The bulk of the money needed to build that structure was willed to the community by A. J. Kratochwill, who for many years was one of the partners who owned and operated the Ford Garage on Wisconsin Avenue.

The estate provided $76,000 and the village board authorized a $16,000 loan to cover the rest of the building cost. A story in this newspaper noted, “Mr. Kratochwill was widely known for his business and his love of the outdoors and animals.” He was pictured with some of his pets.

Al. died in late December, 1956 and the announcement of the gift was made a couple of weeks later. He stated the desire the building contain the village offices and be used for meetings of the village board. Prior to that time, a former house served in that capacity as well as village library,

He requested the future structure would also be used “for meetings of farmers, Chamber of Commerce, and other civic organizations.” He specified that the charges for use of the building by organizations be “reasonable.”

At that time village board meetings were held in a former home, which also contained the community library.

At the dedication of the new building the featured speaker was David Carley, Director of Industrial Development for the State of Wisconsin. He noted state government can help communities grow, but the main effort must come from within the community itself.

B. J. Schwingle, village president, said: “Muscoda’s population is made up largely of people who own their own homes, which provides a good steady labor supply. Our tax rate is low, our climate excellent and the nearby wooded hills make for good hunting and fishing and other recreational possibilities. Muscoda welcomes new industries and businesses.”

Placed in the corner stone of the building were a copy of the Al Kratochwill will, a list of village officers and employees, a list of contractors of the building, a copy of the ordinances of the village and two copies of The Muscoda Progressive.

Following the dedication ceremony, the gathering of local folks enjoyed a concert by the Jefferson American Legion Band, a popular musical group at that time that had previously played at several Muscoda Harvest Festivals. However, the festivities ended when a heavy rainstorm moved across the area.

The most exciting gathering of local folks for the building may have been when Senator John F. Kennedy, while seeking the Democratic nomination to be a candidate for U. S. President, spoke. C. J. (Ted ) Victora introduced the eventual president.