(text and photos from "Whistle on the Wind" ©1997 MCRHS)

It all began back in 1848 when Samuel Hackett acquired some land. By 1856 his son John built the first house at the crossroads, and as others followed, this little community became known as "Hackett's Corners."

In 1871, a Mr. G.W. Bloom purchased 27 acres of land along the North Western Railway's survey, and in 1872 he persuaded the C&NW to build their depot on his land. The tiny village became known as "Bloom" or to some as "Bloom's Station." This new name met with much dissatisfaction among the early settlers and a compromise was finally reached.

Since the village was located in the northern section of the Freedom Township, it became "NORTH FREEDOM." Then during the first iron mining boom in 1887, the name changed again. The new moniker of "Bessemer" met with much confusion. The village's mail and freight were often mistakenly routed to Bessemer, Michigan, another station on the C&NW's vast system.

By 1890 the village name returned to North Freedom, and within three years it was incorporated.

LEFT: A view of the hardware store at the main intersection in North Freedom (today's 4-way stop). LEFT BELOW: Interior of the same store in 1907. BELOW: A general view looking east up Walnut Street about 1910.

As the second iron mining boom took hold in 1900, and for the next fourteen years, North Freedom became the center of activity. New stores and homes were built to serve the area. North Freedom was soon graced with a fine new water system, a volunteer fire department, and in September of 1903, the village's first edition of their weekly newspaper boasted electricity coming to town!

Banners on wooden ore cars at North Freedom proclaim "First Bessemer Ore from North Freedom, Wis." This was the first of many shipments of ore from the mines at LaRue on the Qaurtzite spur (today operated by Mid-Continent).

North Freedom is alive and well today. But with bigger businesses and industries, residents have shifted their working environment to cities like Baraboo, Reedsburg, and even Madison, while still living in North Freedom, in many of the houses built by the early settlers.

CONTINUE

MID-CONTINENT HOME