History of Hewitt

"Each of you should think of himself or herself as a person who has inherited a beautiful country estate, and should be proud to keep up that estate, by making such improvements as will increase its beauty. You would be ungrateful heirs if you did not care who left this estate to you. Stop and think how the pioneers first came to prepare the way. They settled on a piece of land with nothing but their covered wagons and a few other items. Out of the wilderness came fertile fields, farm buildings, and cozy log cabins. They labored hard and long and fought to defend themselves.

So with great determination and community spirit, our residents have made great progress and without doubt will continue to make progress, as nothing stands still. Endowed with these virtues, may the next many, many years be even better than the last."

Hewitt Bicentennial booklet, 1976


Early Days

The earliest inhabitants of the area now known as Hewitt were the Wisconsin tribes of Indians. The territory was claimed by the Winnebago, Potawatomi, and the Chippewas, who were the most numerous when White settlement began. The Hewitt land became the white man's under a treaty with the Winnebago Indians dated November 1, 1837.

The earliest farm in Hewitt was established in 1878. It consisted of forty acres on what is now the southwest corner of Main Street and Yellowstone Drive. Another farm was established at about the same time just across the road on the present southeast corner of Main Street and Yellowstone Drive.

In 1876, a parcel of land was purchased and was later developed into a farm. This land included the northwest corner of Main Street and Yellowstone Drive north to the railroad right of way. From 1947 to 1972, sixteen homes and one eight-room apartment building were constructed on the remaining property.

Two farms were also established in the 1880s and 1890s on the northern end of the village, one on the west side of the road and one on the east side.

In 1888, the first parsonage for St. Michael's Church was built by the parishioners. Some years later, a kitchen and porch were added to the original structure. This was used until 1922 when the frame house was replaced by a brick rectory on the same site. The frame building was moved north a few hundred yards and was in use until the 1950s before being razed.

Several early businesses were started before the turn of the century. A hardware store, a blacksmith shop, and two saloons were built.


The Railroad

The railroad played an important role in the founding and development of Hewitt. The Wisconsin Central Railroad was built through the area from Stevens Point to Abbotsford in the early 1870s. The first train passed through what is now Hewitt in 1872. At that time, the place was known as 28 Acht-und-Zwanzig (in German) because it was 28 miles from Stevens Point.

The railroad opened the area for the lumbermen who then had a means for transporting their timber. A lumberman built a sidetrack at 28 which soon became known as Hewitt Side Track or Hewitt Switch. This is what gave Hewitt its eventual name. In 1882, a depot was erected and later an addition was built on the east end.

At the turn of the century, six-passenger trains passed through the village every day and additional excursion specials were frequent during the summer months. When the Soo Line Railroad took over the Wisconsin Central in 1909, the depot became known as the Soo Line depot. The order to dispense with the Hewitt depot was issued by the Soo Line Railroad on April 7, 1954, and in August of that year, the building was razed.


Early Growth

Hewitt was first settled in the latter 1870s. About 1881, a sawmill was constructed and operated for three to four years. Then because timber in the vicinity became scarce, the mill was torn down and the lumber sold. Another industry that succeeded for a while was a barrel stave and heading factory.

A hardware store was erected in 1883 and was open for business for ten years. It was then turned into a general store, had several owners and operators, and was destroyed by fire on January 14, 1948. The store was not rebuilt.

In 1882, a saloon was built and operated under three proprietors until 1924 when it was sold and the building razed. Another saloon was started in 1883. It passed through several hands and in 1946 it was sold and converted into an electrical store.

On the northern end of the village, a saloon was built. It ran as such until the early 1920's when it was converted into a watch repair shop. Upon the owner's death in 1945, the building was passed on to his wife who ran a candy store and soda fountain for a time. Just south of this, a shoe repair shop was operated from about 1895 to about 1910.

In 1882, a wagon shop was established in Hewitt and was operated until 1920. It was located along the railroad right of way just west of the main street. In addition to the two general stores in the village, there was also a hardware store built about 1917 on land acquired from a farmer. It was later converted to a tavern. A small building next to the tavern was used as a barbershop. A garage for storage and repair of cars was also operated until it was sold in 1938 and was then used for a time as a beer storage depot before being converted into a lumber company.

The Hewitt post office was established in 1883. For about a year, it was known as Kreuser because a man by that name was the first to sign the petition when the post office was applied for. Then upon petition of the villagers, it was changed to Hewitt to correspond with the name of the railway station. With the transfer of the postmaster to nearby Auburndale in 1929, mail service was continued using the railway depot. Later, it was transferred to a local residence and in 19?? was discontinued. The City of Marshfield now provides all mail services.

The first telephone service to Hewitt was furnished by the Marshfield Rural Telephone Company which was established in May 1913. In 1923, one of the most up-to-date things in Hewitt was a private radio receiver. It was in that same year that the first electrical lines were built through the village although several residents had private electrical plants prior to that. In 1947, Hewitt acquired its first street lights when five were built along the main street.



The first Catholic settlers in Hewitt were forced to travel four miles to attend Mass in Marshfield. As the Catholic families became more numerous, they wished to start a parish of their own. In the spring of 1888, a Catholic parish was organized in Hewitt. An acre of land was donated and money was secured to buy another acre of land for a cemetery.

St. Michael's Congregation was incorporated on June 23, 1892. Later that year, the church was brick veneered. In March 1897, the old church windows were replaced by stained glass windows and in 1904, an addition was built on the original church. The old church was torn down and on October 4, 1949, the cornerstone for the new church was laid on the same site. The church basement was converted into a chapel and Mass was conducted there from March 30, 1949, to April 30, 1950. On April 30, the Blessed Sacrament was carried to the new church and in July, it was dedicated. Extensive decoration and remodeling of the alter took place in 1968.

The fifth day of October 1892 is a never-to-be-forgotten day in the history of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Hewitt since it marks the beginning of this congregation.

Lutheranism in this community dates farther back, however than 1892. Since Marshfield to the west and Auburndale to the east already had established congregations with resident pastors before 1892, the first few Lutheran settlers in the Hewitt territory received some spiritual care from these neighboring churches. In June 1892, a resolution was adopted to build a church and work was begun immediately and was done by the members of the church. On October 2, 1892, the congregation was officially organized and services were conducted every other Sunday. The first organ and book of chorals were purchased in 1898 and in 1904 the church building was improved by the addition of a steeple. Then too, the chairs were replaced by pews.

On November 10, 1940, a newly expanded and remodeled church was dedicated in three services. In 1945, Immanuel Lutheran made perhaps one of their most important decisions. They separated from the Auburndale parish and became an independent congregation.



The first public schoolhouse in Hewitt was erected in 1879 near the northern limits of the village. The frame structure was used for twelve to fifteen years at which time a frame two-room schoolhouse was built at what is now the Town of Marshfield hall. This public school was used until July 1, 1959.

In 1884, the Catholic men of the area erected a school of their own about one-half mile west of the original public school. It was taught by nuns for two years. Then when the public school hired a man teacher, the children were sent there.

At the present time, with Hewitt being part of the Marshfield School District, grade school-age children attend Grant Elementary school (grades K through 6) and high school-age children attend either the Middle School (grades 7 and 8) or the High School (grades 9 through 12). With the advent of school choice in 1999, parents may select which school their children will attend if space allows. Children may also choose to attend one of several Catholic grade schools or Columbus Catholic High School.