Bear Creek, WI

May 18th, 2006 · 76 Comments

Bear Creek, WI is a town of about 800 400 people located 124 miles northwest of Milwaukee, about 42 miles west of Green Bay. There’s a Catholic church and school, some houses, and about 1 bar for every 100 people in the town. That’s about it.

This is where my grandpa was born, where he married and had a large family, where he owned a bar for many years, and ultimately where he now rests eternally.

Bear Creek Post Office, Bear Creek, WI

It’s a ghost town. I think I saw one family in their backyard, otherwise the only people I saw in town were the people I was with.

Jessica, Richard, Amanda, Rick (dad), Stephanie, Jeff, Dallas :: Bear Creek, WI

The building where my grandpa’s bar was still has the sign on it. Rusty, but it’s there. I don’t know why I was so amazed by this.

Posted on the door of one of the bars: In a village of 800, how many could really show up?

My aunt & uncle used to live here. I remember going as a kid.

Spence’s Market was across the street from the house my aunt & uncle lived in, a block up from grandpa’s bar. We used to go here as kids and get candy and soda and stuff like that. It was the only market in town.

Now it’s closed.

Not sure what this used to be.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Bear Creek, WI

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76 Comments so far ↓

  • Jen

    Saw your pic of Spence’s market…My great aunt and uncle own the place, or used to. I remember autumns when the back was converted for venison-processing.

  • eric pollack

    the store you dont know use to be a gamble sporting good store

  • eric pollack

    was the bar toby’s

  • Jean

    Does anyone know when the Kraut Fest is in Bear Creek? Went last year and I was amazed at the turn out.

  • donald j lorge

    hi i was born in bear creek in a one room apt above what was lorges law office both of my grandfathers at one time owned the town blacksmith shop joe lorge and leo bricco i got to play ther often they would let me put old scrap iron in the forge and then put it on the anvil and hammer away and watch the sparks fly, the floor around the anvil was covered with steel sheets so it would not start a fire. I can still see my grandfather leo bricco hammering away and the sparkes would dance across the floor and hear the leather belts flopping as they would power the machines, ther was also a saw mill in the shop with piles of sawdust and a old waggon wheel witch became a steering wheel and the sawdust became the waves of the sea many times i guided my ship across.
    I have many storys i could tell but some other time.

  • Robert Clark

    This town brings back a bunch of memories I had some relatives that lived there also. I spent alot of time staying just out of town at an older couples house their names were Olga and Emery Knapp. At one time way before I met them they had a horse ranch.

  • Robert Clark

    I used to stay out of town with an Elderly coulpe Olga and Emery Knapp. I used to spend my summers there and help Emery do the lawn and take care of some goats and a sheep or to. At one time long before I new them they had a big horse ranch. Charles Kuralt had done a show on it . Although I do not know the year I have been trying to find it.

  • J. V.

    The Kraut Fest is this week-end. 8-7/8-10 . Good band Sat. nite. Fest Sunday. Very Good Time !

  • Mary

    my mother who is 89 yrs grew up in Bear Creek and we were discussing the town the other day. We didn’t know if the town still exsisted. She lived on the main street. If anyone finds info from back then interesting, contact me. SHe’s a wealth of old info…..

    • carrie guyette

      I remember bear creek My grandparents melvin and dorthoy guyette and Gordon and dorthy moderson were from here I wud come as a kid with My brother and cousins buy really big icyies buy candy from village varity

      Rip gmas and gpas

      Love u s

  • Shena

    I remember spending time in Bear Creek, where both my grandparents are from, and their kids were born. My grandparents are Stan and Darlene Christensen. My grandpa’s parents are Walter and Anna Christensen, and my grandma’s parents are Ray and Josephine McGinty. One of my grandpa’s brothers still lives there with his wife (Ervin and Barb Christensen). I always had so much fun going to Bear Creek, whether it be going to Spence’s Market, that little store with the grab bags (don’t remember the name), searching for “buried treasures” at the dump or going to the corner bars to play the jukebox. I told my boyfriend and grandparents that it would be really cool to buy one of my great-grandma’s houses. Can’t wait to go back soon!

  • Patrick Huss

    Go to our website. We had our 1st annual Bear Creek Kraut Run on Sept 11, 2010. We have scheduled our next run for Sept. 10, 2011.

  • Pat McGinty

    Just stumbled across this website today. Rachelle I didnt know this even existed. Reading everyones comments brought back memories as a kid growing up there….

    Miss the Christmas Parties above grandpa’s bar:(

    • RachelleB

      Hey, Pat – glad you enjoyed a stroll down memory lane. I def remember those Christmas parties in the bar. Remember annoying you and the boys – Pete, DJ – playing pool! And the jukebox!!

  • Tom

    My grandparents (Alonzo Damon and Annie Mulvey) were married in Bear Creek in 1890. They had three children there including my dad, Jim Damon. Grandpa Alonzo was a carpenter. He built his own home, the village hall, bank, Catholic church and school. The family moved to Oshkosh in 1910. Dad was a magician. He was a friend of Bishop Grellinger and used to go to the Kraut Fest in the 1960s, dressed as a clown to entertain the crowd.

  • Michelle Lehman

    my grandparents, Ralph and Edythe Norder ran the bar for a while. My mom, Jeanne Norder, was married to Gary Lehman He was the son of Bert Lehman and Viola (Miller) Lehman. Viola was the the town treasurer for a few years. They both worked at the sauerkraut factory, if memory serves correctly. They lived in a house on Clark street for decades. The house was yellow with salmon and blue trim and was right next door to the factory. we used to play on the cabbage piles in front of the factory in the autumns when we were kids! We knew Bill Spence (Spence’s Market.) We attended the kraut festival many years in my childhood. I remember walking the railroad tracks from my grandma’s house to town during all seasons. The house on Clark street was sold and torn down for more factory dpace in the 1990’s. So sad that it is gone. When I go back to visit, which is not often enough, the smell of manure and kraut always hits me like a brick… flooding me with memories. My dad would always say, “Smell that? That’s air with vitamins!” How true that is! Bear Creek is loaded with family history for me, as is Norder’s Bar. The sign is now gone. Who has it?! We tried to retrieve it this past weekend for my mom… but it was removed. I sincerely hope a family member of the Norders has it. What I would give for that sign…

    • Linda

      Rachelleb – this is such a neat picture of the town. I stumbled upon your site while looking for the Village of Welcome, WI and discovered that it is now known as Bear Creek. My sister and I are traveling to Oconto, Outagamie and Marinette, counties from Michigan in September for the purpose of looking up information on ancestors who settled in that area from Quebec.
      Michelle Lehman, I was intrigued by your comments, because we have a great-grandfather, Lucas Trottier (1848-1913), whose second wife was Clara Lehman Dery. Wonder if you’ve ever come across that name? Do you still live in the area?

  • vicki

    My great grandfather was Stephen McGinty. He was raised in Bear Creek and is buried in the cemetery there. It has been several years since I have visited. Maybe time to take a road trip and continue my genealogy work. Thanks for sharing the pictures and memories everyone.

  • Lyle J. Bricco

    I am the grandson of Leo Bricco as is cousin Donald Lorge. Hi Donald..I go back to Bear Creek on the even years to be at the Bricco family reunion. Uncle Lot andaunt Lorain let me stay at there home on the hill by the old High school. This was grandpa and grandma Bricco’s home. My dad was Domain, there oldest son. I just received some old Look magazines and recalled that hey did a article about grandpa and his blacksmith shop and that he was still working a little at his advanced age. May uncle Lot could add some information. I will keep watching this web page to here from my old friends.

    • Amy Murray

      Loy & Lorraine are my in laws :) Leland and Romona Murray are my husbands parents. I enjoy seeing pics of Bear Creek!

  • barbara campbell weis

    I’m always interested in info about the Campbell-Mcclone family. Still trying to find out when Patrick and brothers came to the USA

    • Vicki jungen

      I come from a McGinty/Campbell line and am working on the family genealogy. I know we have McClone family too. May be I can help.

  • Mandie Lehman

    Just wanted to say hi to any relatives — I’m the eldest daughter of Nathan Lehman (deceased 2007) and niece of Gary Lehman (Albert and Viola Lehman) — I’ve only been to Bear Creek three times that I remember — Grandpa Lehman’s funeral, Lehman reunion, and to visit Grandma Lehman a few years before she passed on. Any relatives like to contact me — — my email address. Sorry to hear the town’s not doing well.

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