“Wisconsin’s Lost Towns,” Rhonda Fochs


Dancy is located off Hwy 34 on Alternberg Rd, in the southwest corner of the better-known town of Knowlton, Marathon County. Email Wasniewski provided an excellent write-up on the town. I partially enjoyed my visit to Dancy because I love railways and beer. The opening photo shows Lynda’s Wolf Den tavern and the rail line through town, once the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad and now operated by Canadian National Railway. Wasniewski has said this building was once the general store.

The rail was built in the 1880s. Dancy was a terminal. It had a depot, a water tank, a steam engine pump house, a windmill, and large cinder pits for dumping engine fireboxes. Like much of Wisconsin, the town began with logging. The town had a sawmill and a planing mill.

The town was about a mile west of the Wisconsin River. In the winter, the logs were taken to tributaries of the river and floated to Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids.

Several buildings remain standing. I understand there was another tavern located close to Lynda’s Wolf Den. I took photos of buildings I thought were part of the booming town of the day.

Wasniewski wrote:

“Dancy had a post office, as I recall. There were two taverns and a general store with just about everything from nails, shoes, farm items, groceries, and great ice cream for 10 cents in the 1960s. There also was a welding and blacksmith shop. Nearby was a sand pit for fill and concrete.”

I’ll have to guess when I identify the buildings that follow.

Wasniewski has presented an old photo of the town and identified this and the next building I will show as the two taverns, side by side. This is now a residence.

As you can see, this building is pretty well surrounded by foliage.

Now for some fun: the Rail Depot.

This is a photo of the old rail depot. Note how close it is to the tracks.

This is the foundation for the old rail depot at Dancy. Note its proximity to the tracks again.

Directly across the street from the foundation is the building that served as the depot. It is now a residence. It was moved from its original foundation to this location, away from the tracks and under some beautiful trees. And, of course, it has been modified to be a residence.

I accidentally ran across the Dancy Public School, Town of Knowlton. I decided to head northwest out of Dancy on CH C. I spotted this building out of the corner of my eye, turned around, and drove in.

When I got home, I found this school photo taken around 1949.

The school was built in 1909.

I found two other buildings to the east of this location that appeared to be old and might have served the town in some fashion back in the day. I close by showing them to you. The first is the original Dancy schoolhouse before the other one was built. I am not sure about the second.