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Unloading feed at Wadsworth in 1939 Unloading at Wadsworth in 1939

The Wadsworth Train Station 1939
Wadsworth Train Station 1939

Milwaukee Road southbound freight 1954
Milwaukee Road southbound freight 1954

American Society of Equity Charter - 1917
American Society of Equity Charter - 1917
The National Union of the American Society of Equity was an early co-op developed to limit how much money the middle-men were taking from farmers.

A Store with History

“A person without knowledge of his history is like a tree without roots.” — Author unknown.

My guess is that “unknown” was a publisher and he specialized in history books. But, be that as it may, it’s still good advice. And to that end, the people at Klema Feeds and Wadsworth Saddlery & Feeds have been collecting historical information about the stores.

There is a collection of old photographs on display at the Klema Feeds store in Franksville. We invite you to stop by to see them. If you have roots in the Racine/Caledonia/Franksville area, be sure to check the names on the American Society for Equity charter (see image at the bottom of the left column). Maybe you'll find the name of one of your relatives.

The following paragraph is a quote from the book “Caledonia — Journey to a Village, 1835-2008” written by Nicholas P. Weber. This book, which is an extensive collection of historical information and pictures about Caledonia from 1835 through 2008, was produced for the town’s sesquicentennial and may be purchased from the Caledonia Historical Society.

“One of the oldest feed mills in Racine County and the only one remaining in Franksville, Klema Feeds has served the needs of the area’s farmers, gardeners, and property owners for over 100 years. Purchased by Martin E. Klema in 1919, the feed mill located just north of Highway K along the eastern edge of the railroad was established in the late 1800’s. Originally run as a cooperative, Klema was able to purchase the facility at a shariff’s sale when the co-op went bankrupt during the First World War. In addition to dealing in seeds, feeds, and produce, the Klemas also dealt in farm machinery and barn equipment before the Great Depression.”

Klema Feeds in 1920 Klema Feeds in (the Fall? of) 1920

“Martin Klema, a descendant of Caledonia’s many Bohemian immigrants, ran the feed mill and store until the late 1960s when he passed the responsibilities on to his son Earl. Though the Klemas have replaced the original wood burning stove with a modern HVAC system, and the old cuckoo clock has been taken down for a battery driven timepiece, much of the store remains virtually unchanged from the time Martin purchased it. The store has been a cornerstone for Franksville’s pocket region for many decades. Today the sauerkraut factory, train depot, hotel, and many other 20th century businesses are gone, but Klema Feeds remains open seven days a week at its long-standing home north of Highway K, west of Highway H and east of the railroad tracks.” (Dose)

Franksville Postcard 1909 front Front of a Postcard to Emma – 1909
Features a view of Franksville looking South


Franksville Postcard 1909 back Back of a Postcard to Emma – 30 December 1909

The postcard reads...
“Dear Emma, How are all of you, how did you get home
I thought of you how cold it was
I was very near froze when we came home.
write soon / From Emil and Emma (?) B”

And finally, here's a picture of Roger and Sue Hays right after becoming the owners of Klema Feeds. Boy, do they look naive, eh?

Roger and Sue - New Owners of Klema Feeds New Owners of Klema Feeds circa ???