“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. Emil Wasniewski provided a nice write-up on the town. I enjoyed my visit to Dancy, in part 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 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 fire boxes. Like much of Wisconsin, the town began with logging. The town had a saw mill and 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 some photos of buildings I thought were part of the booming town in the day. 

Wasniewski wrote:

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

I’ll have to do some guessing 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 again its proximity to the tracks.

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 off course it has been modified to be a residence. 

I ran across the Dancy Public School, Town of Knowlton quite by accident. 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 photo of the school 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 a residence, the other a garage.