Bancroft

taken from the May 19, 1992 Stevens Point Journal
Bancroft is only community in Pine Grove
By MATT KALINA
of the Journal

Bancroft, which is unincorporated, is the only community in the town of Pine Grove. The community was named after the Rev. Warren G. Bancroft, a pioneer Methodist pastor, according to MalcolmRosholt in “Our County Our Story.”

The railroad, which passed within a mile of Bancroft, was the main catalyst for Bancroft’s growth. A train depot, two warehouses for potatoes and a stockyard were located near the train tracks. All are gone today. (see Bancroft Depot)

Edwin L. Rich was the first postmaster of Bancroft’s post office, which was established in 1876. Bancroft once had a hotel and a general store. It also boasted a newspaper, which quit publication around 1909.

Ezekiel “Zeke” Bancroft reportedly operated a small mill south of the community of Bancroft in a location where the Chicago & Northwestern Railway tracks were later laid, according to Rosholt.

The Bancroft First Baptist Church, which is the only church in the community, has about 25 families as members. The church began in a colorful way just after the turn of the century. The Revs. Rust and Spear arrived in Bancroft in August 1902 in a railroad car known as the “Glad Tidings Chapel Car.” They held services in the railroad car before a church was built in 1903 on land donated by Sarah Rich.

The first pastor was Elder H. Powell of Plainfield, and in 1911-12, the Rev. Gillspie became the first pastor to live in the parsonage that the community and congregation had built.

Near the turn of the century, Bancroft supported a 19-person concert band and a baseball team.

The community was a large potato warehousing center from 1890-1930. Today, the area is dominated by big potato growers who truck their product out of the area.

Founded in 1912, the Bancroft State’ Bank was the victim of three robberies.

Long time Bancroft residents remember when their community was struck by a tornado on April 3, 1956. The twister damaged several buildings and killed and injured a number of people.

Bancroft is located in the northeastern corner of the town of Pine Grove, which was organized in 1856. The town apparently was named for a prominent pine grove located in the center of the town, according to Rosholt.

Nearly the entire town is made up of flat land or low-lying land. Some marshy areas were improved by work from the Portage County Drainage District.

The most unusual physical feature of the town is what is known as the Mosquito Bluffs, which is considered the highest point in Portage County, according to Rosholt.

In recent history, the Pine Grove’s fire department was formed on Jan. 1, 1989.

The Pine Grove Fire Department serves about 800 people in a 36-square-mile area. Three fire trucks are housed in a converted shelter building in Bancroft.

The Pine Grove Town Board holds its regular meetings in the building.


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