Town of Plover
By MATT KALINA
of the Journal
The town of Plover was a quite a town back in the mid-1800's. That is, quite a town in terms of land mass. It was one of only three towns in Portage County when in 1849 the County Board split the county into three parts: the townships of Middleton, Bull Falls and Plover.
The town of Plover gradually began its development after a stagecoach line was established through the prairie and forestland. Jacob Meyer is believed to have run the first stage line in Portage County, starting in 1847 between Plover and Portage, according to Rosholt. Meyer raised horses for his operation on a farm in Buena Vista.
The Buena Vista House became a popular stopping point in the stagecoach route in the 1850s. The establishment permitted stagecoach travelers and others to take a breather before continuing their ride to Plover or to Portage. The building was probably built in 1850, and most notably featured a “rocking dance floor,” which may have been the only one of that type in the county, according to Rosholt. The special floor was built on levers that permitted it to sway up to 18 inches. “It was no doubt a popular place for teenagers of the period whirling about in the traditional cotillion, better known as the square dance,” Rosholt wrote.
Unfortunately, the Buena Vista House and its rocking dance floor were destroyed in a 1863 tornado.
Another notable structure in the town of Plover was the Moore Barn, which was built around 1855 near what is today known as Buena Vista Road. The barn survived into the 1920s, but has since been demolished. Legend has it that several skeletons were found in the barn’s floor. The rumors may have been popularly circulated because holdups by bandits had reportedly taken place on the road, according to Rosholt.
As new roads were built, other establishments sprouted up in the town of Plover and in what is now the village of Plover, like Mathias Mitchell’s tavern house about a mile southeast of Plover. It was originally known as Mitchell’s Tavern and was renamed the Cottage Inn.
Another place on the road to Plover was the Isherwood Hotel, which was about two miles west of the famous barn. The Isherwood establishment featured a tavern house, dance hail and guest rooms. James Isherwood paid $25 to the town of Plover on 1860 for a liquor license, according to Rosholt.
As more and more people settled down in the town of Plover, it didn’t take long for the town of Plover began to gain a reputation as a heavy agricultural area. Large areas of land in Buena Vista and Almond were already in agricultural production by 1851. Cropland then began opening up in the town of Plover and surrounding areas.
A historical tidbit: One farmer, James Isherwood of the town of Plover, is believed to be the first county farmer to use a dairy separator in 1893. He made butter to sell in Stevens Point, according to Rosholt.
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