The Douglas County ghost town of Blueberry lost two of its signature buildings this week. As the historic Blueberry Depot moved onto a new life at the Davidson Windmill site in the town of Lakeside on Wednesday, June 26, the debris of the Blueberry Store smoldered along U.S. Highway 2.
The store on the corner of Blueberry Road and Highway 2, a local landmark, was torn down Tuesday, June 25. Its loss stirred up memories Wednesday on the Old-Brule Heritage Society Facebook page of penny candy and long-time storekeeper Ethel Jondreau.
"Just drove by it this morning and had to do a double take," wrote Gordon Lahti. "Great memories of Ethel and the store."
Fred Swanson of Poplar remembered stopping at the store for glass bottles of RC Cola before picking strawberries for the Jondreau berry farm. He said many evenings of the week, Ethel 's store was open to playing cards, usually smear games, and lots of great fellowship was enjoyed.
"My kids loved her penny candy," wrote Linda Soyring of Maple. "You got all the gossip and what was going on in Maple."
Jondreau was the focus of a 1982 feature story by Sylvia Wier in the News Tribune & Herald. According to the article, she started working at the store in 1948 as temporary help and retired in 1990 at age 83.
"She remembers Blueberry when there were 'loads and loads' of blueberries, five saloons, a barbershop, four trains a day and a hundred townspeople," Wier wrote.
Telegram reporter Vice Plesko interviewed Jondreau in 1975. She told him that at its apex between 1915 and 1935, when logging in the area gave it importance, Blueberry was a booming town and the store "boomed along with the town."
Located about 25 miles east of Superior beside Highway 2, the Blueberry Store was built in 1915. It was moved to its location on Blueberry Road in 1929.
Maple resident Marty Laakso said in a Facebook post he feels a sense of loss for the "old days" when he passes Ethel's store, the old Maple Co-op and Maple Corner School.
"Although still standing, the latter two are just ghosts of the memories they made," Laakso said.
Blueberry was one of two hamlets in the town of Maple that grew up along the railroad tracks, according to the Old-Brule Heritage Society's book "Wisconsin Far Northwest."