“Going to town” meant going to Seneca, two miles southeast of the Scheckel farm. Seneca was established in 1857, when landowner Sam Langdon had 10 acres surveyed and platted. The town was named after the town of Seneca in New York state. Langdon built a hotel and the road through Seneca became known as the Black River Road, the only route between Prairie du Chien and Sparta. Seneca became a stagecoach stop, featuring a blacksmith shop, trading post, drug store, shoemaker, harness shop, and a wagon maker.
Going to town was exciting to the Scheckel farm kids. There were always people walking about, greeting each other with waves, going in and out of stores. Tractors, wagons, and machinery drove right down Main Street, which was actually Highway 27. Seneca had only one other street, which we called “the Back Street.” Back Street had a few houses and Ervin Walker’s garage. Seneca also had a memorial to the servicemen who fought in the World Wars that resembled a white picket fence.
Mom would make out a grocery list as the days passed on the farm. Dad would most often pick up the list when he went to town. We kids always wanted to go with Dad. We would stop in Seneca after confessions on Saturday afternoon, or a brief stop after Sunday Mass. Both stores opened for a few hours on Sunday morning for the “church crowd.”