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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: The Homme Homes (Historic Marker Erected 1973)


Hwy. 45 at city limits of Wittenberg, Shawano County 

Deep concern for the needs of people in the wilderness brought The Rev. E. J. Homme from Winchester, Wisconsin, to this location in 1879 where he could accomplish his dream of social services to orphans, the aged and Indians in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Homme convinced the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western Railroad to change the name of its station from Carbonero to Wittenberg. He then recruited friends and former parishioners to come and settle. By 1885 there were forty families in Wittenberg. In a decade Homme built a church, a home for the aged and an orphanage. The orphanage, built just south of this point, served homeless children of all ages from the Upper Midwest. The financial demands of his service programs led Homme to run a farm, publish three newspapers, operate four schools, raise and sell garden seeds and sell a patent medicine of his own making called "Wittenberg Drops." The pond you see was formed when Homme dammed the Embarrass River to run his sawmill. Homme died June 22, 1903, at the age of 59 and was buried in Wittenberg.

[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]

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