It is likely that you have driven on Holum Street, the downtown street with Main Street on the west end and a mille east it intersects wth North Towne Road.
You have probably also been in the O.S. Holum Education Center for a school program, basketball game or a community activity. But for most folks O.S. Holum is just a name.
Let me tell you more about him. He was a public spirited and liberal business man who aided in the advancement of the village from the late 1800’s until 1905.
Ole Stephen Holum was born on a farm, a short distance north of DeForest on August 21, 1847. His parents were Stephen O. and Kari (Linde) Holum, both natives of Norway. His father was one of the first settlers in the Town of Windsor. They had three daughters and three sons. A son and two daughters died in infancy.
Holum attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the Lutheran Seminary, Northwestern Business College, and read for attorney Rufus B. Smith in Madison.
He married Harriet Lettita Trevor of Madison on September 4, 1881. They raised three daughters and a son. A daughter, Fay, was a good friend of my mother. She used to visit our house often when she traveled to DeForest.
Mr. Holum was an active Democrat, and was interested in politics. He was elected Windsor Town Clerk when he was 24 and held that office for 18 years. He was Chairman of Town for a year and Supervisor for one year. He was elected Dane County Register of Deeds and held that office for four years.
In 1891 he resigned the Town Chairmanship to accept an appointment in the Adjutant General’s office in the State Capitol. When the village was incorporated, he was elected clerk and was reelected in 1904.
He was Clerk of the High School Board from 1884 until his death in March, 1905. He donated the land to build a new high school at the corner of Holum and Washington streets.
He was an active member of the Lutheran Church in DeForest and served in various positions in the congregation.
About 1890, he platted the O.S. Holum addition to DeForest, and later platted the Pleasant Hill addition.
In 1893, Mr. Holum started a general store on Holum Street where the DeForest Fire Station is now built. He ran the store for a number of years while his brother, Peter had the post office in the same building.
In 1898, he started the Park Hotel (now the Boehn Apartments) with livery services in connection. He owned a large farm, and other business enterprises and public offices. He was always engaged in farming throughout his life.
With the background of his university education and reading of the law for Attorney Smith, he passed the state bar examination for lawyers.
On account of his good judgement and thorough knowledge of public affairs, his services were widely sought in the drawing up of legal papers and documents, the settling up of estates, and other matters of this nature. He did much of this work, even after being confined to his bed with his illness.
Throughout his illness he fully retained his mental facilities, and continued his keen interest in private and public affairs until the time of his death.
And now you know a few things about O.S. Holum who has a major DeForest street named after him as well as an education building that carries his name.