Lyle Hansen
Lyle Hansen

KAUKAUNA — Lyle Hansen knows that when it comes down to it, the story is what people are interested in.

It doesn’t really matter if they read it on their phones, like the do today, or on print in the Kaukauna Times in 1886.

Hansen, whose family ran the Kaukauna Times from 1925 to 1999, keeps the history of our community alive through his twice weekly emails and blog posts at Kaukauna Time Machine.

Here are just a few of the tidbits that residents may or may not remember.

Sen. John F. Kennedy campaigned in Kaukauna in April 1960. READ

The Kaukauna Times reported in May 6, 1887 that the city council voted that all the proceeding be printed in English and German languages. The vote is an interesting point in history, considering today’s political climate regarding immigration. READ

Then there was the appearance in 1938 by Olympian Jesse Owens, who was on an exhibition tour following his spectacular Olympics in front of Adolph Hitler.

Hansen has been producing the Time Machine for five years. He publishes it twice weekly, every Wednesday and Saturday.

The editions are sent out by email in a PDF file as well as being posted online on the Kaukauna Time Machine Blog that was set up last year with the help of Hansen’s son, Greg.

“I began writing stories in the 1980s for a “Years-ago” column in the Kaukauna Times Newspaper. I ran out of time back then when I took over the management duties of the business. Now that I have more time I decided to start up again,” Hansen said in an email. “I have retained the newspapers from September of 1880 to December of 1999, from when the paper was sold.

As Hansen says, “Who, if not finding an old newspaper in the attic, wouldn’t want to read it?”

Hansen provided a chronology of his families involvement with the Kaukauna Times.

1880 – The Kaukauna Times newspaper began Sept. 15, 1880 at 141 Wisconsin Ave. on Kaukauna’s north side. the owners of the paper were Hopkins and Gates. The growth of the city was apparent to the startup people.

1925 – My father’s brother Carl Hansen purchased the Kaukauna Times Printing Co.

1934 – My father Mervin Hansen began working at the company.

1963 – My brother Glenn Hansen was hired in the advertising department.

1965 – I began working full-time as a compositor in the printing department.

1971 – I assumed the duties as the production manager.

1982 – I took over the additional duties of the business and operations manager.

1999 – The newspaper portion of the company was sold to Add Inc. of the Milwaukee Journal Corporation. The Times Villager became one of nine newspapers that were created by them in the Fox Valley. With an agreement that the printing of all the newspapers would be done in Kaukauna.

2000 – The newspaper office was moved to Appleton and the printing was moved out of the area. My son Mark Hansen took over The Kaukauna Times printing company and renamed it Metro Printing.

2001 – I was one of five to purchase The Times Villager from Add. Inc. return it to Kaukauna and the printing was returned to Metro Printing.

2007 – The new owners of the Times Villager voted to sell the newspaper to a company in Black Earth, Wisconsin. The office was kept here but the printing moved out of Kaukauna.

2009 – Metro Printing closed its doors. This was the end of a company that was owned and operated in Kaukauna for more than 129 years.

The Times Villager and Wrightstown Spirit continue and the current publishers are Dan and Mark Witte.

If you would like to subscribe to the the Kaukauna Time Machine, email Hansen at

You can read the blog HERE.

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.