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  • Leaf River is a tributary of the Rock River and runs about 31 miles
  • Approx. 450 people call Leaf River home
  • Premier fire protection district since 1951
  • Features a library built in 1981
  • Has a United States post office
  • Located in the Forreston school district
  • Leaf River Communications for phone and internet service
  • Two community churches
  • Locally-owned restaurant
  • Locally-owned gas station & quick stop
  • Active community organizations such as American Legion, Grange & Lions
  • Active Historical Society & Museum

About Bertolet

Charles D. Bertolet

Charles D. Bertolet was the son of Joel and Matilda (Reber) Bertolet. Mr. Joel Bertolet came from Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1859 to Ogle County, IL., where he married Matilda Reber on May 16, 1861. They settled in a little village called Lightsville, also developed by another Pennsylvania gentleman, John Light. Joel Bertolet moved from Lightsville around 1878, according to a letter from the desk of Charles D. Bertolet found in 1954. In 1878, Joel built a general store there, the first building to exist in the young railroad town (it was latter known as Leslie Kretsinger’s Garage). The building was destroyed by fire in 1991. By 1881, Leaf River was in full swing.

In 1871, Charles D. Bertolet was born in Leaf River. He grew up in the area, then went to college at Northwestern University in Evanston, where he graduated. After graduation, he became employed by a firm in Chicago called Lord and Thomas, which was then in its infancy as there were only three large advertising agencies in Chicago. His position there was to contract advertisers and solicit new accounts. Later, going into business he bought partnerships with Mr. Asbaugh, who owned Cloverleaf Newspaper chains. In 1933, Charles decided to take it a little easier and represent weeklies instead of dailies, some of the largest in the field, Our Sunday Visitor and The Register. He had a home in Leaf River built by his father, Joel, where he spent time away from work, sometimes on weekends and sometimes the whole week. Later, he spent more time at his home in Leaf River. Due to his unselfish generosity, he left his estate to the Village of Leaf River, which built a community chapel, park, and swimming pool. In his name, all property, including the home, chapel, and Library, was put in the Bertolet Memorial Foundation, which still exists today.

He owned the St. Paul Daily News and part-owned Cloverleaf Newspaper chains, including the St. Paul Daily News, the Minneapolis Daily News, and the Omaha Daily News.

He died in May 1956 and is buried in the Lightsville cemetery.