Autumn Excursion 2017: Frankly, It’s the Wright Thing to Do

Autumn Excursion 2017

September 27 – 29

FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society Presents:

Frank Lloyd Wright Trail through Wisconsin!

Join the FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society for another fascinating 3-day tour as we follow the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail through southern Wisconsin. This year’s adventure will be held September 27 – 29 and we will celebrate¬† the sesquicentennial of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth by visiting many of the famed architect’s most famous creations in the Badger State.

2017 Autumn Excursion a2017 Autumn Excursion b

The 2017 Autumn Excursion begins and ends in Madison and includes visits to Wright-designed buildings in Milwaukee, Racine, Delavan, and Spring Green. Our tour stops include the Unitarian Meeting House, Monona Terrace, The Cotton Exchange, SC Johnson Administration Building & Research Tower, Ross Summer Residence, AP Johnson House, Wallis Cottage, the Spencer House, The Lake Lawn Resort, Taliesin, the Wyoming Valley Cultural Arts Center, Gilmore House, and Lamp House.

2017 Autumn Excursion c2017 Autumn Excursion d

The registration fee for the 2017 Autumn Excursion is $610 for double and $710 for single occupancy. The fee includes motor coach transportation, driver, on-board entertainment, site charges, entrance fees, accommodations, special speakers, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners.

Click here for the registration form and itinerary of this year’s excursion! For additional information, call JoEllen Hegwood at 414-476-4061.

Registration deadline is August 20, 2017.

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Annual Meeting 2017: The Rock County Historical Society

Annual Meeting 2017 Save the Date

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Do You Know About the 30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction?

You have seen the biennial “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction” advertised for about eight years now. Ever wonder how the FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society chose this name for their first auction when planning began in 2009? They’re all about preserving and sharing history, so they wanted to choose a name that would be a history lesson in itself. Wisconsin was the 30th state admitted to the Union, and therefore the 30th star on the flag. And now you know!

30th Star Flag

And speaking of facts about the “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction,” did you also know that the donation period for the next auction has already begun? In keeping with their efforts to preserve and share history, the FRIENDS are seeking donations of vintage (50-99 years old) and antique (more than 99 years old) items for the next auction, to be held in 2018 for the benefit of Wisconsin’s State Historic Sites. And did you know that your item donations are tax-deductible?

To make an item donation, you can contact Riene Wells at 262-363-4700,, or Debbie McArdle at 815-575-1272, And now you know!


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Participate in National History Day 2017!


National History Day (NHD) is a yearlong program that helps students (grades 6-12) learn about historical events, issues, ideas, and people. Every year there is a new theme; the theme for 2017 is “Taking a Stand in History.”

Would you like to be a part of this event, but are not sure how? You can volunteer! They need room monitors and judges (judges decide which projects and students will advance on to the next level). People from all backgrounds are encouraged to volunteer! They need your help!

The application to sign up to be a volunteer judge or room monitor at the regional or state level can be found on the Wisconsin Historical Society website.

If you just want to see what the students are up to, there will be open houses in many regions. All the dates, times, and locations can also be found on the historical society website.

Just a few of the dates:

The Northeastern Region Contest is Saturday, March 4 at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.

The Northwestern Region Contest is Thursday, March 16 at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

The Western Region Contest is Tuesday, March 28 at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

The State Event is Saturday, April 22 at the UW-Madison campus.

The most important takeaway from National History Day is that it is designed to revolutionize the teaching and learning of history. If you want to read more about NHD and why their themes change each year, you can look at the NHD website.


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Donate Your Antiques This Friday and Saturday (or Anytime Thereafter)!

The FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society are soliciting tax-deductible donations of antique (more than 99 years old) and vintage (50-99 years old) items for their next “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction,” to be held in 2018 at Old World Wisconsin.

To assist us with that goal, the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association (WADA)–the founding and continuing sponsor of the auction–is providing FRIENDS with a free booth at their 43rd Winter Antiques Show, this Friday and Saturday, February 3rd and 4th at the Waukesha Expo Center. Volunteers will be on hand to accept donations for the next auction. Tax-deductible receipts will be provided!

Larson, Double Irish Chain, Ohio Amish, 74x74

Though more than a year away, the next “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction” demands a great deal of advance preparation (yes, it really does require two years to acquire enough inventory for our auction!). Contributions of antique and vintage items will be gathered from across Middle America. In keeping with our goal to “preserve and share history,” each item will be accompanied by a Provenance Statement. The auction catalog will list the known history of each piece as well as the donor’s name, if desired.

1 2014 auction begins

Our previous auction, held in April 2016, was another financial and cultural success. Thus far the proceeds from our auctions have provided important funding for restoration projects at several Wisconsin State Historic Sites, as well as funding for National History Day.

The admissions charged at WADA’s antiques shows fund their grant and scholarship programs. Please support their endeavors by attending this worthy show! Details are available at or at 414-510-4441.

If you are unable to attend the WADA antiques show to drop off your antique or vintage donation, please contact Riene Wells at 262-363-4700,, or Debbie McArdle at 815-575-1272,


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February 3 & 4: A Winter Show for WADA


Mark your calendars for the

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association
Antiques Show & Sale
February 3 & 4, 2017
Friday 10:00 – 8:00, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
at the Waukesha County Expo Center



-Over 55 quality antiques dealers

-Tax-deductible donations of vintage and antique items for future FWHS auctions

-Special educational exhibit Valentines & Easters Past

-Friday night fish fry dinner

-Free parking


Admission: $7 (good both days)

Click here for a $1-off admission coupon!


Directions: I-94 to Hwy J (exit 294) South 1 mile. West to Show.

GPS: 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188


Proceeds from the show provide grants for historic preservation within Wisconsin, Waukesha County college scholarships, and Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

For more information, call 414-510-4441 or visit



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A New Year, A New Adventure

Got the New Year blues?
Well, here’s something to look forward to in 2017:
Where on earth–or rather, where in Wisconsin–could FRIENDS be going for the Annual Meeting in the summer, and the Excursion in the fall? What history mysteries are waiting to be uncovered so close to home? And will you join us for the adventure of finding out?

Old Suitcases

Keep a lookout for the next issue of Pillars, when maybe at least one of these questions might be answered!

tour bus

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Seven Events, One Day: Saturday, Nov. 5th

You might not be able to be in two places at once, but we hope you’ll be able to attend at least one of these great events, all of which are happening on Saturday, November 5, 2016 around the state! Click on the titles of the events listed below for more information:


Breakfast in a Victorian Kitchen

Join us for a hands-on cooking workshop based on the 19th century lifestyle.

8:30 am – 1:00 pm

Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien


Swedish American Genealogy

Join this all-day workshop to learn about the bases of Swedish genealogical research.

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Memorial Library, Madison


Old World Foundation’s Dog Walk for the Animals

Stroll the scenic grounds of Old World Wisconsin with your leashed, friendly dog.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Old World Wisconsin, Eagle


The Sterling North Book Festival

Author Scott Knickelbine from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press will have a booth and a signing table for his new book The Great Peshtigo Fire.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Edgerton High School, Edgerton


Jerry and Steve Apps Bring Their Roshara Journal to Wild Rose

Father and son author duo, Steve and Jerry Apps, will be giving a talk and signing copies of their new book Roshara Journal.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose


Hungry for History: The Flavor of Wisconsin

Author Terese Allen will be giving a talk on food, culture, and history of the supper club.

11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Time Out Sports Bar and Grill, Manitowoc


Hearthside Dinners

Enjoy a delicious hearth-cooked meal, prepared with your own hands, in the historic Wade House stagecoach hotel.

11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Wade House, Greenbush


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Some Bought Antiques. Others Donated Their Own!

Thanks very much to the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association for providing the FRIENDS with a booth in the center hallway at their fall antiques show at the Waukesha County Expo Center on the 7th and 8th of this month! Visitors could make tax-deductible donations of vintage and antique items for our next benefit auction, to be held in 2018.

And likewise, thanks very much to those who stopped by and made donations! We appreciate it, and remember: your donations help keep history alive!


You didn’t have to be there to donate, of course; to make your tax-deductible donation of vintage (50-99 years old) and antique (100+ years old) items, contact Riene Wells at 262-363-4700 or

And take note: the next Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association antiques expo is on February 3rd and 4th, 2017.


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A Curtain Call for the 2016 Autumn Excursion

Q: How could entertainment be even MORE entertaining?

A: If it is delivered FWHS-style!

Another Autumn Excursion, sponsored by the Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society (FWHS), has delighted participants with a fascinating look at the entertainment history of the Badger State. This year’s FWHS tour, “That’s Wisconsin Entertainment,” took place on September 21-23 and provided backstage stops and educational tours of many of the state’s iconic entertainment venues.

Day 1 of the Autumn Excursion included a viewing of some of the fascinating collection of the UW’s Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society; lunch at the historic Union House in Genesee Depot; a special tour of the historic American entertainment gathering place Ten Chimneys; a buffet of German cuisine and accordion music at Best Place; and an insiders’ tour of the historic Pabst Brewery.

On our second day of the 2016 Autumn Excursion, we experienced stops in Milwaukee at the iconic Oriental Theater (one of America’s grandest movie palaces); Turner Hall with an insiders’ tour of the bar room, restaurant, historic ballroom, and innovative gymnasium; and finally a special guided tour of the opulent and magnificent Pabst Theater. We then traveled north to Appleton’s History Museum at the Castle where we were entertained by The Great Rondini and viewed the AKA Houdini exhibit in the museum. Our day concluded with a scrumptious dinner at the Del-Bar in Lake Delton.

On our last day of the tour, we visited Baraboo and its historic entertainment venues. We saw the magnificently restored Al Ringling Theater and were entertained with music from the theater’s Barton Pipe Organ. Around the block at the Al Ringling Mansion, we were amazed as owner Joe showed us the efforts to restore and refurbish the mansion to its original glory. Our last stop of the day was at Circus World Museum, where we enjoyed a personal tour of the circus carriage restoration barn, were regaled with music from a steam calliope circus wagon, and enjoyed a trip back to our youth with a ride aboard the Circus World Carousel.

Entertainment was abundant on the 2016 Autumn Excursion! Our recap continues with the photos and fun facts below:

2016 Autumn Excursion Recap


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