Let’s See What You’ve Got: Donate Your Antique and Vintage Items!

The FRIENDS did it before and can do it again!

And what is “it,” you ask? Why, making a difference in the preservation of history!

How can it be done? Well, here’s a great opportunity for you: donate items for our upcoming Benefit Auction.

That’s right, we’re looking for antique (more than 100 years old) and vintage (50 to 99 years old) items for the 2016 30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction, to be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016, with its legendary Preview Night on the evening before.

So clean out your closets & cabinets, your attics & basements, your garages & sheds; who knows what good stuff you might find?

Donate now and take advantage of a 2015 tax deduction, or donate in January for a 2016 tax deduction!

Either way, your item donation will help the upcoming Benefit Auction become another success toward sponsoring the needs of our State Historic Sites, and the telling of our Wisconsin story.

To donate, call Riene Wells at 262-363-4700.

We appreciate your commitment to keeping history alive!


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WADA to Assist FRIENDS at Antiques Show on October 2 & 3; You Can Donate Too!

Remember Adam Berg, also known as the “Asparagus Man,” and his most impressive carved oil painting Heaven on Earth (we had a whole post about it here)? Well, Berg’s folk art created quite a stir at the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association show this past February, spurring other donors to come forth with incredible donations. Now the “Asparagus Man” paintings are keeping good company with other worthy objects, including a circa 1830 Windsor rocker in original paint, scales, buggies, commemorative flow blue, spinning wheels, and much more!

Kozlowski - Berg Heaven on Earth 1 (2)Drier, c1830 Windsor rocker, original paint and stencilHouston, Heywood Buggy

On Oct. 2 & 3 in Waukesha, the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association is again providing the Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society with a free booth at the antiques show, where volunteers will accept tax-deductible donations of antique (100+ years old) and vintage (50-99 years old) items for our 30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction to be held in April 2016.Tax-deductible receipts will be provided to each donor. Click here for a printable page of details about the antiques show, which doubles as an admission coupon!

In addition to the free booth space at the show, WADA has provided their fourth grant to the Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society as founding and continuing sponsors of the 30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction. WADA is a not-for-profit organization and the admissions charged at their Waukesha shows fund grant and scholarship programs; see www.wisconsinantiquesdealers.com to learn more.

Carol Miller of Bailey’s Honor Auction Service in Oconomowoc has once again volunteered to call the auction.You can follow her many auctions throughout the year at www.baileyshonor.com.

If you have questions about the 2016 auction, or if you would like to make a donation of an antique or vintage item, please contact Riene Wells at 262-363-4700, info@eagle-house.com or Debbie McArdle at 815-575-1272, jjmcard@comcast.net.

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Want to Be on a Schooner Sooner? Then Sail with Us on the 23rd!

Sign up for a tour aboard a Great Lakes schooner ship

Voyage back into Wisconsin’s maritime history

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 in Milwaukee

2015 Autumn Excursion Pic 2

Members of Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society are invited to take a two-hour cruise around Milwaukee Harbor aboard the SV Denis Sullivan, the world’s only re-creation of a 19th century three-mast Great Lakes schooner ship.

The schooner ship voyage on Wednesday, September 23 is part of the FWHS Autumn Excursion. For those who cannot make the full Excursion, you can still sign up for the schooner boat tour portion for $45. The tour will include a brief talk on “Pirates of the Great Lakes” by Dan Heiber. The crew of the Denis Sullivan will guide tour participants in actually sailing the schooner for those that wish. The boat tour departs from the Discovery World Pier in Milwaukee at 8:30 am and will return at 10:30.

To sign up for this exciting adventure aboard a unique boat from the history of the Great Lakes, contact FWHS Tour Coordinator JoEllen Hegwood at 414-476-4061 or jojohegwood1@gmail.com.

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WADA’s Fall Antiques Show Is Just a Month Away!


Mark your calendars for the

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association’s

64th Fall Antiques Show & Sale

October 2 & 3, 2015

Fri. 10-8, Sat. 10-5

at the Waukesha County Expo Center



- Over 55 quality antiques dealers

- The special educational exhibit Antique Graniteware

- Friday night fish fry dinner

- Free parking


Admission: $6 (good both days)

Click here for a $1 Admission Coupon!


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

GPS:  1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188


Your paid admission to this show helps fund Wisconsin scholarship and grant programs.

All merchandise is professionally screened to ensure quality and authenticity.

For more information, call 414-510-4441 or visit www.wisconsinantiquesdealers.com.

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Set Sail for the 2015 Autumn Excursion!

2015 Autumn Excursion

September 23-25

Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society presents:

Lake Michigan Lighthouses & The Schooner Coast

2015 Autumn Excursion Pic 1

Enjoy the fascinating history of Wisconsin’s lighthouses along the Schooner Coast of Lake Michigan on the 2015 Autumn Excursion! This three-day adventure will include waterside stops at sites from Milwaukee to Door County’s Death’s Door, magnificent views from atop some of Wisconsin’s most iconic lighthouses, cruises onto Lake Michigan to relive the days of the Great Lake schooners, and guided tours through several maritime museums that will include stepping aboard historic ships built right here in the Badger state.

The excursion includes handy pick-up and drop-off sites in Madison and Brookfield.  Transportation for our excursion will be aboard a deluxe Lamers Tour & Travel motor coach.  Lodging accommodations will be at the Leathem Smith Lodge in Sturgeon Bay, only steps away from the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan.  Besides the breathtaking views, our lodge also has an indoor pool and complimentary breakfasts.  Our dinner on the excursion’s first evening at the lodge will be a specially prepared (just for us!) Door County Fish Boil!

2015 Autumn Excursion Pic 2

Highlights of the excursion include a sail around Milwaukee Harbor aboard the SV Denis Sullivan (the world’s only recreation of a 19th century Great Lakes schooner), a special tour of the North Point Lighthouse and Museum, a guided tour of Manitowoc’s Wisconsin Maritime Museum (including a World War II-era submarine), a guided tour of the Cana Island Lighthouse, a trip to Door County’s Gills Rock, a scenic cruise through Death’s Door to view the Plum Island and Pilot Island Lighthouses, a special guided tour of the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, and a stop at the Port Washington Lighthouse and Light Station Museum.

There will be special presentations made for excursion participants on the history of shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, the fascinating story of the Kasube fisherman as told by Anne Gurnack, “Pirates of the Great Lakes” by Dan Heiber, and the research of Ken & Barb Wardius on Wisconsin lighthouses.

2015 Autumn Excursion Pic 3

The registration fee for the 2015 Autumn Excursion is $670 for double and $835 for single occupancy.  The fee includes motor coach transportation, driver, on-board entertainment, site charges, entrance fees, accommodations, special speakers, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners and 3 lunches (FWHS members will also enjoy an ice cream treat at Wilson’s).

Click here for the registration form and itinerary of this fantastic excursion! If you have additional questions about the trip, contact Lamers Tour & Travel at 800-236-8687 or our tour coordinator JoEllen Hegwood at 414-476-4061.

Registration deadline is August 18, 2015.

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Wednesday, June 17th: FRIENDS Luncheon to the Past

Ruth Kohler Portrait

Coming up on Wednesday, June 17th:

FWHS members will reconnect with their roots!

We’ll journey back in time to explore the State Historic Site of Wade House, and we’ll learn about the life of Ruth DeYoung Kohler (portrait above), founder of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Wisconsin Historical Society–the organization that became FWHS!

Because preserving Wade House was one of Ruth’s passions, we invite everyone–FWHS members and guests alike–to get on board the horse-drawn transport awaiting us at Wade House.

At our Wade House luncheon, we’ll meet the people who continue to carry on our FWHS founder’s work, including her family and other supporters.

Also included in this exploration of our past is a visit to an important Kohler house with social and architectural significance to FRIENDS, women, and families all over the state.

To see more about this amazing opportunity, including a complete itinerary and the registration form, be sure to check out the Spring edition of our Pillars newsletter!

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We’re Accepting Donations for the 2016 Antiques Auction!

FWHS Donation Images 1

Donate now!

Empty your attic and cellar!

We are looking for vintage (50-99 years old) and antique (100+ years old) items for the 4th Biennial 30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction.

Tax deductible receipts provided!

Preserve Wisconsin’s history — auction proceeds benefit the Wisconsin Historical Society.


Riene: 262-363-4700, info@eagle-house.com

Debbie: 815-575-1272, jjmcard@comcast.net

FWHS Donation Images 2

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Save the Date for Next Year’s Auction!

We’re proud to officially announce the

4th Biennial

30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction

Saturday, April 23, 2016

10:00 a.m., Preview 9:00 a.m.

At Old World Wisconsin’s Clausing Barn

Highway 67, Eagle, Wisconsin

Clausing Barn


Preview Night (by reservation)

(262) 363-4700

Friday, April 22, 2016


Auction profits benefit the Wisconsin Historical Society


We Thank Our Sponsors:

Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association


Carol Miller, Bailey’s Honor Auction Service

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Yvonne Wheeler, Prairie Wind Graphic Design

Richmond, Illinois


Brought to you by the FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society

Celebrating over 60 years of supporting WHS

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Fresh Chocolates, Vintage Chocolate Makers: Wisconsin’s Historic Confectioners

You know how we really like vintage (50-99 years old) and antique (100+ years old) things (such as the vintage and antique items you’ll donate to our 2016 Benefit Antiques Auction by calling Riene Wells at 262-363-4700…hint hint)?

Well, we really like vintage and antique businesses too…that is, those Wisconsin establishments that were founded over 50 years ago and are still around today.

We also happen to really like chocolate, and we’re pretty sure a lot of you do too.

So with all that said, we present to you a short list of some of Wisconsin’s vintage and antique chocolate makers, whether you need an amazing last-minute Valentine’s Day gift assortment for your sweetie, a fix for your sweet tooth in the upcoming months, or just a fix of sweet local business history! Links to their websites and online stores are in the titles.

Wilmar Chocolates: This Appleton handmade chocolate shop was founded in 1956 and has won numerous awards from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.


Hughes’ Home Maid Chocolates: Three generations of the Hughes family have been making and chocolates in the basement of their Oshkosh family home since 1940.


Kehr’s Candies: Founded in 1931 by newlywed couple Pearl and B.D. Kehr, this Milwaukee shop started out selling caramel corn in the early days of the Great Depression before expanding to candy, starting with chocolate fudge. The Kehrs’ son Bill took over in 1960 and then sold the shop in 1995 to longtime employee Paul Martinka, who carries on the Kehrs’ tradition.


Beerntsen’s Candies: Mark and Brenda Beertsen run this Green Bay candy store three generations after Henry Beerntsen first opened it in 1925.


Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel: Founded in 1916 in Milwaukee by Polish immigrants Joseph and Lottie Helminiak, this chocolate store grew and eventually moved to St. Francis in 1985, where it merged with the 1960s Buddy Squirrel nut business.


Kaap’s Old World Chocolates: This Green Bay chocolate store was founded in 1909 by Otto Kaap, who made his chocolates overnight so they would be fresh the next day. Over time, he expanded the store to include an ice cream parlor and restaurant.


Seroogy’s: Three generations after being founded in 1899 by brothers Joe, Jim, and Sol Seroogy, this De Pere chocolate shop is still in the family and run by Seroogy brothers named Jim and Joe!


Oaks Candy: This chocolate shop has been an Oshkosh staple for over 100 years!




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