WHS Adds to State Register of Historic Places

The Wisconsin Historical Society recently announced a number of new additions to the State Register of Historic Places, Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage, including the following:

George W. Borg Corporation Building (Delavan, WI)

01

Constructed in 1943 as a manufacturing facility, the George W. Borg Corporation fulfilled government contracts for war materiel during World War II. Products included mechanical time fuzes for anti-aircraft shells for which the company developed a machine to manufacture adjusting nuts that increased the rate of fuze production. Following the war, the newly created Borg Fabric Division occupied the building and its success led to the construction of a three-story addition in 1956. Investing in research and development, the Borg Fabric Division made advancements in the production of knitted pile fabrics using synthetic fibers, and received numerous patents throughout the 1950s and 1960s when the industry rapidly grew. The Borg Fabric Division operated both day and night shifts in the subject building at a time when the George W. Borg Corporation was the largest employer in Delavan. Shifting market conditions resulted in the end of pile fabrics manufacturing at this location in 1980.

_____

Horlick Malted Milk Company (Racine, WI)

02

The Horlick Malted Milk Company, composed of 12 buildings located on a 16-acre site near Racine’s historic downtown, is the headquarters and manufacturing plant of the company, one of Racine’s most significant industrial enterprises. Brothers William and James Horlick established a milk products company and moved to the subject property in 1877. In 1883, William Horlick patented a powdered milk food product consisting of malted barley, wheat extract, and evaporated whole milk that was nutritious, easily digestible, non-perishable, and soluble in water. This invention was the world’s first “malted milk.” The company established milk purity standards that were adopted statewide by Wisconsin’s dairy industry and its invention of malted milk quickly spread nationally, becoming a household name developed through nationwide advertising campaigns and worldwide distribution.

_____

King Street Arcade (Madison, WI)

03

The King Street Arcade, built in 1927 and located a half-block off of the Capitol Square, was designed with 24 smaller-sized rental spaces for stores and offices. These spaces are accessed from two streets bordering the building and also by an interior two-story arcade, lit by a very large glass skylight. Today, shopping malls using this concept are commonplace, but in 1927, only the nation’s largest cities could boast of such buildings. The King Street Arcade was developed and owned by a member of Madison’s prominent Hobbins family. The building is also notable as the work of Madison architect and engineer Henry Charles Huart, who practiced in Madison during most of the 1920s. The King Street arcade is rare in Madison, unique as being the only example of its type in the city from the era prior to the end of World War II, and one of the very few to be built in Wisconsin during the same period.

_____

Shaw Point Historic District (Bayfield, WI)

04

The Shaw Point Historic District is significant for its varied history, telling the developmental story of commerce, maritime history, agriculture and recreation, and architecture. The first settlements relied on extractive industries and agriculture to support their economies. Commercial fishermen, miners, loggers, and farmers shipped their commodities to eastern markets first by steamships and then by railroad. These transportation networks also opened northern Wisconsin to leisure passengers, who began vacationing at resorts along the Lake Superior shore in the late nineteenth century. Eventually, seasonal visitors acquired property along the lakeshore to construct private vacation homes. The three properties in the Shaw Point Historic District reflect this arc: the Shaw-Hill Farm was an early commercial fishing camp and farm; Camp Stella was a recreational resort; and the Campbell-Jensch Property was developed for private seasonal use. Eventually, all of the properties became second homes as extractive industries, agriculture, and recreational resorts dwindled in importance in the twentieth century.

_____

Simonds 10-Sided Barn (Stevens Point, WI)

05

The Simonds 10-Sided Barn is a small dairy barn, built in 1916 and having a stone and concrete foundation, and wood board-and-batten walls. One of only 112 known centric barns in Wisconsin, the Simonds barn is unusual for its 10 sides and off-set silo. Constructed by Orville and Otto Kramer, two brother carpenters from nearby Baraboo, this barn was built for Benjamin Simonds who not only had a small dairy farm but was a schoolteacher. The construction of the Simonds barn parallels a period of intensive dairy farming and concern for progressive improvement in rural life in the history of Sauk County. The property exchanged hands a number of times before being purchased by the Eschenbach family, who operated the dairy farm from the 1940s to the 1970s.

 

_____

West Bend Theater (West Bend, WI)

06

Opening on November 29, 1929, the West Bend Theater was purpose-built as a movie theater and live theater venue with a full stage for live theater and the most current technology of the time for projection and screening of movies. The West Bend Theater was designed in the Art Deco style by the prominent architectural firm Graven & Mayger from Chicago which was a master firm known primarily for large-scale theater design from 1926 to 1929. At 872 seats, the West Bend Theater is small in comparison to most Graven & Mayger theaters, but having such a prominent firm design a theater in this smaller city was an achievement residents could boast about. Currently undergoing restoration, including the original marquee and blade sign, storefronts, ticket booth, lobby and audience chamber, and interior finishes including the historic paint scheme, the theater will re-open for live performance, movies, and community events.

 

 

_____

Van Brunt Memorial School (Horicon, WI)

07

The Van Brunt Memorial School, built in 1922 and expanded with later additions, was designed by the notable Wisconsin firm of Parkinson and Dockendorff as a “combination school” housing primary (kindergarten through junior high) students and secondary (high school) students in separate wings. The Van Brunt Memorial School is significant as the most important educational building in Horicon and represents this rural community’s commitment to secondary-level education. In 1993, the school district proposed to demolish the Van Brunt Memorial School. Instead, local voters chose to fund a remodeling of the building that included interior alterations to the gymnasium and auditorium, the construction of an elevator and stair tower at the rear of the 1922 school to meet accessibility requirements, and the construction of a new gymnasium.

_____

War Eagle Shipwreck (La Crosse, WI)

08

The sidewheel steamboat War Eagle is the only known river sidewheel steamboat shipwreck in Wisconsin waters, providing historians and archaeologists the rare chance to study the construction of vessels commonly used on the upper Mississippi River. The War Eagle shipwreck site has yielded information about vessel construction, the life of people at that time, and the commodities that were being shipped. Before rail lines were constructed west of the Mississippi River, steamboats like the War Eagle were an important link in connecting peoples and goods between the economically and culturally developed eastern markets with the virgin territory west of the Mississippi, defining its place in the larger context of maritime history. This vessel also played an important role the movement of military troops and supplies during the American Civil War. Although the vessel is located in an area of black water (low to no visibility) with strong and potentially dangerous current and cross current conditions, there is potential for future discoveries as technological advancements in remote sensing and robotics continue to flourish.

 

 

 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Donate and Shop at WADA’s Winter 2020 Show

The FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society have been given a booth at the 46th Winter Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association Show & Sale, to be held on Friday, January 31 & Saturday, February 1 at the Waukesha County Expo Center, to promote their biennial “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction” (to be held at Old World Wisconsin in April). W.A.D.A. is the founding and continuing sponsor of the event which raises important funding for Wisconsin historic preservation endeavors. Donations of auction items will be accepted at the FRIENDS booth and tax-deductible receipts will be provided!

WADA Winter 2020

Posted in Events, News | 1 Comment

Donate Items for April’s Auction!

2020 Auction Rack Card - Donate

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Just One Donated Item Will Make a Difference!

2020 Auction - Oak Hall Tree a2020 Auction - Pipsqueak, Drunkard's Path 22020 Auction - Rosenau, Steuben Verre de Soie Comport, short

The FRIENDS of the Wisconsin Historical Society are currently collecting tax-deductible donations of antiques and vintage items for their April 25, 2020 “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction” to be held, once again, at Old World Wisconsin’s historic Clausing Barn in Eagle.

Whether a traditional antique, a single collectible coin, a vintage rock or travel poster, or even a 1970s home video game console like Atari or Pong, just one donated item will make a difference! Only six months away, this important fund-raising auction is 2 years in the making! Interesting antique and vintage items made before 1980 are being gathered from across middle America, with tax-deductible receipts provided.

The inaugural auction, held in April 2010, was followed by four successful encores in April 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. Thus far the proceeds from the five biennial auctions have provided important funding for historic sites in Wisconsin as well as for National History Day. A grant from the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association continues their commitment as the benefit auction’s founding sponsors.

The auction’s now-legendary Preview Party includes dinner, prizes, a speaker, silent auctions, and good old-fashioned fun on Friday night, April 24, 2020. Seating is limited so make your reservations early by calling 262.352.0479.

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

For questions about  the April 25, 2020 “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction,” or to make a donation of an antique or vintage item, please contact Phil Schauer at 608.295.7240, pipsqkme@gmail.com or Debbie McArdle at 815.575.1272, jjmcard@comcast.net.

2020 Auction - McArdle, Green Glass Decanter w Silver Overlay2020 Auction - Hedgwood - buggy2020 Auction - IMG_5630

Posted in Events, News | Leave a comment

Friends of WHS Annual Meeting Held at Delafield

The Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society (FWHS) held the 2019 annual meeting on June 26th in Delafield, Wisconsin. Part of the FWHS group boarded a bus in Madison for the one-hour trip to Delafield, where other members and friends joined them. Over thirty people enjoyed the day led by FWHS president, Phillip Schauer.

While in Delafield, the group toured the historically amazing exhibit of Abraham Lincoln & The Civil War. The exhibit featured a life-sized portrait of President Lincoln that once hung in the White House and many more paintings of Civil War figures and events. A collection of sculptures of Civil War leaders featured a bust of Lincoln taken from an actual life mask of the President.

Annual Meeting 2019 Lincoln and Old Glory

Other relevant artifacts in the collection include one of the tables used at Appomattox when the CSA surrendered to General Grant, a fragment of the Surrender Flag, and a snippet of President Lincoln’s blood-soaked lapel that he wore when he was assassinated.

Annual Meeting 2019 curator gives details at lincoln exhibit

A key part of the exhibit is the Medal of Honor (on loan from the Gettysburg Museum) awarded to Alonzo Cushing, who was born in Delafield. Cushing was killed during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg and a painting, Death of Alonzo Cushing, is also on display.

Next door to the Delafield History Center, the FWHS members toured historic Hawks Inn, a marvelously restored stagecoach inn from the Civil War era. Members of the Delafield History Society, dressed in period costumes, led tours of the three floors of the old inn. One of the most interesting parts of the tour was a stop in the kitchen where a lunch was being prepared over an open fireplace hearth.

Annual Meeting 2019 Hawks Inn tour

After the historic tours, the group walked to nearby Revere’s for a delicious lunch. President Schauer then led a short business meeting that featured the election of Riene Wells, Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes, Linda Noer, Anne Gurnack, Frances Kavenik, Pat Raap, Brad Steinmetz, and Phillip Schauer as the voting roster for the FWHS Board of Directors.

Annual Meeting 2019 Waterville home

After the meeting concluded, those on the bus toured a unique farm homestead near Delafield that featured an 18th-century New England house that had been disassembled and moved to the site in rural Wisconsin.

Many thanks to President Schauer for arranging a truly memorable annual meeting trip for FWHS members!

– Brad Steinmetz

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Anne Gurnack Awarded for Polish Research

Congratulations to FHWS Board Member Anne Gurnack, a 2019 recipient of the Skalny Civic Achievement Award, a national award given by the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA)!

Since 1989, PAHA’s Skalny Civic Achievement Awards “honor individuals or groups who advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research on and awareness of the Polish experience in the Americas.” The awards are named after the Skalny family (Aniela, Anna, Ben, John and Joseph) that donated the funds to support this award.

Anne received the award in January for her contributions to the understanding of the “forgotten Poles” in New York City and Milwaukee. She has undertaken a number of efforts both to mobilize the Polish American community and to engage the Polish institutions to study, protect, and promote Kaszube heritage in Milwaukee. She has fostered cooperation between the Milwaukee Public Library and the Emigration Museum and contributed to the international cooperation between the Universities of Gdańsk and Wisconsin – Parkside.

As part of the annual meeting of the American Historical Associations in Chicago’s Chopin Theatre on January 3-6, Anne was presented with the Skalny award and also made a presentation there talking about the connections between the Kaszube settlements in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada, and the establishment of the earliest Catholic churches in the mid-1800’s.

To learn more about Milwaukee’s Jones Island settlement of Kaszube fishermen and how Anne’s research made it back to the Wejherowo Museum in Poland, click here for the story (and one of the FRIENDS’ most popular web posts!).

Anne Gurnack Award award3gurnack

Posted in News | Leave a comment

WHS Celebrates Black History Month

The Wisconsin Historical Society celebrated its 3rd annual Black History Month Open House on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Community members could see the African American archival and museum collections on display and participate in a listening session about the creation of a new Wisconsin history museum on Madison’s Capitol Square.

WHS Black History Month

“The importance of black history is to remind us who we are and who we can be potentially,” Tanika Apaloo, Community Engagement and Diversity Liaison for the Wisconsin Historical Society, told Madison365. “It certainly should be something that is more than one month. It’s something that in my position and in my role that I recognize and celebrate every day.

“Black History Month is very important to me. I think that a lot of the challenges that are occurring in our black community would be mediated in a lot of ways if youths and adults alike new more about their history and their culture,” Apaloo added. “I think the relationship between culture and history is an intangible one and its difficult for us to move forward and be confident in who we are without both knowing where we come from and knowing our purpose.”

Archival documents have been on display for Black History Month in an exhibit called “African American Activism in Wisconsin,” featuring documents that tell the story of the fight for African American suffrage in the 19th century. This includes the proposed 1846 state constitution that allowed granted voting rights to African American men and the 1866 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in favor of Ezekiel Gillespie that finally enacted this right. Moving forward a century, the exhibit highlights documents from the 1960s actions in Milwaukee to desegregate schools and enact fair housing legislation and also features items commemorating the 50th anniversary of the UW-Madison Black Student Strike.

Wes Covington

One of the highlights that the museum archives feature is a display about the Negro Baseball League as it came through Wisconsin. The WHS created a prototype, interactive story map to explore the reach of African American baseball in Wisconsin. Although Wisconsin did not host a long-lived Negro League team like the Kansas City Monarchs or the Chicago American Giants, black ballplayers were a regular presence in communities throughout Wisconsin for decades, even in small northern towns with few African American residents.

“This is important for sharing stories. And it’s everyday stories,” Apaloo said. “Some people think that something has to be very significant to be historic. That’s not the case. In oral history interviews, there are so many everyday people who have done very significant things. They are unsung heroes, so to speak that had that oral history not been discussed or discovered, we would never had known about it. And, they, too, would have never realized what they are doing is historic.”

–David Dahmer, Madison365 Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A Tour and Luncheon Worth Archiving!

FRIENDS of WHS Members Tour SAPF

Friends of WHS board members and others toured the new State Archive Preservation Facility (SAPF) on Madison’s near-east side on Tuesday, September 18th. Led by board president Phil Schauer, Friends members were given a tour of the new state-of-the-art facility by Matt Blessing, WHS administrator of the Division of Library, Archives and Museum collections.

Blessing led the group through the new four-story storage facility that will eventually hold more than 500,000 artifacts. The facility will also contain 200,000 books and over 50,000 archival boxes with millions of pages of manuscript pages and documents from state agencies. The WHS is also moving 110,000 historic objects to the new facility, located at 202 South Thornton Avenue, along with hundreds of boxes filled with over 400,000 archeological objects. In addition, the new facility will house 22,000 objects and several archival collections from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

SAPF d

Highlights of the tour of SAPF included a stop in the film storage room, where a temperature of forty degrees with a constant low humidity level will preserve the fantastic film and movie collection for the future. Blessing explained that when a film needs to be shown, it will be moved to a transition room where the temperature is gradually raised – again to preserve the quality of the film. Currently most of the film collection is still at the WHS headquarters on the UW campus. When the weather cools in October the collection will be moved to SAPF.

SAPF e

Blessing also explained the new digital identification system that helps staff locate objects and collections. Each object has a scanning ID code that is also on the storage box and the shelf where the box is stored at SAPF. When a researcher needs an object, they can identify it online at the WHS site. WHS staff at SAPF then can locate the needed document of object, pull it from its storage shelf, and by the next morning the researcher can access the needed material at the WHS headquarters building.

SAPF a

On the tour, Friends members saw an early version of the Oscar Mayer “Wiener Mobile,” the hamburger-carrying caricature of Marc’s Big Boy restaurants, and an early television camera from the WHA educational TV station. Stepping out onto the loading dock area of SAPF, Blessing explained that trucks arrive daily with materials from the WHS headquarters building. This process has been going on since early spring and will continue for several years before the move is completed.

Blessing stressed that the new SAPF facility helps the historical society meet its mission of “To collect, preserve and share.” The new facility was built with extra storage space so that the WHS can continue to meet its mission into the future.

FRIENDS of WHS Honor Fannie Hicklin

As part of the September meeting of the Friends of WHS board, a luncheon meal was shared at the Hungry Goat restaurant in Fitchburg. At the gathering, Friends’ President Phil Schauer honored Dr. Fannie Hicklin for her many years of service to both the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she served on the Board of Curators for 27 years including as President of the board, and the Friends of WHS group, where she served as a board member for many years.

SAPF fSAPF g

After her introduction at the luncheon Dr. Hicklin regaled the gathered Friends members with stories about coming to Madison to get her doctorate degree at UW. During that time she also worked at the historical society and first became aware of the importance of the institution. Her witty recollections entranced the gathering as the centenarian (Fannie recently celebrated her 100th birthday!) retired educator’s presence made for a wonderful time for all.

– Brad Steinmetz, FWHS Vice President

Posted in News, Tours & Trips | Leave a comment

FWHS Annual Meeting Features History Explorations

The Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s (FWHS) annual meeting was held in Madison on Tuesday, June 26th. To start the day, FWHS President Phil Schauer welcomed everyone with coffee and snacks in the Sellery Room of the WHS Headquarters building on the UW campus. The historic meeting room was recently renovated with the latest in technology paid for through generous donations from the FWHS.

Annual Meeting 2018 - At Meeting a

Jim Draeger of the WHS staff then gave an interesting walkthrough history of the WHS building. Starting in the main lobby, Jim discussed the original construction of the state-of-the-art building in the late 1890’s that include a hands-on introduction to the marble pieces used in the construction of the ornate floor. Then the tour moved upstairs to the magnificent Reading Room where Jim regaled us with the renovations that occurred there. Returning the room to its former glory with its magnificent ceiling and other classical decorations was a massive task – mission accomplished!

Annual Meeting 2018 - Reading Room aAnnual Meeting 2018 - Reading Room b

Moving to the WHS Museum on the Capital Square, the annual meeting participants were treated to a “History Sandwiched In” talk by WHS archivist Julia Wong. “Moulded Eggs in Gargoyle Sauce, Pin Money Pickles and Roman Punch” highlighted the vast menu collection held by the historical society and showed the vast differences in food choices and tastes over the ages. Later, a short tour of the exhibits on the museum’s upper floors featured stops at the Native American exhibit, Wisconsin’s early days of lead mining that gave the “Badger” state its nickname, and the exhibit on fur trade before Wisconsin even was a state.

Annual Meeting 2018 - Julia WongAnnual Meeting 2018 - Trading Post

Our day concluded at the UW Memorial Union, where everyone enjoyed a catered lunch before participating in the FWHS annual meeting. President Schauer conducted the meeting, which featured reports on the Friends of WHS Auction held in April, the FWHS support of National History Day, and possible options to replace the FWHS’s annual Autumn Excursion. A change in the organization’s by-laws to exclude the treasurer from term limits and the re-election of the fifteen members of the board of directors concluded the annual meeting.

Annual Meeting 2018 - Phil Conducting MeetingAnnual Meeting 2018 - At Meeting b

President Schauer also invited everyone to a FWHS tour of the new Wisconsin Historical Society’s storage facility on Tuesday, September 18th – more details will be forthcoming.

–Brad Steinmetz, FWHS board member

Annual Meeting 2018 - Group Pic

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Party Like It’s 1959 at Circus World Museum

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI is celebrating its biggest year yet with extraordinary performers and world-class animal acts all wrapped into a 1950’s-inspired theme called “Doo-Wop Big Top,” celebrating the decade that the site was founded and opened…

…and on Thursday, June 28 through Sunday, June 1, you can celebrate Circus World’s 60th Anniversary with a remarkable $5.00 admission rate for everyone for these four days only!

Circus World Museum Anniversary Days

Circus World opened on July 1, 1959 on less than an acre of property with 2 buildings and 6 circus wagons; admission was 60 cents. Given the rate of inflation, 60 cents works out to about $5 today. Even though Circus World’s value has increased with the addition of over 200 wagons and vehicles, several new and historic buildings, and more than 60 acres, admission for these four days will be the same as in 1959!

But on whatever days you choose to experience what Circus World has to offer, remember that “Doo-Wop Big Top” is available all summer long! Circus World Museum’s summer performance season runs through September 2, and the fall season continues to October 31.

For more information on Circus World Museum, visit www.circusworldbaraboo.org.

Posted in Events, News | Leave a comment