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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Recapping the Great River Road: Autumn Excursion 2014

The 2014 Autumn Excursion, sponsored by FWHS, traveled the Great River Road along the mighty Mississippi River from September 4-6. The 28 travelers on the excursion enjoyed the fascinating history and beautiful scenery of the river.

Traveling first to La Crosse, the group enjoyed the breathtaking vistas of Grandad Bluff, a personal tour of historic Hixton House, and lunch aboard a paddle wheeler that “locked thru” on the Mississippi. Dr. Frank “White Beaver” Powell mesmerized the group as he told of his life in the “Gateway City” of La Crosse. After heading south and hearing the story of the Black Hawk War along the way, the group stopped for the night in host city Prairie du Chien, where a delicious supper at The Angus Supper Club was followed by Mary Antoine, President of the PDC Historical Society, telling all about the earliest days of her historic hometown.

Day 2 of the Autumn Excursion began with a ride to Dubuque’s Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, followed by a narrated tour of the city of Dubuque and a delicious lunch at the city’s Eagle Point Park overlooking the Mississippi River below. In the afternoon, the group stopped at Moundview Park in Platteville to see a historic reenactment of the War of 1812. A stop at Jamison Museum included a tour of the museum, a descent deep down into a once-working lead mine, a mining tram ride around the grounds, and an interesting presentation on the ethnic settlement of the lead mining region. Back in Prairie du Chien for the evening and after a pasta supper at the motel, the group learned about the 19th century Ho-Chunk Treaties.

The last day of the tour began with Mary Antoine rejoining us for a tour of Prairie du Chien, which included a visit to the oldest house in the city (a fascinating restored French-Canadian log cabin), stops at the oldest cemetery and church in the state, and a tour of the historic Ft. Crawford museum. The group was then led on a personally-guided tour of the magnificent Villa Louis mansion and participated in the Carriage Classic event on the grounds. The excursion then traveled to Cassville for guided tours of several different sites in Stonefield Village and the Governor Nelson Dewey House.

Once again FWHS has hosted a wonderful historic tour of a great part of the Badger State (the name taken from those early lead miners digging their homes in the ground). Thanks go out to FWHS board members JoEllen Hegwood, Frances Kravenik, and Brad Steinmetz for arranging the excursion and making it such a memorable experience for all the participants!

2014-09-04 13.00.10 (2) excursion2014-09-05 13.53.54 (2) excursion CANNON2014-09-05 16.02.55 (2) excursion2014 excursion - FWHS Mem. Frank chats with Twain

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All Aboard for Autumn Excursion 2014!

SEPT 4-6, 2014

This September 4th-6th, enjoy the adventure of a tour along the mighty Mississippi and the Great River Road on the Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s annual Autumn Excursion! The trip will feature extensive tours and special historical presentations along the river with stops at La Crosse, Prairie du Chien, Cassville, Platteville and Dubuque. Marvel at the panoramic views from riverside bluffs, take a step back in history with colorful re-enactors, and tour some of Wisconsin’s earliest homes in this unique travel experience!

Highlights of the excursion include:

–In LaCrosse, stops will include the grandeur of Grandad Bluff, historic Hixon House, the Riverside Museum with a visit from Doc Frank “White Beaver” Powell, and a lunch aboard an authentic paddlewheel riverboat on a tour of the river

–Learn about the tragic trail that ended the Black Hawk War and the Winnebago Treaties signed at Ft. Crawford

–Prairie du Chien will feature a tour of the Villa Louis mansion and participation in the “Carriage Classic” held on the estate grounds, a walking tour of this oldest town in the state including stops at the rarely open to the public Francois Vertefeuille House and the oldest cemetery in Wisconsin, a visit to the Ft. Crawford Museum and a supper overlooking the river

–In Dubuque, highlights include a visit to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, a Personal Dubuque City Tour which includes views of the one-of-a-kind Fenelon Place Elevator & historic Mathias Ham House, and a picnic lunch at Eagle Point Park overlooking the river

–The Platteville stop will include a tour down into an actual lead mine at the Rollo Jamison Museum, a presentation on the ethnic settlement of the region, and a special program by historic re-enactors

–At Stonefield, near Cassville, attractions include a working turn-of-the-century family dairy farm, displays of antique farm implements, experiencing the sights and sounds of Wisconsin’s early railroads, and a tour of the grand summer estate of Nelson Dewey, Wisconsin’s first governor

This magnificent and historic Autumn Excursion features deluxe Lamers motorcoach transportation with on-board entertainment, two nights stay at the Country Inn & Suites in Prairie du Chien, most meals (all for FWHS members), and all entrance & site charges and special speaker & presentation fees included in the price of only $535 for double and $660 for single occupancy. An optional Lamers Cancellation Protection Program is available for $45.

Reserve your spot on this fantastic tour now by calling Lamers Tour & Travel at 1-800-236-8687 or 414-281-2002. You can also download and print the registration form and itinerary here: 2014 Excursion Registration & Itinerary. A $125 deposit will save your seat on this wonderful traveling experience – final payment is due by August 1. If you have additional questions about the trip, contact FWHS tour coordinator JoEllen Hegwood at 414-476-4061.

steam boatstuff

carriageup the hill

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June 25th, 2014: Annual Meeting & Adventure into History

It’s a History Mystery Tour!

One fairly common area once set aside in cities is now getting rather hard to find. But it still lives on in the city of Waukesha–and we have the evidence! Famous people were not uncommon in Waukesha–some arriving after they were famous, but some owing a part of their ability to become a leader in their field to time spent in Waukesha. And here’s a clue too…sometimes it wasn’t the person that we remember, but what they left behind!

The Waukesha County Museum, located in downtown Waukesha, exhibits substantiation of the many lives of the area–some of them still mysterious to this day. But maybe WE can crack the code!

To join us on this year’s Annual Meeting and Adventure into History, and to help solve Waukesha’s history mysteries, please print, fill out, and mail in the right side of the info and registration form below!

Annual Meeting 2014

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Hold These Dates!

Have your fill of historical fun with these upcoming events!


June 1st: Model A Day

In Sharon, Wisconsin. Let’s travel back to the 1920’s to honor our WWI veterans! Talk in person with President Coolidge’s VP, Charles Dawes, to find out what was really going on in those stressful times. Call Bev at 262-607-1528 for details.


June 25th: Annual Meeting & Adventure into History

This time around, it’s a History Mystery! We’ll delve into the history of Waukesha, WI, the city of many lives and a few juicy mysteries. Will YOU be able to solve them? More information coming soon!


July 19th: Wheel Fever

Try the High Wheeler or a vintage tricycle! Ride with the Wheelmen at Old World Wisconsin Historic Site. Click here for more details!


September 4th-6th: Autumn Excursion

Explore the Great River Road! Featuring bluff-top views and charming river towns, this excursion offers insight into the many stories, lives, and twists and turns in the making of Wisconsin! More details will be coming soon, but for further information, call Ms. Jo Ellen Hegwood at 414-476-4061.


And let’s not forget the 2014 History Sandwiched In programs, brought to you by your Wisconsin Historical Society! Bring your bag lunch to the WHS Museum on Capitol Square in Madison from 12:15 to 1:00 pm on the dates below to join fellow history buffs for a full plate of Wisconsin History (YUM!). Donation $2.00 each program.

June 3rd: Preserving Works of Art and What the Materiality of Objects Teaches Us

June 17th: Cold War University: Madison and the New Left in the Sixties!

July 8th: Wisconsin Printmakers

July 15th: Viskonsin! Yiddish Radio in Badgerland

July 29th: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine

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FWHS Annual Meeting & Adventure into History 2013


0105012-036D Village Interpreters talking copy

Come see what

YOU did!

 It’s True!

Hop on the bus

Wednesday June 5th 2013

8:00 Hop on the bus at the East Dutch Mill Park and Ride on Madison’s Beltline at the intersection of 18 & 51.

10:00 Arrive at Old World Wisconsin and Gather at the Gift Shop to board the Tram to the Village.

Step behind the scene at St. Peter’s Church (First Catholic church in Milwaukee) and meet  with Curator, Ellen Penwell. This is where you see what YOU did to help Old World with funds from our 2012 Thirtieth Star Auction.

Next we see for ourselves what being one of the settlers was all about at one of the ethnic settlements. Roll up your sleeves – they can use a hand !

Lunch and a brief Annual Meeting at the Clausing Barn. You never know who will show up ~ maybe even be Ole and Lena!

Next we head to East Troy. Did you know there is still an operating Electric Railroad there?

Let’s get on Board for another trip through time. With a stop or two into the past. east troy train

This includes a stop your memory will find delicious ~  Lauber’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream parlor for choices of retro treats that take you back in time. 

4:00 Board the tour bus and head back to the Park and Ride with a smile on your face and a new appreciation for “the way things were.”

2013 Annual Meeting Registration Form

 Registration deadline: May 22nd, 2013

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Fall Excursion Into Wisconsin Native Culture

September 24-26th 2012

Click on the PDF for the Tour brochure below for all details of this three day two night exploration of Wisconsin’s Native American culture.

Details include Stand Rock, Ojibwa Museum, Lac Du Flambeau Tribe, Ho Chunk Casino, fabulous food, and meeting award-winning authors in person, and so much more!

PDF brochure & form (click to open):  2012 FALL EXCURSION

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Lincoln Trip Highly Rated

The FRIENDS Annual Time & Place Trip for 2009 was to Springfield Illinois to “walk in Abe Lincoln’s Footsteps” as he became the icon his is known as today.

The three day, two night coach adventure was highly rated among the travelers. Perhaps it had to do with the special “behind the scenes” segments that were added to the usual historic Springfield itinerary. Added value specialty items were welcomed at all points of the tour.

Lunch at the Lincon Library, experiencing the Vault, seeing where Lincon lived and worked, and meeting “Lincoln” (expert Lincoln character presenter, Mr. Klein) were just some of the highlights of a history adventure to remember.

FRIENDS conducts “Time & Place” Tours annually. Watch for the details of the 2010 adventure into the past.

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Frocks and Farthings

BIKE CROP HORIZIt’s Feminine Frocks & Penney Farthings

On October 24th Volunteers from the FRIENDS offered a free program at the Headquarters building of the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison.  Two members of the FRIENDS Board of Trustees, Beverly Wassam and Mark Mittag, put together this light hearted and high spirited romp into the past. [Continue reading Frocks and Farthings …]

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