Word - DeForest Area Historical Society

Spring/Summer Issue – June 2011
DeForest Area Historical Society
• Microfilm reader-printer
• Local papers since 1896
• Abstracts of title
• Norwegian-American newsletters
Celebrate Independence Day
with Custard at the Fire Station!
If you’ve enjoyed our ice cream socials in
previous years on the Lyster House lawn, you’ll
love this year’s ice custard social in the fire
station—under cover, rain or shine. Don’t
worry, you didn’t miss it! Instead of being on
the day of the Dragon Art Fair, this year our
annual fundraiser/social is on the 4th of July.
New Resources at Library Site
to Research Your Family’s Past
Our historical society has become an important
resource for residents and others researching the
history of their families, homes, and
community. Our cemetery records and obituary
collections are an important and growing
resource, as are our high school yearbooks,
family histories, and many other materials in the
We’ll be serving vanilla and chocolate custard
in the fire station next to the bingo game, from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until supplies run out.
We’re grateful to Culver’s Custard for donating
all the custard for that day and to Rude’s Lanes
for strawberry toppings. Water and chips will
also be available.
Recently we’ve been delighted to add several
significant resources for research. Read on to
consider how you might use some of these
materials and/or contribute to these growing
Acquisitions: The Hardanger Fiddle
We receive and appreciate so many wonderful
donations, if only we could feature them all!
Last October we were honored to receive a
Hardanger fiddle and case from Paul and Sally
Wangsness, who grew up in DeForest and now
live in Pennsylvania.
Microfilm reader-printer. Newspapers take up a
great deal of space and tend to deteriorate. Old
ones are best saved on microfilm or microfiche,
but until recently we had to go to the Wisconsin
Historical Society in Madison to read them.
This folk instrument, which resembles a violin,
has a distinctive drone from echoing strings
placed under the fingerboard. Often called the
national instrument of Norway, it is used
especially for dance music. For hundreds of
years Hardanger fiddles have been the subject of
folktales, ghost stories, and over 1,000 tunes.
Now there’s a Minolta microfilm microfiche
reader-printer at our DeForest library site,
thanks to the generosity of member and
volunteer Norbert Manthe.
(continued on page 4)
John Englesby, President
From the President
DeForest Area Historical Society
Volunteers continue to serve patrons at our
archival center in the DeForest Area Public
Library on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Visitors stop by regularly to request local
history information or to drop off materials to be
added to the collection.
Contact Information
Mail: PO Box 124, DeForest WI 53532
Phone: (608) 846-5482
Email: dahsoc@yahoo.com
We are pleased that the upgrade work at the
Hansen-Newell-Bennett House on Elm Street is
now complete. The gardens have been
beautifully enhanced by volunteers. Again this
year, this site will be open on the second Sunday
afternoon of each month, June through October,
from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., hosted by one of our
directors. Enjoy a walk back in time on the first
floor, which is interpreted as a home from 100
years ago, before the advent of electricity. Our
first open house was held on June 12th.
Website: http://www.deforest.lib.wi.us/
Sites and Hours
Hansen-Newell-Bennett House, 119 East Elm
Street, DeForest; museum open 1-3 the second
Sunday of each month June through October
Lyster House, 201 DeForest Street, DeForest;
Chamber of Commerce uses the space, open to
the public during Chamber hours
The DeForest Railroad Depot, restored to its
1930’s appearance, continues to create interest
in local railroad history. The sights and sounds
of the Canadian Pacific train passing through
town daily are especially meaningful when one
is standing or sitting on the depot platform. The
history of the depot is presented on an historical
marker just north of the building.
DeForest Depot, 215 Market Street, DeForest,
just south of Lyster House; exterior and grounds
open to the public
Office and gallery in library, 203 Library Street,
DeForest; office open 9-11:30 most Tuesdays
and Thursdays; gallery open during library hours
Volunteers have again taken care of planting the
window boxes and gardens at the Lyster House.
The lawn and parking lot were the sites for
several activities of this year’s Dragon Art Fair
on June 4th. An entertainment stage was featured
on the front lawn, along with food stands. It was
wonderful to have so many people out that day
enjoying themselves at our historic site.
Victorian’s Secret: Changes in Women’s
Underwear with Leslie Bellais
Victorian ladies had a secret—under their
clothes. Leslie Bellais, curator of costumes and
textiles at the Wisconsin Historical Society,
revealed the secret of tiny waists and more at
the DeForest Area Community & Senior Center
in May.
This year’s society fund-raiser will be held on
July 4th, as part of the Chamber of Commerce
annual celebration. The society will be selling
Culver’s custard, potato chips, and water at the
DeForest Fire Station, in conjunction with the
popular bingo event. Plan to stop by, enjoy great
refreshments and fun, and also support the cause
of local history. Check the local newspaper for
the times of all events.
She discussed the origins of underwear and how
it changed over time, reflecting shifts in societal
values. She also displayed examples of
Victorian women’s underwear from the
Wisconsin Historical Society’s collection.
Wisconsin Historical Society Sites 20% Off
Meet First Lady Abigail Adams
Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 10:00 a.m.
DeForest Area Community & Senior Center
Visit Pendarvis, Old World Wisconsin, Circus
World, or Villa Louis. Clip the coupon from the
bottom of this page for 20% off entry to any of
the 11 Wisconsin Historical Society sites across
the state. DeForest Area Historical Society
members get this benefit because DAHS is an
affiliate of the state society.
Historical impressionist Jessica Michna will
take on the role of First Lady Abigail Adams,
whose extraordinary correspondence with her
husband John is a rich resource for
understanding the early days of the American
Wisconsin Historical Society—Wisconsin
Council for Local History Capital Region
Meeting Monday, July 11, in Evansville
Abigail will look back after 40 years of
marriage to reminisce about the revolution, her
years in France and England as a diplomat’s
wife, and life in the White House while it was
still under construction. Co-sponsors of this
program are the historical society, the library,
and the community/senior center.
Share a day learning about local history in
Evansville’s brand new community center.
Hosted by the Evansville Grove Society, the
day’s agenda begins at 9:00 a.m. It features a
workshop on creating quality exhibits on a tight
budget and a presentation on how your
community can commemorate the Civil War
Sesquicentennial. A guided tour of Evansville’s
Historic District, lunch, and a roundtable
discussion of current projects in the Capitol
Region will round out the day.
Second Sunday Open House
Our house museum, the Hansen-Newell-Bennett
House on Elm Street, will continue to be open
from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. the second Sunday of
each month, through October. Come and see the
results of the recent upgrades and what
volunteers have done with the gardens. Because
we no longer heat the museum as a cost-saving
measure, after October we will close up until
next spring.
For a more detailed agenda contact John Decker
at deckercorp@charter.net or 608-882-5528, or
visit www.wisconsinhistory.org/localhistory/
Affiliate pass to Wisconsin Historical Society
sites for members of affiliated local historical
societies - printed on paper copies of
newsletter only.
New Resources at Library Site to Research Your Family’s Past
(continued from page 1)
Norbert has been working for some time
creating databases that list area high school
graduates and veterans who have served in the
armed services. After deciding that a local
microfilm reader would be very helpful in this
research, especially for newspapers, he offered
to fund its purchase. He and several directors
studied the reader-printers available and
recommended purchasing the unit now located
in the office at the library.
Abstracts of Title. Several volunteers are
collecting and organizing abstracts of title.
These records of property ownership are
invaluable for tracing village properties and
farmlands. We have a number from three
townships, carefully listed and described by
volunteers. To enlarge this collection, we
welcome donations of additional abstracts of
title for places in the DeForest area.
Norwegian-American newsletters. Many
Norwegians settled in the DeForest area,
giving their heritage special local interest.
Thanks to Cynthia Karraker, we now have
two Norwegian-American newsletters in our
collection dating from about 1997-2000:
Local newspapers. Following the receipt of the
microfilm reader-printer, the society bought
several microfilm reels of the DeForest Times
and DeForest Times-Tribune from the
Wisconsin Historical Society. These reels,
covering the years 1896 through 1968, are now
in our library office and available for your use.
We also hope to get the Morrissonville Tribune.
• Døtre Av Norge (Daughters of Norway),
published each two months. American
women founded the Daughters of Norway to
preserve their Norwegian heritage.
Donations and memorials are welcome to fund
the purchase of additional reels for the years
1969 through the present. The current price is
$80 per reel; we understand this will go up to
$95 in July. Donor names can be inscribed on
the storage boxes of any purchased reels.
• Vesterheim News, published by the
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
in Decorah, Iowa. The Vesterheim has more
than a dozen historic buildings and over
24,000 artifacts of Norwegian immigration.
DeForest Area Historical Society
Box 124
DeForest, Wisconsin 53532
“Behold the Work of the Old . . .
Let your Heritage not be lost.
But Bequeath it as a Memory, Treasure and Blessing . . .
Gather the lost and the hidden
And preserve it for thy Children.” - C. Metz (1846)