WISCONSIN AT WORK, WISCONSIN AT PLAY!
Wisconsin at Work, Wisconsin at Play! You will not believe what you are reading when you go on the internet at http://recollectionwisconsin.org because you will read many stories as told by our own Stone Lake citizens, past and present. There will also be many pictures of familiar scenes from this area. Don't miss this, as Stone Lake tales are being added to this site weekly!
A special exhibit for 2009 was the 1913 Soo Line Railroad caboose acquired in June, 2009, from the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
THE "RAILROAD ROOM"
This crew caboose is located on a special rail line built on the depot/museum site by a local railroader, and has been totally restored inside and out. Visitors of every age are able to go inside the caboose, climb into the cupola and, in their mind's eye, take a ride back in time to experience the life our early railroad workers must have experienced. A special video can be viewed to show visitors the life of the earliest railroaders, and another video shows the actual arrival and placement of the caboose on the rail line at our depot/museum. Both tapes have been known to create new railroad enthusiasts out of museum visitors!
The "Railroad Room" is the Station Agent's office of our Soo Line Depot/Museum, and contains many items from our past railroad history. On the wall there is a brand new, very old and original, metal Soo Line sign and next to that a railroad system map showing all of the railroads that served Wisconsin in 1906. It is quite fascinating! We have the original station agent's desk, the ticket desk from the old depot, the telegraph key and related items, many original railroad lanterns, and a wonderful collection of railroad dining car dinnerware, to name just a few of the items. In the room, a video or a DVD is often playing depicting the history of the railroad in our country.
THE "DEPOT FREIGHT ROOM"
The original depot freight room is the site of our early pioneer home, with an organ over 100 years old that is still used, a handsome black and chrome parlor stove which would be the envy of any home, and a wonderful collection of every item you might expect to find in each room of the early settler's home, including a library of old books and student's journals donated by our elementary school system in years past.
Pictures above are (on the left) a pump organ over 100 years old, donated by George and Wilma Virnich, and a beautiful old parlor stove, donated by Jim Carter and Victoria Miller. (On the right) A very comprehensive photo display of cranberry operations, using both old and modern methods, can be found in this memorial to Norman Skille.
The freight room is also the site of Memorial Gifts. These are special display units purchased for the museum with funds especially given to our museum in memory of local citizens. The first memorial gift received was in honor of Norman Skille, an early contractor and owner of a large producing cranberry marsh. The display contains an outstanding history of the cranberry industry in our area of Wisconsin, and one corner of the freight room has been set aside to hold a collection of very old machinery used for planting and harvesting cranberries. The second memorial gift is in honor of Clifford Baldridge, a well known craftsman in our area who is responsible for building many of the beautiful homes in the Stone Lake and Hayward area. The Baldridge display includes the history of this family back to Cliff's grandfather, then his father, who were also outstanding builders of log homes in our area's past. The third display unit is in honor of Gretchen Burton, a local citizen who worked many long hard hours helping with the restoration of the old depot building. Gretchen was employed in Stone Lake for many years and was always eager to lend a hand to local projects, having also worked on the Wetland Park. She will be greatly missed by her many friends.
Preervation Hall has now been completed, joining our restored Town Hall and the original depot/museum. In Preservation Hall, hundreds of former town government members are pictured on a Wall of Honor, and all donors, volunteers, and docents are honored on handsome plaques covering another wall. This special place is reserved for those who have made our museum complex, and its many projects possible.
1926 TOWN HALL
The 1926 Town Hall has now been completely restored and is a beautiful addition to the museum property. Our town's history can be found in it, from the earliest settlers to the present day, both in pictures and in interesting exhibits. Two murals depicting Stone Lake in 1926 painted by Artist Chris Pielak are on the interior walls of the town hall, and a unique exhibit featuring glass negatives taken in Siberia and Manchuria during World War I is on display here too.
BIG NEWS FOR ALL WHO USE THE INTERNET
Our Railroad Room, Cranberry Collection, and our Military Collection have now been digitized, and every item in those three collections can now be viewed on the Web! You may visit us at this site: http://content.mpl.org/stonelake. This project was accomplished thanks to a $700 grant received from the Wisconsin Historical Society. Please enjoy our historical photographs and artifacts, watch for other collections to be added, and come visit the museum complex when you are in our area.