January 2007 Newsletter

 JANUARY, 2007                                                                      Volume 4       Issue 1       ___________________________________________________________________________


The next meeting of the Whitewater Historical Society will take place on Wednesday, January 24 at  6:45 p.m. in the Starin Park Community Building.


Meeting Schedule:

6:45 p.m.:  Refreshments start

7:00 p.m.:  Program

8:00 p.m.:  Business meeting


Program for November Meeting

Oak Grove Cemetery Show and Tell


Members of the Whitewater Historical Society have been researching the lives of early settlers buried in OakGroveCemetery in preparation for the May 28th Cemetery Tour. 

The society would like to document as many people buried in Oak Grove as possible.  Therefore, we are inviting anyone who is a descendent of someone buried in Oak Grove to share their family history, photographs, or other family items at our January meeting.

Society members are providing transportation to the meeting, so if you know of anyone who would like to attend, call Karen Coburn at 262-473-5453 or Ellen Penwell at 262-594-6358.

At the meeting, we will also be sharing some 1907 Homecoming artifacts to whet your appetite for the 100th anniversary of this event being planned for this summer.  Bring your collection if you have one. 


Business Meeting and Membership Voting Issues in January

Here are the voting issues for our January meeting.  The Board of Directors have discussed each of these items and unanimously voted to recommend that the members approve them.


A.  Museum Hours for Winter-Spring. 

The curator is recommending opening the museum from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays between February and early May.  This is when our intern is available.


Our museum hours during the fall brought in a number of visitors and people conducting business with the society.  The board would like to continue this service to the public.


B.  Reimbursement for added costs to mail the newsletter for January.

This request is made so that members who receive their newsletter by email can get a paper copy to update their email addresses and other information. 


C.  Share the cost of an honorarium with the Friends of the Library as a co-sponsor for a program on historic valentines.

The cost would be $50.00 to act as co-sponsor of this history-related February 13th Friends of the Library program.  The honorarium would go to the presenter. 


D.  Authorize funding for brochure printing for the cemetery tour

Authorize a not-to-exceed $100 amount for printing the tour brochure and any other miscellaneous printing expenses. 


January is Membership Month

This is the month for all members to renew their memberships.  Our dues are only $1.00 per person—the best bargain in town!


If you are able to attend the January 24th meeting, you may make your payment there.  If not, please use the form printed below .


Please consider an additional donation to the society.  Last year our generous members gave over $500.00 in added donations.  This money was used to produce and mail the newsletter to those without internet service.  It was also used to help fund our student intern and to pay for archival and display materials for the depot museum. 


      Membership Form


Name:      ___________________________


Address:    ___________________________




Email:        ___________________________


Dues:        _____________ $1.00 per person


Donation: _____________


Total:        _____________


Send form to:  Carol Cartwright

                        W7646 Hackett Rd.

                        Whitewater, WI  53190



Dues and Donations are fully tax deductible.


Antique Valentines

The Whitewater Historical Society and Friends of the Library are sponsoring a program on Antique Valentines on Tuesday, February 13th from Noon to 1:00 at the Irvin Young Library. 


Everett Shumway of Edgerton will present the program.  Shumway has been collecting valentines for over 30 years and will talk about his collection and how to preserve these lovely artifacts. 


Also, be sure to stop at the library to see the display of antique valentines our member Mariann Scott is preparing.  This display will be in one of the library display cases throughout February.


Oak Grove Cemetery Tour

The date for the cemetery tour is now set.  It will be on May 28th, Memorial Day, right after the program at the American Legion.  The program committee is making arrangements for an antique hearse to be featured in the parade and for presenters to march as well.


The tour will consist of 15 presenters, each giving information about a pioneer buried in OakGroveCemetery, including our two Revolutionary War veterans.  Some or all the presenters will be in costume. 

This will be an exciting event and there will be more details in the newsletter in March.


Stone Stable

The stone stable reconstruction project is moving along and to this date, over $25,000 has been donated for the reconstruction.  If you have not contributed to the project, please consider doing so.  To donate, contact  Virginia Coburn at 262-473-0301.


Bassett House Anniversary

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Bassett House, home to the Whitewater Federation of Women’s Clubs since 1927.  The Federation will celebrate with several events, including a summer event open to the public.  The Bassett House is an important historic landmark and the Federation needs public support to preserve it.


History of the Bassett House


Thomas Bassett was one of Whitewater’s early residents.  He opened his first store in town in 1851, then moved to the north side of Main Street in 1854.  A color drawing from the 1850s, done by Henry Rile, and in the possession of the historical society, shows Bassett’s store in a collection of Main Street buildings. 


Bassett’s small store, as shown in the Rile drawing,  was, nevertheless, successful, and this success can be seen in the fine Italianate style house he had built on the corner of Main and Prairie Streets in 1857. 


The Bassett family lived in this house for decades.  Daughter Florence Bassett maintained the house in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Florence Bassett was an active member of one of the women’s clubs and when she died in 1926, she willed the house to the Federation. 


Federation Notes


  • The first women’s club in Whitewater was formed in 1889.  It was named the Emerson Club and is still active today. 
  • By 1899, there were five women’s clubs and they formed the Federation of Women’s Clubs to work together for the “betterment of the city.”
  • During the mid-twentieth century, there were nine active clubs in the Federation.
  • The Federation was active in public health issues; lobbying for school nurses, operating chest clinics to help diagnose tuberculosis, and sponsoring baby clinics and programs.  The Federation also worked on important civic issues including improvement of the library, parks, and playgrounds.
  • One of the most lasting accomplishments of the Federation was the publication, in 1907, of the Early Annals of Whitewater, the most important publication on early Whitewater History. 
  • The Whitewater Historical Society emerged out of the Federation’s History Committee in the 1940s.
  • Today, there are four active women’s clubs, Emerson, Alpha, Minnieska, and Florence Bassett.  The most important project of the Federation is the preservation of the historic Bassett House.


Officers of the Whitewater Historical Society

President:  Ellen Penwell (2006-2008)

VP:            Carol Cartwright (2005-2007)

Secretary:  Bobby Landsee (2006-2008)

Treasurer: Gregg Gauger (2005-2007)

Board of Directors:

            Richard Landsee (2005-2008)

            Kathleen Lashley (2006-2008)

            John Newhouse (2006-2009)

            Mariann Scott (2004-2007)

            Michele Smith (2005-2007)



W7646 Hackett Rd.

Whitewater, WI  53190





                Meeting at Starin Park Community Building - 6:45 pm



                Next meeting of the Whitewater Historical Society



                MUSEUM IS OPEN