March 2010 Newsletter

 March, 2010                                                                         Volume 7, No. 4


Wednesday, March 31

7:00 p.m., Starin Park Community Building


Program:  Wesley Therrian Bottle Collection

Last summer, Mr. Therrian inquired about donating his bottle collection to the depot museum.  The curator of the museum told Mr. Therrian that we would be very happy to have his collection.  She also asked if he would be willing to do a program for the historical society members.  He said that he did a program about 20 years ago, but was told that it was time to see and hear about his collection again, as many people in the society had not been at that program.  So, Mr. Therrian agreed to present us with his collection next Wednesday. 


Mr. Therrian’s collection includes many local bottles, including pharmacy bottles.  These pharmacy bottles were often marked from the local pharmacies and are of much interest.  Mr. Therrian will be talking about the bottles as well as giving information about how bottles were made.  It should be an interesting program about artifacts that will soon improve our depot museum collections.


Depot Museum News

Speaking of the depot museum, our restoration project is finally underway!  In the last issue, it was noted that while we had received notice of our grant, bureaucratic delays (not of the society or city’s fault) had stalled progress.  Well, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (administrator of the grant) has finally signed all the paperwork, including the contract for the architects that we selected last April.  The design phase of the project should begin soon.  Look for much more information on the depot restoration progress in upcoming newsletters. 


Fund-Raising News

On Friday, March 12, the Whitewater Historical Society, in conjunction with the Sweet Spot, held a wine-tasting and Hors d’Oeuvres party to raise funds and awareness about the depot restoration.  Our President, Ellen Penwell, gave a great summary about the restoration progress and reinstallation plans.  We had a silent auction and introduced our Quilt Raffle.  The beautiful quilt, made by the Stone Mill Quilters Guild, was displayed and we got a great start on selling raffle tickets.

The raffle will go on until next September 22, when we will have the official drawing.  We will be selling tickets at public places and events this summer.  The fund-raising event raised over $1,000  for the restoration fund, so thanks to all the members who came to the event and to the Sweet Spot, for the great food and atmosphere. 


Buy A Brick

The buy a brick campaign goes on until we lay the bricks in front of the depot, probably a year from now.  Brick brochures are available at the library and will be at our meeting next week.  If you want some brochures to pass out, please let Ellen Penwell know. 


Stone Stable Sign Dedication

On May 22, as part of Historic Preservation Month, the Whitewater Historical Society will be dedicating the artifact sign for the Stone Stable.  This sign was developed in an effort to interpret the building, as it is open less often than the depot museum.  The sign is large, permanent, and vandal-resistant.  It gives a brief history of the stone stable, why it is important, and how it came to be at its present location.  Mark your calendars for this event, where we will also have a special historical interpreter.  More information in the next newsletter.


Memorial Day Military Show and Tell

John Newhouse of the Whitewater Historical Society and Ron Binning are currently working on a special display of military artifacts to be held at the Legion Building on Memorial Day (May 31).  From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., there will be collections of military artifacts on display at the Legion, where the Memorial Day celebration and luncheon takes place.  Members of the historical society will be helping coordinate the displays and will be on hand to assist the collectors who are bringing their artifacts. 


The depot museum has some artifacts from World War I, but not a lot of things from World War II or later wars. Whitewater has a long history of service through their National Guard Unit known originally as the Custer Rifles, then Company C of the National Guard.  The local unit is still important and has taken part in recent military actions in the middle east.  People interested in military history will not want to miss this special exhibit.


Depot Museum Not Open This Summer

For the first time since 1974, the depot museum will not have summer hours due to the upcoming restoration of the depot building.  It is hoped that the building can open again for regular hours some time in the fall, but our summer schedule will not take place.  So, there will be no passing around sheets for sign-up to be docents.  However, there will be opportunities to help sell quilt raffle tickets and pass out brick brochures, so you may be called upon to help in that regard. 

When the building is finished and we are moved back in, the board will be asking members and others in the community to help staff the museum so we can have regular hours year-around.  The  commitment we have made to be open several days a week throughout the year is important to the community and to the downtown. 

While we may have student interns helping keep the museum open, we know that we need “community” days when volunteers staff the museum.  So, think how you might help.  Can you organize four people to rotate one afternoon per week each month?  That way you would only do one day a month.  Can you make a commitment for one afternoon a week?  The restored depot will be a great place to work and the new museum exhibits will make it an exciting place to be.  Please think how  you and your friends (members or not) can help.


Welcome to our New Board Member

A vacancy on our Board of Directors has been filled by Alan Marshall.  Alan, and his wife, Connie, have been long-time members of the society and they are long-time Whitewater residents.  The board is glad to have Alan working with the society.  Remember, elections to the Board of Directors and officers happens in May.  Anyone is welcome to express interest in an opening.  An organization is most successful when there are new people and new ideas in leadership positions. 


Membership Month

Due to the membership committee’s (your newsletter editor) time problems, membership information was not sent out in January, as usual.  So, in this issue of the newsletter, you will find the annual membership form.  As you can see, our dues are minimal, so we depend on your extra contributions to help keep the society running.  This year, of course, we are asking for extra donations for the restoration project.  However, even with the museum closed this summer, we need income to pay our utility bill (At least $1,000 this year), for insurance payments, and for other general operating costs.  So, if you can, please add a little extra to your dues this year so we can keep paying these bills.  Thanks, in advance, for your support. 


Historic Photographs to Appear in Local Guide

Vanessa Lenz, editor of the Whitewater Register, and employee of Southern Lakes Newspapers, Inc. contacted the depot museum curator about using some historic photographs in the new Whitewater guide that Southern Lakes Newspapers is publishing in the near future.  After looking through many photographs, she decided on some rather unique ones that have rarely been seen.  These photographs will illustrate some of the major topics of the guide, such as city government, education, and local organizations.  Ms. Lenz is enthusiastic about Whitewater history and our depot museum photographs will enhance this publication.  Look for it around Whitewater soon!



W7646 Hackett Rd.

Whitewater, WI  53190