March 2009 Newsletter

March, 2009                                                                          Volume 6, No. 4

Next Meeting

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

7:00 p.m.

Starin Park Community Building


Program: 7:00 p.m.


Wisconsin Southern Railroad—DVD

Ken Lucht of the Wisconsin Southern Railroad will present the new  DVD about the railroad that runs freight trains through Whitewater.  The DVD has scenes shot at the Whitewater Depot last December and presents a historic and current look at this important railroad in Wisconsin.  The portions of the film shot at the depot features two antique cars from Bruce Parker and Russ Fero, an impressive 1913 250—ton locomotive, and a 1920’s-era costumed cast.  Of course, the star is our depot.  The DVD is about a half hour so there will be time for comment by Ken and for questions.  A business meeting will follow the program.



The society will have a very busy spring and summer from conducting our latest cemetery tour to kicking off our fund-raising campaign for the depot restoration. 


Cemetery Tour

The program committee has been putting in a lot of time on planning for this event.  They have decided to partner with the Walworth County Genealogical Society.  Because the tour is taking place at CalvaryCemetery, the CatholicCemetery, the theme is Irish immigration to Whitewater.  Irish immigrants were responsible for founding St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and were largely working-class families in town and farmers in the surrounding areas.  They did not hold important positions in 19th century Whitewater, so their history is difficult to research.  But, 10 interesting people and families have been found for the tour. 


The tour will take place on Memorial Day, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  We will need workers for this event, and will be asking for participation at the upcoming meeting.  We need 4 tour guides, 2 people to sell books and 2 to man tables.  We need help setting up, and someone to drive a golf cart. If you can help on this event, please let Ellen Penwell (262-203-6529) or Kathleen Lashley (920-728-0157) know of your interest, or express your interest at our March meeting. 


Depot Restoration

On March 27, the committee in charge of selecting an architect to coordinate the depot restoration will meet and hear from the candidates.  Upon selection of an architect, plans will be made to kick-off our depot restoration project and fund raising. 


In the last newsletter it was announced that the society and the city would work together to raise the entire local contribution for the transportation enhancement grant.  However, after further consultation and discussion with city council, the city is withdrawing from this fund-raising plan and will provide its share of the match in another manner.  That means that the society will be raising only its share, $40,000, plus an additional amount for furnishings ($20,000).  The board still needs helpers for fund-raising and other committees for this project.


Depot Hours for Summer

The depot will resume regular hours this summer.  The volunteer curator is hoping to get an intern from the UW-Whitewater to help in keeping the depot open more hours and to assist in our early efforts to inventory and pack collections for temporary storage.  But, as usual, we need your help for Sunday afternoons, Thursday evenings, and special events.  The depot will be open Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and on Thursday evenings when there are events at the lakefront park.  Also, we are open for Fourth of July events and any other events happening this summer. 


Please consider your schedules for these times and let curator Carol Cartwright know that you can volunteer.  She will have a sign-up sheet at the March meeting and will be filling slots then (if you know  your schedule) and throughout the spring. 


Esterly DVDs

We still have Esterly DVDs for sale.  They are $15.00 each.  If you want one of these great DVDs, call Kathleen Lashley at 920-728-0157 or put in your order at our meeting.  This DVD has also been submitted for a Wisconsin Historical Society award for public program (the award we received last fall for the OakGroveCemetery tour).  We hope to start a dynasty of awards!


Jefferson County Historic Preservation Conference

The Jefferson County Historic Site Preservation Commission will hold its 1st Annual Conference at the HoardMuseum, 407 Merchants Ave., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin on Friday April 17 and Saturday, April 18.  On Friday, there will be a series of speakers at the Hoard Museum, including Jerry Apps, well-known author who will speak on growing up on a Wisconsin farm.  Other speakers include Jim Sewell, historic preservation architect from the Wisconsin Historical Society, speaking about old house preservation; Chuck Law, speaking about Barn Preservation; Amy Rosenberg, Wisconsin State Historical Society archaeologist, speaking at the noon lunch, and Carol Cartwright, historic resources consultant, speaking on finding your home’s history.  There will be displays and booths, including one from our own Whitewater Historical Society, where we will sell our local books and promote our activities.  There is a $10.00 cost for the conference.


On Saturday, April 18th, local historical societies in Jefferson County will be open for Jefferson County Historical Day, including the Whitewater Historical Society’s Depot Museum.   


Genealogy Workshop

The Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Area Research Center invites you to a workshop on land and property research, using more effectively, and research female ancestors.  The workshop will run 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the Area Research Center will be open for research 1-5 p.m.  The cost is $15.00 and pre-registration is required due to space limitations.  To register and for additional information, go to 


2009 Local History Conference

The Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Council for Local History will hold their annual conference on October 9 and 10th.  Kathleen Lashley will represent the Whitewater Historical Society on a panel of past winners of the public program awards and Ellen Penwell will be giving two workshops; one on registration methods and another on preventive conservation.  Check for more details.


Membership News

Thanks to generous contributions from members who received our January newsletter, we have received over $1,800 in memberships and contributions so far this year.  We thank everyone who sent in memberships and extra contributions. 

Contributions $1-$20.00          Contributions $25.00 & up                  Contributions $50.00 & up

Karen Coburn                                  Kevin & Nancy Brunner

Tim & Dorothy Hughes                   Ed & Kay Drexler                             Alan & Connie Marshall

Richard C. Kelly                              H. Gaylon & Hannah Greenhill    Commercial Bank

Rick Fassl                                        Donna Henry                                               Thomas Drucker

Marilyn Kienbaum                           Linda Loomer                                              Dawn Hunter          

Rich & Bobby Landsee                  Ben & Flo Rhodes

Dorothy M. Piel                               Dan Sable

Fred Kraege                                   Jim & Claire Stewart          

                                                          Beverly & David Stone

                                                           Zaballos Family


The society also thanks the following for special donations of $100.00 and over:

Jim & Julie Caldwell; James & Virginia Coburn; David & Lolita Kachel*; Doris & Karl Zahn


*We especially thank the Kachel Family Foundation for their donation of $1,000.


If you would still like to send your membership and donation for this year, see below.





Email (for newsletter only):

Membership: $1.00 each:



Send to: Carol Cartwright

Whitewater Historical Society

W7646 Hackett Rd.

Whitewater, WI  53190


Officers of the Whitewater Historical Society                  

President:       Ellen Penwell (2008-2010)               

VP:                    Kathleen Lashley (2007-2009)                     

Secretary:       Carol Cartwright (2008-2010)                     

Treasurer:      Gregg Gauger (2007-2009)

Board:             Linda Loomer (2008-2010)              

                          Arlene Newhouse (2008-11)                   

                          John Newhouse (2006-2009)                       

                          Mariann Scott (2007-2009)              

                          Michele Smith (2007-2009)