Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society Newsletter
December, 2001
  

Open House on Dec. 9th to Feature Special Entertainment and Holiday Ambiance
Special treats are in store for those visiting the Dean House on Sunday, Dec. 9t', between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. In addition to the traditional Victorian holiday trimmings, music and refreshments, the Open House will feature a "living history" presentation depicting the work of a Civil War era woman who made a difference in history.

Living History Presentation
Anna-Lisa Dahlgren, a Memorial High School student, will portray Cordelia Harvey, a little-known Wisconsin first lady whose persistent advocacy during and after the Civil War resulted in the establishment of a hospital for soldiers and later a home for their orphans. Her 10-minute monologue - to be presented at about 2:30 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. - is based on her own research for a National History Day competition in which she was one of 50 finalists representing Wisconsin in June, 2000. She will be wearing the Civil War era dress that she and her mother made from an authentic historical pattern.

The "Civil War Angel" that Ms Dahlgren portrays made it a priority to help Civil War soldiers after her husband drowned, not only visiting with them, but persuading President Lincoln to establish veterans' hospitals in the north, the first of them in Madison. After the war she extended the care to the soldiers' orphans in the home created at the hospital, to which two wings were added.

The hospital was in the octagon house built as the former home of Governor Leonard J. Farwell
at the foot of Brearly Street on the shore of Lake Monona. A short nearby street and a small stone marker at the corner are memorials of the site. The cemetery became Orton Park.

The Holiday Ambiance
The Dean House will be polished, the greenery will be hung, the candles lighted, and the antique ornaments hung in the large country home that was built in the Victorian era (1856). To the tunes of seasonal music a typical old-fashioned dessert (home made rich cake with warm sauce) and beverage will be served and docents will guide visitors through the 10 rooms of the house and its changing mini-museum, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Jean Dent will display her collection of authentic antique Christmas ornaments. The Victorian Doll House - on display in the living room - is appropriately decked out, as it keeps its Christmas trees the year around. There will be no admission charge, but donations are welcomed.

The Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society welcomes visitors to the Second Sunday Open House from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each month throughout the year. Bring your friends and neighbors - many guests remark that they didn't know the house was open to visitors.

MISSION STATEMENT
Founded in 1971, the Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society preserves and advances the culture and history of the Blooming Grove, Monona and Southeast Madison, Wisconsin area. To fulfill this purpose the Dean House is used as a center for cultural events and local history study. It is hoped that the Dean House is a living testimony to the pioneer spirit fostering our American heritage and a representation of that spirit in the historic Township of Blooming Grove.

Early Area House Paintings And Artists Gather for Showing
The HBGHistorical Society has on display an unusual collection of original paintings depicting some of the early buildings in the original Blooming Grove area. These were created by a group of students attending an MATC class that met at the Monona Community Center in the early 1970s under the tutelage of Carol Burns. Over the past few months, one of the artists, Ruth Finn Wanek, supervised completing the framing and labeling. Most of them are hung in the upstairs museum and thus not obvious to the downstairs visitors.

For the Second Sunday Open House in November, the paintings were displayed on the main floor and the living artists were invited to gather for the occasion. They enjoyed seeing their beginning painting attempts and telling about the experience. For the class, Jeanette Mundstock, one of the staunch supporters of the Dean House restoration effort, provided a photo of an early local house, church or school for each student and the students created the full color painting. To publicize them and the work of the HBGHS, the paintings were displayed in local banks and other exhibit locations at the time of their completion.

Many of the structures have been razed and some of the artists are now deceased, but the paintings provide memories and a glimpse of the architecture of the early settlement of an area that is now largely a part of the Cities of Madison and Monona.

Following are the paintings and the artists:
Nathaniel Dean Homestead, painted by Trudi Theisen
Blooming Grove Town Hall, painted by Marva Fillner
First Nichols School, painted by Carol Morrison
Frank Allis School, painted by Darlene Ward
First Hiestand School, painted by Ines Sharp
Witte Farm House on Brandt Road near Hope, painted by Joan Leyer
J. Sachs Home at 2838 Milwaukee St., painted by Alta Brockman
Estes Farm Home at 5800 Cottage Grove Road, painted by Hazel Beck
Wyldhagen Farm House, painted by Jeanette Mundstock
Alex Smith Home at 5301 Milwaukee St.
First Lake Edge Congregational Church, painted by Jeanette Mundstock
Hope Lutheran Church, painted by Pat Edmundson
Alex Kleine Home, painted by Carol Burns
Main Home, painted by Jackie Hill
Spaanem Homestead, painted by Ruth Finn Wanek
United Methodist Church of Hope, painted by Violet Thysse Riley.

Antique Clothes to be Modeled for Open House on Jan 13th
Stylish clothes of another era will be the subject of the Open House on January 13, 2002. Some of them will come to life as they are modeled for the afternoon by LaFollette High School Key Club students. It should be an interesting show, as some items will be brought out of their trunks and boxes for the occasion. A turn-of-the-century bathing costume, contributed last year, will be shown for the first time.

Anyone wishing to model or lend items appropriate to the Victorian era may call Bob Bean at 222-5783 to make arrangements.

Bring your family, friends and neighbors for Second Sunday Open House between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Jan 13.

Second Sunday Open House Focus Changes Each Month
In order to call attention to the many facets of the HBGHS collections at the Dean House and keep our exhibits alive, it has become the custom to emphasize some part of our collection each month. Sometimes guests experts are invited to give an informal presentation on a certain subject. Over the past three months we have focused on local plat maps, how to research you house history, and the house paintings and artists.

Subjects to be featured in coming months include antique clothes, Valentines, dolls and the doll house, Native American artifacts and local history, and handcrafts. The Society invites contributions of such related items, either to its permanent collection or on loan for the specific showing. Contact Bob Bean at 222-5783 or Judy Taylor at 222-9507 for more information.

As the numbers of visitors to the Second Sunday Open Houses grows, a need for more docents to help welcome the visitors is developing.

Donated Map Collection Helps Historians Visualize Development Of Blooming Growth Township
A valuable study/research tool was added to the HBG Historical Society archives this fall in a unique donation.

Karen Field, a HBGHS member and genealogist, has identified 29 different Dane County plat books and atlases published between 1861 and 1999 in various libraries and historical societies in the area. She made photocopies of the Blooming Grove Township map from each of them and had these maps reduced or enlarged to one standard size. She gave a complete set of these maps to HBGHS.

We put them in a notebook and they are available to look at during Second Sunday Open Houses and at other times by appointment. These maps show how land ownership and building placement in the Township have changed over time. Of special interest is a map from Michael Conzen's book Frontier Farming in an Urban Shadow, which shows the route that the US Census taker took in canvassing the township in 1860. There also are transparencies of the original 1861 land ownership map and the current City of Madison and Monona street map which can be laid over any of the other maps to help identify the location of a particular piece of property.

Mrs. Field (Mrs. Harry Field) is related to the Field families who owned land in the Dean House neighborhood. She was researching the family genealogy when she needed the map study. We are grateful to her for sharing this knowledge with us and presenting it in such a useful form. It represents an innovative compilation and long hours of preparation.

Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society

Officers
President: Jim Stickels 221-1324
Vice president: Allan Burling 222-1361
Secretary: Dorothy Haines 221-1948
Treasurer: Don Taylor 222-9507

Board Members
Helen Cattell
Jean Dent
Alice Schuller
Bob Schuster
Gloria Simley
Judy Taylor
Ann Waidelich
Helen Wentland

C. Anne Wellman, past president

Dean House Manager
Robert Bean 222-5783

What You Need to Know to Research The History of Your House
HBG Board member Ann Waidelich attended a State Historical Society workshop on tracing your home history this summer, and presented version of the material at the October Second Sunday Open House. Following is a summary of her presentation:

Study a book like Houses and Homes: Exploring Their History published by the American Association for State and Local History, 1987.
Read some books on the history of the area such as Forward: A History of DANE the Capital County, Monona in the Making, and the booklet Footsteps Through the Past.
Identify the style of your house by looking in books such as Field Guide to American Houses and America's Favorite Homes: Mail-Order Catalogues as a Guide to Popular Early 20th Century Houses.
Search for a copy of the property's abstract by asking the previous owner, local title companies or the mortgage holder if they have it. Read it for the names of people who have owned the property in the past. Or you can do your own abstract in the Dane County Register of Deeds Office using the grantor - grantee indexes.
Look at various plat maps over time to see who owned the land and notice when buildings appear.
Check annual tax rolls and assessment records over time to see when there was a jump in property taxes which generally indicates when a building was added to the property.
Check the current assessment file/ building inspection file in the local city/village/township hall for the names of previous owners, date of when the house was built and any additions or changes that have been made to it.


1850 Census Is Added to HBG Website
The 1850 census of Blooming Grove Township has been added to our Web site, and is thus available for perusal. It provides interesting information, such as each person's age, gender, place of birth, school attendance, literacy, etc. Of the 291 persons listed, 79 were born in Norway, 61 in New York, 21 in Germany and 20 in Ireland. Learn more about HBGHS, the Dean House and area history. Visit www.wlhn.org/daneco/hbg.

WISH LIST/Acquisitions
Some wishes on our previous list were fulfilled and some long-standing ones remain. A room air conditioner for the second floor was donated by Joe and Shelley Schmitz; and a dehumidifier for the basement was purchased. Arrangements have been made to get the Lincoln rocker restored at a reasonable cost. But the need for a dining room buffet remains.

A new wish is for help: A number of the wooden chairs in the dining room need to be reglued, as they have come loose. These chairs get a lot of use and need to be in good sitting condition. Also, regular help in cleaning and dusting is needed. Contact Bob Bean at the Dean house any Monday morning or at 222-5783.

Shop Corner Features Old-time Craft Gifts and Pertinent. Printed Papers
The HBGHS hopes to create a more enticing "gift shop" out of its miscellaneous collection of cards, crafts, and reading materials and invites contributions of home crafted items.

At the time of our Historic Preservation Week live demonstrations last fall, the beginnings of the shop sprouted when Judy Taylor contributed the dish rags she had crocheted, Wanda Nelson created quilted pot holders, and Ann Waidelich put in the candles that she had poured.

Members are invited to contribute other handiwork items to be sold for the benefit of the Dean House, AND to demonstrate their work during the Open House Sunday afternoons.

Allis School Second Graders Come to Learn About Early-Day Living
As has become a tradition in recent years, school rooms of children in the second grade at Allis School walked over to the Dean House on two pleasant November days and spent an hour learning about living without electricity, central heat and indoor plumbing.

Bob Bean, in his Prince Albert coat and top hat, and Judy Taylor, clothed as a 19`h century housewife, each led a group through the house in two separate hours on Thursday and Friday mornings, Nov. 15 and 16.. To arrange for a Dean House tour or for more information call Robert Bean at 222-5783.


 
The Blooming Grove Courier is published periodically by the Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society, PO Box 6704, Monona 53716-0704. Editor Dorothy Haines, 221-4948.

  

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION/RENEWAL

Treasurer
Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society
PO Box 6704
Monona, W1 53716-0704

Check is enclosed for

______ Contribution for Dean House restoration/maintenance
______ Membership at $10/yr individual
______ Membership at $I 5/yr family
______ Sustaining membership at $25 -$500

Name ___________________________________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________________________

City _________________________________ Zip____________ Phone ______________________

HBGHS is a tax-exempt non-profit organization

Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society