History Uncovered: Green Lake area historical societies

Green Lake and the surrounding communities pride themselves on their rich history. There are numerous historical societies in the area and all are open for business this summer.

Each historical society has its own story to tell about its town’s historical path. The small towns in Green Laker Country hold many historical stories that even the locals may not know about.

Dartford Historical Society

The Dartford Historical Society was created in 1956. On July 4, 1976, as part of Green Lake’s bicentennial celebration, the Depot Museum was opened.

After much growth and expansion, the Depot Museum couldn’t hold all of the artifacts and history, so a second building was opened up in 1995 after Thomas Caestecker donated a building.

Now, the two buildings work to hold more than 6,500 artifacts, 15,000 visual images and more.

The Dartford Historical Society is open Wednesdays this summer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Depot Museum is open every Saturday until Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m..

Both locations can be visited at other times by appointment.

For more information call 920-294-6194.

Princeton Historical Society

The Princeton Historical Society has recently undergone an expansion and now conducts business in two buildings on Water Street, along with the Folklore Museum.

The Princeton Historical Society celebrated its 40th anniversary this past June.

The Princeton Historical Society is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m..

For more information call 920-295-9008.

Berlin Area Historical Society

In early years there were multiple attempts at creating a historical society for Berlin. It wasn’t until 1962 when the idea finally stuck.

The historical society’s first building was acquired in 1963. It was a one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1866.

Currently, the Berlin Area Historical Society houses four buildings, two of which are the main museum, which was previously a laundry business and the former Berlin Bottling Co.

Unfortunately, one building was taken down due to storm damage.

“We used to have a blacksmith shop, but it had to be torn down because of a storm a couple years ago,” Berlin Area Historical Society President Carlton Nehring said.

Other buildings include the Clark School which is on Water Street in the City Park, and the recently acquired Johnson Fortnum building, which was previously a garage.

The summer hours for the Berlin Area Historical Society museums are the second and fourth Sunday in June, July and August from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m..

“All tours can be self guided or have a docent give the tour,” Nehring said.

For more information, call 920-323-3326.

Markesan Historical Society

The Markesan Historical Society opened in 1991. The Grand River Valley Museum, the main building, is part of a four-building complex of which the main building was donated by Mildred Draeger.

The Agricultural Museum building holds the original Utley Depot, Markesan High School yearbooks dating back to the early 1900s and more.

The Markesan Train Depot building houses a one-room schoolhouse to dedicate the late Leona Weber, who was a founding member of the historical society. This area also houses a working telegraph.

The Arthur Jahns Memorial Agricultural Museum houses many horse-powered machines and equipment.

The new addition to the Markesan Historical Society in 2018, the Kienas Building, is across the street from the Grand River Valley Museum.

The Kienas Building was a blacksmith shop owned by Herman Butenhoff in 1899 and eventually was bought by Walter O. Kienas, who turned the shop into a storage unit for his apple orchard.

Today, the Kienas Building houses archives and information about the city of Markesan.

The Markesan historical Society museum buildings are open Saturdays through Sept. 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment. To make an appointment, call 920-398-3945.

Kingston Historical Preservation Society

This year marks the Kingston Historical Preservation Society’s 20-year anniversary.

To celebrate this achievement, commemorative T-shirts along with two historical books are being sold throughout the year.

Funds from the shirts and books are being allocated to the new building addition to the west of the American Legion building in Kingston.

During Kingston’s ChubFest/Krazy Days, held Saturday, Aug. 27, the historical society will celebrate its anniversary with the town.

The Kingston Historical Preservation Society has a legend it shares about the famous Kingston House restaurant, which now is closed.

In the early 1900s, an elderly man known as “Uncle George” roomed in the area above the Kingston House. He gifted people with gold coins.

“Many years later, an itinerant laborer was hired by Clarence Lueck, then the proprietor, to tear down an old woodshed attached to a back corner,” Kingston Historical Preservation Society President Leila Ziebell said. “Suddenly one forenoon, the worker left his job and disappeared, [only] to return to the village a week or so later with gold coins in his pocket.”

He never admitted to finding the gold coins at the Kingston House, and it remains a mystery.

“Had he come upon Uncle George’s cace in the old wall that adjoined his former shabby attic room?” Ziebell asked.

The summer hours for the Kingston Historical Preservation Society are Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m..

For more information, email [email protected].

Marquette Historical Society

Each Memorial Day, the Marquette Historical Society holds an open house for the community to enjoy. This year, it was more than just an open house.

The Methodist Episcopal Church Museum in Marquette was recognized on the list of the National Register of Historic Places.

This announcement to the community of Marquette was given by Marquette Historical Society President Art Cybul during the unveiling ceremony on May 29.

For information on visiting hours, call 920-394-9361.