NHHS Sites Open May 6

Both the Timm House and Pioneer Corner Museum will open for the 2023 season on Saturday, May 6.  Both sites will be open to visitors from 1 to 4 PM every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from May through September.  Admission is $7.00 for a single ticket to either the Timm House or the Pioneer Corner Museum.  A combo ticket, to visit both sites, is available for $10.00 and does not need to be used for both on the same day.

Previously both NHHS sites had been open from May through October, but at the April NHHS BOD meeting a motion was passed to cut back on the "open hours" to May through September.  Like many area businesses, over the past few years, the NHHS has experienced increasing difficulty in finding people who can serve as docents during the two sites' open hours.  That fact, combined with tappering attendance during October, resulted in the decision to eliminate October from the "open" schedule.

Vintage vs Antique is Spring Luncheon Topic

Mark your calendar and join New Holstein Historical Society members on Saturday, April 22 for the Society's annual Spring Luncheon.  Susan Puls, proprietor of Vintage of Ada, will be the guest speaker.

Ms. Pul's presentation will elaborate on the wonderful world of "Vintage".  In this time of buying new and discarding old, Ms. Puls is passionate about drawing objects out of basements and attics, getting them back into circulation again to be used and treasured.  Discovering and appreciating vintage items is a way of returning to an era when quality and craftsmanship were important facets of purchasing and owning.

The puzzle of whether an item  is "vintage" or "antique" will will also be a subject of the presentation.  The nuances of what puts the item into either category will be revealed.

The annual Spring Luncheon will be held at the Altona Supper Club in New Holstein.  Admission is $22 for NHHS members and $25 for non-members.  Doors open at 11:30 with the lunch to be served at noon.  A special feature of the lunch will be homemade tortes for dessert.  The tortes will be "just like Mom, or Grandma, used to make", from recipes either vintage or antique.

Reservations are due by April 13 and can be made of sending a check (with the number of people attending) to: New Holstein Historical Society, PO Box 144, New Holstein, WI  53061

This black straw Boater dates back to the early 1900's (approximately 1908) when it could be glimpsed while worn about New Holstein by Mrs. Pauline Iversen.

"Hats" is Display at PCM

"Hats off to History" is the name of the newest exhibit at the New Holstein Historical Society's Pioneer Corner Museum.  Approximately 45 women's and men's hats from the 20th Century are on display.  The majority of the women's hats are from two collections donated to the NHHS by former local residents Gertie Schwartz and Olive Langenfeld.  Others are from private collections and singular donations to the NHHS.  The display was created in spring of 2022 and will run through the 2023 season.

Hats have been around almost since the dawn of man. First worn as utilitarian items to ward off the sun's scorching rays, provide warmth at certain times, or as a shield against bothersome insects, early headgear was possibly a large leaf or a random piece of animal hide.

Eventually, folks got the idea that "if we have to wear something on our heads, it might as well look good" and hats became fashionable as well as utilitarian.  Various types of hats have served as identifiers of class, occupations, or affiliations.

Men's hats have remained largely unchanged in style over the past 100 years.  Colors have changed as have the ways the hats are worn, but basically a fedora from the 1920's is the same as a 2020's fedora.  Women's hats have experienced a considerable amount of change over the years.  Various social events, changing hairstyles, popular colors, and even a method of self defense have had an effect on the styles of hats worn by the ladies.

Stop and see some of the NHHS's hats at the PCM on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 PM.  Individual admissions  are available for the PCM or combo tickets may be purchased to tour both the PCM and Timm House.  

Timm House Featured ON WLUK News

The New Holstein Historical Society's Timm House was featured on a segment of WULK (Fox 11) news on Friday, December 9.  WULK photographer/reporter Eric Peterson (pictured, left) made the trip down from Green Bay to interview NHHS President Jerry Hallstrom (pictured, right) and NHHS Secretary (and Past President) Kay Nett.  The entire clip from the WLUK newscast can be seen on the WULK website, www.wluk.com or by going to the NHHS on Facebook below.

A "Christmas Tea" at the Timm House

ON December 8 the NHHS's Timm House was the site of a unique event.  A Christmas Tea was held in the living room of the almost 150 year old Victorian home.  Approximately 20 people attended the "reservation only" event, touring the Timm House's downstairs rooms, listening to seasonal melodies played on the Timm Family's original Box Grand piano, sampling some finger food and seasonal delicacies and, of course, sipping tea (or coffee).  A highlight of the event was the joint reading of author Tom Hegg's  book, "A Christmas Tea" by NHHS board members Mary Emily Anhalt (left) and Kay Nett (right). 

2022 Timm House Christmas Opens

Sandy Hauman plied her deft touch to the original Timm Family Box Grand piano, drawing out a Christmas carol, while visitors viewed a parlor Christmas tree during the Friday, November 25 opening night of the 2022 Timm House Christmas.  The New Holstein Historical Society's annual event will run for three more weeks, opening from 5 to 8 PM on Friday evenings and from 11AM to 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Last day for the THC will be Dec. 18. 
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Guest speaker at the 2022 New Holstein Historical Society Annual Meeting was Green Bay fireman David Siegel who related details of a historical conflagration in northeast Wisconsin.

The Great Fire of 1871

When people think back to historical fires of great proportions in the late 19th century, the Chicago fire of 1871 normally pops to the top of the list.  While that blaze certainly should rank near the top of the list, northeastern Wisconsin suffered an even larger conflagration at exactly that same time in October.  Chicago claimed the newspaper headlines due to its massive property loss, but the Wisconsin fire claimed a greater number of lives and burned over a far greater area.

"At the time of the Wisconsin incident, the popular theory was that the fire started on the west side of the Bay of Green Bay then embers were windborne all the way across the bay to ignite further burning on the east side of the bay," said New Holstein Historical Society's annual meeting guest speaker David Siegel of the Green Bay Metropolitian Fire Department.  "We know now, from historical investigation, that the Wisconsin fire was actually three fires which started seperately in the same general area."

Siegel said that conditions in 1871 were almost ideal for a large surface fire.  A prolonged dry period had rendered grasslands, some swampy areas, and forest area floors dry and susceptible to burning.  The forested areas were also filled with "slash", the remnants of timber harvesting.  Limbs, branches, sawdust, anything that was not usable as a building material and was thus left behind when a tree was taken down, to be used for lumber, comprised the on-ground waste called slash.

The western lobe of the Wisconsin fire area is probably best known as the Peshtigo Fire.  It burned northward on the west side of the bay.  Two other, smaller, lobes burned on the east side of the bay starting north of the community of Green Bay and heading as far north as the Door County/Kewaunee County line, then east toward Lake Michigan.  "Flames did not jump the bay," stated Siegel, "these fires all started on their own at seperate points then were wind driven on their paths of destruction."

The winds were actually the most crutial factor in the advancement of the fires.  Describing the winds on those October days as being much like the straightline winds we experience today, Siegel said that with fierce winds pushing the fires foward in combination with the abundance of dry combustible materials, including structures such as houses and places of business made of timber, in the fire path, the blazes quickly became "fire storms".  On the west side of the bay Peshtigo suffered great property loss as well as loss of lives.  On the east side, communities like New Franken and Williamsonville were obliterated by the sweeping inferno.

Siegel stated that loss of life was great in the Wisconsisn fire area because there was no place for people to go to get away from the fire.   Everything in the fire's path was combustible.   There were few places to hide.  Some folks sought refuge in a river and inside well sites, but many of those people also succumbed due to the massive heat that accompanied the fires.  Superheated air was pulled into people's lungs destroying soft internal tissue and causing death.  Some residents made their way to a river and found refuge from the flames, but after emerging from the water when the fire had passed, had no way of drying out or warming up.  Many contracted various maladies associated from the "chill" they sustained on what became a cold October day in the fire's aftermath.  Some of those maladies, like pneumonia, led to further deaths.

While the tale of the "Great Fire of 1871" is a somewhat grim one, Siegel stated that some good did come from it.  Survivors stayed in the area and rebuilt.  Non flammable components like rock and brick became preferred building materials, better clean up and disposal practices were incorporated into forestry management, and communities began to think about methods of fire supression should situations necessitate it.

And a hundred miles, or so, to the south, Chicago managed to pull itself together and survive also.

Following Siegel's address, a short NHHS annual meeting was held with the main point of business being the election of three members to the NHHS Board of Directors.  Incumbents Donna Schneider, Linda Schneidewind, and Grace Flora were all re-elected to three year terms.      

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NHHS @ the Calumet County Fair

In 2022 the New Holstein Historical Society has a featured display at the Calumet County Fair.  The fair runs from now through Labor Day.  Our exhibit is in the big white building with the cupola on top at the north end of the fairgrounds.  Plan a fun day at the fair, ride the Ferris Wheel, eat a corn dog, pet a cow, and stop to see the NHHS display!

At the "House"


John and Honey Leibham were presented with the "Pioneer Award", the NHHS's highest honor award at the New Holstein Historical Society annual meeting on Saturday, November 13 at the Altona Supper Club. The couple was recognized for their many contributions, over the years, to the NHHS and specifically the organization of the Nicholas Vollstedt exhibit which was featured at the Pioneer Corner Museum in 2021.  Due to their efforts nearly 100 images of the local artist's work were located and made available for viewing, both in person and digitally, as part of the summer exhibit.

As part of the annual gathering, a short business meeting was held.  Three current members of the Society's Board of Directors,  Barb Weber, Mary Emily Anhalt, and Greg Hageman, were re-elected to three year terms.  In another action, the NHHS membership approved dropping the number of members on the Board of Directors from 12 to 10.  Prior to the vote, NHHS President Jerry Hallstrom explained that the NHHS had been operating with less than the 12 members for the past several years due to experiencing a lack of candidates to fill the open positions.

Program for the event was presented by NHHS Board of Directors member Greg Hageman speaking on the first sixty years of the NHHS.

Following the NHHS Annual meeting, a short regular BOD meeting for the month of November was held.  BOD members discussed plans for the upcoming Timm House Christmas event, and moved to proceed with the second floor HVAC project at the Pioneer Corner Museum.

Co-chairman of the Antiques Appraisal Day event, Dick Griem, announced that due to various reasons, the popular event would not be held in 2022 and will be discontinued as a NHHS fundraiser.

Officers for the year 2022 were set.  Jerry Hallstrom will continue to serve as president, Greg Hageman will assume vice-president duties, Dick Griem will serve as treasurer, and Kay Nett will be secretary.

TH Gets Parlor Update

Installers rolled out new parlor carpeting at the Timm House on Thursday, June 24.  The new carpeting was custom made for the NHHS to replicate and replace parlor carpeting that was original to the Timm House.  The original carpet had become tread bare, after being functional for 100+ years, and was deemed a possible safety hazzard to visitors. Original carpeting in the TH master bedroom had similarly been replaced earlier in 2021.



New Vignettes for 2021 at Pioneer Corner Museum

The coming of 2021 brings two new vignettes to the NHHS's Pioneer Corner Museum.  A saloon/tavern and a barbershop have been added to the museum's central gallery which features glimpses of New Holstein's past businesses.

The  new saloon/tavern and barbershop were both sponsored by Stanley and Mary Bruckner of Kiel.  One was sponsored in memory of Stanley's father, Ralph Bruckner and family, while the other was sponsored in memory of Mary's father, Herbert Selk and family.  The new vignettes sit side by side, with an interconnecting doorway.  Businesses of these types were often located in close proximity to one another as they conveniently allowed gentlemen of the day to refresh themselves both on the outside and inside.

In addition to sponsoring the new vignettes, Stanley Bruckner was also a contributor to the actual construction of the displays.  The wooden barber pole was handmade by Bruckner who also refurbished the barbershop sink and donated the connecting door that joins the two rooms.  The door came from Bruckner's mother's house.

Other items featured in the displays have been acquired by the NHHS via previous donations.

The new two new vignettes, the saloon/tavern, pictured above, and the barbershop, pictured below, will be ready for viewing when the NHHS opens the Pioneer Corner Museum, and The Timm House on June 5 & 6, 2021.

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NHHS Celebrating 60th Anniversary in 2021 

The year 2020 will go down in history as a year of questions.  How is Covid-19 really transmitted?  Should everyone be wearing masks?  Who will become the next president?  One fact, however, is unquestionable:  The NHHS Timm House and Pioneer Corner Museum were closed for all of 2020.

The key to that last statement above is that the NHHS facilities were closed, not gone, not shuttered for good, just temporarily closed in the interest of helping to promote good health within the community.  And when the NHHS venues open in 2021, it will be to the celebration of the organization's 60th anniversary year!

In April of 1961 an intrepid group of New Holstein history enthusiasts gathered and made a decision to form, through affiliation with the Wisconsin State Historical Society, the New Holstein Historical Society.  A letter of application was drafted and sent to the WSHS and by October of 1961 a reply had been received recognizing the NHHS as a viable entity.  Initial NHHS officers were Orin Lindemuth, President; Albert Jochimsen, Vice president; Alice Cooley, Treasurer; and Sabina Paul, Secretary.  Board of Directors members were: Mrs. G.J. Hipke, Virginia Meyer, Ted Boockmeier, Jacob Schildhauer, and Rudolph Paulsen.

In November of 1962 the NHHS unveiled its first exhibition.  Lothar Iversen offered space in the Iversen building on Main Street for a display of historical objects gathered by the NHHS.  Eight years later, Iversen donated the entire building to the NHHS and the Pioneer Corner Museum was born.  Iversen's generous gift was followed by another generous gift, in 1974, from the Timm family.  The Timm House quickly became the most visible and well known facility of the NHHS.

Both buildings have undergone numerous changes since becoming part of the NHHS.  Hopefully in 2021 their doors will be open wide for the public to visit.  New exhibits are ready for viewing at Pioneer Corner for 2021 and the Timm House remains resplendent, both inside and out, as a result of constant upkeep following the major 2007 refurbishing.

If you haven't already visited the Timm House and Pioneer Corner Museum, or just haven't visited lately, please plan on visiting in 2021.  Let our smiling docents show you around and help the NHHS celebrate 60 years of preserving local and area history!

Gun Powder Keg Appraised at Event

Gun powder keg
The small gunpowder keg pictured at left was one of the items appraised at the 2019 New Holstein Historical Society's Appraisal Day.  Due to the keg still containing some amount of  powder, the keg was appraised from photographes.
It is thought that the keg was probably manufactured by hand at the Hazard Power Company in Hazard, Conn. in the mid 1800's.  The powder company had its own cooperage which manufactured the kegs for shipping the gunpowder.  This small keg was thought to be one of the company's "15 pounders".  The keg was manufactured of wood slats and bound together by wooden bindings, possibly made of soaked and steamed willow.  The finished keg also sported a wooden screw, or bung, which could be opened to get powder out of the keg.  The manufacture of gunpowder was big business in the mid 1800's as the Crimean War, the building of the transcontinental railroad and the initiation of stockpiling arsenals within the US all spurred demand. 

Thanks for your interest in the New Holstein Historical Society

Thanks for visiting the New Holstein Historical Society's website. Our website continues to change as information and features are added to the website in an attempt to present a useful, comprehensive and centralized source for New Holstein's history and the activities that celebrate that history.

Our Society, formed in 1961, owns two facilities. The Pioneer Corner Museum houses a variety of collections that highlight the history of New Holstein and its surrounding areas. There is always something new at the Pioneer since we add new displays, exhibits and vignettes each year. One visit is never enough!

The Timm House Historic Site represents a time period of from 1898 - 1905. The total restoration of the property (interior and exterior) was completed in 2007 at a cost of $1.25 million. The Society is sincerely grateful to The Jeffris Family Foundation for a $562,000 matching grant. Without this help the project would never have been completed and the home would have been lost.

Please explore our website and enjoy the articles and information that you will find.

The Timm House is open from 1 to 4 PM on Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend of May through the last weekend of October.  It is also open for the Timm House Christmas in December.  Exact dates and times for the Timm House Christmas appear elsewhere on this website.

The Pioneer Corner Museum is open from 1 to 4 PM  on Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend of May through the final weekend of October.

Please note that tours are available at other times by calling 920-898-5746.  Thanks for your support. We are always interested in hearing your recommendations, comments and suggestions, so please feel free to share them.

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After you have experienced the Timm House and Pioneer Corner Museum please continue your historical tour of the area by visiting our friends at The Calumet County Historical Society Museum, five miles north at Irish Road, just off Hwy 57.  For a preview, check the CCHS out at  www.calumetcountyhistoricalsociety.org   or on facebook at   facebook.com/CalumetHistoricalSociety