Newsletter - September 2004


Burlington Historian

September 2004

Annual Meeting to Feature Presidential
and Political Campaign Memorabilia

The Society's annual meeting and open house will be held at the Museum on Sunday, October 17, 2004, at 1:30 p.m. The past year's activities and plans for the future will be discussed, and elections will be held for four members of the Board of Directors.

The directors whose 3-year terms are expiring are Nick King, Doug Lind, Jackie Pennefeather, and Don Vande Sand. Other nominations for membership on the Board will be accepted at the meeting.

Some of the many presidential and political campaign items from the Society's collection, including some items from the 1800s, will be displayed at the open house.

Society members are encouraged to attend the annual meeting and participate in the election of Board members. The general public is invited to attend both the meeting and the open house. Refreshments will be​ served.  


Society's Website Has Steady Stream of Visitors

The Society's website - - has become a popular stop for a steady stream of visitors on the World Wide Web.

From January through July 2004, over 4,700 visits were made to the site, or an average of about 675 per month. Since the site opened in mid-2002, about 21,000 visits have been recorded.

Most of the visitors have come from within the United States, but there have been visits from as far away as the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. Of the non-U.S. visitors, most have come from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia.

We have recently improved the search capability on the website so that our larger databases can be searched more quickly.

We continue to receive favorable comments on the historical and genealogical information, as well as the photographs and panoramas, available on the website.

Our thanks for making the website "work" so well go especially to our webmaster, Jeff Kiekenbush, who is truly a master at handling the technical aspects.

President's Message

At the last meeting of the Board of Directors, the dates for the annual events of the Burlington Historical Society for the year 2005 were selected. Burlington's Chocolate Festival is moving to Memorial Day weekend, while the Burlington Arts Council's Art in the Garden will continue on its own the weekend following Mother's Day. We are planning to have a booth with the Art in the Garden event, which will be May 14 and 15, 2005.

Our first ever Cemetery Walk event is being planned for June 26, 2005, in the afternoon at the Burlington Cemetery. Actors will portray a number of the departed who played notable roles in the history of Burlington's early years.

The annual Ice Cream Social will occur on Saturday, July 30, 2005, on the grounds of Pioneer Cabin in Wehmhoff Square from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This event is held in conjunction with Burlington's Maxwell Street Days, which is sponsored by the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce.

Still to come this year are the Society's Annual Meeting on October 17 at 1:30 p.m. (see opening article); the annual Christmas program, tentatively scheduled for December 11 at 1:30 p.m.; and the opening of the Museum and Pioneer Cabin on October 2 and 3 in conjunction with Burlington's Cookie & Culture Festival. The Festival itself runs from September 30 to October 3.

We are pleased to announce the receipt of a generous grant from the Hoganson Foundation in memory of past president, Forrest Hoganson. The Board of Directors is in agreement that the funds will be put toward the cost of our most ambitious current project. Still in the early planning stage, an outdoor lighted display cabinet will be constructed to house and protect the original Dyer monument (see accompanying article) as a centerpiece to Burlington's part in the historic Underground Railroad.

This project came into being when it became apparent that the monument should be in continuous accessible public view and be shielded from the elements to preserve it. The cabinet will be installed in the Legacy Garden adjacent to the Museum. Progress of this project and an opportunity to contribute toward it will be announced in future issues of the newsletter.

                                                                                           Doug Lind

Original Dyer Monument - A Genuine Burlington Treasure

In July 1935 on the grounds of Lincoln School, ceremonies were held to honor the memory of Dr. Edward Galusha Dyer, a Burlington pioneer who won for himself the name of humanitarian in the abolition movement that led to the Civil War and eventual freeing of the slaves.

At the ceremonies, attended by one of Dr. Dyer's granddaughters and by a representative of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, a marble monument topped with a sundial was dedicated.

The monument was donated to Burlington by Mrs. Charles Dyer Norton, whose husband, a grandson of Dr. Dyer, had served for a time as secretary to President William Howard Taft. Mrs. Norton, whose maiden name was Katherine McKim Garrison, also had her own ties to the abolition movement.

Her paternal grandfather was William Lloyd Garrison, who published the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator; while her maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Miller McKim, had accompanied Mrs. John Brown to Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in December 1859 for Mrs. Brown's last meeting with her husband before he was hanged for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The monument was designed by Tom Jones, who had designed the original tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. And the monument was hewn from the same stone.

By the early 1960s, the monument had become somewhat deteriorated and a replacement monument was put on the Lincoln School grounds. The original monument now sits in the Legacy Garden beside the Museum.

Laboring Fare

That is the term author Harva Hatchen uses in "The Flavor of Wisconsin" to describe the feeding of large groups of people, initially mostly men who gathered together to work and eat and sometimes live together, forging new lands out of wilderness to build our state and our nation.

Such laboring fare came to rural areas with the annual threshing harvest. "In one way or another," says the author, "threshing was the high point in the farm family's year. For the children, it was a gala event, a visit of near and far neighbors for at least one whole day. ... For the farmer, it was largely the economic matter of getting his crop in and assessing the success of the growing year. For his wife, it was a concentrated period of intense, hard work well larded with heaping portions of culinary competitiveness and foods."

"Preparation began days before the crew was expected. Breads, cakes, pies and puddings ... fresh meat butchered and hung ... a large batch of drop cookies ... a whole ham baked for cold meat ... a "heap" of potatoes (at least four large ones for every man plus a few extras for the pot ... cabbage salad assembled ... ice cream mixed and packed.

"The wife's day began at 4 A.M. to get breakfast ready. Then there was a forenoon lunch to prepare and serve out in the fields, a dinner at noon, another lunch in the fields in the afternoon, and an evening repast when the day's work was done. The last pot and pan usually was scrubbed and put away about 11 P.M."

Threshing crews lasted well into the 20th century. Many Burlingtonians still cherish memories of visits to the farm of a relative during these memorable days during the 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s, and even into the early 50s. Today, technology has prevailed and threshing parties are, for the most part, history.

More on this story can be found in THE FLAVOR OF WISCONSIN - An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State, published by The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1981.

Contributed by Carlyne Klein

Some Street Names Changed in February 1962

Liberty Street - Dyer Street - West Street - Mutter Avenue - Wilmot Avenue .... these and some other former street names are probably unfamiliar to newcomers to Burlington and those born since 1962. But they are remembered and sometimes used by many of the "old timers" when talking about past events and memories.

The City Council and Mayor adopted an ordinance on February 6, 1962, to establish a uniform house and building numbering system for Burlington. As a result, many if not most house and building numbers changed.

At the same time, several streets were renamed.

-- Geneva Street became parts of Milwaukee Avenue and West State Street.

-- Dyer Street became North Kane Street.

-- Liberty Street became part of West State Street.

-- East, West, North, and South Streets became, respectively, Capital Street, North Perkins Boulevard, Congress Street, and Edgewood Street.

-- Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Streets became Michigan, Delaware, and Maryland Avenues.

-- Pine Street west of Milwaukee Avenue became Commerce Street.

-- Parts of Pine Street and all of Wilmot Avenue became South Pine Street.

-- West Water Street, Mutter Avenue, and Second Street were combined into Bridge Street.

-- Tower Lawn Circle became Peters Parkway.

-- Delavan and Market Streets became West Market Street.

-- South Origen Street became East Market Street

-- North Origen Street became just Origen Street.

-- Mary Ceil Drive became South Kendrick Avenue.

-- Frederick Street became East Highland Avenue.

-- Fox River Street became Hawthorn Street.

-- Park Street became Park Avenue.

-- Livingston Street became West Chandler Boulevard.

Burlington Area Events 50 Years Ago

September 1954

-- Winkler school voters voted "No" on consolidation with Burlington school district.

-- New electric organ at Burlington High School.

-- Walter Yonk and Robert Martinson bought the Sinclair station (at left below) at McHenry, Jefferson, & Geneva Streets. from Francis Menheer.

                          Yonk and Martinson Sinclair Station

                           Richard Heidermann

-- Just out of the Army, Richard Heidermann (at right above) opened law practice in Bank of Burlington building.

-- Valerie's Candy Shop, 495 Chestnut st. - Elizabeth Zocchi bought out Valerie Lenkiewicz. The two had been in business 8 years.

-- Mildred E. Krueger and son, Donald, of Elkhorn, took over Elite Candy & Ice Cream Shop at 688 Pine st. Later re-named Cokes Me Inn.

-- Waller school construction bid - $278,077 - accepted. Waller school bonds ($295,000) sold for less than 1-7/8%. Construction got underway in October.

-- Reinhold Scheunert purchased Vienna school house built 75 years ago on land donated by Victor Zahn; to remodel it into a dwelling place.

-- English Settlement school district voted to join Burlington High School district.

October 1954

-- Announced that the Plymouth church parsonage (at left below) on Geneva st. was to be razed. House owners over the years included John Hegeman, Rev. Theodore Jacobs, Anton Zwiebel, and others.

Former Plymouth Church parsonage


                        Dog pound at city dump

-- New dog pound (at right above) opened at city dump on Hwy. 36.

-- Converse Accordion Center - Calvin J. Converse - opened at 642-1/2 Pine Street, Burlington Clinic Building.

-- Donald Johnston opened antique shop in old Rein House at 643 Chestnut Street.

-- Telephone company announced that Burlington was to have dial telephone service by the middle of 1956. About 3,025 telephones in service in 1954, compared with 1,860 in 1945.

-- Esther's Gift Shop sold to Mr. & Mrs. Frank V. Taschner; became Florence's Gift Shop, 642 Pine Street. Esther Anderson Tessner & Mr. & Mrs. E. Walrath were former owners.

-- Fire, caused by lightning. destroyed barn at Paul and Fred Ehlen farm, town of Lyons.

-- Burlington Co-op's new fertilizer building opened.

-- New water tower (at left below) being built on Origen Street.

             Origen Street Water Tower

     Former McCanna House at corner of Pine & Madison Streets

November 1954

-- McCanna house at Madison & Pine Streets (at right above) was razed to make way for National Tea Co. building (now Foxville Restaurant).

-- Kerswill Insurance Agency, 680-1/2 Pine Street.

-- M. Neill Schaub, Chiropractor, 542 Chestnut Street.

-- Leo J. Brever, electrician, 518 Main Street.

-- John N. Weiler, insurance agent, 895 Orchard Street.

-- Frank D. Spradling, insurance agent, Grove Street.

-- New bridge planned for Hwy. 36 and Short Street (Milwaukee Avenue bridge near Veterans Building)

-- Burlington Floral Shop (at left below), 524 Wilmot Avenue, enlarged.

       Burlington Floral Shop, corner of Pine & Adams Streets


 L to R:  Leon Richter, John Vogelsang, Gene Delahoyde, Elmer Boll

-- Kiwanis Pancake Day at St. Charles hall (at right above)  topped off Burlington Dairy Week.

-- Barbara Gabriel (at left below) won car in Free Press subscription contest. Walter Gabriel (at right below) was named police captain in December.





   Barbara Gabriel
    and Elmer Ebert







       Walter Gabriel

-- Stang Christmas Tree business taken over by Gilbert Carroll after 45 years.

-- Max Muller opened television and radio business (at left below) on Wilmot Avenue (now S. Pine Street).

                      Muller Television and Radio


-- Spiegelhoff's Super Food store on Chestnut Street (at right above) remodeled; A. T. Spiegelhoff started in the grocery business about 40 years ago in the Mutchler building on Pine (now Commerce) Street.

-- Addition to Winkler School approved.

-- R & G Appliance opened - Willie Ringer & James Geise; business had been Whitton Appliance.

-- Wisconsin Brewing Co. resumed brewing at McHenry Street plant; company to make beer for private labels.