Welcome to the Ephraim Historical Foundation’s brand new blog. We thought it would be fun to publish little snippets of information every so often to keep you abreast of upcoming pleasures, events, and happenings, and to remind you of stories from Ephraim’s past. There is so much history in our little village, and since we love every single bit of it, we simply have to share it.
I remember that when I was a little girl, the “old timers” would talk about past happenings with great pleasure and interest, but I didn’t give it much thought.
As I got older, I began to realize the value of old stories, often repeated, and I began to store them in my own memory bank. Now I am fast approaching “old timer” status, certainly “long timer” status.
Here are a few things from my memory bank:
Did you know that: at one time there were three general stores in our little Ephraim?
That after finally getting one sawmill, there were suddenly five of them?
That our post office is currently occupying its sixth location, and that the first one was just a metal box on a shelf in the bedroom of a private home?
People often ask if we have written it all down, or recorded it. The blog will be our answer to that. Jotting down some stories for you to read will provide something of a local historical journal and may cause some of you to recall stories as well! Please let us know when that happens, as we hope to have guest bloggers occasionally to keep things fresh. Send an email to EHF Marketing and Volunteer Director Emily Irwin at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will move from one topic to another, and from one time period to another to keep interesting.
Thanks for reading,
Last year, EHF staff worked on a couple of exhibits in the Anderson Store Museum, including the shoe section and the Ladies’ Wing. This winter, our goal was to work with the Store’s garments and fabrics. When it operated as a general store, customers could find a variety of clothes and textiles on the shelves, and other materials could be ordered by catalog for delivery to the Anderson Dock.
If you’ve ever taken a tour of the Anderson Store, you’ve probably heard the story of Miss Lizzie Anderson’s policy on sales. If something didn’t sell in the store, she put it upstairs in the attic rather than sell it at a discount. Years later, when the Ephraim Historical Foundation began operating the Anderson Store Museum, a wide variety of original merchandise in the attic, including clothes, was brought downstairs, allowing for the Store to look much the same today as it did 100 years ago.
Mock bolts of fabric
One section of the Anderson Store Museum is devoted to garments, fabrics, sewing materials, and accessories like hair pins and gloves. After being washed, we selected some materials to go back on display and others to be safely stored in archival boxes. Limiting the amount on fabric on display minimizes both sun damage and the amount of dust which can become trapped between layers.
One of our more creative challenges was cleaning and determining how to display bolts of fabric. After much experimentation, we created mock bolts with archival materials and a minimal amount of fabric. The fabric on these “bolts” will be much easier to clean than a full bolt, and there is no longer a cardboard core, which would eventually damage the material.
After much cleaning and organizing, the garment section is almost complete, so be sure to stop by the Anderson Store Museum when we open for the season on Friday, June 15, 2018!
-Guest Blogger Emily Irwin
If you’ve ever visited the Anderson Barn Museum, you’ve likely seen the log building on the lawn. It’s always popular with visitors; we’ve seen graduation, wedding, and family photos taken there, and people are inevitably drawn to the charming cabin. This fall, work began to use the Svalhus in a new way and make it more accessible to visitors than ever before. The project was spearheaded by the family of Anne M. West, the first female president of the EHF Board and a longtime supporter of the organization. Read More
If you visited the Anderson Barn Museum this year or read any of the previous blog posts, you probably know about some of Ephraim’s Civil War veterans. Today, in honor of Veterans Day, I’ll be writing about a Vietnam veteran with Ephraim connections.
It’s hard to miss the tall white pole at Ephraim’s Anderson Dock. This memorial commemorates E. Eugene Helgeson, Jr., who served in the United States Air Force and was killed in action on March 6, 1968, during the Battle of Khe Sanh. The pole was erected later that year by Amos M. Rasmussen. Read More
While it’s common to find old lace in museum collections, you might be surprised to learn that hazardous materials like arsenic can also be found in many museums. A few days ago, while cataloging a sad iron (sad being an old word for solid), I was surprised to find the name Asbestos Sad Iron printed on the iron. Upon closer inspection, I found a layer of asbestos in the space between the iron and the handle. This asbestos lining kept heat from reaching the handle and the hand of the person ironing. Today, we know that asbestos causes serious health issues, but when this iron was manufactured in the early 1900s, the dangers of asbestos were unknown. Read More
Karen Ekberg as Ida Seiler Sohns
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to visit with someone who lived on this earth 100 to 150 years ago? If you come to the Ephraim Moravian Cemetery on September 11, you will have the opportunity to do just that. For the last several years the Ephraim Historical Foundation, in conjunction with the Ephraim Moravian Church, has presented a cemetery walk called the “DEARLY DEPARTED.” Read More
EHF garment collections storage
In a previous blog post, I talked about how an artifact in the EHF collection is cataloged. Today, I’ll share how the photograph from your great-grandmother’s photo album or the washtub in your neighbor’s attic can become part of the Ephraim Historical Foundation collections.
It’s important to note that the EHF cannot accept all the items that are suggested. Part of our mission is to preserve the artifacts in the collection, which requires time, space, and funds. To keep those artifacts safe for future generations, we sometimes have to make tough decisions about what we can and cannot accept. Here are a few reasons an item may not be accepted into the EHF collection. Read More
We often talk about Wisconsin, Door County, and Ephraim history in terms of image and text-based artifacts, like photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, and postcards. A project called Wisconsin 101: Our History in Objects is sharing Wisconsin history in a different way – through three-dimensional artifacts. Specifically, it focuses on objects which tell distinctly Wisconsin stories, like the Babcock Butterfat Tester or Old Abe, the Live War Eagle. Anyone can propose an object to be included on the Wisconsin 101 website, with object categories like Arts & Leisure, Education, and Transportation. Read More
The fully unfurled flag
As work on the upcoming EHF exhibit continues, we faced the challenge of displaying Greta Anderson’s flag. Greta, an early Ephraim resident who married Aslag Anderson, sewed this 35-star flag during the Civil War. Her cousin, Torger Torgersen, was in the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment and is one of the soldiers featured in the new exhibit.
Greta’s flag, at over 150 years old, is delicate and was obviously flown at some point. There are some tears and damage due to age. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is size: the flag is 7.5 feet wide by 12 feet long. Despite the display challenges, the flag needed to be included in the exhibit. It tells an important story about Ephraim during the Civil War and about Greta Anderson. Read More
The 2017 Anderson Barn Museum exhibit tells the stories of eight Civil War soldiers with connections to Ephraim. Some enlisted from Ephraim or the surrounding area, and others came here later in life. The exhibit will focus on Andrew Anderson, Goodlet Goodletson, Michael Kalmbach, Christian “Charley” Morbeck, Carl Nelson, Tallack Tallackson, Torger Torgersen, and Henry Sherman Vail.
Though each of the eight soldiers has a unique story, there are shared experiences in their lives. All eight men enlisted voluntarily, and seven of the eight joined in the same year, 1862. Four of the eight joined the same company and regiment, Company F of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Seven of the eight were immigrants: six from Norway and one from Germany. And three of the eight did not survive the Civil War. Read More
Dress form base
PVC pipe with drilled holes
One of the challenges in displaying garments from the EHF collection is changes in body shapes and sizes over the years. Many of the dresses in our collection come from a time when women wore corsets and other complex undergarments to fit into smaller clothing. The EHF’s dress forms are a standard size for modern clothing, but are too large in the hips and waist for clothing like Munda Anderson’s 1880s dress. Miss Munda’s waist was around 22 inches, or about a size 0 in today’s clothing. In fact, her dress is too small to even fit on our child’s dress form. Archival forms can cost thousands of dollars, so we needed to find a different way to display our smaller garments. Thanks to Dave, our dedicated handyman, we came up with a great solution. In this blog, we’ll show you how we made a dress form with minimal materials and cost. Read More