Historic Day brings back New Berlin's 1860s pioneer past
Sunday event hs long list of activities and exhibits
New Berlin — About 1,000 people will get a taste of what it felt and looked like to live in New Berlin in the 1800s.
During Sunday's Historic Day, presented by the Prospect Hill Restoration Foundation with the New Berlin Historical Society, visitors will get to drop in at several historic homes in the historic district at National and Racine avenues.
The buildings range from a humble log cabin that originally stood on Lawnsdale Road to the posh Winton-Sprengel home circa 1840. "That's the richest you will get," said June Pelkola, an Historical Society director.
In between is the Winton-Martin house that was once home to Theodora Winton Youman, who marched with Susan B. Anthony to win the vote for women, Pelkola said.
Other highlights include the First Freewill Baptist Church (circa 1859), listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Organized in 1840, it was the first Freewill Baptist Church in the Wisconsin Territory.
Also featured is Prospect School, the original little red one-room schoolhouse, which still serves an education role, albeit a bit different than the one it fulfilled for the children of New Berlin for 50 years starting in 1863.
"We hold classes there for different schools," Pelkola said, noting that docents actually teach class as teachers did back then.
Old stuff to do
In fact, docents will be in all the buildings from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday to explain each facility's historical significance and offer an idea of what life was like locally in the 1800s.
Giving visitors, especially kids, that sense is always a goal of Historic Day. In past events, children have beaten rugs, made butter and ice cream and rung clothes with a wooden ringer washing machine, Pelkola said.
"There's a lot of hands-on stuff to do," agreed foundation member Cheryl Schober.
Before the days of video games, people relied on each other for entertainment, and singing together was a favorite activity. Everyone will be welcome to a sing-along with retired New Berlin elementary school music director Tom Gregory at the organ, Schober said.
Those who fancy that they can spin a good yarn can join the storytelling competition at 2:30 p.m. in the schoolhouse.
"Anyone wanting to tell a good story can get up there," Schober invoted.
Also, families can amble through the Weston Antique Apple Orchard in the historic district and see apple varieties as old as 1598 hanging on the trees. Apples, cider and apple desserts will be for sale.
Other food also will be sold on the grounds.
Little kids can ride a "barrel train" — blue hard plastic barrels made into train cars and pulled by a tractor — through the orchard at 3 p.m.
New this year will be a display of 49 model tractors.
Arts and crafts
And back from its debut last year will be the New Berlin Plein Air (painting) competition, show and sale. New Berlin-inspired paintings will be displayed and sold.
In addition, a blacksmith will demonstrate his craft, and the Auxiliary to Sons of Union Veterans will make hardtack and offer many items for purchase, Schober said. Some live music also is planned.
There will be lots of photo ops for families, too — for example families can climb into some of the buggies and snap photos, she said.
There also will be a parade — featuring antique cars, tractors and pipe organ — on National Avenue from east of Glengarry to Barton roads. (Part of National Avenue will be closed for the event.)
Parking will be provided at the Prospect Hill Garden Center, 19305 W. National Ave., and at the former Prospect Hill Elementary School, 5330 S. Racine Ave., and shuttles will be provided.
AT A GLANCE
HISTORIC DAY LINEUP:
Noon to 1 p.m., sing-along in the First Freewill Baptist Church
1 to 4 p.m., all historic buildings open with docents giving information
2 p.m., parade
2:30 p.m., storytelling in the schoolhouse
3 p.m., barrel rides for kids through the antique orchard; the Blue Grass Allstars performance
· New Berlin Plein Air (painting) competition, show and sale
· 49 model tractor exhibit
· Cornfalfa farms
· Historical timekeepers and blacksmith
· Listen to the Misfits on the Winton-Martin House porch
· Auxiliary to Sons of Union Veterans making hardtack
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