Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Blanks supper club

When I saw this photo, I just had to share.

Blanks Supper Club before fire
left - Ottmar Stephany
middle ?
right - Hime Stephanie

Pool table cover lifted with ropes
left side door - Ottmars Barber Shop
Right side door - dining room
line on ceiling to keep score

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another Discovery

I thought that I was pretty well past the day of surprises. I am in Year five of my work at the historical society. The first two years were spent opening boxes, looking at just what it was donated to the Historical Society Library.  No one can research history, if you don't know the contents of the library. After going through most of the holdings, there was only one archive room that I had not completely explored.......the closet in the newspaper room.

This closet is full of rolled up maps and blueprints......and there was always something more important to do, than label old blueprints.

Monday, with my trusty volunteer keeping me organized, we decided to finally explore that room.

All of our archives rooms are similar....shelves along the walls, and a table in the middle of the room, to work on.

The newspaper room had one problem......people kept finding things elsewhere, and just piled them on the center table.  Our first job was to clear everything off the table, so that we would have a clear surface to work on.   In the center of the table, was a large cardboard box.......opening it up, I found it completely full of photo negatives, still in the original photo envelope from the store that developed the film.   What was this??????  I discovered that each envelope had the name of a bride and groom and a date written on it...........these hundreds of envelopes were those of a professional photographer who took wedding pictures in the 1980’s.........

Now, the HUGE job ahead of me, is to create an index!!!!  I actually saw one bride name for someone that I used to work with!  What a surprise!  What a fabulous discovery!  What a lot of work ahead.

But my day was not over.

After clearing off the table, we discovered that there were two large cardboard boxes stacked by the closet, and so I decided to check out those boxes before tackling the closet.  We were labeling and reorganizing....so let's finish the boxes before we tackle the blueprints.

One of the boxes contained a very heavy old leather book, wrapped in archival paper to keep the dust out.  The outside was labeled as containing a book from a Title and Abstract Company of Chicago, with an added note that there were some Fond du Lac people named in the book.......

There was also a note that the spine of the book had  a label  E S Bragg.

I really became curious.....just what was this old leather book.   It appeared to be a typical record book of the time...the first pages in the book were an alphabetical index to the contents.  The balance of the book concerned court cases, listing several counties including Dodge, Fond du Lac and Washington Counties.

What I was holding, was a log book for a lawyer, showing each case he was working on, and dates when he received or sent out paperwork regarding that specific case.

This was none other than General Bragg's court case book, showing the cases he was working on, work he did on the case and expenses he incurred for that case.

This gem is no longer stuffed away in the newspaper room archives.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fond du Lac Carnival and Fair 1901

1901 saw a large festival and street fair adorn Main Street in August of that year.  For four days, from Aug. 27 thru 30th, 1901  Main Street was festooned with decorations, attractions and activities.
Thousands of people converged on the city for the events, which featured parades morning and night, band concerts, horse racing, fireworks and dances.

Recently I came across a collection of photos of these activities, and the feature decoration  that made this time memorable, was the arches that were placed over Main St. and Forest Ave.

Most of the retail stores on Main Street created extra decorations for the street in front of their store, for this occasion. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Stout Music

Russ Stout School of Music was bought by June Lefever, and she operated Stout Music for many years.  Recently she sent to the Fond du Lac Historical Society numerous photos and clippings about Stout Music.

This is a photo of trophies (and student photos) that were on display in 1954.

undated photo.

June Lefeber behind the counter of Stout Music.

Aug. 21, 1954 at the annual Chicagoland Music Festival.
Left to right: Linda Beyer, Anna Jo Loehr, Sandra Neilsen, audrey Wollitz, Sue Beyer, Carol Lefeber (barely seen), Marie Haensgen, Delores Kunasch, Pat Jameson, Alma Robbins, Carolyn Posey, Sandra Pittler, Donna Zeigenhagen, Judy Schmitz, Wilma Coonley (barely seen), Devota Gilgenbach.

(Imagine if they all played at once)

There always was a Home Show every year at the Fond du Lac County Fair, with entertainment in the Merchants Building!

Looks like they have a jam session going!

More  Home Show entertainment.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Wolf Lake play equipment

In scanning in some old slides from Fond du Lac county, I came across a few pics of old playground equipment, probably the products of BCI Burke Co.  These pictures were taken at Wolf Lake in August 1968.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Came across some old photos of the fairgrounds, and I can actually remember some of these older buildings, now long gone.

The old Merchant building, as well as the old horse barn can been seen in this aerial view.

The Old Horse Barn

Monday, October 23, 2017

Palmers, Bannisters and dulcimers

The Palmer dulcimer, on display at the Galloway House & Village

Birney & Carrie Palmer with their dulcimer

Bingham Lake
Dec 18th, 1932

Dear Mae & All.
This, while mostly business like is also a Christmas greeting to you all and I wish you a very bright and happy day. As you doubtless know before this time I came up here to attend Charley Siem’s funeral who died the 3rd of Dec. It is a very sad family for they loved him very much and had cared for him so long that it was very hard to give him up.

Once, when the family were visiting us at Valley Springs Charley wanted to see the dulcimer and we got it down out of the barn. The wrench was with it then so we could see how the tuning was done. And we never saw it after that till just a few minutes ago when Laura went and got it from Charley’s things. He had put it in his pocket and brought it home with him. I am sending it to you and as it is old you may want it for a pattern to make a newer one.

By now you will know that there are to be five or six bass strings which go over the top of the short bridge & through the holes in the long bridge. The bass strings are of brass but the other ones are of wire (steel wire) Bass strings are only two strands just from their keys over across to the nails on the left hand side. I do not know whether you can get the right kind of wire or not. Mary used to try to use different kinds of wire – fiddle strings, mandolin strings etc. But none of them gave the same satisfaction as the regular dulcimer wire which I doubt if you can get. Now, as to the history of this dulcimer. I can not tell in what year Erastus Bannister came to Wis to sell dulcimers but it was between 1850 and 1856. The Manning family were in Wis then from N. Y. state and had settled in Adams Co. at a place called Roche-a-Cree, an Indian name. Then Gaston Bannister & Jasper went to the same place. It was in the summer of 1856 that my sister Carrie worked for a family by the name of Dr Cruthers who lived about a mile west of where the town hall and the Methodist church used to stand in the town of Byron, Fond du Lac Co. This family were singers and music lovers. And when Erastus Bannister came along selling dulcimers and was himself a singer with a grand good bass voice, they had royal good times and of course he sold them a dulcimer, and as he traveled around the country selling them, he made the Dr’s home his headquarters, thus getting acquainted with your Aunt Carrie Bannister  who sang alto with the family. Your uncle Will Palmer was a baby that year born the 4th of Apr. Erastus & Carrie were married in the fall and went to Roche-a-Cree to live. And before going he gave your Aunt Mary a dulcimer for she took to it at once, thought Aunt Florence played some. And it is her picture taken with your father with the dulcimer on her lap. So you see the Bannisters – three brothers, and the Mannings all lived up there which we used to call the “Injun Land”. And Manning’s folks bought this dulcimer that you have. When the  moved to this country they brought it along, and when they went to calif the left it to Aunt Jennie. And when they moved in their new house they put it up in the barn where it stayed until charley wanted to see it that time. And now you have it. After your father came home from the war, he went up to Adams Co. to visit the Bannisters and Aunt Mary had already gone up there. She & Birney played together for dances etc. And she there met & married Frank Munn when they all came down to Byron in 1865 or 66.
Now I hope you enjoy the old thing and learn to play on it – I only wish I was there to see the old thing renew itself and to hear you play. A very merry Christmas to you all from my heart and Laura & Myrtle send their greetings too.

Aunt Rosina