"Burlington" Available Now;
"The BuR SPUR" Coming Soon
One Society publication - a book of Burlington photographs - is now available. Another - an Underground Railroad tour guide - is being printed. It should be available in mid-September.
The photograph book, titled simply "Burlington," is a part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing Co. of South Carolina. It was put together by Dennis Tully and Don Vande Sand, using about 230 of the thousands of photographs in the Society's collection. The 128-page soft-cover book includes captions describing the scenes and giving some history of the subjects shown in the photographs. A short historical sketch of Burlington introduces the images.
The photographs are grouped in seven categories: cityscapes and street scenes; stores, shops, and business vehicles; manufacturing and processing plants; houses - from humble to grand; churches and schools; landmarks and municipal facilities; and the near by lakes.
The Society is selling the book, including state sales tax, for $21.00.
Mailed copies cost $23.50.
"The BuR SPUR Trail" tour guide, in the form of a folding road map, will take tourists on a part walking and part driving tour of about 25 places in the Burlington, Rochester, and Spring Prairie area where Underground Railroad and abolitionist activities took place in the years before the Civil War.
Included are places where Caroline Quarlls was sheltered during her 1842 overland journey to Detroit, from which she crossed into Canada; and where Joshua Glover was hidden before being taken to Racine in 1854 and put aboard a Great Lakes ship bound for Canada.
The guide was put together by Don Vande Sand from material gathered over the years by the Society, and with several current Society members helping to identify the sites. Sherry Schenning Gordon, of Gordon Graphics, contributed her graphic artistry skills, while Hi-Liter Graphics, LLC, the Burlington Historical Society, and the Burlington Rotary Club provided major financial support.
Additional financial and other support was provided by many "Friends of 'The BuR SPUR' Underground Railroad Trail" whose names are listed below.
Other support activities were contributed by Dr. William Stone, Dennis Boyle, and Doug Lind.
The tour guide will be distributed, free of charge, to local, area, state, and even national tourist points, where those seeking information on interesting and educational places to visit, will be provided the opportunity to learn about the rich Underground Railroad and abolitionist history of the Burlington, Rochester, and Spring Prairie area in southeastern Wisconsin.
FRIENDS OF "THE BuR SPUR" UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TRAIL
W. and Nancy M. Cook
Robert and Delores Spitzer
Recently, a member of
the Racine County Master Gardeners organization, Terrell Marchetti, came
forth with the offer to produce a graphic "time‑line" of Pioneer
Cabin. The purpose was to illustrate -- with pictures and text -- the
somewhat nomadic history
of a 150-year-old log cabin that is now in its fourth location. The
accompanying photograph shows the results of her very colorful sign.
I am also glad to report that there is a growing interest in revitalizing the living history program at Whitman School. The program was entirely designed by Alice Petracchi after extensive research, and was a model of historical accuracy. The experience, however, was sadly brief as her illness and eventual death closed the living history program without someone of similar expertise to carry on.
Today we have in our
membership, several certified teachers who are up the challenge and are
eager to get started. Whitman School, built in 1840 and restored by the
Burlington Historical Society in the mid‑1980s has been closed except for
appointed tours, and will need some minor repairs prior to welcoming
classes again. We look forward to hearing that school bell ring!
While St. Mary's (then called St. Sebastian's) interment records start with the burial of 7-month-old Joseph Henry Schwerer on January 2, 1846, the earliest dated tombstone noted in a 1988 "reading" of St. Mary's Cemetery was that of 9-month-old Anthony Grass who died in 1844. The Grass tombstone is on the western edge of the cemetery about 200 feet from State Street.
The cemetery's western edge was for many years part of the Village and City of Burlington's western boundary. The iron crosses in the older sections near State Street were made in Burlington by the Wagner & Klein (later Wagner Brothers) foundry on what is now Commerce Street.
The cemetery chapel
was dedicated in 1894 in memory of Father Michael Wisbauer, who was the
Catholic pastor in Burlington from 1847 until his death in 1889. The chapel
is built over Father Wisbauer's burial site. The mason work was done by
Frank Rueter and the carpentry work by Joseph A. Rueter. The altar in the
chapel is from Burlington's first Catholic Church, St. Sebastian's, which
stood on the corner of McHenry and State (formerly Liberty) Streets, where
the St. Mary's Church parking lot is now located.
Many of the iron crosses that still
stand in St. Mary's
Grandpa's Letters: A Legacy
In the 'Memory Box' I've saved since I was a little girl are letters from my grandpa, a gentle man whom I respected, admired and dearly loved. He wrote in beautiful German script and signed each letter with his name drawn into a dove. Now when I take time to peruse these thoughts from grandpa, each letter kindles a special memory.
Grandma and grandpa lived in a stately house high on a hill in the small southeastern Wisconsin town of Burlington. Weekend family trips from Milwaukee in our Jordan automobile were frequent, and each Sunday dinner seemed a celebration.
After grace, grandpa -- a tall, handsome man with a commanding appearance -- raised his wineglass in a toast, and in robust voice led us in singing THE MARSEILLES, the national anthem of his beloved homeland. This was the signal for tiny bespectacled grandma, wearing a flowered percale housedress and rickracked apron, to served her feast, usually roast chicken, mashed potatoes, frenched green beans (which she'd stored in a kitchen crock), homemade bread, black currant relish (the Vitamin C of that era), apple kuchens and always baked beans that had been simmering in the woodstove oven since the night before.
Their spacious yard was a child's paradise where we children played hide 'n seek, raced up and down the steep driveway or sledded downhill in winter. In spring, we delighted in picking dandelion love bouquets and weaving their long juicy stems into golden necklaces, or sending fuzzy blowball wishes to the wind. The young rosette-shaped dandelion plants were saved for grandma's hot bacon salads or her hot tonic tea.
I cherished long summer vacations when I was alone with grandma and grandpa at this birthplace of my mother. Father would buy a fifty-cent ticket at the Public Service building for one passage to Burlington on the Rapid Transit Line, hand it (along with a Dutch Master cigar) to the mustached motorman and tell him I would be met at the Interurban station in Burlington.
During those summers, in grandma's kitchen I learned how to measure flour from the fifty-pound bin, knead dough for bread and cinnamony kuchens, waterglass eggs and put up jars of fruits and vegetables -- I even carried them to the cold cellar.
And I recall many magical moments with grandpa, especially listening to stories of his childhood in Lorraine, France. He skillfully recreated scenes of the dark night when he escaped to avoid serving in the Prussian War, of his mother waving until she could no longer see him and, later, of the hope he felt when he caught sight of "the lady in the harbor."
A master of many trades that included cabinet making, barbering and selling real estate, grandpa loved taking me to his downtown office where I could sit in his big swivel chair and write letters home. He was always interested in our family happenings and in my school work, and was proud when I studied French in school.
As years passed and my visits became less frequent, grandpa and I kept in touch through letters. He kept me informed about goings-on in Burlington, and about his grapevines growing over the summerhouse. He also congratulated me on my school achievements. And when I became engaged to my Navy Lieutenant in World War II, 90-year-old grandpa sent me best wishes for a blissful union.
Grandpa's letters! For me, they are renewed gifts of "words to live by" -- a legacy from a caring grandpa who accomplished much in 97 years of living. Symbols of strength, courage and love, grandpa's letters are time preserved.
Take These Along on Touring Trip
For More Information Contact:
Burlington Historical Society
232 North Perkins Blvd., Burlington, WI 53105
Tel: (262) 767-2884
FAX: (262) 767-2844
Notices: Disclaimer and Restriction of Liability