Tale of a Museum
(Originally published in the April/May 2005 MAGIC Newsletter)
By George Schmidt

For those unacquainted with the history of our present Mishicot Museum building, we offer the following:

Now 132 years old, it was built in 1873 as a school, at the location where the brick "Old School" now stands, on land obtained from the Daniel Smith family and others. It had two rooms, a center hallway, and a very large cupola for the bell. It was the only two-room school in the township. After 1880 (or earlier) it had two teachers. The building contractor was F. Quistorf, and construction cost was just $1000 — half of it from district funds, and the rest borrowed.

It was the village's second school building. We have not been able to discover much about the first school, except that it was built about 1850 somewhere along present Highway 147, near the Mishicot cemetery. It was likewise of frame (not log) construction. It was also used for church services for a few years. Another early school building at this time was at Jambo Creek. Before that, the only school classes held in Mishicot were in private homes.

Mishicot's two-room school served for 32 years, until 1905, at which time the brick "Old School" (front portion) was planned and erected. With the new building, the 9th grade was added, making it a "fIrst class" grade school. However, in the years before that, it was not unusual for some Mishicot students to attend for an extra term or two after eighth grade graduation, and to be given high-school work.

The two-room frame building was sold to the town of Mishicot for $550. It was moved up the hill to its present site. Until 1950, it was the Mishicot Town Hall. Some remodeling was done, notably in 1929 electric wiring, removal of classroom walls, the building of an office wall at one end. Celotex paneling on the walls, etc. Besides elections and town meetings, the building was used for other gatherings, including the Mishicot Farm Bureau during the 1940s.

Later it became the village hall and storage building. It was also used for high-school band rehearsals during the shortage of space at the Old School in the 1950s. The old wood stove was replaced by a furnace and then by the present gas-burning unit. The big cupola was removed when a new roof was put on. Afterwards a garage door was cut into one side of the building. The police car was garaged there. Village Christmas Decorations and other supplies were stored in the building for a few years.

During 1988-90, the old building was rescued and restored by a M.A.G.I.C. volunteer committee for use as a museum, to preserve and display artifacts of Mishicot area history from pioneer times to the present. The missing cupola was replaced, a bell was found and donated, a sagged corner of the building was repaired; and woodwork, floor, walls, windows and both doorways were restored as closely as possible to their original appearance.

Although the death of one committee, Delmar Dvorak, in 1990 was a major loss, the museum opened on schedule in spring of that year .With the help of many friends and volunteers it has usually been open on summer weekend afternoons since that time.

Another re-roofing project, and other exterior repairs were done during 2004. Since 2003, the work of anew committee member Jim Sustman, has brought in many new exhibits, the support of the Mishicot Lions Club, and other helps. If you have not visited our Mishicot Museum recently you will not want to miss it this year.

Editor's Note: We are hoping to publish similar stories in the future about other historic Mishicot businesses, if the necessary information (and picture) are available. Can you help? Please let us know, or leave word at the Village Hall or MAGIC Office.

Return to List of Articles