Fall 2014 Newsletter - Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society
Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society
Vol. 16 No. 3 Winter, 2014
Published by Mequon Thiensville Historical Society
6100 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, WI 53092
262-242-3107 | [email protected] Open Thursday afternoons from 2-5 p.m. and by appointment.
For research, call archivist Bev Silldorff: 262-242-3290
A Tribute to Donald Silldorff, Founder of the
Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society
For my President’s Column in this edition of the MTHS newsletter, I have decided to pay
tribute to Don Silldorff who passed away in late August of this year.
As most of you know, Don was the founder of The Mequon Historical Society in 1988.
Don met with the members of The Mequon Men’s Club in the late 1980’s at which time
he shared items from his collection and facts from his profound knowledge of the history
of our community. He made such an impression on the members of the organization
that they decided to work with Don to help collect, preserve and share our local history.
The Men’s Club’s actions included devoting their assets and the major funding of their
member, Ottomar Logemann, to working with Don to create the Mequon Historical
Society. The City of Mequon joined the
effort by agreeing to allow the Men’s Club to
renovate the former Mequon Police and Fire
Department building into a home for this
promising historical society.
Bev and Don Silldorff flanking Dorothy and Ottomar
Logemann at the dedication of the Logemann
Community Center in 1988.
Don Silldorff. Recipient of
the Wisconsin State
Achievement Award for
Distinguished Service to
History, June, 2002.
Now 26 years later, the Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society, as it’s
now named, continues to collect, preserve and share Don’s legacy
in a large room provided by The City of Mequon through The
Logemann Community Center. At the Annual Meeting of MTHS in
early November of this year, the membership took action to name
the main room at the historical society The Donald E. Silldorff Center
for Historical Research.
Don’s high standards for accurate and unbiased
historical research will be a part of everything that
takes place in the room now so fittingly named for
him. Don’s passion for accuracy and detail can never
be duplicated, but my hope is that the efforts of those
who work in the center which now bears his name will
be inspired to do their best to continue the legacy Don
started over 25 years ago.
Inside . . .
Volunteer the MT Historical Society Way. See Page 2
What’s Going On at MTHS? See Page 3
Acquisitions. See Page 4
Renewal/Gift Membership Form. See Page 4
Genealogy Research Tips for Children. See Page 5
Holiday Wish List. See Page 5
www.mthistoricalsociety.org • Page 1
MT Historical Society
2014 Board of Directors
Historical Society Style
President: Vice-President: Secretary : Treasurer: Membership :
Archivist: Researcher: Newsletter:
Members: Member Emeritus: Member Emeritus: Ex-Officio:
The Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society is grateful
to the volunteers who worked to promote, organize
and expand the reach of the Society in 2014.
Everything from planning events, assessing and
indexing historical materials, clipping newspapers
and magazines, filing clippings, representing the
Society at meetings/events, cleaning the Isham Day
House/research room and putting up posters were
part of some volunteer’s contributions. Although
these tasks seem mundane and boring, one learns
the history of Mequon and Thiensville through this
work. Often the pace is slowed as the volunteer
takes time to read an article rather than just file it or
add information to an index. One often hears, “Oh,
I didn’t know that” or “Where is that building/farm/
cemetery/road located?” or “Who are these people in
the picture? And what event are they part of?” “ When
did this happen? Why can’t this be done again?”
President: Bob Blazich, [email protected] 262-242-4653
Historian: Ruth Renz
Address: 6100 W. Mequon Road,
Mequon, WI 53092
MTHS Phone: 262-242-3107
Grow with Us
The MT Historical Society has grown rapidly during
the past two years. We have approximately 250
voting members including members from several
states. Join today. It’s easy. Memberships also make
Annual Membership: Individual ..................................$10
Sustaining ..............................$100 Tax deductible 501(c)(3) donations are appreciated.
Send your check to: MTHS, 6100 W. Mequon Road,
Mequon, WI 53092. Don’t forget to include your
name, address, phone number and email. For more
membership information, please call our office at
Thank you for the help in 2014. It was awesome! We
look for more people in the community to make
the Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society viable by
offering their help in this great cause: collecting,
preserving, and educating the present and future
generations in the history of this great area.
To volunteer contact Mary Sayner at [email protected]
yahoo.com or by calling 262-242-2624. Please leave
a message if I am not available. If you are unable to
volunteer on Thursday, we can arrange for a suitable
time for you to contribute to this historic cause.
Consider an MTHS
Membership as a Gift!
Everyone has at least one “hard to buy for” person on
their gift list. MT Historical Society memberhips make
the perfect gift for those who love history and the
Mequon Thiensville area, and they are tax deductible
Members get our newsletter delivered to their door
along with special invites to events hosted by the MT
Historical Society. This is truly the gift that will keep
on giving. See insert for a membership application.
www.mthistoricalsociety.org • Page 2
What’s Going On at MTHS?
Contributed by Bonnie Heintskill, Board Secretary
The Mequon Thiensville Historical Society (MTHS) took part in multiple events over
the course of the past few months. In September, Board Members busily cleaned the
Isham Day House while emergency repairs were made to the flooring by the front
door. A hearty thank you to Mr. David Salvaggio, referred to us by Board Member
Jim Schaefer, for replacing the floor boards and for coming up with a solution to
“shore up” the floor by the door so we could be open for the Taste of Mequon! The
repairs were done the week of the September 8, 2014. The Taste of Mequon was held
Saturday, September 13 from Noon until 9:00 p.m. Donations to help cover the cost
of the repair and upkeep of the Isham Day House are always welcome!
Bonnie Heintskill, Board
MTHS members took shifts to man the Isham Day Open House as well as members of The Johnathon Clark
House. MTHS had the north room with displays and the Johnathon Clark House had displays in the south
room. The Taste of Mequon had a bigger crowd than last year and Isham Day House benefitted from the
hundreds of visitors who came out to visit the building! The Historical Society sold history books as well as
garnered donations, and new members! Thank you to all the MTHS and Johnathon Clark House volunteers
whose efforts made this event a success.
MTHS was also represented at a recent Thiensville Village Board Meeting to show their support for the request
made by the Thiensville Business Association and the Thiensville Landmarks Commission to the Village to
fund a feasibility study to make repairs and accessibility to the second floor of the Thiensville Village Historic
Firehouse on Main Street and Green Bay Avenues. According to the News Graphic’s edition the week of
October 29, 2014, the Village Board approved the request and has ear-marked funding for the study!
Thiensville also celebrated the Grand Opening of the
Dianne Bridge (named after Village Administrator
Dianne Robertson) that spans Pigeon Creek so it
connects Main Street and Green Bay Roads. Many
Thiensville residents turned out for the celebration
and Van Mobley, Village President, put in a quick
announcement about the MTHS Annual Meeting.
This year, MTHS Board Members and the Friends of
the Jonathan Clark House put forth special effort to
advertise the Annual Meeting on Sunday, November
9, 2014. The annual meeting presentation, hosted
Tom Nieman, the presenter at the November 9th Annual Meeting,
spoke about the more than 100 years of Nieman and Fromm family by the Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society and the
Jonthan Clark House, showcased the history of the
businesses in Thiensville-Mequon. The event drew over 120 people
who filled the City of Mequon Common Council Chambers.
Nieman and Fromm family’s silver fox farms, dog food
corporation and ginseng production. Tom Neiman
provided a wonderfully educational and entertaining presentation that drew over 120 people filling the City
of Mequon Common Council Chambers. A sincere thank you to Mr. Nieman!
This has been an exciting year for Mequon-Thiensville and the Historical Society. We are looking forward to
the new year and what it has in store for us. Happy holidays and happy new year to you.
www.mthistoricalsociety.org • Page 3
New MT Historical Society Acquisitions
The Mequon Thiensville Historical Society thrives on the generosity of donors and local organizations.
Below is a list of acquisitions during the last quarter. If you would like to donate, please contact Archivist
Bev Silldorff at 262-242-3290 or 262-242-3017.
Timothy P. Plank of Boise, Idaho:
• Newspaper clippings.
• Assorted photos of the Blank family.
• Thiensville-Mequon School book 1952.
• Warranty Deed, 1923.
• Building Permit, November 8, 1952.
• Copy of a Birth Certificate, 1913.
• Autographed Thiensville High School book, 1933-1934.
• Booklet, Fromm Bright with Silver.
• Six snapshots of fox farm workers.
Second grade diploma for Carl F. Wilbert, first Mayor of
• 1- 5x7 photo of workers at the fox farm.
Mequon (1957-1965). Diploma dated 1905.
• 3- 12x14 aerial photos of fox pens and land.
• 6- 8x10 photos of models wearing silver fox furs, capes, and stoles.
• Newspaper clipping from Women’s Wear Daily, March 11, 1936
• Newsletter, Today and Tomorrow along the Milwaukee Railroad, fox farm article.
• Newspaper clipping from Cedarburg News, January 11, 1936 re: silver fox pelts in a New York auction.
Ozaukee County Historical Society:
• History of the B. Henry Meyer Family of the Town of Mequon.
• Carl Wilbert’s school certificates, grades 1 and 2. (See image at right.)
• 1970 Ozaukee County Platt Map
I would like to give or renew a Mequon Thiensville Historical Society membership!
Name: ________________________________________________________ Phone: ____________________________
City: ___________________________________ State: ________________________ Zip: _______________________
Amount Enclosed: ________________________________
Tax deductible 501(c)(3) donations are appreciated.
I would like the newsletter sent by
Annual Membership Levels: Individual ..................................$10
Sustaining ..............................$100 Gift Membership for: ____________________________________________ Ph: ________________________________
Address: __________________________________ City: ________________ St:________________ Zip: ____________
I am interested in volunteering for the Mequon Thiensville Historical Society
Please Mail Checks to: Mequon Thiensville Historical Society, at 6100 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, WI 53092.
www.mthistoricalsociety.org • Page 4
Get Children Interested in Genealogy
Some children are naturally curious about their
past. But those who have not yet been exposed to
the wonders of their own family history are liable to
get hooked once they experience the bite from the
“genealogy bug.” Consider sparking their interest in
the following ways:
• Take a trip to the
cemetery to visit relatives
buried there. They will ask
questions. Perhaps a visit
can include a rubbing of a
tombstone that they can
put on their bedroom wall.
They will want to know
all about that relative.
A chart or family group sheet is a good start, but
children soon lose interest if it’s only names and
dates. They want to know much more.
•Visit Grandma and Grandpa. Ask them what life
was like when they went to school. Grandpa will
have lots of stories to tell. Follow Grandma into the
kitchen. She’ll talk about what she learned from her
mother. She might even share a few recipes with
you. Ask about what clothes they wore to school.
•A family reunion is another great opportunity to
get the relatives to tell about things they remember
from when they were children. Be sure to take a
recorder and a camera along. They can pretend to
be Barbara Walters and interview them.
•Kids like to relate history that they learned at
school. They would be interested in the ancestor’s
part in a certain era or war. The Civil War History will
come alive to them if they can report that a relative
was in it.
•When studying about Ellis Island, they will want
answers such as what was it like to come to a new
country. Their interest will spark when talking
about ethnic background. What does it mean to
be Irish, Hispanic, Asian, Italian or Native American?
This would be a good time for a trip to the library.
Genealogy helps give children an identity and
connection to other people. Be a mentor. Help them
find answers in immigration and census records.
Give them books and get them to write the stories
they have heard. Its’ easy to start with your Mom
and Dad, brothers and sisters, and then reach out to
Aunts, Uncles, cousins, Grandmas, Grandpas and their
sisters and brothers. Be prepared, because when the
genealogy bug bites, there is no cure.
Contributed by Ruth J. Renz,
Holiday Wish List
The mission of the Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society is to collect and
share our local history. When making your holiday shopping list, consider giving
a gift to the Historical Society. You can help by donating historical documents and
images to our collection, or by providing volunteer or monitary support to aid in the
archival process. Your generosity will ensure that future generations will have access
to our precious local history. Below is a list of items that the Society could use:
Homestead High School Commencement Programs, years 1959-66 and 1977.
New metal 4 drawer letter size filing cabinet.
Cardboard bankers storage boxes with lids.
Document and image scanner with multipage feeder.
Label maker tape for Brother P-touch 1100QL.
Large format office copy machine.
New letterhead design.
www.mthistoricalsociety.org • Page 5
Mequon Thiensville Historical Society
Vol. 16 No. 3 Winter, 2014
6100 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, WI 53092
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
Your Renewal is Due
Mequon Thiensville Historical Society’s
A SHARED PASSION FOR LOCAL HISTORY
Annual Meeting held on November 9, 2014. Presenter, Tom Neiman of Fromm Family Foods.