Pleasant Prairie Historical Society

Pleasant Prairie Historical Society The Pleasant Prairie Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Pleasant Prairie's past and educating the future.
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The Village of Pleasant Prairie’s 2008 annual calendar, which featured glimpses of the southeastern Wisconsin community’s historic past, had stirred residents’ emotions and thus their desire to begin preserving their local heritage. Encouraged by initial funding from the Elizabeth J. Riley Charitable Trust, a group of residents organized the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society with the mission to “Preserve the Past and Educate the Future.” In 2011, the volunteer-based Society established the operational framework and policies that will guide its preservation efforts. Since its beginning, the membership has grown to about 90 individuals. The Society has held annual meetings, community gatherings with guest speakers, educational outings and “What’s Cooking” events to foster deeper community engagement.During 2012, the Society’s direction changed with the announcement at the Society’s annual meeting that the Elizabeth J. Riley Charitable Trust had acquired the historic Dublin School house located at 3875 116th Street in Pleasant Prairie. The 1927 brick, two-room school house then became the new home for the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society. This generous donation turned what had been a distant dream into a solid reality. After months of site work and minor maintenance, the Dublin School building reopened its doors to the public as the new home of the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society. An Open House was held at the Dublin School on September 7, 2013. More than 300 people toured the building, enjoyed a picnic, and shared stories of life in Pleasant Prairie and their memories of attending Dublin School. Many brought old photographs of class photos, past school events, and former classmates. When Dr. Anthony Bisciglia, the final Dublin School Principal, rang the old brass bell to bring the community guests into the school, he was surrounded by many of his former students. Dr. Bisciglia gave his recollection of the old school days in the school’s “Chalk Board” room and provided an interesting, informative and fun perspective of life as principal, teacher, and student in both the Dublin School and others schools in the district’s past. As fundraising dollars are raised, the Society hopes to complete renovation work at the Dublin School. Further work must be done before the Society can realize its next dream of converting it into a museum and community gathering space. With the help of Society members and friends, neighbors and generous community partners, and the local community events are being planned to continue to raise funds towards the effort. Be a Part of the Story. The future Society offices will be located at the Dublin School located at 3875 116th Street, Pleasant Prairie. Currently the School is undergoing various renovation projects and is open for viewing by appointment only.

Mission: The Pleasant Prairie Historical Society, Inc. is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting locally important archaeological sites and materials, historic and cultural materials, and providing educational opportunities to promote an appreciation of Pleasant Prairie’s historical significance. The Society will encourage interest in community history and local heritage by the sharing of stories and oral history dialogues about family life and of how people lived, worked and played in the Prairie.

We are nearing the end of renovations at Dublin School. Upstairs hardwood floors have been refinished, kitchen and bathr...
05/08/2020

We are nearing the end of renovations at Dublin School. Upstairs hardwood floors have been refinished, kitchen and bathroom fixtures have been installed, and we have beautiful, new front doors! We can't wait to see what it will look like when it's finished and exhibits have been installed. Only a few more months!

Thank you to everyone who came out to our "Night of Comedy" fundraiser! A good time was had by all. We are so grateful f...
03/10/2020

Thank you to everyone who came out to our "Night of Comedy" fundraiser! A good time was had by all. We are so grateful for everyone's generous support of the Pleasant Prairie History Museum!

Love is in the air! These Valentine's Day cards were given to June Pfeffer Gieselman by her classmates at Dublin School ...
02/14/2020

Love is in the air! These Valentine's Day cards were given to June Pfeffer Gieselman by her classmates at Dublin School in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Edith Rockefeller McCormick of Chicago had dreams of building a model city for millionaires when she purchased land alon...
01/30/2020

Edith Rockefeller McCormick of Chicago had dreams of building a model city for millionaires when she purchased land along the lakefront in 1924. Here you can see an artist's conception for the development, which was to be called "Edithton Beach." Unfortunately for Mrs. McCormick, the Great Depression put an abrupt end to her plans. The land was sold and would eventually become Carol Beach Estates.

Kenosha History Center
01/11/2020

Kenosha History Center

Described as "rough-riding and fast shooting," Joseph Lincoln Higgins was born in Pleasant Prairie in 1863, named for the President after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

His grandfather, Fitch Higgins, owned farmland near Hannan School, west of 40th Ave on 60th Street. And his father, Charles Higgins, and grandfather both owned additional land just east of where the Premium Outlets are today.

At the age of 22, around 1885, Joe Higgins left home to travel with the circus. Not exactly running away to join the circus, he nevertheless followed the dreams of many boys in the late 19th Century. Which circus? The brand new Ringling Brothers, out of Baraboo, only just founded in 1884.

After six years, Higgins jumped ship and joined up with the ultimate spectacle of the age: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Described as an "aide" to Buffalo Bill himself, Joe stayed with the show for four seasons. These years correspond to some of his European tours, in Germany and Britain.

After his four years, Higgins moved again to Barnum and Bailey. And then to Pawnee Bill's wild west show.

In 1900, he retired to Mount Vernon. During WWI, he would work for the New York Central Railroad, and was a volunteer on the Sheriff's Emergency Force in New York during WWII. He passed away 16 January 1946 in New Rochelle, NY.

Unfortunately his early retirement to the East Coast meant he missed when Buffalo Bill came to Kenosha in July 1909, as his dire financial straits forced him to resume his touring despite being of advanced years and poor health. The city had recently instituted a fee for festival licenses and Buffalo Bill refused to take out a permit to have his show inside the City Kenosha, so instead he rented property just outside of town on Grand Avenue. Our archives has a newspaper gap in 1909, but it is likely it was held at the Bain estate, Bonnie Hame. Even though the old Driving Park and fairground were gone by this time (they were at 52nd St and 22nd Ave) and Bain School was already built. So, probably the north side of Grand Ave (52nd St) just past Wood Road (30th Ave). This was just outside of the city at the time.

#KenoshaHistory #RandomTriviaWeFoundInTheArchives

Ever wondered how Dublin School got its name? This excerpt from Eva Riley's "The Old Country School" essay explains:“It ...
01/07/2020

Ever wondered how Dublin School got its name? This excerpt from Eva Riley's "The Old Country School" essay explains:
“It is interesting to note that many Irish immigrants located in southeastern Pleasant Prairie, coming respectively from Dublin, Limerick, and Cork. The Irish in our community were mostly from Dublin, consequently our District became known as “The Dublin School District.” The District east of us as “The Limerick School District,” and the District north of us as “the Cork School District.” The last two schools have discarded their respective names, but “The Dublin School” is still perpetuated in our new school, whilst few Irish remain there to-day to back the name. Now it is a memorial.”

We had a wonderful time reviving this historic Village tradition. Thanks to everyone who came out last night! You can re...
01/07/2020

We had a wonderful time reviving this historic Village tradition. Thanks to everyone who came out last night! You can read more about the history of the Twelfth Night Tree Burning tradition in our Spring 2019 newsletter (link in the comments).

The revival of the Twelfth Night Holiday Tree Bonfire in Pleasant Prairie was a flare of success. The event included cookies, s'mores, Christmas carols, and lighting the night sky with used holiday trees.

Well done to Visit Pleasant Prairie, Pleasant Prairie Historical Society, Pleasant Prairie Fire Department, and Department of Public Works for all of their hard work to make this event happen.

Merry Christmas from the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society!
12/25/2019

Merry Christmas from the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society!

Thank you to everyone that came out to our Annual Meeting last week! We enjoyed a night of good food, conversation, and ...
12/10/2019

Thank you to everyone that came out to our Annual Meeting last week! We enjoyed a night of good food, conversation, and an interesting historical conversation with Lou Rugani and Al Westerman.

Black Friday shopping? If you're ordering on Amazon, make sure to use AmazonSmile so that a part of your purchase is don...
11/29/2019

Black Friday shopping? If you're ordering on Amazon, make sure to use AmazonSmile so that a part of your purchase is donated! The directions for our AmazonSmile are below. Happy shopping!

A History Mystery... Does anyone know where this photo might have been taken? UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who participate...
11/22/2019

A History Mystery... Does anyone know where this photo might have been taken?
UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who participated we learned that this photograph was taken in Woodworth, looking north. The house on the left is still there and the KD rail line crosses just in front. You can find more information here:https://villageofbristol.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Bristol_Heritage_1976_PDF_OCR_v3.pdf

Photo courtesy of Dan Wade.

And just like that... we have walls! Drywall is going up at Dublin School.
11/20/2019

And just like that... we have walls! Drywall is going up at Dublin School.

Pets of Pleasant Prairie! These photos show Melodine Higgins and her kitty in 1951 and Vernon Higgins and his pup "May" ...
11/08/2019

Pets of Pleasant Prairie! These photos show Melodine Higgins and her kitty in 1951 and Vernon Higgins and his pup "May" in 1946. Both photos were taken on the Higgins Farm.

The Society recently acquired a collection of photographs from the Higgins family. Fitch A. Higgins settled in Pleasant Prairie in 1835. The Higgins Farm was located on 41 (I-94) and 165 (104th Street).

Photos courtesy of Aleita Antongiorgi (Higgins).

Riley Construction working on creating a new handicap accessible doorway to the lower level at Dublin School.
11/01/2019

Riley Construction working on creating a new handicap accessible doorway to the lower level at Dublin School.

Snow is not stopping us! Reesman’s is out working at the Dublin School today.
10/31/2019

Snow is not stopping us! Reesman’s is out working at the Dublin School today.

Parking lot construction underway at Dublin School this week!
10/18/2019

Parking lot construction underway at Dublin School this week!

Last week we interviewed 96 year old June Pfeffer Gieselman, who began school in 1928 at the Dublin School (built in 192...
10/03/2019

Last week we interviewed 96 year old June Pfeffer Gieselman, who began school in 1928 at the Dublin School (built in 1927). Not only does June remember her very first day of school, but she also held on to her old assignments, art projects, photographs, report cards, and Valentines from fellow students. June generously donated some of her treasured memorabilia to the Society. We will have a full article in our Fall Newsletter, which will be published in early December. Until then, here is a sampling of the items we received.

All photos and memorabilia are courtesy of June L. Pfeffer Gieselman.

Lots of construction happening at Dublin School this past week: Sanitary lateral and parking lot construction, undergrou...
10/02/2019

Lots of construction happening at Dublin School this past week: Sanitary lateral and parking lot construction, underground utility work, and measuring and estimating for interior doors

Come say hi! We will be at Pleasant Prairie Safety Day today.
09/21/2019

Come say hi! We will be at Pleasant Prairie Safety Day today.

09/16/2019
Last week the mid-level bathroom floors were poured by Riley Construction!
09/11/2019

Last week the mid-level bathroom floors were poured by Riley Construction!

Mark from Pieper Power installing electrical in the kitchen last Friday
09/10/2019

Mark from Pieper Power installing electrical in the kitchen last Friday

*Baa Baa* and happy Friday to you all! Ironically this is NOT a photo of the Lamb Farm... but the Dexter Farm in 1900! R...
09/06/2019

*Baa Baa* and happy Friday to you all! Ironically this is NOT a photo of the Lamb Farm... but the Dexter Farm in 1900! Read below for more information provided by the Kenosha History Center.

The first week of school is over. Only 39 weeks to go!

"This view of the Dexter Farm shows flocks of sheep in the yard, a fenced yard, a feeding station, large stacks of hay, and a school house in the back. c. 1900"

Dexter Farm was 107 1/2 acres at the intersection of Springbrook Road (ML) and Green Bay Road (Hwy 31). The family owned the original land patent for the area which was named after them: Dexter's Corners. In 1844, the family built a school (Dexter's Corners School) on their land. It was on the south side of Springbrook Road at the intersection. The original school was torn down and replaced by a larger school (pictured in the background) which in turn burned in 1916.

#KenoshaHistory #BackToSchool

Pleasant Prairie Police Department yellow AMC station wagon, fall 1975. This picture was taken by Gary Smith along the t...
09/06/2019

Pleasant Prairie Police Department yellow AMC station wagon, fall 1975. This picture was taken by Gary Smith along the train tracks near 95th Street.

Riley Construction workers taking a break from hauling stone from the mid-level bathrooms!
08/28/2019

Riley Construction workers taking a break from hauling stone from the mid-level bathrooms!

Kenosha History Center
08/24/2019

Kenosha History Center

"Pleasant Prairie Town Hall"

The building was erected about 1856 for a church and dedicated as the Williams Congregational Church and was used as such until about 1868. The first pastor was John Southworth. For about 30 years the town board rented the basement for 30 dollars per year. On August 24, 1889, it was sold for 300 dollars to the town board for a town hall and in 1938 it was still being used for that purpose. It was located on the Old Green Bay Trail.

Pleasant Prairie Historical Society #kenoshahistory #pleasantprairiehistory

Photo of the Dexter Farmstead in 1900, located at was was called "Dexter's Corners." It was named for early settler John...
08/23/2019

Photo of the Dexter Farmstead in 1900, located at was was called "Dexter's Corners." It was named for early settler John Dexter, who bought a large tract of land in Pleasant Prairie in 1836. Dexter was elected the first Pleasant Prairie Town Supervisor in 1842. The white house shown on the left of this photo was destroyed by a fire in October 1909. The red brick Dexter home, which was built following the fire, still stands today.

Photo courtesy of Emily Rabin & the Rabin Family

08/15/2019
Lee Plumbing working on the underground plumbing for the bathrooms at Dublin School
07/31/2019

Lee Plumbing working on the underground plumbing for the bathrooms at Dublin School

Every day we are moving closer to finishing renovations at Dublin School! Here are some recent photos of the electrical ...
07/30/2019

Every day we are moving closer to finishing renovations at Dublin School! Here are some recent photos of the electrical contractors and Riley Construction workers at Dublin School.

This Tuesday the Historical Society co-hosted an event with the Kenosha County Archaeological Society at the Kemper Cent...
07/19/2019

This Tuesday the Historical Society co-hosted an event with the Kenosha County Archaeological Society at the Kemper Center, where we enjoyed a buffet dinner and tour. We had a lovely evening enjoying food, friends, and learning about local history. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

Some photos taken today at Dublin School of the recent renovation work: framing out the lower level of the school, inclu...
07/12/2019

Some photos taken today at Dublin School of the recent renovation work: framing out the lower level of the school, including the handicap accessible bathroom.

Did you know there was once a horse racing track in Pleasant Prairie? The Ideal Race Track was a mile-long track located...
07/10/2019

Did you know there was once a horse racing track in Pleasant Prairie? The Ideal Race Track was a mile-long track located along 88th Avenue, just south of 122nd Street. The track gave Pleasant Prairie a reputation as a "haven" for gamblers, and influenced the Wisconsin Legislature to outlaw race track gambling in the state in 1897. The photos you see here were taken in the 1910's, when the track was reopened by Emil H. Schultz.
Want to learn more about the track? You can read the full article in our most recent newsletter, which is linked in the comments below.

Photos courtesy of Al Westerman.

The "Gin Mill" stood at the intersection of Highway 50 and 88th Ave for over 70 years. The 40 foot high windmill and att...
06/28/2019

The "Gin Mill" stood at the intersection of Highway 50 and 88th Ave for over 70 years. The 40 foot high windmill and attached building was built in 1920 as a combination rooming house, restaurant, and gas station. A dance hall was added in 1968. The mill was torn down in 1997.

The first image was taken in the 1920's. If you look closely you can see that the sign reads "PLATE LUNCH 50¢." The second image was taken in 1969, after the dance hall had been added. The last photo was taken by the Kenosha News on the day the mill was demolished.

Comment below with your memories of the mill!

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3875 116th Street
Pleasant Prairie, WI
53158

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