Westby Area Historical Society

Westby Area Historical Society WAHS is an educational organization that responsibly collects, preserves, promotes & communicates the history, culture & heritage of the Westby, WI area.

Founded 1989

Founded 1989

Mission: The Westby Area Historical Society is an educational organization that encourages, preserves, advances, and disseminates the history of Westby, and its neighboring communities here in Vernon County.

Operating as usual

WAHS members extend our sympathies to Mary and the family of Pastor Gary. He will certainly be remembered as a "mover an...
09/02/2020

WAHS members extend our sympathies to Mary and the family of Pastor Gary. He will certainly be remembered as a "mover and shaker" in Westby's history books. We wish you Godspeed, Pastor Gary!

We regret to inform you of the death of a beloved brother in Christ, Gary Daines. Pr. Gary died on August 31 from the effects of cancer.

Gary L. Daines was born August 19, 1944, in Viroqua, WI. He graduated from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1966. He also servedfor a time in the Navy. Pr. Gary then studied at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, graduating with a Master’s of Divinity in June 1976. He was ordained into the American Lutheran Church taking his first call at First Lutheran in Watford City, ND, where he served until July of 1981. He then moved to Powers Lake, ND, serving at Holy Cross Lutheran through May 1988. At that time Pr. Gary transferred to the La Crosse Area Synod, taking his final call in full time ministry at Our Savior’s & Skogdalen Lutheran Parish, Westby, where he served until his retirement on June 4, 2011.

Pastor Gary married Mary Lou in July 1965 and to their union two children were born, Brenda and Greg. They have three granddaughters, which were his pride and joy. He was able
to officiate at one granddaughter’s wedding just a month ago.

Pastor Gary also was very active in his community. He was instrumental in the organization of Bethel Butikk Food Pantry and also a great leader in the Lions Club, serving as districtgovernor.

Arrangements are tentative at this time, but the family is hoping that an outdoor service can
be held next Monday, September 7 at Sugar Creek Bible Camp. The synod office will send out specific information regarding the service when it becomes available.

What a great thing to do during the 100-year anniversary of Westby becoming an official city!
08/28/2020
Westby has a new city logo

What a great thing to do during the 100-year anniversary of Westby becoming an official city!

Westby has a new city logo, which features a ski jumper, the Stabbur House, and the Norwegian and American flags.

The reunion for the Westby High School Class of 1952 is Saturday. We were happy to update their memory board, created by...
08/27/2020

The reunion for the Westby High School Class of 1952 is Saturday. We were happy to update their memory board, created by WAHS and stored at the museum, and get it delivered in plenty of time for their get-together!

New website design! Check it out to renew, join and donate! Find out how to become a Charter Member of the Centennial Ci...
08/23/2020

New website design! Check it out to renew, join and donate! Find out how to become a Charter Member of the Centennial Circle, check out our events and more!

The Thoreson House Museum is a favorite hiding spot for Westby Rocks followers and now the History Alive Project, Inc. b...
08/13/2020

The Thoreson House Museum is a favorite hiding spot for Westby Rocks followers and now the History Alive Project, Inc. birthday rocks are finding their way to the WAHS museum property, too! It wouldn't be right, as proud sponsor of the HAP event, for WAHS to enter the drawing so your odds just went up to 1 in 99! Good luck, Everyone!

WAHS members should have received their emailed August newsletter in the last few days. Those of you who get the  newsle...
08/03/2020

WAHS members should have received their emailed August newsletter in the last few days. Those of you who get the newsletter by snail mail should get yours today or tomorrow. If you aren't a member, join WAHS today for your copy!

Today is National Girlfriends Day! These "girlfriends" of Our Savior's Lutheran Church were in their 50s and 60s when th...
08/01/2020

Today is National Girlfriends Day! These "girlfriends" of Our Savior's Lutheran Church were in their 50s and 60s when this photo was taken. Luckily, not everything in history repeats – 50 and 60-year-old girlfriends don't look like this today!

Thanks to everyone who participated and all the spectators, too!  It was a great day!  And, be sure you see both photos ...
07/31/2020
Sweet Rides motors through Westby

Thanks to everyone who participated and all the spectators, too! It was a great day! And, be sure you see both photos on this link!

On Saturday, July 25, more than 40 vehicles participated in the Westby Area Historical Society’s fifth annual Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies. Cars, trucks and motorcycles lined up at the

Wonderful Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies event today! Thank you to all who donated! Having Susan Salek, 2020 WAHS Grandmother ...
07/26/2020

Wonderful Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies event today! Thank you to all who donated! Having Susan Salek, 2020 WAHS Grandmother of the Year, her grandson David and the rest of the family come made it very special!

07/24/2020
Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies

We love our local restaurants! When you come for the Sweet Rides tour tomorrow, we hope you visit one of them!

There will not be food or beverages available at the line up area for the car tour. We invite you all to patronize these businesses for lunch after the Car Tour concludes.

Nordic Lanes - open for dine in or carryout - call 608-634-4000

Westby rod & gun club - open for dine in or carryout - call 608-634-4314

Borgens Cafe - open for dine in and carryout - call 608-634-4003 - Borgens will feature Homemade Meatballs, The Breakfast Lefse Wrap, and Honey Glazed Chicken along with their great selection of pies.

The Restaurant at Westby House Inn - open 11 am - 1:30 pm - call 608-634-4112 for reservations.

For those who will be exploring our great community after the tour concludes, KOS- A Gastropub (formerly known as Bleachers Pub) will be open at 4:30pm - call 608-634-3314

Tomorrow morning!!  All vehicles welcome to join the tour at the Thoreson Museum. Line up at 10! Expecting more than a f...
07/24/2020
Westby Area Historical Society announces Sweet Rides route

Tomorrow morning!! All vehicles welcome to join the tour at the Thoreson Museum. Line up at 10! Expecting more than a few spectators along the route!

On Saturday, July 25, the Westby Area Historical Society and their partner, Mega Parts in Coon Valley, will be sponsoring the fifth annual Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies.

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies
07/23/2020

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies

Thank you to Westby Syttende Mai for your support!

Westby Area Historical Society

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies
07/23/2020

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies

Thank you O'Reilly Auto Parts for your support!

Westby Area Historical Society

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies
07/23/2020

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies

Thank you Coon Valley Farmer's Telephone Company for your sponsorship!

Westby Area Historical Society

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies
07/23/2020

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies

Thank you George's Auto Repair LLC for your support of our event!
Westby Area Historical Society

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies
07/23/2020

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies

We are going to kick off our 2020 Sponsor Shout Outs with Mega Parts in Coon Valley!
Thank you for your continued support of the event!
Westby Area Historical Society

In case you missed it, here is the route our Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies tour will be taking on Saturday! The country tour ...
07/20/2020

In case you missed it, here is the route our Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies tour will be taking on Saturday! The country tour will last about 20 minutes and we will be back in town about 10:50. We are following social distancing guidelines – you can wave from your front porches and driveways!

Dr. John Schee, who came to Westby in 1892 and passed away in 1937, was a beloved physician in Westby. Thank you to Dr. ...
07/19/2020

Dr. John Schee, who came to Westby in 1892 and passed away in 1937, was a beloved physician in Westby. Thank you to Dr. Schee's grandson, Tom Schee, for donating the doctor's office chair to the WAHS collection!

One more week! Early registration is open now! Keep your fingers crossed for great weather!
07/17/2020
Westby Area Historical Society's 5th annual Sweet Rides is a go

One more week! Early registration is open now! Keep your fingers crossed for great weather!

For the last four years, the Westby Area Historical Society, partnering with Mega Parts of Coon Valley, has held a very successful Sweet Rides and Sweet Pies event. This year

07/16/2020

Here's the route for the car tour. Following social distancing guidelines, you can stay home and still see all the cool cars! Watch for us on Saturday, July 25. We will be leaving Thoreson at 10:30 am!

Norseland will be the first drive by when the car tour for Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies starts at 10:30 on Saturday, July 25...
07/14/2020

Norseland will be the first drive by when the car tour for Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies starts at 10:30 on Saturday, July 25. You can preregister online now using a link from our page or website. Stay tuned to see the map of where we will be touring. We might even honk if you wave as we go by!

Share this all your friends!
07/11/2020

Share this all your friends!

We are very proud and happy to announce that Susan Salek is the very deserving 2020 WAHS Grandparent of the Year!  Her g...
07/10/2020
Westby Area Historical Society: Susan Salek is 2020 Grandmother of the Year

We are very proud and happy to announce that Susan Salek is the very deserving 2020 WAHS Grandparent of the Year! Her grandson, David, wrote a wonderful nomination letter! We hope you come the Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies Car Show on July 25 to congratulate her!

Since 1999, the Westby Area Historical Society has chosen a Grandparent of the Year from nominations submitted by local students. Alternating grandmas and grandpas, 2020 was the year for grandmas

Cool cars! Dash plaques! A couple trophies! Join us Saturday, July 25!
07/10/2020

Cool cars! Dash plaques! A couple trophies! Join us Saturday, July 25!

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies is a go! But to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe, this year the participants  ...
07/09/2020

Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies is a go! But to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe, this year the participants WILL BE TOURING through town. If you know someone who is housebound, disabled or just wants to be sure they see the cars, please message us on Facebook or send us an email at [email protected]. The tour starts at 10:30 on Saturday, July 25 and will last about an hour. We can't promise but will do our best to include your request to go by your house!

This July 4th, things are different in Westby. School sports didn't finish like this 1920 graduate's basketball season d...
07/05/2020

This July 4th, things are different in Westby. School sports didn't finish like this 1920 graduate's basketball season did. Friends can't be together like the two pictured could be in 1952. But what we do know is that we are fortunate, grateful and love, on this July 4th, to be living in Westby, Vernon County, Wisconsin, United States of America. We are thankful! Can you identify the people in these two photos who also loved living in Westby???

Look what we found at the Thoreson Museum today! - Westby Rocks
07/03/2020

Look what we found at the Thoreson Museum today! - Westby Rocks

We are not actively soliciting sponsors for this year's Sweet Rides event because we know that many of them have been hi...
06/29/2020

We are not actively soliciting sponsors for this year's Sweet Rides event because we know that many of them have been hit hard by COVID closures. We want to give a shout out to our past sponsors so visit our Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies page and consider giving them your business! Stay safe!

This fabulous photo from the WAHS collection may document the first car show in Westby but it won't be the last! Join us...
06/25/2020

This fabulous photo from the WAHS collection may document the first car show in Westby but it won't be the last! Join us for Sweet Rides & Sweet Pies on Saturday, July 25. Depending on COVID-19, we might do a car show or we might do a car ride through town. Either way, it will be a great event!

It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of Ellen Pederson. For many years, Ellen was a powerhouse at th...
06/16/2020
Ellen M. Pederson Obituary - Visitation & Funeral Information

It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of Ellen Pederson. For many years, Ellen was a powerhouse at the Westby Area Historical Society. She served as a board member, president, historian and all-around very active volunteer. Her significance to WAHS is immeasurable and will long be considered part of the reason the organization has been able to build such a wonderful collection. Her integrity, drive and reputation as a woman of her word were above reproach. She will be missed!

Share Memories & Support the Family.

Today is National Nature Photography Day so please enjoy this photo of some of the flowers at the Thoreson House Museum.
06/15/2020

Today is National Nature Photography Day so please enjoy this photo of some of the flowers at the Thoreson House Museum.

Today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day and we are sure Katherine Thoreson would have celebrated with a very large ...
06/09/2020

Today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day and we are sure Katherine Thoreson would have celebrated with a very large rhubarb patch in her garden. WAHS volunteers have put it back in the Thoreson Museum garden - right where it belongs!

In honor of June Dairy Month, we have to share this Coon Valley artifact from the WAHS museum collection.
06/07/2020

In honor of June Dairy Month, we have to share this Coon Valley artifact from the WAHS museum collection.

Address

111 Bekkedal Avenue; Mail To: Po Box 42
Westby, WI
54667

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Our Story

The Westby Area Historical Society is an educational organization that encourages, preserves, advances, and disseminates the history of Westby, and its neighboring communities here in Vernon County. We believe that the history of Westby, Wisconsin is important to preserve. The Westby Area Historical Society collects photographs and documents outlining the history of the Westby area. Our Museum building, one of the community's historic homes, has an impressive history, and we open our building for meetings of area organizations, family and class reunions, and even weddings. As a museum, we collect artifacts relating to the pioneer families, their descendants, and more recent residents, preserving genealogical and historical information about those families.

The Westby Area Historical Society has access to genealogical information that few other resources have. Expert professional genealogists work with our members and friends who are beginning their research to help them develop their family history as well as assist more experienced hobbyists fill in the blanks for parts of their family tree where they have “hit a wall.”

Contact WAHS by email, snail mail, Facebook messenger or leave a message on our voice mail. We are happy to answer questions!

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Comments

Picked up at auction recently.....Milwaukee to Westby, 1942.
This was my mother-in-law's. What was Hagen & Preus?
Lost dog! If seen, please DON'T CHASE! Call 262-901-5500 with any sightings or information. Please share.
I just joined the WAHS. As a native of Westby with deep roots there I think the work of the WAHS is so very important. Thank You for what you are doing.
Something fun to o this weekend!