Preserving and promoting the history of Holmen, Wisconsin
2023 Holmen Area Historical Society Programs
Holmen Area Community Center 600 N. Holmen Dr., Holmen, WI 54636 Facebook Group: Holmen Area Historical Society Facebook Page (public): Holmen Area Historical Society Holmen Area Community Center to register for Zoom: holmencc.org To view programs on Facebook Live: Holmen Area Community Center Meetings are the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Programs subject to change
Monday, Jan. 2, “From the Archives:” Archivists, Barb Johnson and Pam Hanson, will share some of our recent acquisitions as well as their research into local history topics. This will also be an opportunity to learn about the process of documenting what we have. The public is invited to bring in items for a “reverse rummage sale.” If they are appropriate for our archives, we will accept them, hoping the donors will consider a free will contribution to the Holmen Area Historical Society to support our preservation work. Monday, Feb. 6, “Native Roots:” Miranda Alexander, archeologist and HAHS member, will talk about the process of learning more about her Native American roots in the Brotherton and Stockbridge Munsee tribes of Northern Wisconsin. Monday, March 6, (Women’s History Month) “Journal from Iraq: A Nurse’s Story:” Deenie Lasky will talk about her service as an army nurse and the writing of her remarkable memoir. Those wishing to have her autograph a copy can purchase it ahead of time on Amazon. Monday, April 3,“Frontiers in History, People, Places, and Ideas:” Every year we are impressed by the presentations of top National History Day projects by Holmen Middle School eighth graders. Monday, May 1, (Tentative) (Preservation Month)“Preserving Family History: Tracking Down Holmen Ancestors:” Kim Evenson Valiquette’s grandparents, Ole Evenson and Josie Olson, lived in the Holmen area. She has worked with her cousin, Linda Cottrell-Sanders, to put together a family history, including photographs. She will talk about this journey. Monday, June 5, (Tentative) Movie Night at Holmen Library: “I Married the War: Wives of Combat Veterans Tell Their Stories (2021)” This moving documentary features interviews with the wives of veterans from WWII to the Middle -East wars. It explores the ways families at home are forever impacted and changed by the trauma of war. Francine and Bruce Jones, area residents, are featured and will share their experiences in the making of this important film. This screening is co-sponsored by the La Crosse County Library. So, we will meet at the Holmen Public Library Community Room, 121 W. Legion Street instead of the Holmen Area Community Center. Monday, July 3, “Story Circle: First Job:” Each July we circle up and share stories on a topic. This year it will be fun to learn how we all got started in the world of work. The telling is sweetened with root beer floats. SUNDAY, Aug. 6, “Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social/ Fundraiser:” This year, our popular ice cream social will be held at Bill and Julie Yahnke’s beautiful Antique Green. Come for the ice cream, the music, the basket raffles, and a chance to see the Yahnke’s amazing collection of antique John Deere tractors. A silent auction of donated antiques will also be held. We hope to raise the funds to cover rental for our archives’ storage and preservation. No meeting in September due to Labor Day holiday. Monday, Oct. 2, “Human Library:” “Check out” local “human books” with stories to tell. We will focus on next year’s National History Day theme (yet to be announced). Monday, Nov. 6, (Tentative) “Historic Women’s Basketball:” A Granny Basketball team, the “La Crosse Does,” will play a “historic” basketball game, using 1920’s era rules, vs a local team of girls. The showdown will take place in the Boys and Girls Club gym. Monday, Dec. 4:“Annual Meeting and Holiday Potluck”
2022 Holmen Area Historical Society Programs
Monday, Jan. 3: “Early Holmen Area Settlers” HAHS archivists, Pam Hansen and Barb Johnson will share photos, information, and items about the Black, Bonnema, and Gordon families. They promise a unique surprise. Monday, February 7: “A Farm Winter by Jerry Apps” Courtesy of PBS Wisconsin. we will show excerpts from historian and story teller Jerry Apps’ documentary, A Farm Winter. He remembers his family farm during the depression and WWII, when cows were milked by hand and cutting wood was a major enterprise. Thanks to family connections here in Holmen, Jerry will introduce the viewing via Zoom. Monday, March 7: (Women’s History Month): “Sylvia Boma, La Crosse County’s First Female Sheriff.” Sylvia Boma will talk about her road to becoming the first woman elected sheriff, the challenges of the job and the changes she facilitated. Monday, April 4: “Debate and Diplomacy in History” Each year we look forward to several of Holmen Middle School’s top National History Day projects. They are always informative and showcase the excellent scholarship of these eighth grade students. Monday, May 2 (Preservation Month) “Holmen Area Historical Society, Past, Present and Future” We were founded in 1994 to “preserve and protect the history of the Holmen Area.” We will devote this month’s meeting to explaining how to donate to our archives, getting an update on what we have supported in the past, such as Jordon Briskey’s effort to establish a Vietnam veteran’s memorial and discussing long range goals for our society. Monday, June 6, 6 pm: Movie Night: “Kitchen Stories (2003)” This humorous film, in Norwegian and Swedish with English subtitles, is the story of a Swedish efficiency expert sent to improve the cooking methods of Norwegian farmers. This screening is co-sponsored by the La Crosse County Library, so we will be meeting at the Holmen Public Library Community Room, 121 W. Legion Street, instead of the Holmen Area Community Center. Monday, July 11 (note, second Monday due to July 4):“Story Circle: Wedding Bells” Each July, we gather for a Story Circle accompanied by root beer floats. We hope you’ll come with a story about your wedding or that of friends or family. Sunday, August 7: “Fundraiser and Ice Cream Social” Don your vintage outfit and join us for an ice cream social to celebrate our love of local history. One of our primary functions is to maintain an archive of items of local historical interest. Currently we pay a monthly rental fee for a climate controlled storage unit and are seeking funds to continue that. We will have a silent auction of donated antiques and items as well as a raffle for framed prints of two of the McGilvray Bridge paintings by Arthur Anderson and Michael Klafke. Monday, September 12 (Note, second Monday due to Labor Day):“101 Years of Scouting” The Gateway Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America observes its 101st anniversary this year with an All Scouting Camporee at Camp Decorah in Holmen. A member of the Centennial Committee will present a program about the long history of scouting in our area. Monday, October 3: “Human Library” Libraries are a source of knowledge about our shared histories. What if you could check out a person telling a lived story in person? The Holmen Area Historical Society and the Holmen Area Community Center will make that possible. Jacob Hart, HACC’s Director, has led such offerings in the past and will help us present what is rich and valuable for “indefinite loan!” Monday, November 7:“WWII Video Oral History: Glen Jostad” With permission from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, we will show excerpts from Glen Jostad’s interview about his experiences in WWII. Glen graduated from Holmen High School in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He ended up in a POW camp in Germany. We will stream segments of his interview via the WWII Museum website. His daughter, Cheryl Jostad, will introduce the program and share family memorabilia from those difficult times. Monday, Dec. 5: “Holiday Gathering.” Join us for our annual holiday program. We will enjoy music, stories of holidays in the past, potluck dishes featuring family favorites, and the fellowship of fellow local history buffs.
2021 Holmen Area Historical Society Programs
Unless the first Monday of the month is a holiday, meetings are held the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Holmen Area Community Center. Thanks to our collaboration with the Holmen Area Community Center, we can begin to resume our monthly programs. These will be offered both virtually and in person once it is safe to gather again. We are hoping to offer most of the programs that had to be postponed in 2020, once we confirm with the presenters. Due to scheduling issues at HACC, we have switched to the first Monday of the month for our programs and meetings, with a start time of 6 p.m. for the program, followed by lunch (once we can meet) and our business meeting. Beginning Monday July 5, we will resume in person meetings at the Holmen Area Community Center. We will take care to social distance and wear masks to protect each other. It will also be possible to view the programs on the HACC website via Zoom registration (once the month’s programs are posted on their calendar) as well as live on their Facebook page. So far, the next three confirmed programs are: Monday, April 5: (Zoom presentation) “Maria the Midwife: Stories of Norwegian Midwives in the Midwest.” Historian Glenn Borreson will present stories and photos of midwives who emigrated from Norway to rural Wisconsin, where they were trusted members of their communities. Monday, May 3: (Zoom and live presentation) “Living History: Holmen Eighth Graders Respond to 2020.” Panels of students will read their responses to current events with historic precedents such as the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, politics, and 5G. Monday, June 7: (Zoom presentation) “Meatballs & Lefse: Memories and Recipes from a Scandinavian-American Farming Life.” Cynthia Bertelsen will talk about her book which includes recipes, “anecdotes, photographs, and historical musings” related to the family of Knute and Ethel Bertelsen. Monday, July 5: “Story Circle: Something You Probably Don’t Know About Me.” Several months before she died, one of our founders, Pauline Van Dunk, hosted a lutefisk dinner. Always building community and connections, she asked us to go around the table and share something we didn’t think others knew about us. It was a revelation! So this month’s annual story circle is in honor of Pauline. Come prepared to share your story and, COVID precautions permitting, our traditional root beer floats. Jacob Hart, Holmen Area Community Director, will also give us a tour of this beautiful new facility. Monday, August 2:“Historic Girls’ Basketball” Still in the planning stage. We hope to sponsor a historic girls’ basketball game played according to 1920-era rules. Monday, September 13 (Note: Second Monday due to Labor Day on Sept 6) “Holmen Creamery Milk Truck.” Roger and Dan McHugh’s father, Francis, hauled milk for the Holmen Creamery. They will share photographs, artifacts, and stories about this early Holmen business. In addition, a replica of the truck he used will be parked in front of the community center. Monday, October 4:“The History of a Community Newspaper: The Holmen Courier.” Gretchen and Dave Skoloda will speak about the role of a community newspaper from their unique vantage point as owners of the former Holmen Courier from 1991 to 2003. Monday, November 1:“The WWI Diary of William Niles.“ In November, we recognize the service of our veterans. Nancy Proctor, former Holmen village president, will share excerpts from her father’s WWI diary documenting his service with the U. S. Navy. She will also talk about her frustrating quest for an official flag at his gravesite. Monday, December 6: “Holiday Sing-a-Long” Join us for our celebration of the holiday season and Holmen history at our annual membership gathering and sing-a-long, led by Barb and Rich Anderson. COVID restrictions permitting, bring a favorite family dish to share, as well as an ornament connected to your family history.
2020 Holmen Area Historical Society Programs
Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Holmen Area Community Center, unless otherwise noted.
January 8: “Honey Pot Collection.” Judy Hoffman has been collecting honey pots as long as her husband, Robert, has been beekeeping, which has been over 50 years. She will share some of her beautiful and varied honey vessels along with their connected stories.
February 5: “Enduring Families Theater Project.” Producer Denise Christy-Moss and her team will explore the local history of African-Americans in our area. The goals of this project are to “build a more cohesive multicultural community through an inclusive history, to provide venues for community discussions and to create opportunities for direct interactions between diverse peoples.”
March 4: “Women’s Suffrage, 100th Anniversary.” To mark both Women’s History Month and the passage of the 19th Amendment giving American women the right to vote, Cyndy Schaper and friends will appear as suffragettes from the first part of the 20th century.
April 1: “Breaking Barriers in History.” We will be showcasing some of the top National History Day projects from Holmen Middle School. These young historians never fail to impress us with their knowledge and their research.
May 6: “Maria the Midwife: Stories of Norwegian Midwives in the Midwest.” Historian Glenn Borreson will present stories and photos of midwives who emigrated from Norway to rural Wisconsin, where they were trusted members of their communities.
June 3, 6:00: Movie Night: “Kitchen Stories (2003).” This film, in Norwegian and Swedish with English subtitles, is the story of a Swedish efficiency expert sent to improve the cooking methods of Norwegian farmers. This screening is sponsored by the La Crosse County Library, so we will be meeting at the Holmen Public Library Meeting Room instead of the Holmen Village Hall.
July 1: “Story Circle: Something You Probably Don’t Know about Me.” Several months before she died, one of our founders, Pauline Van Dunk, hosted a lutefisk dinner. Always building community and connections, she asked us to go around the table and share something we didn’t think others knew about us. It was a revelation! So this month’s annual story circle is in honor of Pauline. Come prepared to share your story and our traditional root beer floats.
August 5, Time to be announced: “Historic Basketball Game at Holmen High School.” The La Crosse Does, a Granny Basketball team, playing with 1923 rules/uniforms, will challenge a team composed of Holmen High School’s FFA girls. We invite HHS alumni and community to join us for this fun exhibition game. FFA will provide concessions.
September 2 (Tentative): “Holmen Creamery Milk Truck.” Dan McHugh still owns his father’s milk truck, and it is filled with artifacts and photographs of the historic Holmen Creamery. Dan will share these as well as stories about one of Holmen’s important businesses.
October 7: “the History of a Community Newspaper: The Holmen Courier.” Gretchen and Dave Skoloda will speak about the role of a community newspaper from their unique vantage point as owners of the former Holmen Courier from 1991 to 2003.
November 4: “The WWI Diary of William Niles.“ In November, we recognize the service of our veterans. Nancy Proctor, former Holmen village president, will share excerpts from her father’s WWI diary documenting his service with the U. S. Navy. She will also talk about her frustrating quest for an official flag at his gravesite.
December 2, 6:00: “Holiday Potluck.” Join us for our celebration of the holiday season and Holmen history at our annual potluck and sing-a-long, led by Barb and Rich Anderson. Bring a favorite family dish to share, as well as an ornament connected to your family history.
2019 Holmen Area Historical Society Programs Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are the first Wednesday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Holmen Village Hall, 421 S. Main Street
January 2: “Holmen Trivia.” Hannah Scholze will present an entertaining and challenging electronic game based on Holmen history. Bring your smartphones or use the provided iPads. We will be meeting at the Holmen Public Library Meeting Rooms instead of the Holmen Village Hall.
February 6: “Vietnam War Memorial.” Jordan Briskey, Holmen High School junior, will speak about his project to raise awareness and funds for a tribute to Vietnam veterans at Veteran’s Freedom Park on Clinton Street in La Crosse.
March 6: “Women as Keepers of History: Anna McCabe Brown’s Scrapbooks.” Anna McCabe Brown documented many interesting and now almost forgotten events in the Holmen area in her scrapbooks of news clippings, going back to the 1940’s. Her daughter, Marie Dummer, will share some of the more startling, significant, and thought-provoking events in the lives of area residents saved thanks to Anna.
April 3: “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” We always look forward to this showcase of some of the top National History Day projects from Holmen Middle School.
May 1: “McGilvray Bridges.” To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Friends of McGilvrary Bridges, Nancy Hill and Linda McMullin will talk about their group’s efforts to preserve these historic landmarks. Paintings of the bridges by local artists, Art Anderson and Mike Clafky, will also be displayed.
June 5, 6:00: “Movie Night: “The Last Bridge Home (2003).” This independent film, created for Trempealeau County local television, is a heartfelt reminder about the sacrifices of our POW MIA service members and their families. Locations such as the McGilvray Bridges and the Mississippi River at Trempealeau are featured as are local musicians, John Smith and Ashlee and Katrice Hewitt. A song was written for the film by Justin Vernon, who has gone on to win multiple Grammies as Bon Iver. It includes local actors, such as Steve Kiedrowski, who will speak briefly about the making of the film. We will be meeting at the Holmen Public Library Meeting Rooms instead of the Holmen Village Hall.
July 3: “Picture Perfect.” Do you have an iconic family photo? Join us for root beer floats and our annual story circle. Bring a family photo and its story to share.
August 7 (7:00)at : “Vintage Base Ball Game.” Batters Up! Weather permitting, Holmen High School’s FFA will field a team to compete against La Crescent’s Apple Jacks, wearing vintage uniforms and using rules developed prior to the Civil War. Come cheer them on at the Holmen baseball field on Main Street at 7:00 pm. Concessions will be available.
September 4: “The Farm.” Barb Anderson is pulling together stories, photos, and information about a farming commune that thrived in the Ettrick area in the early 1970’s. If you have any information, contacts, or stories to share, please contact her at (608) 792-2514.
October 2: “Holmen Locker.” 2019 will be the Holmen Locker & Meat Market’s 75th anniversary. It is the second oldest surviving business in Holmen. Laurie Stettler will explore the history of this well-known business that she and her husband, Scott, now own. We will meet at the Locker, 412 Main Street, across from the Holmen Village Hall.
November 6: “My Family’s Military Service: France, Korea, Vietnam.” Fred Heuer, one of our own fine writers, will share stories of his family’s military service. An emotional trip to the Normandy Beaches in 2016 prompted this effort, beginning with his father who was a WWI veteran.
December 4, 6:00: “Holiday Potluck.” Celebrate another year of Holmen’s history at our annual holiday gathering. Bring a favorite dish that is part of your family’s food history. Enjoy the good food, good fellowship, and a holiday sing-a-long, led by Barb and Rich Anderson.