Buy a Brick
History of the Sister Bay Historical Society
The Sister Bay Historical Society (SBHS) was organized in November, 1994 by Curt and Eloise Lindem, Jim and Joan Champeau, Dorothea Johnson, and Barbara McGivern to encourage, foster, and participate in the documentation, preservation and renovation of hitoric information, artifacts, and sites in the Sister Bay area.
In 1995, the Village of Sister Bay authorized the SBHS to take over the project of rehabbing the old Alex and Emma Anderson farmhouse, a project which David Lee began in 1994. In 1895 the farmhouse was brought over on the ice from Marinette, Wisconsin to its present location in Sister bay. David and some of his students from Gibraltar High School saved the building from destruction by asking the village for money to reroof the structure (money that would have been spent to tear down the building).
When David Lee passed away in 1995, Curt Lindem saw an opportunity to continue to save the old farmhouse according to David's wishes, and the village agreed to continue funding the project. Curt Lindem, former Village President and skilled woodworker, together with several members of the new Historical Society began restoring the 1875 farmhouse from top to bottom, outside and inside, saving the old floors and beadboard, hand-made window glass, and woodwork wherever possible. When Curt became ill and passed away in the fall of 1996, members of the Historical Society finished the restoration.
The farmhouse was officially named The Old Anderson House Museum and opened for visitors in the fall of 1997. Area residents began donating family heirlooms, keepsakes and artifacts to the museum for safekeeping.
The vision expanded in 1999 when the Village of Sister Bay purchased the 6.46 acres to the north of the museum making it possible for the Sister Bay Historical Society to create the Corner of the Past.
In January, 2000, Willard Kramer donated the first farm building, a granary, that formerly was part of the farm owned by Emma Anderson. Today it stands as the cornerstone of what now has become a farm once again, thanks to many area residents who have made their historic farm buildings available to the Sister Bay Historical Society. Kramer also donated the migrant worker's cabin. The 100-year-old post and beam Koessl Barn and a machine shed were moved to the site in 2001.
As membership in the Historical Society grew, new activities were organized. These included participating in the Fall Fest parade, an ice cream social on the front lawn of the museum, staffing a booth at Marina Fest, and hosting an annual Christmas party/sing along.
In October of 2004, the Wisconsin Historical Society recognized the Sister Bay Historical Society by awarding it the Local History Certificate of Commendation for the restoration of the Old Anderson House Museum and development of the Corner of the Past. Also in the fall of 2004, two log cabins (a preacher's cabin and loom house), a chicken coop, and a log structure that will house blacksmithing tools were donated by Bob and Debra Leitz and moved to the COTP (see photos this page).
In 2005, the Sister Bay Historical Society was honored to host the annual Northeastern Regional Convention of the Council for Local History division of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. A "Big Belle" threshing machine was added to the site on permanent loan from Lonnie Vincent. The machine belonged to Vincent's grandfather, George Frisque.
A 100-year-old sawmill, donated by Dave and Barbara Olson, and a summer kitchen building, donated by Carol Larson, were added to the farm buildings at the Corner of the Past in 2006. Restoration of the sawmill and summer kitchen was completed in 2007. All of the buildings have been restored by volunteers from the membership and the community. Funding comes from membership dues and donations. Hundreds of artifacts, tools, and farm implements have been donated to the Old Anderson House Museum and the Corner of the Past. Also on display is the original mail sleigh for the village of Sister Bay, the first item to be restored by members of the Historical Society following the restoration of the Old Anderson House Museum.
The machine shop photo gallery and other buildings on the site feature historic photographs from the collections of Bernie Hagedorn and Bob Berns which document the lives of the early settlers and merchants, the destructive 1912 fire, the steamships at Roeser Dock, and early logging and ice cutting activities in Door County.
Building Move 2009
In the early morning hours of March 26, 2009, DeVooght Building Movers moved two of the historic Liberty Park Lodge beach cottages to the Corner of the Past. The following slide show by Tom Sadler shows this move and the preparation of the buildings prior to the move.