Mark your calendars! The Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society‘s summer schedule begins this Saturday, June 3. The historic John R. Morgan residence at 234 Church Avenue in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, will be open from 10am to 1pm every Saturday until the end of September. You can also stop by our Pie on the Porch bistro at the Oshkosh Saturday Farmer’s Market on Main Street in Oshkosh to buy a delicious slice of pie. All proceeds go to the society’s operating fund. Your support is appreciated!
If you haven’t been to the Morgan House you are missing out! This beautiful home was owned by one of Oshkosh’s pioneer lumber families. The Morgan family owned a sawmill along the Fox River for over a century. The house was acquired by the WCHAS in 1987 from Miss Constance Misky, who once lived in the home and ran a cosmetology school on the first floor. Since 1987 the society has beautifully maintained the property and furnished the home to reflect the living standards of the Morgan’s stature. When it was built in 1884, the Morgan’s had the most “modern” conveniences a homeowner could have in the city at that time. There was running water, both hot and cold, to several of the rooms in the house. The home was heated by steam heat, and electric bells were installed to summon servants and butlers to the Morgans’ every need.
While none of the furnishings on display are original to the Morgan family, you will see the original handcrafted wood decorations and original wallpapers that have adorned this beautiful Queen Anne style home since the day it was built. It is truly a treasure from Oshkosh’s lumbering heyday.
Tours of the house are always free to the public, but the society welcomes and appreciates donations which help to preserve this beautiful treasure. If you are unable to come see the home during open hours on Saturday, please call or send an email to set up an appointment to get a tour on a day that works for you.
Have you visited the Morgan House before?! Comment below to share your experience!
WCHAS launched a formal fundraiser in December to create a dedicated fund to support the preservation of the historic Morgan House. We are pleased to report that through March 2017 $8,925 in donations have been received. This brings us to 25.5 % of our goal of raising $35,000. Our friends at the Kuenzl Foundation are supporting our efforts with a dollar-for-dollar match. If we fully achieve our goal, WCHAS will have an account with $70,000 dedicated solely to the maintenance and preservation of the Morgan House. Some of the major expenses we will face in the near future include a new roof and driveway. Additionally, as we found out in late 2015-16, unanticipated repairs can be significant. Over $32,000 in unexpected costly repairs were performed during that time. We are working to get ahead of things by thoughtful planning and taking positive preemptive measures with challenges we will certainly face. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
If you’d like to support our effort, your tax-deductible donation can be sent to the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation by filling out the Donation Form. We cannot do this without your help. As always, your support to preserve local history is greatly appreciated.
There is an exciting historic restoration project underway at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds. The county recently obtained the original steel archway that welcomed visitors to the former county fairgrounds on Jackson Street and Murdock Avenue in Oshkosh. The arch was acquired by a private citizen when the old fairgrounds was razed years ago, but was recently donated back to the county.
Archway in the mid 1960s (photo courtesy of Dan Radig)
Plans for building the archway were announced in August 1928, and the archway was officially completed on September 12, 1928, when it was lit up for the first time at dusk. The new entrance was well received by the public. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern noted that motorists who normally hurried down Murdock Avenue now passed slowly by to “take a longer look at the brilliantly-lighted archway.”(1)
Architects- Fluor Bros Construction Company
Est. Cost- $1,500 (2)
You can help raise this beautiful archway back over our fairgrounds by purchasing a “Raise the Arch” button at the Winnebago County Fair between August 3-7 at the “Raise the Arch” booth in the Expo Center. All proceeds will help restore and raise it back up on a beautiful brick base. You can also make donations by visiting the Winnebago County Parks and Sunnyview Expo Center office in the James P. Coughlin center. Checks can be made out to the Winnebago County Fair Association.
1 button- $2
3 buttons- $5
Do you remember this old archway when the fairgrounds were still along Jackson Street and Murdock Avenue? Comment below with your story.
(1)Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, September 14, 1928. pg 6.
(2)Oshkosh Daily Northwestern , August 18, 1928. pg 3.