Kewaunee County Historical Society
Events for Kewaunee County Historical Society 2022
EXPLORE OUR HISTORIC SITES
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Charles Dikeman was a lumberman of Saginaw, Michigan and came to Kewaunee County in the employment of Daniel Slauson and Issac Taylor. In 1863, he purchased 4,200 acres of forest land in the Town of Coryville, which later became West Kewaunee. He ran his lumbering business until 1886, when illness forced him to retire.
The Dikeman village pictured in the print consisted of about 30 buildings, including a steam powered lumber and shingle mill, store, and dwellings for 15 families, plus the sleeping quarters and cookhouse for the unmarried workers.
The village boasted on saloon privately owned and operated by an individual by the name of Breszinsky at the east end of the village. The store carried a general stock of goods required both by himself and family as well as his employees. The population of the village was about 80 people of whom 30 to 40 were employed about the mill, store and surroundings.
In 1878, Charles Dikeman erected a palatial mansion of architectural grandeur surrounded by artificial spring fed fish ponds, deer enclosures, nicely laid out grounds with bridges and graveled walks with a conservatory supplying choice flowers at all seasons of the year. It was a grand sight, much the representation of a castle of the middle ages.
He built the home with his own hands and material and furnished it with many conveniences unheard of so far distant from a large city. For many years it was the show-place of the county and was famous for many festivities and social gatherings.
Birth of the History Center
The focus of the Society was centered around the Museum until 2001, when the Board of Directors made the decision to create a History Center. The original home of the Center was located in the F. Kohlbeck & Sons former clothing store on Steele Street in Algoma. The collection of materials grew significantly to the point where the Center was overwhelmed and more space became a necessity. In March of 2013, the Center was moved to a new rental space in the former Evan’s Store in Kewaunee. In December of 2018, the Evans building was purchased by the Society.
The Center at 217 Ellis Street in downtown Kewaunee has been supported by a wide support group from all areas of the county and beyond. Many supporters, who have had roots to Kewaunee County are involved in growing the History Center. Appreciation of local history continues to grow. The History Center achievement is a reflection of how a broad- based community can show its pride in its heritage.
The main focus and purpose of the Center is to preserve the history of Kewaunee County. It provides research materials of many kinds for genealogy/family history. The Center has the bound newspapers for the Kewaunee Enterprise, Algoma Record Herald, Luxemburg News and the Green Bay Advocate. Numerous family histories have been donated to the collection. Over 20,000 photos are part of this growing collection of historical materials. There are many and varied materials to the Center’s resources. The main purpose for the Center is to provide information and research opportunities for the local historian.
The bound newspaper volumes are organized and an index is available to assist in locating data.
The research archives are divided into various categories such as church histories, cemetery indexes, schools and high school annuals, maps, and such specific topic areas as ie City, Townships, Biographies, Maritime, and County.
The Center has added museum displays among the most striking are the Fresnel Lens from the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse and the Alvin O’Konski Presidential autographed photo collection.
The former living quarters on the upper level are home to museum room style displays. Shown here are the formal sitting room and old school and map room.
The History Center of the Kewaunee County Historical Society has become a showcase for local history. The success for this Center is based on so many generous donors and supporters. From its initial slow beginnings in 2001, the Center has grown so surprisingly during the 2013 to 2020 period. The Center has become a composite of Information and Research and Museum. This new approach has proven popular with the Society’s supporters. In its twenty- year history, the History Center has come of age and is a place of pride for Kewaunee County and its residents.