Grandpa and Grandma Rang’s farm was two miles from their church at Phipps, Wisconsin. Trinity Lutheran Church was a modest white clapboard church built in 1905 on land donated by a parishioner. Another family donated five acres across from the church for a cemetery. The church was demolished many years ago, and trees grow where I once recited Bible verses, but the cemetery is still maintained, and we visit it regularly to put flowers on the graves of my parents.
My first memories of church services and other activities all involve that little church. My mother and father were active members, which meant that we kids were also part of that church family. It was there that I learned that one should fill the front pews out of respect for the minister, that you didn’t need fancy clothes but you should wash and wear clean pants and shirts and that you kept quiet and paid attention during the service. Mom made sure that I was dressed in a clean white shirt and wore a clip-on tie every Sunday.
I remember potlucks with lots of food and time to play with the other kids while our fathers met on church business with the minister and our mothers visited with each other. By the time I was five or six I was one of the kids who had walk-on roles in the Christmas play. While the older kids were dressed as angels, Mary or Joseph or the three Wise Men and recited scripture, we little kids pretended to be shepherds or, worse, sheep.
It must have been a Christmas service that persuaded Grandpa and Grandma Rang to take their family to church on a snowy December night in 1922. My father told me the story many years ago. In the summer, the family rode to church in their Overland touring car, but in winter they traveled by horse and sleigh. On that occasion, however, the snow was so deep that the horse could not pull the sleigh.
“It acted just like a plow,” said my father. “Pa told us we would have to walk. So that’s what we did. And we weren’t the only ones.”
“Pa broke trail, and George and Margaret who were bigger helped tramp down the snow. I helped Stub get through it and Ma made sure no one got lost. It took us a while, but we made it in time for the service. The minister’s wife had hot cider for everyone afterwards in the parsonage next door to the church.
“It was easier walking home, because we had made a pretty good trail. Harold (my father’s younger brother) was born about two months later. Ma and Harold did just fine.”
Today I think often of this story when church is canceled because of a winter snow or ice storm warning. “People don’t want to have an accident driving in bad weather,” says Jerri. I don’t reply, but the temptation is there. “Couldn’t they just walk?”
Only through the efforts of the present can we support both the memories of the past and the plans and dreams of the future. The Heritage Center celebrated their volunteers and members as more than 120 attendees packed the Annual Meeting last evening in the Pavilion.
Executive Director Bev Peirson kicked off the meeting by recognizing the many ways that members and volunteers support the Heritage Center. Our community support is at the heart of what we do and makes the Heritage experience a reality. Board of Directors President Paul Mayor also gave a heartfelt thank you to attendees and introduced the board members who shared achievements and milestones for the year.
But the highlight of the evening was the recognition of the many contributions that Irv and Mary Sather have made to the Heritage Center and the New Richmond community. “This place that we are all part of is a very special place and wouldn’t be here without Irv and Mary’s vision, hard work, and dedication,” said Mayer. “The Board wanted to find a meaningful way to recognize their immense contribution to the Heritage Center. So tonight, we dedicate the pavilion to Irv and Mary in recognition of their contributions and rename it the “Sather Pavilion."
Both Peirson and Mayer also presented Irv and Mary with a commemorative plaque to be displayed on the Pavilion.
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
July 11th - August 22nd
Pack up a picnic, bring a blanket, a few lawn chairs, and make yourself comfortable by the bandstand at the Heritage Center. Each evening offers a unique performance and is always family friendly. No two nights will be the same; so don’t miss a single one. And it’s free! There will be pop and popcorn available for sale.
This series is made possible by the generous support of the Heritage Center, City of New Richmond, and the sponsors listed below with each event.
In case of inclement weather, we’ll move into the Pavilion, with limited seating.
Heritage Music Photo Gallery
I too have stared out the window
On a dim dull Saturday morning
And watched the rain pound puddles in the driveway
And wondered why it should rain
On the day we planned the picnic.
Like you I have blessed the weatherman
Who promised a sunny weekend
With blue skies and light winds,
Days perfect for ball games and hiking,
For mowing the lawn and visiting with neighbors.
And I have cursed that same oracle
When storm clouds blotted the promised sun
And the heavens poured on us
As we crouched sullenly in our tents
While the wind whipped wet leaves through the gray air.
Once I was nearly buried on a hay wagon
By the sweet half-dry hay as old Johnny Martinson
Drove the Farmall in high down the rows as we hurried
To get the hay to the barn before the rain came,
And I remember the extra quarter I got when we did it.
But I remember also my father telling us
Of dust storms in Nebraska in the thirties,
Of ropes strung between the house and barn
To guide farmers to and from their chores,
Of days so dark that the chickens roosted at noon.
And long after the Dust Bowl years
I remember summers so dry
That the grass cut our feet like oat straw,
When ponds went dry and blackberries
Withered on the wilted vines,
When people prayed for rain,
Under merciless bright skies by day
And on windless nights with heat lightning
Flashing and mumbling beyond the horizon,
Prayed so hard that finally the rain did come.
But most of all I remember when I was twelve
Weeding the garden one hot dry day
(The best days to weed, my father told me,
Are when it is hot and dry and sunny.)
Home alone and hating the work,
Dreaming of heroes who did not weed or hoe,
When suddenly from the west a storm
Swept up the valley and over our woods and garden.
Lightning and thunder and raindrops big as grapes
Stung my cheeks as I stood stupidly in the storm.
But I think that you too would have shared my joy
With the corn waving in the garden, potato leaves nodding at each drop,
The pines washed green and oh! the puddles of cool water
Washing the dust from my bare feet as I rejoiced
In the splendor of the rain.
The Heritage Center has announced the appointment of Beverly Peirson as its new Executive Director.
With a Masters in Teaching and Education from UW-River Falls and 36-year teaching career, Peirson has shown a true commitment to education and knows first-hand the type of experiential learning that The Heritage Center provides to all ages. Now retired, she volunteers at Grace Place and is a previous Heritage Center Board Member.
“My vision for the Heritage Center is to see it grow, but maintain the core mission of preserving the history of New Richmond and to educate our children and young adults of what life was like in the past,” says Peirson. “The Heritage Center hosts some amazing events, like the Hillside Music series and Heritage Days, that I’d like to help grow and promote, along with our historic buildings as a place to visit and learn. Finally, I want to make sure our volunteers are honored and appreciated. They are the heart and soul of the Heritage Center.“
Originally from the Deer Park area, Peirson has lived in New Richmond the past 30 years with her husband Jim.
Located on the old Bell-Tierney Farmstead, just south of Main Street by the big barn, The Heritage Center helps to build a connection with our past through exhibits, tours, programs, and events.
The Heritage Center will offer a training and orientation for volunteers interested in becoming tour guides for their historic sites on Wednesday, April 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Tour guide volunteers will receive an overview of the Heritage Center and its buildings, which includes a "walk about" with current guides. The docent training workshop is free and open to the public. Current and past docents are welcome to join the new volunteers to update their knowledge and share a few pointers.
Visitors come from near and far to The Heritage Center to learn about how people lived here in years past. Last spring, approximately 960 children plus teachers, assistants and guests visited the Heritage Center. The tours begin in the Pavilion with an introduction to early New Richmond, farm life and the 1899 cyclone display. Camp 9 School is always a favorite, probably because it is most connected to their lives. Other popular buildings are the Immigrant Cabin, Ubet Store, History Shed, Bell Tierney Farm House and the Blacksmith Shop.
Come to the spring meeting, share your love of history and our community, and learn how to be a Heritage Center Tour Guide.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 -- 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reminder: This weekend is the first real test of your New Year's resolution to declutter.
Even if your goal this year isn't to clean house, we have a list of eight ways that decluttering can help you kick off the year with a fresh start and achieve your new year, new you thing.
1. Reduce Stress and Be Happier
That clutter in your house could be causing stress. It competes for your attention and makes simple tasks more of a challenge when you can't find what you're looking for. Research shows a direct link between high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and the amount of stuff in a home.
2. Focus More on What Matters Most in Life
Clutter is visual noise that is distracting because it's stuff not being used. It becomes the go-to pile for procrastinators. If you're set on achieving a new goal this year, you need to stay focused and not get distracted by items that might be calling out to you to be finished or "put to use". Don't let small things distract you or drain energy from those more meaningful life goals.
3. Improve Confidence and Self-Esteem
Clutter also can make us feel disorganized and overwhelmed, making us feel like we don't have our life together. Each item can also carry with it a bit of guilt. Not only at the cost of the item, but subtle shame in not finishing a project or the feeling that we bought more than we need. The key is to keep what inspires and motivates us.
4. Let Go of the Past
This one's a no-brainer. To move on and let go of the past, there are certain items that you should let go of as well. This is a category of clutter all to its own. These items might have a purpose, so you keep them, but they subtly affect your mood. As mentioned above, if the item makes you feel good, keep it; if it drags you down, it's time to get rid of it.
5. Being More Present and Focused
Want to be more present and focused this year? Making space and getting rid of things that you don't need is a great way to start. Clutter can be a distraction and feel like another thing on your to-do list. Be in the now.
6. Get Better Sleep
With so many benefits of clearing your space and grounding yourself, it's not a surprise that decluttering can improve your sleep.
7. Be More Creative
This goes hand-in-hand with reducing stress and finding space. When you eliminate the distractions and create a space that improves your mood, you allow yourself to be more creative and finally take on that novel or that baroque ceiling mural idea that you've been putting off.
8. Support Charity and Give Back to the Community
If your resolution was to give more to charity and support your community, the Heritage Center is a great place to start. We’re still accepting donations at the north entrance of the Barn, Monday – Friday 10 a.m to 2 p.m. (donation days change in Spring).
While decluttering, you might also come across a piece of local history that you might want to share. If that’s the case, please send us an email at email@example.com with a description of the artifact.
There are also many other local charities that accept donations, including GracePlace, Goodwill, ReStore (Habitat for Humanity), and FiveLoaves.
The historic Victorian farmhouse is now filled with lights, sights, and sounds of the season. The folks at the Heritage Center have been busy decking the halls with boughs and holly in preparation for their annual Holiday open house and Christmas luncheon.
Holiday open houses will be held on Saturday Dec. 2 and 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The flea market will also be open in the pavilion at the same time for pre-holiday sales.
The center's annual Farmhouse Christmas Luncheon is set for Thursday, Dec. 14. There will be two seatings for guests 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person. Call 715-246-3276 for reservations.
Here is a Wisconsin farm girl’s story from 1922, sharply recalled eight decades later.
The storyteller was my mother, Helen Williamson, who grew up in this region and attended a one story country school, very similar to the Camp Nine School at our Heritage Center. I love to picture her as a sensitive young girl, so very troubled by the theft of a pin. – Sara DeLuca
The Hat Pin
I got my first real dolly on my seventh birthday. Until that time I had played with corncob babies wrapped in scraps of cloth, but now—a doll with facial features, life-like hair, soft body, arms and legs! I named her Emily. Mama sewed a dress for her— a plain blue serge that seemed to beg for decoration.
At Christmas time we went to town, five miles by sleigh, to visit Great Aunt Bertha. She had a taste for finery—lace doilies, china cups and saucers, porcelain figurines. (No touching, Mama said.) Great Aunty also had an indoor bathroom— running water, flushing toilet—and I used it frequently that afternoon. From there I slipped into the bedroom, admired a rack of fancy hats, beaded and feathered, and a tiny cushion on the bureau studded with sparkling pins. Standing tiptoe I could barely reach. I fingered one with crystal roses, another topped by an emerald butterfly. The one that really caught my eye held a small glass bluebird and it seemed to fly into my hand, nest in my pocket.
(The perfect ornament for Emily!)
All the way home it poked me painfully. That night I tried it on my dolly’s dress and it looked fine. But who could I show it to? I hid the pin beneath my mattress, out of sight,
not out of mind. It pricked my conscience until spring.
Our Easter horse-and-buggy ride to Great Aunt Bertha’s house was long and bumpy, sharp with misery. Again the hatpin rode in my pocket. Finally I would have a chance to make things right. I watched and waited nervously, then stole, like the thief I was, into the bedroom. I had grown over winter and could reach the pincushion easily.
I let the bluebird go— dropped it deep into that glassy forest. I was free.
image credit: “hat pins” by Jean L. is licensed under CC BY 2.0