Sauk County Historical Society

“Let the Past

Enrich Your Present”

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Special Event - Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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Preservation Projects

The Sauk County Historical Society has stewardship over three highly important Native American sites in Sauk County. We continue to work to safeguard these sites through ongoing preservation and restoration projects. The Society does not allow use of metal detectors on these three SCHS-owned sites. 

Man Mound

Man Mound Park           

Man Mound Park, about four miles NE of Baraboo on Man Mound Road, was dedicated by the Sauk County Historical Society, the Wisconsin Archeological Society, and the Wis. Federation of Women's Clubs in 1908. The park encompasses a mound of earth in the form of a man, measuring 214 feet by 48 feet.          

Yellow Thunder

Yellow Thunder Monument

 If you've driven County Trunk A, you have undoubtedly seen a small monument off to the side of the road, surrounded by bushes. This stone memorial was erected by the Sauk County Historical Society and the Twentieth Century Club of Baraboo in 1909 to honor the Chief. 

Hulburt Creek Garden Beds

At one time the garden beds, almost 200 acres of them, were home to a thriving Native American culture, with trails leading from the garden beds to places far into what today is Wisconsin. Corn, a companion plant of perhaps beans, and squash or pumpkins once flourished on these raised beds that long ago were constructed and managed by the toil of many. 


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The Sauk County Historical Society

Welcomes You!

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The Van Orden Mansion has served as the home of the Sauk County Historical Museum since 1939. Finished in 1904, the mansion contains over one hundred years of artifacts donated to the society. Original features include woodwork, wall coverings, light fixtures, carpets and some of the family's furniture.                  

The Museum at 531 4th Ave., Baraboo, is open May through October, Fridays & Saturdays, noon until 4 pm. Stop by and see our new exhibits this summer.


History Center

In December of 2006, the Sauk County Historical Society acquired the historic Island Woolen Mill office building  from the city of Baraboo for $1. Fundraising and renovations then went hand in hand until the building was renovated and restored for use as the Sauk County History Center opening in 2013. The building now houses the offices, archives and research center for the historical society. 

The History Center at 900 2nd Ave., Baraboo, is open year-round, Wed through Saturday, noon until 4 pm.


Just in Time for Halloween

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The Ghoul of Parfrey's Gorge

The following story was presented before the 1914 Old Settler’s meeting by Marshall Thomas Martin, M.D. of Merrimac.

Whether a true story or not is for you to decide.I had been riding nearly all day in the burning sun. It was the Fourth of July. My celebration had been a ten-mile drive to operate on a little boy who had received a pistol-shot wound at the hands of a playmate.

The night was more oppressive than the day had been. A black bank of ominous clouds was slowly rising in the west, and soon obscured the red crescent of the moon only a few days old… Read More

One Haunted Eve

by Bill Schuette

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As the leaves of summer begin their annual transformation to the golden hues of autumn, the cool winds of October signal the seasonal changes of a time of harvest and preparation for the long winter nights to come. Stories of goblins and ghosts abound as Halloween approaches on its annual trek through the cornfields and graveyards in Sauk County. Such was also the case in the little village of Loganville during the early part of the last century.

As the old-timers gathered around the potbellied stove at Burmester’s Grocery, someone was sure to bring up the story of one of Loganville’s colorful characters, Old Bill W., and the large dog, Bismarck, which was owned by Mr. Westedt, the proprietor of a local fermented beverage establishment.

 When a noted citizen of the village passed to his reward one autumn, the digger of the graves at the time was Old Bill. He, upon being informed of the passing, was duly dispatched by the elders of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to prepare a suitable resting place for the dearly departed.…Read More