The quiet, Midwestern town of Markesan, Wisconsin houses a well-kept secret and maybe even a few closet skeletons. Few people know about the Mackford Murder or the missing gold shipment on its way to Green Bay. Fewer still realize that Markesan once manufactured washing machines and baseball bats. These and many other "skeletons" can be discovered at the Grand River Valley Museum located at 214 E. John Street in Markesan, Wisconsin.
The museum opened its doors to the public in August 1991 and is open every Saturday and Sunday, May 1st through September 30th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or anytime by appointment. For more information, call the museum at 920-398-3945 or helpful members at 398-2719 or 398-3359. The complex has handicapped-accessible restrooms, parking and displays.
The main building of the complex was donated by Mildred Draeger in memory of her husband, Edward. Inside are separate rooms showing how people lived in the early 1900's. Tools of the shoemakers, doctors, dentists, haberdashers and bankers can be seen. In the church room are displays showing the history of area churches as well as a yearbook collection from Markesan High School. Many of the books from 1914 through 2002 have been graciously donated by area residents and are available for viewing.
Standing to the west of the main building is the Markesan train depot which dates from the late 1880's. This is the location of a one-room schoolhouse which is dedicated to the memory of Leona Weber, one of the founding members of the Markesan Historical Society. The depot agent's office houses railroad memorabilia as well as a working telegraph.
"The Barn," a 60' x 100' building houses many of the machines and implements used in farming in the past. Displays also include a blacksmith and harness shop, milking equipment and transportation of the past. This new addition was made possible by a bequest from Arthur Jahns, and will greatly enhance the offerings of the museum since Markesans' heritage has its roots in agriculture.
The Annual Heritage Day Celebration will be held on the 3rd Sunday in September from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Members will be dressed in costume and be available to answer questions and explain the displays. There will also be demonstrations throughout the complex. As always, free refreshments and admission.
Bring the whole family for a visit Grandma and Grandpa can reminisce about when they used "this" or "that" and the kids can see toys from the era before TV and video games. Everyone will enjoy a step back in time.