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Taking a trip back in time

May 16, 2019

HUSTISFORD -- Fourth-grade students from John Hustis school took a trip back in time when they came to Memorial Park May 8 to tour the John Hustis House Museum, try their hands at some old-time skills and view a video of the early history of Hustisford.

In the video they learned how John Hustis was instrumental in the settlement of Hustisford and how he influenced much of the early innovations in the area. They also learned about this early vibrant community filled with innovative, hardworking people.

The children also visited the Hustis House Museum Memorial Park, which features a shoe shop built in 1888 for the thriving cobbler business of August Roethke. There wooden shoes were made and worn by local cheesemakers. These shoes are the reason for Hustisford’s nickname, “Wooden Shoe Town.”

Also in Memorial Park is the Spinning Wheel shop. Built in 1860, the shop was where Ernest Mechelke manufactured wheels, wagons and spinning wheels. Spinning wheels were made between 1860 and 1898. One is on display in the John Hustis House.

The shop is now used to display the large collection of doctor supplies belonging to the historical society. Dr. Henry Fischer became the first Hustisford doctor. He was later joined by Dr. William Hipke who went on to become one of the founders of the Marshfield Clinic.

As the students made their way through the historic Greek revival style home built by John Hustis they had an opportunity to make a toy like children would have played with back in the late 1800s; play jacks and marbles; knead bread dough and learn about old-time kitchen utensils; make candles and design their own quilt squares.

Following the tour, the children took home souvenirs of the day including jacks, marbles and candles.

The event is held each year to help the students get a better appreciation of their community. Instructors in each of the breakout sessions are volunteers with the historical society.

House tours are available by appointment and following the ceremonies on Memorial Day. The group also hosts Founder John’s Day on the second Saturday of September and also offers house tours. On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the historical society hosts a cookie walk with tours.

Memorial Park, where the historic buildings are located, is also home to the two-story bandstand built in 1919. It serves as a background of music in the park on Tuesday nights in summer and is the site of the Memorial Day ceremonies each year.