Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.

Search this site and our local communities. Wisconsin History Search Only

You may now join, or renew your SLAHS membership using your PayPal account, credit, or debit card. Please use the following link to make a secure on-line payment.

Home
About Us
Search this site
Index
Local History
Genealogy
Pages from the Past
School History / Hamilton School District / Hamilton High School
Business History Index
Community Organizations
Museum
Depot History
Monetary Donations

Artifact Donations

Membership
Fundraiser Letter
Buy A Brick Donation
Lisbon Township Map - Interactive
Wisconsin History Search Only
Honor Roll

Books / Publications

Links
Local Area Historical Societies
Sussex Antique Power Association, Inc.
Wisconsin Brewery and Related

Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. Chronological History eBook

Tins, Bottles Pottery & More
Pauline Haass Public Library
WAUKESHA COUNTY, WISCONSIN
GENEALOGY PROJECT
Historical Marker Database - Wisconsin
Rootsweb Genealogy
Genealogy.com

Lannon, Village of

Waukesha County
State of Wisconsin Website
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Sussex Area Outreach Services
Spring Fest
Click to Go Home
1993, 166 pgs, pb, MRR

Google Translate

   

 

Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc.: Committee Index

 

        Fred H. Keller and His Collection

Transcribed and Edited by Michael R. Reilly

Updated 07/03/2014

Keller, who expects to be the volunteer curator of the museum, began collecting historic memorabilia in 1946. His collection includes more than 300 books and about 20,000 photos, which are stored at his residence. Source: Sussex Sun, December 03, 2002

SLAHS came into being after Sussex Village Historian Fred Keller sent a February 2001 letter to the Village Board, stating that he wanted to donate his collection of area-history items. Many of Keller's earliest pieces were collected in 1946. He stipulated that a historical society had to be formed and said he hoped that a local museum would be purchased sometime. July 09, 2002

Fred Keller, who was instrumental in organizing the Historical Society, has donated many artifacts to the society. "He has a veritable museum," Carlson explained, adding that it is hoped those items will be eventually on display at the depot/museum. January 16, 2002

Village of Sussex - The first meeting of what volunteers hope will become the Sussex-Lisbon Historical Society took place Wednesday at the Pauline Haass Public Library. Just five residents appeared to hear presentations by Village Historian Fred Keller and Village Trustee Roger Johnson, who have volunteered to co-chair a task force to explore the creation of the historical society. Though the turnout was thinner than both hoped, it was enough to keep the drive for a society alive, Johnson said. Keller, who has offered to donate his voluminous collection to the society once it is formed, displayed highlights from his 55 years of collecting Sussex-Lisbon history. Among the artifacts he had on hand was a basketball uniform from the 1930s, maps of the Sussex-Lisbon area showing original landowners, and several books. "I'm growing old, and I want to find a home for this stuff," Keller said. May 30, 2001

Village of Sussex - As a new season approaches, spring cleaning is on the minds of many residents. This is typically the time when people dig out their basements, discarding items deemed old and useless. But as Fred Keller has shown, the items found in a basement are sometimes far from being garbage.

The Sussex village historian since 1976, Keller has been collecting historical artifacts about the village of Sussex, the town of Lisbon, the village of Lannon and the surrounding communities for several decades. The items he has found have come from antiques shows, estate sales, and people who just have no use for items that have a larger historical significance.

The fruits of his labor can be seen in the carefully archived wall of historical books and photo albums, and labeled artifacts that adorn his walls. While a typical basement is a mess of boxes filled with remnants of the past, Keller's is almost like a museum, with hundreds of years of information and history available at his fingertips. Even temperature and humidity are controlled to preserve the delicate artifacts. His collection spans the timeline from before the first settlers stepped foot in the area to the present day.

"Ever since I was a very young boy, I've had an interest in history," Keller said. In 1946, Keller's father bought the Sussex Mills feed mill and coal yard, and brought his family to the area. "I immediately knew that I would be associated with Sussex for the rest of my life," Keller said. Driven by his childhood interest, he has collected historical items for most of his life, but it was not until after his military service from 1951 to 1954 that he began the collection he has now.

After working a 10-hour day, shoveling coal at his father's mill, Keller was sent to buy some eggs from Burt Harris, a local man. While he was there, Keller spotted a Civil War-era musket propped near a bunch of old boards. Keller paid $5, his day's wage, and took the rifle home. And so the Keller collection got its start.

The oldest pieces in Keller's collection are trilobite fossils found in the area. Trilobites are hard-shelled segmented creatures that scientists believe lived 300 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs. Keller also has a number of pieces of bronze brought to this area by glaciers during the Ice Age. The arrowheads in his collection predate the European migration to the area.

The first pioneer family to come to this area is the Weavers, who eventually settled what is now Sussex. Keller's collection documents the earliest days of the village in detail. "Memories of Early Days," a book Keller uncovered, collects the letters and writings of Melinda Weaver, the first European woman to come to this area. The book is an account of the earliest days in Sussex-Lisbon, recounting what life was like in the area from 1837 to the 1850s, from a female's perspective. The book was written in 1876 for the Waukesha Plain Dealer newspaper, and very few still exist. An autograph book in Keller's collection contains the Weavers' signatures. From a descendent of the family, Keller received a collection of pictures of the Weavers and other early settlers in the area. "After working on the family for so long, I feel like I could walk down the street and meet them," Keller said.

Keller's collection of books reaches far beyond the founding family, and covers the wide range of people and events that have formed the Sussex-Lisbon area into what it is today. His knowledge of the area has made him an invaluable resource for others who are researching their own family or the history of the area. "I have people from all over the United States who will come to me looking for information on their families," Keller said. "When I help them out, I tell them I want a copy of their work to add to my collection." Keller's collection of books is complemented by an even more expansive collection of photographs. Keller has literally thousands of photos, ranging from portraits of family members to old postcards of the area.

Besides books, the artifacts in Keller's collection document the growth of the area. One of the most astounding items in his basement is a piece of wood from the Weaver barn. Half of a Celtic cross is carved into the wood, which dates back to 1842. Along with the other half, which is now missing, the boards were hung in the barn, which was used for church services before St. Alban's Episcopal Church was constructed. At a certain point in the day, the sun would pass over the cross and illuminate it.

Keller's artifacts also document the growth and change in business since the village was established. In earlier times, the area was primarily agricultural. One predominant crop was sugar beets. These crops grew underground, and farmers needed a tool that would allow them to pull them up and chop them. Thus, the beet knife was invented. This knife looks like an elongated, thin cleaver with a thin, perpendicular point on the end. The hook was used to pull the beet up from the ground. The farmer could then chop it in one motion. One of these knifes is part of Keller's collection.

Another unusual tool that was used in the area is a device called a grain thief. This long, pointed pole has several compartments that can be opened and closed. When a merchant went to a mill to purchase grain, he would jab the grain thief into a pile, and then open and close the compartments. When it was pulled out, the merchant could see whether the grain in the middle of the pile was rotten. One of these tools is also part of Keller's collection.

After the industrial revolution, more industries began to spring up in the Sussex-Lisbon area. In 1920, Mammoth Spring Canning Co. opened its doors in Sussex. Though it had an impact on the local economy until it closed its doors in 1995, Mammoth Spring is more famous for an advertising campaign that ran for about three decades - Kewpie. Kewpie is a troll-like figure; it has hair that comes to a point on the top of its head, a round tummy and a cute face. From 1924 to the 1960s, Mammoth Spring put Kewpie on all of its products. The Kewpie figure has since become a worldwide collecting phenomenon. Keller's collection features signs, old cans and figurines. One light-up Kewpie soda sign in Keller's collection advertises that the company has "pop in cans." This sign is one of only three made. In 1954, Mammoth Spring was the first company to put soda in cans. At the time, the public did not accept the idea, and the company soon stopped canning soda. Keller has a Kewpie pop can from the short-lived campaign.

The process of collecting all of these artifacts and historical documents has been an arduous one. Keller frequents antiques shows and estate sales, and looks through items that are being thrown away by others. "I'm a great garbage diver," he quipped.

Probably his most resourceful way to gather information has been to talk to the old-timers in the village. Keller has made it his life's work to write down firsthand accounts of the growth of the area by interviewing people from all walks of life. This does not always come easily though. Keller recalled his attempts to interview one resident who had been a prisoner of war during World War II; however, the former officer did not want to talk about his experience. "He never wanted to sit down and talk to me, but every once in a while, I would catch something he said (about the experience) and I would write it down," Keller said. "I interviewed him for 20 years, a sentence at a time." For Keller, interviewing has proven to be the most rewarding part of his history collection. "What I really have enjoyed has been the people I've met," he said.

Now that Keller is growing older, as he put it, he would like to pass his collection on. His first option would be to donate it to the village of Sussex, he said. But before this happens, he added, some things need to be done by Sussex.

The first is to establish either a Sussex or a Sussex-Lisbon historical society. This is needed because people need to have the training and know-how to maintain the collection and to keep it from disintegrating. Second, the village would need to find a place to store it, display it and make it available for research.

Though the village has not decided whether to take the collection, it has shown interest. Keller and Village Trustee Roger Johnson will attend a six-hour seminar presented by Wisconsin State Historical Society about how local communities can form historical societies. If the village decides not to take the collection, Keller said he could either give it to his children, who no longer live in the area or have the space to take it; sell it at auction; or donate it to Waukesha County Historical Society. March 14, 2001

Village of Sussex - A community's history, one could argue, belongs to its residents. It exists in collective memory, in the silent walls of old buildings, in stories passed from grandparent to grandchild.

Since 1946 Keller has collected Sussex. His home is brimming with photographs, documents and artifacts from the village and surrounding communities.

The other thing Keller has is vision, and at 69 he can see himself slowing down. He suffered two strokes more than a decade ago, and was hospitalized last week for surgery to remove a cancerous prostate.

The village is interested, officials say, but experts say municipalities don't always have the expertise to properly preserve the collection.

Baker said she had not spoken to Keller regarding his collection and that it was too early for her to say if the museum would be interested in accepting it into its collections. If the village does find a home for the materials, however, help with preservation could be available. Baker said the Wisconsin State Historical Society occasionally lends expertise. Freelance archivists can also be hired, she said. Baker said the museum does not have sufficient staff to send an individual to the village to help.

Village President Mike Knapp said if the village takes the collection, they "would have to look at" getting help from experts. "It's a great gift," Knapp said. "It's invaluable. We don't want to lose it." by John Tindall, Staff Writer, Sussex Sun, February 21, 2001

With the help of the Lisbon Fire Department and highway crew, plus the hard work by Lisbon Town Hall members including Jeff Musche, the Lisbon 2000 Millennium Picnic was a big success. The picnic was held Saturday afternoon at the Fire Department/Highway Department quarters at Hillside and Good Hope roads. Parking in the area was at a premium during the celebration. There were numerous activities during the picnic.

Lisbon Fire Department Auxiliary presented a check for $9,000 to Chief Doug Brahm for the purchase of a thermal-imaging camera.

A historical marker from Waukesha County Historical Society (WCHS) was also unveiled. It was placed on the front west lawn of the Fire Department. Town Chairman Jerry Schmitz and WCHS President Joan Finley had the honor of unveiling it. A time capsule is also being prepared for burial below the newly installed historical marker. The capsule is a small vault donated by Schmidt & Bartlet Funeral Home.

The Millennium Committee asked students at Merton, Richmond and Woodside schools to write letters to themselves. Leaders of these schools came forward and read a selection of the letters that will be buried. There will also be some copies of the Lisbon history book, a series of official Lisbon brochures, an annual report, the September issues of the Sussex Sun and a host of other items going into this time capsule. Anyone who has additional materials such as letters that seem appropriate for the time capsule can take them to Lisbon Town Hall soon. This capsule will be dug up May 15, 2036, when the 200th anniversary of the first Lisbon settler claim, Thomas S. Redford (1818-1903), is commemorated by another Lisbon picnic.

Another event in the picnic was distribution of the Lisbon history books, written by Fred Keller. Lisbon families who attended the event were able to get one book per family free of charge. Families could also buy extra copies for $2 each, and friends of Lisbon residents could also purchase a book for $2. Lisbon history book can be purchased at Lisbon Town Hall during workdays for $2 each, or send $5 to Lisbon Town Hall, History Book Request, W234 N8676 Woodside Road, Sussex, Wis. 53089. The cost includes shipping and handling. The town of Lisbon is donating copies to Waukesha County Historical Society, Wisconsin State Historical Society, all local school libraries and Pauline Haass Public Library. The major donors to the event will also receive a copy.

Keller thanked Lisbon Town Hall office staff for their assistance in publishing the book. Deb Carlson had done the typesetting, and Sandy Gettelman did the final spell-check.

There were displays of fire and rescue equipment as well as the newest plows and trucks belonging to the Highway Department. Town Supervisor Pete Chycinski introduced all the visiting politicians from neighboring communities.

As the final act of the picnic, the Lisbon Town Board honored Keller by having the Good Hope Road Town Garage Park athletic field named after him. Bob Scheillack, Lisbon parks superintendent, made and will erect the park sign.

The Lisbon 2000 Millennium Committee consisted of Len Anhalt, Kerry Thomas, Donna Zimmerman, Henry Ray, Fred Keller, Jeff Musche, Town Chairman Gerald Schmitz and Supervisor Pete Chycinski.

The Millennium Party wouldn't have been possible without donations. A total of $3,236 was raised through donations. A list of donors includes: Schmidt and Bartelt Funeral Home, Paula and Pete Chycinski, Delores and Henry Ray, Pro Tech Auto, Adam's Nursery, L. K. Stadler Co., Genesee Aggregate Corp., June and Fred Keller, Halquist Stone Co., Northwest Standard, Visu-Sewer Clean and Seal, Payne and Dolan, Lannon Stone Products, Carousel LTD, Max Tremmel Trucking, Lafarge Corp., Merbeth Sheet Metal, Central Ready-Mix, Mary and Melvin Bartelt, John and Elizabeth Riemer, Kanavas Landscape Management, Sussex Sled Bugs, Ausblick, Michele and Jerry Schmitz, Brzezinski Racing, Bill's Truck Repair, Debbie and Dan Meissner, Community Youth Hall, and Songbird Hills Golf Course.

Nonmonetary donations came from: Pick 'n Save, Hardee's, Hamilton School District, St. James Church and the 121st Field Artillery of Wisconsin National Guard. September 26, 2000

Strolling Down Memory Lane - Sussex historian and Sussex Sun personality Fred Keller received a plaque from Village Trustee Michael Knapp, commemorating Fred Keller Memorial Lane, which begins in Village Par near the fire station. Fred suggested the path be called memory lane in reference to the trees planted there in memory of various people. Sussex Sun, September 26, 2000

Keller gets state award - Local historian Fred Keller of Sussex was honored by the state Oct. 24 for his work installing and maintaining local historical markers.

    The State Historical Society of Wisconsin awarded Keller a Local History Award of Merit for chairing the historical marker program in Waukesha County.

    "Fred's leadership of the committee has recognized the breath and diversity of county history and resulted in the placement of markers about a corresponding diverse group of historical topics.", the award plaque said. 

    The award was presented at an awards ceremony Oct. 24 in Madison during the Wisconsin council for Local History Convention at the State Historical Society Headquarters Building. 

    Keller is in charge of the upkeep of 47 historical markers throughout Waukesha County. In his work, he has developed a brochure which lists each site. 

    "Using tools ranging from the telephone to the pen, to the shovel, hundreds of hours of unseen work have guaranteed that the history of Waukesha County will be in plain view thanks to the efforts of Fred H. Keller", the award read. October, 1999

Sussex man hopes to pass on past - Proposed historical society would preserve memorabilia collection

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Friday, September 7, 2001

Readability: 9-12 grade level (Lexile: 1110L)
Author: JACQUELINE SEIBEL, Journal Sentinel staff
 

A Civil War musket, hundreds of postcards, photos and a Kewpie doll collection all representing the area's rich history soon could come under the care of a group that wants to form a historical society.

"I'm getting old, and where will this stuff go?" asked Fred Keller , the official village historian.

The Sussex native, 69, has been collecting area artifacts and memorabilia since he was 14. Keller decided this year to donate the collection to the village, on the condition that a historical society be formed.

Forty-six people from Sussex , Lisbon and Lannon met in August and voted to form such a society.

Forming a historical society can take six months, said Thomas McKay, local history coordinator for the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The Sussex -area group needs to adopt bylaws, incorporate as a non-profit organization and apply for tax-exempt status, he said.

There are 320 county, local and specialized historical societies in Wisconsin, including 13 in Waukesha County, McKay said.

He said it's important for local historical societies to collect, preserve and display the state's historical treasures.

"Having groups like Sussex provide historical artifacts and programs in their community only strengthens the state's collection," he said.

Size does not determine the success of a historical society, McKay said. Many groups succeed with 20 members; others have hundreds.

"The best (historical) societies are the ones that have all kinds of people from the community," McKay said. "If you have people and the enthusiasm, then the accomplishments will follow."

At the meeting last month, Hank Carlson was elected to head the steering committee that will work the next several months to form the society.

"We need to preserve the history of the area," Carlson said about why he accepted the position as chairman.

Once the society is formed, members will need to find a home for Keller 's collection, Carlson said.

Keller has amassed his collection through auctions, rummage sales and estate sales.

There is typically a story behind each item. He purchased the Civil War musket for $5 from a "local" when he was 14. That began his collection.

He was digging through items another resident intended to throw away when he found a pencil with the Halquist Stone Co. name on it and its two-digit phone number from the 1930s.

He started collecting the Kewpie dolls because the cherub was used as a logo for the Friday Canning Co., a longtime employer for area residents.

The books he has compiled on local history will become part of the collection at the Pauline Haass Public Library. The historical items will be displayed in a museum once the society finds a home.

"I could sell it on the market, but it really belongs to the community," Keller said of his vast collection.

History never gets old for Sussex man

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Sunday, April 7, 2002

Readability: 11-12 grade level (Lexile: 1220L)
Author: LAUREL WALKER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

Every community needs at least one Fred Keller .

Someone with a keen interest in local history and a deep love of his own community.

Above all, someone who has an unceasing willingness to work on the tangibles compiling books, framing pictures, talking to old-timers, hunting auctions or garage sales for collectibles, even diving into garbage bins for any historic treasure that somebody else considered trash.

Finally, someone with an understanding spouse June, in his case who over the years has watched their house fill with the history of Sussex , Lisbon and Lannon, a good share of which some day will fill a museum.

The Kellers' nicely groomed house on Sussex 's Elmwood Ave. is immediately recognizable for its super-sized Sussex logo painted on the overhead garage door. A signal of his previous role as supervisor of parks and recreation in the village, for one, but also of his gung-ho regard for his community. Inside you'll find a tidy arrangement of what seems to be something about anything and everything Sussex .

Some of Keller 's more striking possessions? An 1893 charcoal drawing of the village's original pioneers. An 1874 hand-drawn map of the Sussex -Lisbon area. An 1886 lithograph listing 28th regiment Civil War infantrymen from the county, nearly a dozen from the Sussex area. An 1879 handwritten note and silver serving spoon from the first Sussex settler woman.

Kewpie collection

He's got an extensive and valuable Kewpie collection started because the village's Mammouth Springs Canning Co. used the doll drawing in its canned goods logo from 1924 until 1965. Keller said he holds one of only two remaining lighted "Kewpie Pop" advertising signs, created when Mammouth canned carbonated water in 1954 only to discontinue it soon after.

There isn't an old-time business or community building that Keller can't put his fingers on somewhere, somehow in his collection of butter crocks, seltzer bottles, horse feed gunny sacks and Lord knows what else.

If he doesn't have an artifact, then he has a book old ones salvaged from somewhere, or bound compilations of materials he's acquired. Hundreds of books and an estimated 20,000 photographs, he said.

If he doesn't have a book, he'll write one, having reached 15 original works so far. The latest was on the history of Lisbon.

He is the expert just about everyone reporters included calls when in need of an answer. In many cases, he's the first one called when someone local has a building about to be abandoned or a piece of history they no longer want. They're betting Fred Keller would, and he usually does.

"You've got to do it when the time presents itself or it's lost," he said. "I'm a great garbage diver."

On one occasion, Keller said, his wife was stopped by a police officer in a squad car, lights flashing, only to find out the officer wondered if Fred was interested in a Kewpie coaster wagon he had.

A local gold mine

Village officials figured out in about 1976 that Keller 's knowledge and collection was an untapped gold mine. They made him the official historian. About the same time, he started writing historic features for what then was a free local newspaper, the Sussex Sun, and hasn't quit since. About 1,250 articles later, "I just never run out of material," he said.

In 1981, Keller added a humor column called "Bald Facts" a title that tells you as much about his hairstyle as it does about his wry observations.

A year ago, he offered his collection to the community provided it form a local historical society and consider creating a museum. The first is already accomplished. The second is well on its way, with an anonymous donor willing to give $100,000 for housing the collection, probably in the Northwestern railroad depot on Main Street.

His interest in history stretches well beyond Sussex . He has long been active in the Waukesha County Historical Society as a member and former board member and currently works on replacing or establishing historical markers. He volunteers as much as 20 hours a week, clipping news articles for the society's archives.

Keller , 70, who was born in Waterford and spent his childhood in Elm Grove, became acquainted with Sussex when his father bought the Sussex Mills in 1946, although he didn't move there until 1959. With one of his early paychecks for shoveling coal, he bought his first artifact a Civil War musket for $4. That and an erudite aunt who encouraged his inquisitiveness helped him cull a love of history.

If history is his first love after June, four children and 10 grandchildren, of course then basketball is a close second.

"I really know my basketball," he said, all 6-feet-five-inches of him.

He was a star player at Marquette High School on a team that went to the state finals twice, lost twice and sadly, he adds, was therefore forgettable. He said he was drafted in 1952 and assigned to a military police unit in the Army in Germany largely because of the basketball skills he could bring to a commander's team.

Three of his four children two boys and two girls were all-conference players at Hamilton High School. Four grandchildren currently play varsity high school basketball, and on any given Thursday or Friday night he'll be at an Oostberg or Waukesha West boys' or girls' game.

They're beneficiaries, no doubt, of the full-court, lighted basketball court Keller built in his backyard for regular workouts. Between his own offspring, their friends and neighbors, "I have six kids who made all-state off my backyard," Keller boasted.

Besides keeping track of history, he's helped make it, too.

AT A GLANCE

Among Fred Keller 's more striking possessions:

-- An 1893 charcoal drawing of the village's original pioneers.

-- An 1874 hand-drawn map of the Sussex -Lisbon area.

-- An 1886 lithograph listing 28th regiment Civil War infantrymen from the county, nearly a dozen from the Sussex area.

Sussex's very own historian

Fred Keller shares his devotion to community

The red pickup truck bearing license plate SU-6-Sun, parked in front of a garage with the Village of Sussex logo emblazoned across the front of the overhead door, tells you a lot about Fred Keller, the iconic newspaper man who originally crafted the ubiquitous symbol of the village he loves.

Peek around the house into the backyard and you well see a lighted, full-size basketball court that will also tell you about the sport he played in high school and college and how much he loves watching his grand children play.

Keller was born in Burlington on Dec. 20, 1931. In 1946, his family moved from Elm Grove to Sussex after his father purchased the Sussex Mills from the Reinder Brothers.

Three years after graduating from Marquette High School, where he was the starting basketball center at 6-feet-5-inches tall, Keller was drafted into the military during the Korean War.

"One of the great periods of my life was my military career as a military policeman in Germany," he said recently.

Keller returned home and eventually purchased the mill from his father. He later sold it to a business partner.

In the mid 1970s, Keller was managing some local recreational basketball teams. A sports writer, Chuck Delsman, discovered Keller's writing skills when Keller wrote stories for the local weekly newspaper.

Delsman recommended Keller to newspaper owner Jim McCloone who owned a small chain of weekly newspapers in Lake Country, including the Sussex Sun.

Keller has worked part-time for the newspaper for more than 35 years and began his "Bald Facts" column in 1981.

To support his newspaper habit, Keller took a full-time job with the village Department of Parks and Recreation, where he served as director for nearly 17 years.

It was during his tenure as park director that he designed the village logo which depicts a landmark tree and the hills in the village park.

Throughout his career in public service and newspapering, Keller also gained a reputation as the village's historian.

He and his wife, June, are the parents of two adult daughters and sons. Three of their four children were captains on Hamilton High School basketball teams.

The couple has 11 grandchildren. Seven of them have played college sports and two more are expected to play at the college level.

What makes the communities of Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon so unique?

"They are all good people. I had long ago decided that I would not leave Sussex. I would visit Florida and Arizona, but I would always return to Sussex to be close to Lisbon and Lannon and the people of those communities. The communities all have beautiful parks, the Bug Line Recreation Trail and good schools. You can do your shopping in these communities and Sussex has a great library."

What are some of your fondness memories of growing up in Sussex?

"My fondest earliest memories of Sussex-Lisbon was interacting with the area farmers as they came in for grinding and mixing of their rations for their cows, pigs, chickens and horses. It was during this period (at the age of 14) that I decided in the future I would start collecting historical items and stories from Sussex and Lisbon."

How did you get so involved in sports?

"I played basketball at an all-boys school at Marquette High in Milwaukee. In my junior and senior year, we got to the state finals both years only to lose and finish second. I got a scholarship to the Marquette University basketball program and Sussex had a Land of Rivers League team of former high school players.

In 1951, the Sussex team went through the Land Of Rivers League undefeated and only lost in the state tournament in AAU competitions. Jerry Tetzlaff and I were the one and two high scorers in the league."

How is "newspapering" different today that it was 25 years ago?

"I have an old saying. People like weeklies. A weekly newspaper means that the community is small enough that it takes a week to get enough news to fill it. Then people buy it to make sure we didn't make any mistakes.

"After the Sussex Sun started in 1976, it was successful because Sussex-Lisbon-Lannon were eager for sports stories, local reporting and the historical columns.

"Advertising was the life blood of newspaper publishing and that has been eroded away by new technology, the computer, news on TV, and the internet."

What your biggest accomplishments at village park as recreation director?

"Sussex went from three parks in 1977 to 10 parks when I left in 1994 and retired.

"I transplanted over a 1,000 trees in the parks during my years. I served on the Park Board from 1961 to 1963. I helped build ball diamonds in the park as well as helped get the old engine show in the park."

W hy did you want to become village historian?

"I was always a history buff in grade school. I spent a summer reading the Americana Encyclopedia, all volumes, from cover to cover. This translated to visiting museums and later concentrating on Sussex-Lisbon-Lannon history. Finding it out, acquiring maps, rare books, artifacts and one-on-one talks with the elderly. The village recognized my talent and by official decree, named me in 1976, Sussex Village Historian."

 

 

 

 

Home / About Us  / Index / Membership / Search this site

Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2014, Except as noted: All documents placed on the SLAHS.org website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the SLAHS.org website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the SLAHS.org website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)