Visit the Museum
by Mike Reilly, 4/28/03, updated 06/04/2004
The Depot history continues from
2001 to Present.
In October 2001, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Quarterly Newsletter of the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society (SLAHS), was mentioned for the first time that the old depot property behind the church on Main Street might present a future opportunity for housing a local historical museum. The former Chicago & North Western Railroad depot was built in 1911, and moved to its' present location, behind the old Zion Evangelical Church and parsonage on Main Street in Sussex, in 1979.
On July 9, 2002, the Sussex Sun reported the Society had been in a holding pattern for doing important fund raising and acceptance, especially that leading to the purchase of the depot for use as a museum. A single donation of at least $100,000 from an unrevealed benefactor was expected to be announced soon. A Society member (and antique dealer) recently found three 80-100 year old display cases in Jackson, Wisconsin that will be used in the proposed depot museum. One is eight feet long, the other two are five feet.
In July 2002, in a letter mailed to members, it was noted that after details are finalized, and the Society occupies the depot at Historic Square on Main Street, there are building needs, in and out. The grounds need work, and bills for heat and light will need to be paid. Plus insurance, security, etc.
As reported by the Quarterly Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 4 - SLAHS officers continued activities to purchase the depot, more of which would be discussed at the December 2nd member meeting.
At the December 2nd meeting held at the Pauline Haass Public Library Quadracci Room, members heard that the depot had been purchased for $74,000 on Tuesday, November 26, 2002. The money came from an initial donation of $100,000 by James A. Taylor whose collection will be displayed in the proposed museum.
In the December 3, 2002 issue of the Sussex Sun, the public found out how the depot was purchased. The money came from an initial donation of $100,000 by James A. Taylor of Mequon whose personal collection will be displayed in the proposed museum. Taylor, founder of the former Taylor Electric Co, in Mequon downplayed his involvement in the purchase, he said, " I did it because it is right and good to help the Historical Society."
The depot was purchased from Sandy Mack who earlier bought the depot, former church and parsonage at N63 W23811 Main St. in 2000. She operates Sussex Country Printing out of a portion of the former Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church.
The depot building provides 1,510 sq ft of space on the 1st floor, and has a basement for storage. Vacant for several years, it had been moved to its' present location in 1978 after being constructed in 1914, located adjacent to the Bug Line tracks on Maple Avenue. It had served as a telegraph office, freight-handling facility, ticket office, and waiting room for passengers. Sussex was once served by three railroads, in 1886 by the Wisconsin Central, in 1890 to 1910 by the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls and Western Railroad (Bug Line), then the Northwestern Railroad in 1910.
Mr. Taylor collections of coverlets (colorful woven quilt-like items used to cover beds or to warm a seated person), cut glass, Buddy L toys, and detailed model wooden ships will be displayed on a rotating basis to encourage people to come back and visit the museum, time and time again.