Westby Area Historical Society 2016 Annual Report
111 Bekkedal Avenue
P.O. Box 42
Westby, WI 54667
2016 Officers and Board of Directors:
Blaine Hedberg – President and Curator
Madeline Anderson – Vice President
Kathy Anderson – Secretary/Treasurer and Newsletter Editor
Christy Aniol – Director (Jan – Aug)
Sheri Ballard – Director
Fred Jefson – Director
Garland McGarvey – Director
Siv Ann Meyer – Director
Marlo Volden – Director (Sept - Dec)
The Westby Area Historical Society is an educational organization that responsibly collects, preserves, promotes
and communicates the history, culture and heritage of the Westby, WI area for current and future generations.
Greeting from the Board of Directors
I am pleased to share the Westby Area Historical Society Annual Report for the 2016 calendar year. I join my fellow board members to send a special “thank you” for your continuing interest and support of our mission for WAHS. Two thousand sixteen was another year of notable success for
our organization, and we owe many of our achievements to our generous and thoughtful members, our hardworking board and our devoted volunteers.
After a very busy 2015, we took a break in activities for the months of January, February and March to relax and plan the
WAHS activities and events for 2016.
The first of April, Madeline Anderson and I put together a special display at the Bekkum Memorial Library to commemorate historic Westby
tobacco-related photographs and items from both the WAHS collection and WAHS members. Then on April 16th, our Adult Lecture Series continued
continued with an informative program by board member, Garland McGarvey, entitled “Tobacco Road,” about the history of tobacco-raising in the
Westby area. Photographs taken by Madeline Anderson, of Westby’s recently demolished tobacco warehouses, were also shown. The presentation
was a success with many people attending at the Westby Community Center. Thank you, Garland & Madeline, for a most educational program.
Syttende Mai is always a big event for WAHS and this year was no exception. Thank you to Siv Ann Meyer for supervising the annual lefse/pølse fundraiser, which again was very successful. Thank you to Carol Navrestad for helping Cathy Cravens with the WAHS “Grandmother of the Year” planning and to Garland McGarvey for driving Grandmother Sarah Levendosky in the Syttende Mai parade. Thank you to our members who hosted tours of the Thoreson Museum and thanks, also, to the Midwest Gas Company for inviting us to display historical Syttende Mai WAHS collection items in their business window.
On June 3-4, as WAHS curator, I was happy to help manage our very successful rummage sale that coincided with Westby’s citywide sales. We
are grateful to Christy and Jim Aniol for the loan of their garage for this function. Thank you to all the members and friends of WAHS that donated their time and items to this outstanding fundraiser.
In July, we hosted a special group, “Singles in Agriculture,” for a day of museum tours and playing kubb. Thank you to Ruth Gerber Rupp for helping to arrange this tour. Then, later in July, we sponsored a new “Sweet Rides and Sweet Pies” event. We are grateful to all the local car collector enthusiasts who brought their vehicles to display at this inaugural triumph and for the many volunteers who made delicious homemade pies to sell. Thank you especially to Garland McGarvey, Bertha Johnson and Carol Navrestad for their efforts. It was a very successful event and we will host it again on July 29, 2017.
The Thoreson House Museum was open Saturdays during the summer. We had many new and returning visitors who marveled at the WAHS collections and commented on the lovely museum gardens. We are grateful to Sheri and Jerry Ballard, Roy Jefson, George Navrestad, the Flora Garden Group, Fred Jefson and Marlo Volden for their time and financial contributions that helped to so beautifully enhance the grounds and maintain the museum building. I also thank Garland McGarvey for helping protect our property with the installation of a security system at the museum.
On September 17, WAHS sponsored another program in the Adult Lecture Series, “Telling Grandma’s Story,” presented by Liv Marit Haakenstad from Hamar, Norway. Her presentation was well received and we thank her for her continued membership and international interest in our organization.
In October, WAHS joined others in celebrating Westby’s Leif Erickson Day with a lefse/pølse sale. Thank you, Siv Ann Meyer, for supervising this fundraiser for a second time in 2016.
In November, Madeline Anderson’s name was added to the WAHS perpetual plaque listing our “Volunteer of the Year Award” recipients. The award, given since 2007, is presented each year to a member who contributes their time and talents “above and beyond” to WAHS. Our vice-president, Madeline Anderson, has been on the board of WAHS for several years and has been a frequent author of WAHS newspaper articles. In 2016, she accepted and excelled at the challenge of managing the historically-focused “Looking Back” column in the Westby Times. Her diligence in researching and writing more than half of these articles, as well as coordinating efforts of other contributors, has been a monumental feat. In addition, she has been actively involved in fulfilling genealogy research requests, contributes to the quarterly newsletters, works on the Adult Lecture Series programs and has helped to design the many Bekkum Memorial Library foyer case displays that WAHS has provided this year. Congratulations, Madeline, on this well-deserved award.
On December 4th, we participated in the Vernon County Historical Society Candy Cane Tour of Homes. The Thoreson House Museum was open and decorated for the holidays. Thank you to Sheri and Jerry Ballard, Carol Navrestad and Marlo Volden for helping me host this special holiday event.
I want to thank Kathy Anderson for the wonderful job she has done. Her 2016 Treasurer’s Report can be found in this annual report. WAHS social media presence on the web and Facebook, some Westby Times articles, event publicity, and our newsletter “History Keepers” are also part of what she contributes to the organization, in addition to her secretary and treasurer duties. I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Westby Co-op Credit Union for sponsoring the newsletter which allows us to enhance its quality and appearance with color.
I want to thank Sheri Ballard, Madeline Anderson, Kathy Anderson, Sandra Lawrence, and Michele Michelet Boyer for their excellent weekly
contributions to “Looking Back” in the Westby Times. This newspaper column took the place of “Historically Yours,” a column authored for many years by WAHS member Eric Leum, who passed away earlier this year. Following Eric’s death, the Westby Times editor asked Madeline if she would continue a column. Though we would never expect to replace Eric, by encouraging members to write historically and factually accurate articles, and by soliciting ideas for articles, Madeline, with her faithful handful of helpers, has managed to maintain a wonderful historical presence for readers of the newspaper. We certainly appreciate their gifts of research and writing.
This past summer, WAHS began a capital campaign to raise funds to help renovate the main level of the Thoresen House Museum to its 1890’s
splendor. I am grateful to those who have generously donated to the campaign. A listing of the donors is found within this annual report. Historical items donated to WAHS this year help to make our collection so unique. We are truly fortunate as an organization to receive these significant and valuable items and are delighted that the community has faith in WAHS to be recipients of their family heirlooms.
To all our members, friends and donors, we thank you for all you have done for our organization and for your help in making 2016 a year for WAHS. Maintaining our familiar programs, developing new and exciting activities and working to improve the Thoreson House Museum will continue to be priorities for WAHS. We look forward to 2017 being a remarkable year for the Westby Area Historical Society!
President, Board of Directors
2016 Capital Campaign Donors
Madeline Neprud Anderson: In memory of Levi and Marian Neprud
James & Harolyn Bergtold
Nancy Borgen: In memory of Val, Myron and Larry Thoreson
Mary Dresser: In honor of Kathy Anderson’s work for WAHS
Ellen Jaeger Labounta
Charles & Gail Norton
Brian & Karen Rude
Ted & Elaine Saugstad
Cheryl Thoreson: In honor of Roy Jefson’s work on the beautiful flowers
Naomi Ware: In memory of her sisters Charlotte Miller, Arline Schafer, Beulah Townsend and Maxine Westby