Monroe County Local History Room & Museum

News at MCLHR

Sparta History Trivia June 4 at Sparta Soda Works
How well do you know your Sparta trivia? Come find out on Tuesday, June 4, at 6 pm at the Sparta Soda Works (121 E...
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May 23 History Program: "The Ho-Chunk Struggle Against Removal from Wisconsin"
The Monroe County Local History Room & Museum presents: "The Ho-Chunk Struggle Against Removal from Wisconsin" by UW-Madison history professor and author Stephen Kantrowitz...
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Monroe County Local History Room & Museum

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Weird Wisconsin

Weird Wisconsin: Your Travel Guide to Wisconsin's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Linda S. Godfrey and Richard D. Hendricks; Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, Creative Directors, 2005. Features colored photographs and information about many of the weird and wacky sites from around the state. Sure to be a fun read for kids and adults alike.  Hardcover, 272 pages.  Used copy but in good condition.  Dust jacket covered in protective plastic.


Wisconsin Waterfalls Travel Guide (3rd Edition)

"Wisconsin Waterfalls Travel Guide", 3rd edition, by Bob Schneider, 2024. This travel guide provides colored photos, location, turn-by turn and/or walking directions to, and GPS coordinates for 445 waterfalls throughout Wisconsin--including Amundson Park Falls, Cascade Creek Falls, and Trout Falls in Monroe County. Organized by county. Convenient travel size with metal spiral binding. It is the "Ultimate" Wisconsin Waterfall book. Softcover, 150 pages. Signed by author.


Meet Me On The Midway: A History of Wisconsin Fairs

Meet Me On the Midway: A History of Wisconsin Fairs by Jerry Apps, 2022. Take a nostalgic ride around the fair with celebrated rural historian, Jerry Apps, as the former 4-H leader and fair judge showcases the history of Wisconsin county fairs (and the state fair) in this salute to one of the Midwest’s greatest summer traditions! Includes brief histories of each county fair throughout Wisconsin. Numerous black and white and colored photos included. Softcover, 265 pages.


Citizens of a Stolen Land: A Ho-Chunk History of the Nineteenth-Century United States

Citizens of a Stolen Land: A Ho-Chunk History of the Nineteenth-Century United States by Stephen Kantrowitz, 2023. This concise and revealing history reconsiders the Civil War era by centering one Native American tribe’s encounter with citizenship. In 1837, eleven years before Wisconsin’s admission as a state, representatives of the Ho-Chunk people yielded under immense duress and signed a treaty that ceded their remaining ancestral lands to the U.S. government. Over the four decades that followed, as “free soil” settlement repeatedly demanded their further expulsion, many Ho-Chunk people lived under the U.S. government’s policies of “civilization,” allotment, and citizenship. Others lived as outlaws, evading military campaigns to expel them and adapting their ways of life to new circumstances. After the Civil War, as Reconstruction’s vision of nonracial, national, birthright citizenship excluded most Native Americans, the Ho-Chunk who remained in their Wisconsin homeland understood and exploited this contradiction. Professing eagerness to participate in the postwar nation, they gained the right to remain in Wisconsin as landowners and voters while retaining their language, culture, and identity as a people. This history of Ho-Chunk sovereignty and citizenship offer a bracing new perspective on citizenship’s perils and promises, the way the broader nineteenth-century conflict between “free soil” and slaveholding expansion shaped Indigenous life, and the continuing impact of Native people’s struggles and claims on U.S. politics and society. Softcover, 224 pages.


Monroe County Pictorial History Book

Monroe County Pictorial History, 2nd edition, 2004. THE book to go to for our county’s history. Originally published in 1976, this book has been our best seller. It’s loaded with stories, histories, and photographs of Monroe County’s earliest towns, villages, settlers, places, and events. This new edition includes an EVERY NAME INDEX! 450 pages.


Logging Dilemma In The Big Swamp (Reprint)

2021 Reprint of Logging Dilemma In The Big Swamp (1995) by Ralph Eswein. This comprehensive book details the early logging history of southeastern Jackson County, WI. Prior to European settlement, the area was dominated by large white pines which were prized by loggers during the 1880s when sawmill towns and their railroads dotted the area. In Eastern Jackson County the communities of Goodyear, McKenna, Zeda, Bear Bluff Station and Chaplin boomed during logging days. Includes 124 historic black and white images and a colorized map. Softcover; 236 pages.


History of the Cashton School District

2015 edition of Michael Hansen's History of the Cashton School District. Includes brief histories and photos of over 30 schools in Monroe, La Crosse, and Vernon County that were at one time part of the Cashton School District. A map of the schools' locations is also included. Softcover, 207 pages, new condition.


Windows To the Past and then Some

Book, "Windows To the Past and then Some" by Paul Mitby, printed by Evans Printing in 2014. Contains numerous photos (black and white and color) as well as many of the author's memories and stories about growing up in the Cashton area. In particular, the book covers the family's business from its early founding by Lester Mitby in late 1945 until, generally, the present day business operation in Cashton. Signed copy; in excellent condition; 60 pages.


Oakdale, WI Sesquicentennial Book

"Oakdale, Wisconsin 1858-2008: Celebrating our first one hundred and fifty years" book compiled by Barb Ackerley for the Friends of Oakdale and published by Dairyland Power Cooperative in 2008. Contains historical information on Oakdale's geography, founding, schools, families, businesses, and organizations. Numerous photos are also included. Spiral-bound, 103 pages. Good condition. [Note: this is a duplicate copy sold as a fundraiser].


The Great War Comes to Wisconsin: Sacrifice, Patriotism, and Free Speech in a Time of Crisis

Examine Wisconsin’s response to World War I in author Richard L. Pifer’s book "The Great War Comes to Wisconsin". Often called "The War to End All Wars” or "The Great War,” World War I was the first "total war” of the twentieth century, a war so large that it engaged virtually the entire world. This book captures the homefront war experience: the political debates over war policy, the worry over loved ones fighting overseas, the countless everyday sacrifices, and the impact of a wartime hysteria that drove dissent underground. The book also includes letters and accounts of Wisconsin’s famed 32nd Division. 286 pages, b/w photos. Softcover.


Warriors, Saints and Scoundrels: Brief Portraits of Real People Who Shaped Wisconsin

Meet the mayors, ministers, mystics, murderers, & more whose lives influenced and defined the state of Wisconsin in these brief biographies from the past. Co-authors Michael Edmonds, the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Director or Programs and Outreach, and Samantha Snyder plumbed the depths of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s collections to research and compose lively portraits of eighty of these notable individuals: mayors, ministers, mystics, murderers, and everything in between. Among them are a governor who saw ghosts, an incorrigible horse thief, a husband and wife who each stood over seven feet tall, an American Indian chief who defied forced removal, the first woman to practice law before the Supreme Court, and even Chief Tomah after whom Tomah, WI is named. Each story is followed by recommended sources for readers’ continued exploration. Whether read on the fly or all in one sitting, these short, colorful narratives will intrigue and inform as you delve into Wisconsin’s diverse and diverting history. 219 pages, b/w photos. Softcover.


Ridge Stories

Ridge Stories: Herding Hens, Powdering Pigs, and Other Recollections from a Boyhood in the Driftless book by Gary Jones, 2019. From the back cover: "Raised on a small dairy farm high in the hills of Wisconsin's Driftless Area, Gary Jones gets real about his rural roots. In this collection of interrelated stories, Jones writes with plainspoken warmth and irreverence about farm, family, and folks on the ridge--from uncooperative livestock to politically incorrect relatives, from the indignity of bathing in a galvanized washtub on the kitchen floor to the surprising advantages of oversized overalls. Alternately humorous and stirring, Jones's essays paint a vivid picture of life on a windy hilltop farm that will entertain city and country folk alike." The stories are based in Richland County, WI. Softcover, 200 pages.


When The White Pine Was King: A History of Lumberjacks, Log Drives, and Sawdust Cities in Wisconsin

When the White Pine was King: A History of Lumberjacks, Log Drives, and Sawdust Cities in Wisconsin by Jerry Apps, 2020. This book tells the stories of the heyday of logging, of lumberjacks and camp cooks, of river drives and deadly log jams, of sawmills and lumber towns and the echo of the ax ringing through the Northwoods as yet another white pine crashed to the ground. Includes several black and white photos. Softcover, 184 pages.



Hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and boys fought and died during the Civil War. This includes 1500 from Monroe County. "This Wicked Rebellion" by John Zimm tells their story. Drawing from more than 11,000 letters in the Wisconsin Historical Society's Civil War collection, the book gives a unique and intimate glimpse of the men and women who took part in the War for the Union. Follow Wisconsin soldiers as they sign up or get drafted, endure drill and picket duty, and get their first experiences of battle. Join them as they fight desperation and fear, encounter the brutality of slavery, and struggle with the reasons for war. 240 pages, 33 b/w photos and illus., 6 x 9". Hardcover.


Poems from Farmers Valley: An Anthology

Poems from Farmers Valley: An Anthology, edited by Dorthy M. Prell, 1997. Includes over 150 poems by 45 authors from throughout Wisconsin (including Monroe County) and the United States that celebrate rural life and capture the pathos and humor of plowing the fields. Several black and white photos and sketches included. Softcover, 244 pages. New condition.


Indomitable Pluck: One Railroad, Three Tunnels, & America’s First Rails-to-Trails Bike Path

Although hundreds of thousands of bikers and hikers have enjoyed the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail since it opened in 1966, few know the history behind this unique 32-mile stretch of old Chicago and North Western rail bed. In “Indomitable Pluck,” author Karen Parker reconstructs the story of the people who drilled three tunnels and forged a path through the rocky hills of Wisconsin's Driftless region, forever changing the local pioneers' lives. Dozens of historic black and white images. 99 pages.


Yesterday in Tomah: 1855-2005

"Yesterday in Tomah: 1855-2005" published by the Tomah Journal Staff for the city's Sesquicentennial. Contains historical information about Tomah's families, landmarks, businesses, schools, sports, lumber industry, Centennial in 1955, government, churches, downtown, and notable events. Also includes numerous black and white photos. Softcover, 122 pages. Excellent, brand new condition. [Note: this is a duplicate copy sold as a fundraiser].


Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal (2nd Edition)

Want to know more about Monroe County's Ho-Chunk Nation and other WI Indians? This unique volume, based on the historical perspectives of the state's Native peoples, includes compact tribal histories of the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Oneida, Menominee, Mohican, Ho-Chunk, and Brothertown Indians. Author Patty Loew focuses on oral tradition: stories, songs, the recorded words of Indian treaty negotiators, and interviews, along with other untapped Native sources, such as tribal newspapers, to present a distinctly different view of history. Elders and tribal historians in each of the Native communities participated in the book's development, recommending sources, making suggestions, and offering criticism as the book unfolded. 208 pages, 142 color and b/w photos, 8 x 9" softcover.



The majority of 19th c. immigrants into Monroe County came from Germany. Between 1820 and 1910, nearly 5.5 million German immigrants came to the US. Most settled in the Midwest, and many came to Wisconsin, whose rich farmlands and rising cities attracted three major waves of immigrants. Today German influence in Wisconsin is still quite apparent, from churches, to food and beverages, to cultural and educational institutions. Learn about the values and ideas the Germans brought with them from the Old Country, including their achievements on the farm, in the workplace and in academia over the course of 150 years in Wisconsin. By Richard H. Zeitlin Paperback; 72 pages, 35 b/w photos and illus. Revised and expanded edition.


Irish in Wisconsin

The 3rd largest immigrant group to settle Monroe County, the Irish have a rich and long history in Wisconsin. Immigrants quickly formed communities, settling in Wisconsin cities and small towns, influencing them with their old country charm. By David G. Holmes. Paperback; 92 pages, 23 b/w photos.


Norwegians in Wisconsin

Have Norwegian heritage? This book offers a concise introduction to Wisconsin's Norwegian immigrants, examining the mass migration of Norwegians to WI during the 1800s. Read about the causes that impelled Norwegians to come to places like Monroe County, Wisconsin, their dangerous Atlantic voyage, and the establishment of Norwegian communities in the state. 72 pages, 39 b/w photos and illus. By Richard J. Fapso. Revised and expanded edition.


Warrens Cranberry Festival: 1973-1997

“Warrens Cranberry Festival: 1973-1997.” An in-depth look at the “World’s Largest Cranberry Festival.” 450+ pages full of stories and pictures (both color and b/w) chronicling the first 25 years of this significant festival. Topics include: festival history, past royalty, parades, the arts & crafts show, and more. Soft cover; 451 pages.


Down a Country Road with the Amish

The Amish have been in Monroe Co., WI, since 1966. Learn more about their customs, history, and beliefs from the author who works closely with Cashton, WI area Amish families. Author Kathy Kuderer shares from the heart her knowledge, friendships and experiences of knowing the Amish in a very personal way. Softcover, 81 pages.


Our City...Our Church Book

"Our City...Our Church" is a history of Sparta and the Sparta United Methodist Church by Julian Hutchinson, 2017. It is a collection of 51 articles written by Julian Hutchinson at various times for the "Sparta Times Past" column of the Sparta Herald newspaper and the "Did You Know...?" section of the Chimes newsletter of the Sparta United Methodist Church. The articles cover significant people, places and events in the church's and city's respective as well as overlapping history. Includes several black and white and color photographs. Softcover, 115 pages.


Elm Grove School, Big Creek, Wisconsin

"Elm Grove School, Big Creek, Wisconsin" is a compiled collection of photos, documents, and memories of the Elm Grove School in the Town of Sparta by Jackie (Kirkeeng) Everson and published in 2017. Spiral-bound, full-colored pages. All proceeds support the Monroe County Historical Society and Big Creek Church.


Horse-Drawn Days: A Century of Farming with Horses

Before tractors or steam engines arrived on the farm, horses did all the heavy work. From spring plowing to the fall harvest, the mighty draft horse powered farms across the Midwest. "Horse-Drawn Days" captures stories of rural life at a time when a team of horses was a vital part of the farm family. Author Jerry Apps pairs lively historic narrative with reminiscences about his boyhood on the family farm in Wisconsin to paint a vivid picture of a bygone time. Featuring fascinating historic photos, ads, and posters, plus contemporary color photos of working horses today, "Horse-Drawn Days" evokes the majesty of these animals and illuminates the horse's role in our country's early history and our rural heritage. By Jerry Apps Paperback; 216 pages, 140 b/w and color photos and illus.


Sparta Incorporation City Centennial Book, 1883/1983

Published for Sparta's City Centennial in 1983, this publication features short historical articles and black and white photographs about Sparta churches, schools, businesses institutions, and notable individuals. A number of business advertisements are also included. 92 pages; soft cover. Book in very good condition. [Note: this is an extra copy donated as a fundraiser.]


Life! Let's Call It A Trip

Life! Let's Call it a Trip is an Autobiography of Mahlon Denter, a World War II veteran, published in 2004. The book covers his experiences in World War II and his childhood growing up in the Wilton area. Includes some black and white photos. Softcover, 324 pages. Good condition.


Seneca Seasons: A Farm Boy Remembers

Written by Tomah resident Larry Scheckel, 2014. From the back cover: "In Seneca Seasons, Larry Scheckel takes us to his boyhood days, growing up with eight siblings on the family farm in the hill country of southwestern Wisconsin. With both humor and grace, he shares his memories of seasonal farm life and the one-room country school out on Oak Grove Ridge, which was the social heart of the community, from the basket social to the Christmas program picnic. Join Scheckel on his nostalgic and evocative journey back to a simpler time when life revolved around family, farm, Church, and seasons." Softcover, 368 pages. Good condition.


Always the River: A History of Ontario, Wisconsin, 1857-2007

"Always the River: A History of Ontario, Wisconsin, 1857-2007” (2006). Take a stroll back in time to pioneer Ontario, the liveliest town on the Kickapoo. Read about hardy men and their families who settled in the area to harvest timber and float it down the Kickapoo River. Learn about the ravaging floods that nearly destroyed the village. Observe Ontario's evolution from a lumber town to an economic center for area farmers to its current role as a gateway to canoeing and recreational opportunities at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and Wildcat Mountain State park. Loaded with historic black and white photographs. 106 pages.


The Haunting of Sparta

“The Haunting of Sparta: Mysteries In A Small Town” (2009). Heard any good ghost stories lately? Local author Joe Cook has, and he compiled those spooky stories into one book. “Every small town has its mysteries, old structures that captivate passersby from one generation to the next. ‘The Haunting of Sparta’ explores the intriguing possibilities that some things in life are unexplainable.” 101 pages long with numerous black and white images.


Sparta Up To Date: A Souvenir Supplement of the Monroe County Democrat, 1899

Sparta Up To Date: A Souvenir Supplement of the Monroe County Democrat, 1899 (reproduction). 48 pages This historical gem includes short histories of businesses, schools, churches, and various organizations, as well as biographies of notable Spartans (businessmen). Loaded with glossy photographs of buildings, houses, people, store interiors, events, and more!


History of Bicycling Coloring Book

History of Bicycling Coloring Book, by Lisa Brabant (1995).44 pages. Whimsical look at the history of bicycling, illustrated with sketches kids can color.


Illustrated History of Sparta Wisconsin 2nd Ed

The Illustrated History of Sparta, 2nd Ed., by Lisa Brabant Gaunky (2012). 44 pages. A history of Sparta and the surrounding area featuring the settling of the area and many of Sparta's notable buildings.


History of Sparta Coloring Book, 2nd Ed

History of Sparta WI Coloring Book, 2nd Ed., by Lisa Brabant Gaunky (2000). 44 pages. A history of Sparta and the surrounding area from Native American home to "Bicycling Capital of America." Created for kids to read and color!


Sparta Fire Department History: 1879-1979

Sparta Fire Department History: 1879-1979 (1979). 100 pages. Includes stories about major fires in the area, roster of men who served in the department, and dozens of photographs.


Household Tip Book

Household Tip Book features over 300 useful tips, tricks, and old-fashioned home remedies. 50 pages. Published by the Monroe County Historical Society in 1975.


Monroe County Veterans

Monroe County Veterans, Diane Hanson & Pat Mulvaney (2000). 63 pages. Contains the riveting stories of 39 World War II-era veterans from Monroe County. Many photos included.