CHS Buildings and Items

1877 Town Hall

This structure is the original town hall for the Town of Caledonia. It stood
approximately ¼ of a mile south from here along the present Hwy 38. In 1998 the structure was severely deteriorating and near collapse. The town chairman at that time, the late Dennis Kornwolf hoped to save the building. He gathered a small cadre of like minded citizens and that group eventually morphed into the Caledonia Historical Society. It took two years to negotiate, but as the century turned the building was moved, restored and reborn, ready to live another hundred years or more.

The various displays represent aspects of town life in days gone past. In the rear right corner you see elements of home life, the treadle sewing machine, two early washing machines and hanging on the wall, three different types of wash boards along with a wooden ironing board.

In the center right wall panel, under the sign from the long gone Franksville railroad depot is a tribute to Franksville and the product that “built the town”, sauerkraut. You see a cabbage slicer and advertising memorabilia. Sauerkraut was an important staple of life. It kept for a long time, traveled well and was highly effective in combating scurvy. Countless Civil War soldiers benefited from sauerkraut.

The roll top desk was used by postmaster Ron Britton. The rack of “Indian Clubs” were used as an exercise routine by early Czech settlers who formed societies called “Sokols”. These societies promoted physical fitness and fraternalism.

The coal stove and table are similar to what would have been in the building in 1877. The town fathers sat at the table while interested citizens sat along the wall on the benches.

On the wall you will see the original blueprint for the Linwood School. The original Linwood School stood just across Five Mile road. The school would eventually burn to the ground. This park is named after that school. The school was rebuilt on Hwy 38 near the Six Mile road. It still is in use by the Caledonia Lions Club. The desks are of various periods ranging from circa 1900 to 1950. There are also displayed several photographs of students at the Linwood School.

1902 Milwaukee Road Depot

1902 Milwaukee Road Depot

This building replaced a depot that burned down just after the turn of the twentieth century . It was located in the town of Corliss (now Sturtevant). Most depots are long straight buildings, this one is “L” shaped. When this depot was built there were two perpendicular rail lines that crossed in Corliss. This depot was designed to handle both lines with the station master in the octagon area. The perimeter windows gave view of both roadbeds. The east – west line was abandoned years ago but the depot continued to service the north – south line until it was replaced by the new Amtrak depot
on Hwy 20 in 2006.

This structure was under threat of demolition when the Caledonia Historical Society purchased it for $1.00 from the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The building was cut into four pieces and moved in September of 2010. Just the new foundation, moving costs and roof replacement amounted to another $73,000.00. The ongoing restoration costs have pushed the price tag well past the $100,000.00 range and counting.

We are repainting the building to the original color scheme. The interior is similar to what it was when we obtained the building. Very few interior photographs exist and the building was remodeled several times during it’s life span.

When originally built, the depot had two fireplaces. We have recreated on, non-working fireplace in the far westerly room. When we received the depot that room was used mainly for mechanicals and had a concrete floor. We had to add structure to rebuild the floor and it now looks as it would have when it was a waiting room. The northerly room with the model train layout would have been the other waiting room and the far north room, the freight room now serves are our workroom.