Maison Fond du Lac Galloway, the village obtains $ 1.6 million in renovations


LAKE BOTTOM – For decades, one of the city’s historic monuments has struggled with the ravages of time.

Galloway House and Village sits on 15 acres of what was once a farm on the southern edge of Fond du Lac, owned by banker and lumberjack Edwin H. Galloway. In the late 1860s he developed Melrose Farms there, which later became famous for its Swiss brown cattle.

He also transformed the farm into an Italian style villa and a showcase of lavish Victorian elegance and beauty.

In 1954, Edwin P. Galloway, grandson of the previous owner, donated the house and surrounding land to the Fond du Lac County Historical Society as an ideal location for a museum.

Over the years a turn-of-the-century village has been established on the grounds which today contain over 30 buildings, a museum and library, and the Galloway Mansion.

A school, newspaper and printing house, general store and post office, carriage house, flour mill, beauty and clothing shops, and railway depot are among the notable buildings on display.

In 2018, the historical society launched a fundraising campaign to raise funds to restore numerous structures that had fallen into disrepair. Thanks to private donations and funding from Fond du Lac County, $ 1.6 million was raised to renovate and restore more than 19 buildings.

In addition, a new stone gate, ornamental fencing on the north side of the land, paved sidewalks and a new drainage system have been added, historical society executive director Ben Giles said.

A grand reopening at Galloway House and Village is scheduled from noon to 7 p.m. on May 29 and 30. Both days include living history tours with performers in period costumes, food trucks, beer and wine, a vintage candy experience, a 50/50 raffle, and kids’ activities on Sundays.

“We are ready to unveil these enhancements to the public to show that not only are we a revitalized and vibrant village, but also a leading non-profit organization that aims to connect people to history through preservation, passion, education and fun, ”Giles says.

Edwin P. Galloway donated his family's historic home for museum purposes in 1954 to the Fond du Lac County Historical Society.

Fond du Lac County Manager Allen Buechel said county funding, just over $ 493,000 over three years, had been invested to restore the Galloway mansion. The roof and chimney were replaced, along with the failing railings and lumber from the roof line down. The entire house and the gazebo have been painted.

Buechel said the county is still committing $ 20,000 per year for other projects at the historic site and hopes that in the future funds will be available to restore the carriage house, another original building from the era. Galloway.

Buechel won an Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Associations of Historic Preservation Commissions for his work on the Galloway House and Village restoration project.

Contractors for the restoration work included CD Smith, Spies Painting (Galloway House and gazebo) and Schneider and Schneider LLC (paint), Rammer Fence, Thome Electric and Baumhardt Sand & Gravel for leveling and seeding.

The historical society and the village park will open for the season on June 2. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This summer, a concert series, Nights Out in the Village, invites the public to come and enjoy live music and beer. Concerts are scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the following Saturdays: June 19, July 24, August 14 and September 25.

Later this summer, a temporary exhibition, “Fondy: The Last 50 Years”, will showcase history from the 1970s to the present day. This exhibit will be crowdsourced and individuals and businesses are welcome to donate or lend items to exhibit.

The Historical Society also offers a travel trunk program that features Civil War, WWII, women’s fashion, school days, and Indigenous artifacts in trunks at locations around Fond du Lac that include the YMCA , the Fond du Lac public library, the Arc de Fond du Lac and the city and county government building.

Those interested in history can also enjoy a monthly video podcast titled Fireside Chats, available on the YouTube channel of the Fond du Lac Historical Society. The show features guests who share oral histories on a variety of topics.

Other events include an Ice Cream Party on August 8 in the field and a Great Gatsby fundraiser on September 23 at the Retlaw Hotel in downtown Fond du Lac.

Events will be socially distanced and masks are mandatory indoors.

The cost of admission to the reopening celebration is $ 10, or $ 30 for a family ticket. They can be purchased at hometowntickets.com/gallowayhouseandvillage.

Contact Sharon Roznik at 920-907-7936 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/reporterroz/

RELATED: FDL Historical Society Appoints Ben Giles Executive Director, Updates Restoration Plans

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