The Ephraim Historical Foundation of Door County Wisconsin serves as the proud steward of the Ephraim Village Museums: the Anderson Barn (1880), the Pioneer Schoolhouse (1880), the Anderson Store (c. 1858), the Goodletson Cabin (c. 1855), and the Historic Iverson House (1854). These museums stand testament to the courage, dedication, and fortitude of generations past. The Foundation and its members are dedicated to preserving this history and heritage for future generations. In addition to the Ephraim Village Museums, the Ephraim Historical Foundation preserves the Svalhus (c. 1890), which currently is being rented by the Hardy Gallery as offices. In 2009, thanks to the generosity of its members, the Ephraim Historical Foundation offices and archives were moved into the ARC (Archival Research Center), an addition to the Anderson Barn Museum.
“The Ephraim Historical Foundation – How Did It All Start?”
Helen Sohns was tossing and turning. She couldn’t sleep. Helen had heard the Village of Ephraim was going to build a new school and sell the old one where she had spent so many years teaching. “Her” old school was about to be abandoned, torn down, or altered beyond recognition to suit a new owner. What could she do? She couldn’t fathom the idea of this wonderful building, with all it’s memories, being turned into a gift shop, a hotel, or just being leveled altogether. A “no nonsense” teacher with a strong sense of history, she hoped that somehow the old building could be saved, for she knew it had played a key role in Ephraim’s past. She mentioned her concerns to her friend, Warren Davis. Davis told her to let him know when the property came on the market. When her call came, he was ready. He contacted several of his friends and, within a week’s time, secured the money necessary to buy the schoolhouse in 1949. Thus the story of the Ephraim Historical Foundation and the Ephraim Village Museums was born.
Celebrating our 64rd anniversary in 2013, the Ephraim Historical Foundation’s legacy has spread to all aspects of historic preservation in Ephraim — buildings, monuments, artifacts, and more. We are just as committed to preserving Ephraim’s history as Helen Sohns and Warren Davis were in 1949, and we invite you to see for yourself by taking a tour through our five living history museums, or by taking part in one of our many summer programs!
The Ephraim Historical Foundation was founded in 1949 as a not-for-profit organization. The purposes of the Foundation are as follows:
With these purposes in mind, the Foundation has acquired a number of artifacts, documents, buildings, and properties that deal with Ephraim’s rich history. We are as committed to preserving that history of Ephraim as our founders were in 1949.
Ephraim Historical Foundation
3060 Anderson Lane
PO Box 165
Ephraim, Wisconsin 54211-0165
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