Verona Area Historical Society Events

September 2022

 

Bongey family & their Verona Pharmacy

 

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022 @ 1:00 PM

Verona Senior Center

 

 

If you’ve had a prescription filled in Verona since 1958, there is a good chance you have come across a member of the Bongey family. WWII veteran Don Bongey and his wife Ruth started their family pharmacy that year in the old Kunstman building that formerly stood in the current Walgreen’s parking lot. Together they would serve Verona for over 40 years and in that time their children Pam and Gary would grow up to follow in their footsteps.

Generations of Verona kids may recall something memorable just inside the door of that original store (that their parents might not have been thrilled about 🙂 Other memories include how members of the Verona community and beyond pulled together when the building burned in 1997 and the series of changes that led to the current Verona Hometown Pharmacy we still know today.

Our guest this month will be Gary Bongey and possibly other members of the family. We will hear their memories of growing up in Verona, their family business and what it’s been like to be an integral part of our community for over a half century.

Verona’s 175th Anniversary 1847-2022

 

 

2022 marks Verona’s 175th anniversary since officially becoming a town in 1847. Please join our historical society along with several other groups in celebrating this milestone in June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calendar of Events

June 2022

 

All events are free, some require sign-up. Details may change, so check for updates at: www.VeronaHistory.com/175 

 

 

 

Entire month of June:

 

“Verona: Then & Now,” a photograph exhibit at the Verona Public Library

 

  • Take a trip through space and time as you gaze upon large historic Verona photographs placed side by side with their modern counterparts. Why does Hometown Junction look like a train station? Did someone once live in Kismet Books? Discover the hidden stories behind places you walk by every day.

 

Art on the Avenue: Children’s depictions of Verona’s past, present and future

 

  • Each year, the Verona Area Education Foundation puts out an open call for area kids to design creative and thought provoking banners to be displayed on Verona Avenue. This year’s theme is “Verona Past, Present or Future.” Take a stroll and enjoy this chance to see our city through the eyes of its children.

 

 

Thursday, June 2:

“Traditional songs, stories and dances of the Ho-Chunk people”

 

  • 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Verona Public Library

  • Wisconsin Dells Singers & Dance Troupe and Elliott Funmaker Sr. of the Ho-Chunk and Meskwaki Nations will perform traditional songs, stories and dances of the Ho-Chunk people.

  • Music CD’s will be available for sale and signing

 

 

 

Friday, June 3 – Sunday, June 5:

Verona Hometown Days events

 

175th Anniversary Tent featuring:

 

  • Hands-on activities: “Classic Toys From Yesteryear”

  • History-themed selfie station

  • Display: Artifacts from Verona’s past

  • Stickers & buttons to show your Verona pride!

 

 

 

Hometown Days history-themed parade on Sunday, June 5 @ 12:00 PM

 

  • This year participants in the annual Hometown Days Parade will be encouraged to dress up their floats, cars and folks to reflect *any* past era. Pioneer families walking next to disco queens? Flappers flapping around Grunge Rockers? You bet!

 

  • Special thanks to the Verona Chamber of Commerce for organizing this event.

 

 

Tuesday, June 7:

People of the Sacred Language,” a talk by Ho-Chunk storyteller & tribal member Andi Cloud

 

  • 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM at the Verona Public Library

 

  • The Ho-Chunk, People of the Sacred Language, have called Wisconsin home for centuries. They continue to exist and have overcome disease, genocide, removal and colonization. Learn about the journey and how they continue to remain resilient and strong. Storyteller and Ho-Chunk tribal member, Andi Cloud shares history, culture and stories.

 

  • Special thanks to the Verona Public Library for organizing this event

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 12:

Guided downtown Verona History walk.

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 15

Celebrating Verona’s Archaeological Treasures: Snapshots & Stories from 10,000 Years of Verona History,” a talk by University of Wisconsin Archeologist Paul Reckner

 

 

  • 6:00  PM – 7:30 PM at the Verona Public Library

 

  • University of Wisconsin Archeologist Paul Reckner has led numerous studies in recent years of both Native American and euro Euro-American settlement sites in Verona and throughout Wisconsin. Paul is a true friend of Verona history, often lending his expertise to local history efforts of our Verona Area Historical Society. His talk uses evidence found during archeological digs here in Verona to tell the stories what life was like for our native residents and early settlers.

 

  • Special thanks to the Verona Public Library for organizing this event

 

 

Saturday, June 18:

Guided Downtown Verona History Walk on S. Main St.

 

  • Sign-up will be required for this event to keep the group sizes manageable. Details and sign-up will be added here around June 7th.

 

 

 

Sunday, June 26:

Downtown Verona History Walk for Kids at Hometown Junction

 

  • 9:00 AM at Hometown Junction Park, S. Main Street, Verona. Please note there are several nearby parks with similar names. This park is next to Verona Vision Care at 320 S. Main St.

  • Sign-up not required for this walk

  • Open to all ages, ideal for ages 5-12. We will walk around this park and discuss the interesting sights and sounds that were once common in this space: Horses being shot, Steam locomotives passing by, Telegraph messages being sent and more.

 

 

Thursday, June 30:

Happy Birthday, Verona!” a musical get together celebrating our town’s birthday

 

  • Evening of June 30th at Hometown Junction in Verona. (times to be determined)

  • Barbershop Quartet: The Gender Benders.

  • Bluegrass band: “Down From the Hills

  • Kids’ Scavenger Hunt around Main Street

  • A few words to commemorate Verona’s Birthday

  • THERE WILL BE CAKE!!!

  • Rain Date: Friday, July 1st at Hometown Junction

 

 

 

Sunday, July 10:

Guided Downtown Verona History Walk on S. Main St.

 

  • Sign-up will be required for this event to keep the group sizes manageable. Details and sign-up will be added here around June 7th.

  • Updated 6/3/2022

 

 

March 2022

 

“Safe!  How ‘Dingbat’ Saved Our Last Blacksmith Shop”

 

Saturday, March 5, 2022 @ 10:00 AM

Verona Senior Center

 

 

Our guest this month will be Verona native John Dingle and his business partner Brad D’Orazio, Proprietors of “Dingbat” Baseball Bat Shop on 103 N. Franklin St.  They will describe how a lifelong friendship and love of baseball – combined with generational knowledge of woodworking, led to one of Verona’s most interesting new businesses and the saving of a historic Verona building!  For their workshop, the pair purchased and renovated the metal hut formerly used by Verona’s last blacksmith, George Batker after he moved there from S. Main Street in the 1940s.  John and Brad will show photos and tell stories of the renovation.

September 2021

 

Historical Society is Back!

Presented by the Verona Historical Society

Featuring Bill’s Farm Toys

 

Sunday, September 26, 2021 @ 3:00 PM

Come take a time traveling adventure with us back to early 1900s farming in Wisconsin – in miniature!  Bill Rettenmund will be showing off his collection of handmade miniature farm equipment models and explaining both the intricate process of how they were created and also how the life size versions actually worked. Members who grew up around farms might recognize and might have even used some of these tools!

 

Bill has displayed his creations at multiple shows around Wisconsin.  He also maintains a rotating display at the Black Earth Historical Society each Summer.  You might recognize Bill from our August 2018 meeting where he shared with us his experiences as a Vietnam helicopter crew chief.

Verona’s Top Five Historical Sites

 

Presented by the Verona Historical Society

 

Saturday, February 13, 2021 @ 10:00 AM

The meeting link will be posted at www.VeronaHistory.com the week of the meeting.

 

What makes something “historically relevant?” Does it just have to be old…or is there more to it? It’s a fun question to ponder and also the topic of the Historical Society’s February virtual meeting. In lieu of a guest speaker this month, president Jesse Charles will be presenting a “Top Five” list of Verona’s most important historical sites.

 

Over the last five years, Jesse has researched Verona’s old schools, houses, cemeteries and other sites while preparing for various tours and presentations. He would love to hear your opinion on the topic. Will his top five sites make your list as well? This will be a fun chance to dive deep into some of the hidden gems around Verona. The presentation will run from 10:00 – 10:40 AM. Afterwards, they will hold their official “Annual Meeting” to discuss other historical society matters and elect officers for 2021.

Videos of the Historical Society presentations.

 

Click here to see the videos that are available.

As of 4/20/20 the videos available are:

 

  • Quivey’s Grove
  • Outdoor Laboratories
  • Badger Prairie
  • Maple Drive Dairy
  • Verona Hockey

 

Check them all!

April 2020

 

Verona Area Historical Society

Bill’s Farm Toys

 

Saturday, April 25 at 10:00 AM

Verona Senior Center

 

 

 

Come take a time traveling adventure with us back to the early 1900s farming in Wisconsin – in miniature!  Our friend Bill Rettenmund will be showing off his collection of handmade miniature farm equipments models and explaining for each one both the intricate process of how they were created and also how the life size versions actually worked.

 

Bill has displayed his creations at multiple shows around Wisconsin.  He also maintains a display at the Black Earth Historical Society each Summer.  You might recognize Bill from our August 2018 meeting where he shared with us his experiences as a Vietnam helicopter crew chief.

March 2020

 

 The Vroman Pioneer Family 

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020 @ 10:00 AM

Postponed

 Verona Senior Center

 

 

 

 

The Vroman family were early settlers of the Verona and Fitchburg area.  From helping build our first mill to even providing the name “Verona” from their hometown in Verona, New York, they were very active in shaping the early years of our communities.  Our guests this month will be members of the Vroman family who will help us get to know these early pioneers and the mark they left.

March meeting postponed:  We were going to meet on Saturday, March 21st, but out of an abundance of caution, I am postponing that meeting (I am so, so sorry to the Vromans)!  There is a lot of strong advice for limiting gatherings due to the current flu situation, especially with older populations.  It’s hard to know what the situation will be like in two weeks, but since there is planning ahead for our meetings, I think it is the safest to just skip this month and hope everything gets back to normal soon!

Our next scheduled meeting is in April… [email received 3/12/20]

February 2020

 

 

 Transformation of Quivey’s Grove & Tour

 

6261 Nesbitt Road, Fitchburg, WI

 

February 8, 2020 @ 10:00 AM

 

 

 

Our February meeting will be an onsite presentation and tour of Quivey’s Grove in Fitchburg.  This wonderful historic home has had many identities over its 160 years – the most recent being Quivey’s Grove restaurant since 1980.  This meeting will focus on the large restoration and renovation project of that year, which balanced maintaining historic relevance with the needs of a modern business.  Our guest is Arlan Kay, the architect who designed and guided this transformation and preservation.  You might recognize Arlan’s name as the person who is helping the Verona Area Historical Society with our current museum project at the Lillesand House!

 

The schedule will be as follows:

 

  • Saturday, February 8th at 10AM
  • Meet at Quivey’s Grove on 6261 Nesbitt Road, Fitchburg
  • First, a presentation by Arlan on the 1980 renovation using a real slide projector!
  • Followed by a tour of the house and stable.
  • Optional:  Stay and buy lunch with our group and Arlan.

 

The following information is from the 1982 application (by Leonard T. Garfield) which lead to the Quivey’s Grove farmhouse being listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

 

Built in 1856 with sandstone from a neighboring quarry, the John Mann farmhouse (now Quivey’s Grove Restaurant) is architecturally significant both as a representative of the Italianate domestic style adapted to a rural setting and as a fine example of native sandstone architecture in Dane County. Graced with quiet dignity as well as substantial construction, the house is distinguished by the warm color and careful craftsmanship of its thick sandstone block walls, by the classical Italianate proportions and detailing of its architectural features (including the tall windows, stone lintels and bracketed cornice) and by the attractive setting amid a grove of walnut trees. Converted to a restaurant in a sensitive renovation by architect Arlan Kay of Oregon, Wisconsin in 1980, the house retains almost complete exterior integrity and much of the original interior including stone walls, hemlock floors and a maple bannister and newel post.

 

John Mann, a native of New York State, arrived in Wisconsin in 1850 and operated a livery service in Madison for several years before he bought this farm. Exchanging timber on his property for sandstone from a neighbor’s quarry, Mann built the house and barn as the centerpiece for what became a 130 acre farm. John Mann’s son, Edward, eventually sold the property in 1876, after which it passed through several hands until it was sold to J. P. Comstock in 1886. The Comstock family retained ownership until 1935, and shortly thereafter, it became the home of Dr. and Mrs. William Waskow who lived in it until its conversion to Quivey’s Grove Restaurant in 1980. Today, it is one of the finest sandstone farmhouses still in good condition in Dane County, and its three-acre tree-studded lot helps preserve a sense of its historic context despite the nearby encroachments of spreading urbanization.

 

The event is free, but if you would like to come please mail SaveVeronaHistory@gmail.com or call 608-577-5525 so we have a headcount.  There is also the option to stay and buy lunch with us after, which we encourage.

January 2020

 

 Vroman Family of Verona & Fitchburg

 

Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 10:00 AM

 

 Verona Senior Center

 

The Vroman family were early settlers of the Verona and Fitchburg area.  From helping build our first mill to even providing the name “Verona” (from their hometown in Verona, New York), they were very active in shaping the early years of our communities.  Our guests this month will be members of the Vroman family who will help us get to know these early pioneers and the mark they left.

 

This will also be our “Annual Meeting” when we will elect officers for 2020.