Thursday, June 30, 2011

The 2nd Annual Carving on the Commons happened June 25 and 26. The weather was absolutely perfect. 11 carvers worked Saturday and Sunday to finish their pieces in time for the auction. Cooksville Lutheran Church sold lots of brats, hot dogs, barbecue and homemade pies. Nearly 40 people volunteered their time to help with ticket and t-shirt sales, parking, and clean up. It was a good event.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ralph Warner Arrives in Cooksville, 1911

Ralph Lorenzo Warner, a Milwaukee native living in Racine, bought a house in Cooksville in 1911, thanks to his friendship with village resident Susan Porter (a teacher in Racine), who told him the “house next door” was for sale. (Porter was living in Waucoma Lodge on Webster Street.)

Warner bought the Cooksville-brick Duncan House for $500.

Thus began Ralph Warner’s 30-year love-affair with the quaint, quiet, little village, during which he filled his house—the historic Duncan House (built 1848) on the corner of Webster Street and Highway 59—with early American antiques and crafts (and some English art works), created an elaborate English-style garden, entertained special guests at lunches and dinners, and helped promote the “wee bit of New England” that Cooksville represented in Wisconsin.

Warner became a beloved figure in village life in the 1910s,’20s and early ‘30s, stimulating interest in early American arts, crafts and architecture, collecting local antiques that otherwise might have been tossed out, and sharing his keen aesthetic interest in 19th-century life and music and gardening, including preparing simple meals of fresh local ingredients for visitors who discovered him and his antiquarian corner of Cooksville. A number of journalists beat a path to the cobblestone walkway to his famous House Next Door.

All in all, Warner led the way, preserving that special “sense of time and place” of America’s early years that was beginning to appeal to the country in the first decades of the 20th century. By doing so, he single-handedly put quiet little mid-19th century Cooksville on the map.

Ralph Warner's undertakings marked the beginning of historical “awareness” in the village, and his efforts inspired many others during the following 100 years to preserve and celebrate historic Cooksville.

On Sunday, August 14, 2011, at 7 p.m., a program will be presented at the Cooksville Community Center entitled, “Cooksville since 1911: Ralph Warner, the House Next Door, and a Century of Historic Preservation.”

The slide program will include scores of photographs and artifacts to illuminate the story of Ralph Warner and the House Next Door, and will be presented by Will Fellows, best-selling author who grew up near Cooksville and now lives in Milwaukee, and Larry Reed, Cooksville’s local historian.

The program will be presented at the historic Cooksville Schoolhouse on August 14th at 7 p.m., sponsored by the Cooksville Community Center, and is open to the public.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jody Did It (With a Little Help From Her Friends)


The back of the Cooksville Store was the site of the many hour session of making dreadlocks in Jody's hair. There was food. There was laughing. It was a regular dreadlocks party. Jody was so happy. She's been wanting to do this for a very long time.
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