Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The “Cooksville Journal”: Badfish and Blue Chicken, The School’s Student Newsletter from the 1950s

“Cooksville Journal,” 1955 cover

The one-room Cooksville School had its own newsletter—the “Cooksville Journal”— for a number of years in the mid-20th century. Written and published (mimeographed) by the students, the surviving issues contain school news, editorials, local village news, poems and jokes, even some cartoons and local advertisements.  A few copies from the 1950s and ‘60s are in the Cooksville Archives. Here are some excerpts:

September 1953

“Madison is trying to put their sewage into the Badfish. They were ordered to take it out of Lake Waubesa and Lake Kegonsa this fall. Anyone who lives near the Badfish and doesn’t want to have sewage in their backyard and wants good fishing, should fight to have it put back in the Yahara.” [The Janesville Daily Gazette clipping told their story on April 10, 1954. Ed.]

Cooksville School Class of 1954

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Historic Cooksville Trust Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Historic Cooksville Trust brochure
The Historic Cooksville Trust, Inc., founded in 1999, is celebrating 15 years of assisting historic preservation in the Village of Cooksville and the surroundings area.

The Trust was incorporated as a private, non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization in Wisconsin under federal IRS Code 501(c) (3) as a non-membership organization with a goal of preserving and conserving the historic heritage of Cooksville.

To carry out its mission, the Historic Cooksville Trust seeks donations of private funds, property, and historic easements. Donations to the Trust are tax deductible. Recently, three acres of nearby farmland and a historic house in Cooksville were donated to the Trust, in addition to funding for various preservation projects. The Trust also collects and maintains important archival materials (photographs and documents) and historical and cultural artifacts (paintings, furniture, books, pottery, etc.) that relate to the history and culture of the Cooksville community. 

Lutheran Church steeple project, 2004
The Graves Blacksmith Shop
So far the Trust has assisted nine preservation projects with grants of funds totaling about $60,000. The major projects have included assistance with rehabilitating the historic Blackman-Woodbury House, assistance with the re-construction of the Graves Blacksmith Shop, assistance with the restoration of the Cooksville Lutheran Church steeple, assistance to the Cooksville Community Center roof replacement project, and the funding for the installation of water and a rest-room for the first time in the history of the Cooksville General Store.

Other projects that received financial assistance from the Trust include the Community Center’s “Carving on the Commons” event, the Preserve Our Rural Landscape Celebration, and the Research and Letter Compilation for Opposition to the Cell Tower project. Also funded have been various educational materials, brochures and newsletters for the Trust.

Cooksville General Store, 2010
At present, the Historic Cooksville Trust has a 12-member Board of Directors with an additional six Honorary Board Members and an ex-officio legal counsel. The present Board members are Vicki Ballweg, Bob Degner, Steve Ehle, Lynne Eich, Will Fellows, Carl Franseen, Dennis Kittleson, Mary Kohlman, Rick Mackie, Mike McConville, Larry Reed and Nancy Remley. Honorary members include Greg Armstrong, Ellsworth Brown, Jim Danky, Katie Ryan, Patrick Ryan and Shirley Wilde. The Trust’s counsel is Marney Hoefer of Stafford Rosenbaum LLP.

The Trust offers information about the history of Cooksville and its early settlement, as well as preservation advice to persons about the state and federal income tax credits available for rehabilitating historic buildings and about standards for the treatment of historic buildings and sites. The Trust also offers group tours of Historic Cooksville upon request.

The Cooksville Historic District, in the “Town that Time Forgot,” consists of about 35 historic and architectural buildings, structures and sites within the village. In addition, eight historic properties are located within a two-mile radius outside the village. These properties were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and 1980. The Cooksville Historic District is also locally designated under Town of Porter zoning.

[For more information, contact Larry Reed at (608) 873-5066.]