Join Our Upcoming Event

/ Business of the Month / Eagle River Historical Society

Business of the Month: June 2022

Eagle River Historical Society



VCEDC June Business of the Month

Congratulations to

Eagle River Historical Society

Eagle River, WI 54521

Phone: 715-337-0811

https://eagleriverhistory.org/

1.The Eagle River Historical Society announced some very significant news in May. Please share that with us and why this is important. 

In 2017 the Eagle River Historical Society (ERHS) implemented a strategic plan goal when it led the formation of the Northern History Caucus (NHC), a group of northern historical societies, all affiliated with the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS). This month that group resolved to apply for non-profit status in its own right. The benefit of that decision is that the group, now the Northern Wisconsin Heritage Council, will be able to open its own bank account, apply for grants and solicit funds directly and more clearly direct its own projects. A group of Vilas County societies have hung historic photos in the Courthouse addition. The newly formed Council is developing a digital map geolocating all historic sites, museums, listed buildings and other historic features across multiple counties. Parallel with the digital version there are plans to also print the map for wide distribution. This step also implements an ERHS strategic plan goal: to become a recognized economic asset to the community. While historical societies are not by nature economic engines, we chose to pursue this goal to underline the importance of heritage tourism. As long ago as 2018 heritage tourism was identified as a major growth segment of the overall market. Heritage tourists spend 60% more than average and tend to make longer visits. This segment also makes more visits.

Heritage tourists favor ‘off the beaten path’ destinations and technology has been identified as a driver for their planning.

2. Tell us a little bit about the history of the Society, your growth over the years, and how many staff/board members you have. 

The Eagle River Historical Society was formed in 1966. Operating without a physical base until 2007, much of the archival and physical collection was housed privately and displayed occasionally in merchants’ cases. In 2007 space was leased at Trees for Tomorrow, Eagle River, and soon followed by renting the remodeled railway depot. When the Trees lease was lost shortly after the Depot came online, a search for a permanent, owned home began. In 2012 the ERHS purchased the former Knights of Columbus Hall on Highway 45 and spent eighteen months remodeling the hall, a building moved on site from a disused boys’ camp. The Eagle River Historical Museum opened in May, 2014. In the following eight years the Society has transitioned from a closely held affinity group to a board led and managed organization, eliminated $50,000 in debt, developed an endowment, has a board selected to fill specific criteria and who undergo periodic board education and developed a reputation for high quality events and home tours. We have three paid staff members and a seven-member board. We are interviewing to fill a vacancy. The ERHS has grown significantly since 2014. So much so, that we are developing plans to double the footprint of the main campus building. The plans are preliminary, but we hope to make announcements within a few months and have a soft target to break ground in 2023.

3. You give back to the community in so many ways through your partnership with the Northland Pines School District (NPSD), the Eagle River library, and special events. Please tell us about that. 

The Schools Program is one we cherish. Annually the entire fourth grade of NPSD visits the Historical Museum for tours led by costumed docents. The ERHS has traditionally funded the transportation cost for all children who come from Eagle River, Land O’Lakes and St. Germain. We also host an annual open house for all NPSD faulty and administration. Several years ago, the Society began purchasing fourth grade Wisconsin history textbooks for the district, as part of our commitment to education. This book meets all current social studies standards and is very visual and inquiry-based. We began with one book for each 6-child study group and now have provided one book for each two students. The goal is one book per child. This summer a program called Kid Curators began. Interested children visit the museum and with help from staff, choose one item to study, research and write about. A special display will be mounted and the children will act as docents for their friends and family at a private viewing.

4. How can someone get involved or donate to the Society? 

We recruit volunteers continuously. While we have dedicated staff, volunteers bring a special and individual voice to the museums and programs. The community offers so much energy and talent. We are also blessed with generous donors who are a big part of what keeps the ERHS vital and active. There is no talent that we can’t use: writing, gardening, woodworking, art, research and many more. There are several ways to reach us with questions and to get more information. Emails can be sent to [email protected], direct calls made to 715-337-0811 or 262-212-6369 or postal mail to P.O. Box 2011, Eagle River, WI 54521. We have a range of membership levels, conduct an annual giving month, offer memorials and a legacy program and accept gifts to our growing endowment investments.

5. Serving as President of the Eagle River Historical Society is a great honor, especially as this community is beloved by so many generations of families. Why is this role important to you? 

I served as president of the Society for five years and am now the first executive director. I am honored by the trust placed with me by our board, members and the entire community. It is a wonderful experience to be able to meet so many people in my role as ambassador for the Society. I have been able to advocate at the state legislature, meet exceptionally talented people from the Wisconsin Historical Society and have the privilege of helping to develop young talent with our interns. I grew up in a military family and Eagle River has become my hometown. Until I lived here, I had never spent more than a few years in one place. Through learning its history and being able to know its past, it has become part of my past too. I love to share with our community and visitors this rich heritage. It has become clear to me what a unifying factor our shared history can be.


Do you know of a wonderful Vilas County business?

Nominate A Business »

See More Business of the Month


September 2022

Iconik Etchings and Innovations

Iconik Etchings and Innovations Named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


August 2022

Trout Lake Station

Trout Lake Station named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation.


July 2022

Pitlik & Wick, Inc.

Pitlik & Wick, Inc. named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


May 2022

Jensen-Akins Appliances/ Hardware/ Docks

Jensen-Akins Appliances/Hardware/Docks named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation.


April 2022

Boulder Junction Coffee Company

Boulder Junction Coffee Company named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


March 2022

Schindelholz Dental

Schindelholz Dental named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


February 2022

Arrow Gift Shop

Arrow Gift Shop named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


January 2022

Ahlborn Equipment

Ahlborn Equipment named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


December 2021

Hillbilly Hollow

Hillbilly Hollow named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


November 2021

Trees For Tomorrow

Trees for Tomorrow named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


October 2021

Simpson Electric Company

Simpson Electric Company named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


September 2021

Bartling’s Manitowish Cranberry Company

Bartling’s Manitowish Cranberry Company named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


August 2021

The Northwoods Review


July 2021

Camp Manito-wish YMCA

Camp Manito-wish YMCA Named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


June 2021

Eagle River Light and Water

Eagle River Light & Water Named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


May 2021

Great Headwaters Trails

Great Headwaters Trails Named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


April 2021

Allied 100


March 2021

Charlie's Market

Charlie's Market Named Business of the Month by Vilas Economic Development Corporation


February 2021

Parsons of Eagle River


January 2021

Feeding Our Local Kids


2020 Business of the Year

VCEDC 2020 Business of the Year Award



October 2020

The Thrift Shop


September 2020

Northwoods Children's Museum

Located in Eagle River, the Northwoods Children's Museum has thought outside the box continuing its programming and mission to give back to the community even during Covid-19.



July 2020

LDF Country Market

Congratulations to the new $3.3 million Country Market in Lac du Flambeau (LdF) for being selected as the VCEDC July Business of the Month. According to Melissa Doud, LDF Business Development Corp. Interim COO, the Country Market which opened in June, has enhanced the entire shopping experience.


June 2020

Land O' Lakes Arts

Congratulations to Land O' Lakes Arts, a cultural establishment that offers people of all ages that sense of wonder and purpose.


May 2020

Coontail

Steve and Lisa Coon have turned their passion for the outdoors into a successful business and yet, feel their true success comes from being integrated into the community, a community they feel is like family.


April 2020

Little Bohemia Lodge

Among being a stellar lodge, restaurant, and destination of choice for tourists and area residents, we congratulate Debby and Dan Johns and all of their staff for their generosity and commitment to Vilas County to ensure our history and culture live on for future generations.


March 2020

Eagle River's Last Resort

Congratulations to Eagle River's Last Resort for 38 years in business providing great customer service and experiences to Eagle River visitors, and providing a positive influence on the Eagle River community.


February 2020

Starlight Centers for Inclusion

In 2016, April graduated from a business startup course, now called Nicolet Entrepreneur Training (NET) program, offered through a partnership with the VCEDC and Nicolet College. "With ongoing support from the VCEDC, including rental space within the Eagle River Business Incubator, I was able to develop and implement my business plan, founding Starlight in 2016," said April.


See All Business of the Month

Want to learn why Vilas County is one of the best places to live, work, and play?

Reach out to the folks at the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation today!

Contact Us

Want to learn why Vilas County is one of the best places to live, work, and play?

We can email you a PDF highlighting many of the wonderful aspects of our area.

Download this 8-page PDF article here: