Old World Wisconsin (US)

Journey back to the past at Old World Wisconsin, a vivid late 19th century re-creation of the working farmsteads and settlements established by European immigrants in America's heartland in search of a better life. Many of the buildings are reconstructed or translocated. The park is divided into themed areas that represent typical settlement from various immigrant cultures.

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Discover teams of oxen and horses working in the fields, the farm folk preparing hearty meals over wood-burning stoves, and the heirloom plants in well-tended gardens. Stroll through the 1880s Village and chat with the town blacksmith or the keeper of the general store. The 1870s come alive in the re-creation of a rural village. You'll see the spirit of the residents in the 1880s Village and understand the economic, social, religious and political fabric that bound this community together.
European diversity is on display in the various professions throughout the village. See costumed interpreters portraying a Welsh shopkeeper, Irish laundress, Norwegian wagon maker and Bohemian shoemaker. Visit an authentically restored stagecoach inn, which provided lodging for early travellers. Feel the heat of the fire and learn the iron-crafting techniques from an Old World Wisconsin blacksmith. Blacksmiths were invaluable to the local economy — helping to create and maintain the tools and transportation vehicles of the community.
A more spiritual chord is struck at St. Peter's Church. Immigrants flocked to places of worship to express their deeply felt religious beliefs. Sit in with a congregation and experience the sights and sounds of a typical religious service during events such as Spirit of Christmas Past.

The true spirit of America is embodied in Old World Wisconsin's farmsteads. Waves of immigrants flocked to this land of opportunity, eager to seek out the freedoms and possibilities that no longer existed in their homelands. A site visit can include seeing authentic farm implements, like this horse-powered threshing machine, in operation. See technology demonstrated up-close and learn how it was used by early settlers. After leaving their over-populated native lands, many new lives took root because of the farming opportunities available on the Wisconsin frontier. Watch as hard-working farm animals provide the power for the machines that were used to cultivate the earth. Horses were used to haul logs and remove stumps so that new fields could be ploughed and new crops be grown. Many of the farming techniques required workers in the field. You can try your own hand at some of the agricultural methods of the day. Replica farming tools are used to provide visitors with a hands-on experience. Learn how the tools worked and about the foods and materials they helped produce. Livestock were an essential part of farming life — and required daily attention. Old World Wisconsin's dairy cows are still milked by hand on a daily basis.

Wool processing was an important part of life in the 19th century. See the entire process beginning with shearing the sheep in the spring. Interpreters describe how wool was a precious resource needed by early settlers to survive Wisconsin's harsh winters. Authentic spinning wheels are used to convert the wool into yarn. Visitors are welcome to try their hand at various steps of the wool-refining process and learn how various colours were made.

Discover the authentic methods early Wisconsin settlers used in food preparation. Outdoor cooking is demonstrated during many of Old World Wisconsin's special events. Watch as home-grown vegetables are prepared using period tools. Interpreters will describe the processes required to prepare foods such as sauerkraut. In the kitchen, bountiful feasts are prepared for those hard at work in the fields. Recipes were designed to make use of the harvest of the day. You and your family can take a turn trying the settlers' food-preparation methods. See authentic wood stoves — the cornerstone of every kitchen.

Text Source: wisconsinhistory.org
Photo: Yoked oxen at Old World Wisconsin, by Anna from Eagle, WI, USA - Yoked, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3434508


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