Sauk County Historical Society

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"Let the Past Enrich Your Present"



The Van Orden Mansion has served as the home of the Sauk County Historical Museum since 1939. Finished in 1904, the mansion contains over one hundred years of artifacts donated to the society. Thousands of artifacts and memorabilia relating to Sauk County or its inhabitants are displayed in many of the rooms on two floors of the mansion. The mansion is also virtually unchanged from when the Van Orden family lived there. Original features include woodwork, wall coverings, light fixtures, carpets and some of the family's furniture.                  


History Center

In December of 2006, the Sauk County Historical Society acquired the historic Island Woolen Mill office building  from the city of Baraboo for $1. Fundraising and renovations then went hand in hand until the building was renovated and restored for use as the Sauk County History Center opening in 2013. The building now houses the offices, archives and research center for the historical society. 

The Museum at 531 4th Ave., Baraboo, is now open, Fridays & Saturdays, noon until 4 pm. Stop by and see our new exhibits. The Master Bedroom has been renovated. Other new exhibits also may be seen. Learn about bootlegging and moonshiners in Sauk County.       

WWI Tuscania Memorial Remembrance Project

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Baraboo artist Homer Daehn tweaks the clay sculpture that will become a World War I memorial to be installed at Lower Ochsner Park.

Click Here to Donate

Homer's amazing work is headed to InBronze Foundry in Mt. Morris, Illinois, to be cast in bronze! What an amazing addition it will make to Lower Ochsner Park when it is installed this November. What a tribute to the brave World War I soldiers and their rescuers. What an incredible work of art three years in the making! Read about this amazing story, but do more. Please DONATE to help fully fund this project. 

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Memorialized your support of the Tuscania project with a paver inscribe with your name or with the name of a veteran. Large brick - $320 donation  /   Medium brick - $160 donation  / Small brick - $50 donation

Tuscania Memorial Paver
from 90.00
Purchase Paver

How It Began...

On the evening of 4 February 1918, the lives of more than 2,100 American soldiers and scores of "Doughboys" nervously rowed into the darkenss of the open sea. The whereabouts of the enemy submarine was unknown and it was presumed that one or two might still be in the area. In spite of the danger, three British warships pulled up alonside the stricken Tuscania and undertook a feverish evacuation using heaving lines. By the hundreds, American soldiers down the ropes and in the safety of Allied vessels...among them the Original Baraboo Twenty-one... Read More

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Preservation Projects

The Sauk County Historical Society has stewardship over three highly important American Indian sites in Sauk County. We continue to work to safeguard these sites through ongoing preservation and restoration projects. The Society does not allow use of metal detectors on these three SCHS-owned sites. 

Man Mound

Man Mound Park           

Man Mound Park, about four miles NE of Baraboo on Man Mound Road, was dedicated by the Sauk County Historical Society, the Wisconsin Archeological Society, and the Wis. Federation of Women's Clubs in 1908. The park encompasses a mound of earth in the form of a man, measuring 214 feet by 48 feet.          

Yellow Thunder

Yellow Thunder Monument

 If you've driven County Trunk A, you have undoubtedly seen a small monument off to the side of the road, surrounded by bushes. This stone memorial was erected by the Sauk County Historical Society and the Twentieth Century Club of Baraboo in 1909 to honor the Chief. 

Hulburt Creek Garden Beds

At one time the garden beds, almost 200 acres of them, were home to a thriving Native American culture, with trails leading from the garden beds to places far into what today is Wisconsin. Corn, a companion plant of perhaps beans, and squash or pumpkins once flourished on these raised beds that long ago were constructed and managed by the toil of many.