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Sauk County Historical Society

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"Preserving the Past

for the Future"



The Van Orden Mansion has served as the home of the Sauk County Historical Museum since 1939. Built in 1903, 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 museum. 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. 

WWI Tuscania Memorial Remembrance Project

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Meet the Artist

Baraboo resident Homer Daehn is creating the Tuscanian Memorial which will be permanently showcased in the foyer of Baraboo High School. Homer is a truly gifted sculptor and wood carver. He has spent a lifetime perfecting his work, most recently with his bronze panels of America's conservationists John Muir and Aldo Leopold

Donate to the Tuscania Project

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...


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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. 

Hulbert 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.