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Remembering 115 years

Lakeview Manor topic of history program

By Angie Landsverk

The 115-year history of a Waupaca County facility will be the topic of a Tuesday, March 28 program.

“Remembering the Waupaca County Ayslum to Lakeview Manor Nursing Home” will begin at 6 p.m., in the community center of Weyauwega’s municipal building, 109 E. Main St.

The free program is open to the public and is being presented by the Weyauwega Area Historical Society.

“We have talked to a number of people who worked there. It was always such a family environment there,” said Mary Jane Baehman, president of the local historical society.

The March 28 program will include remarks from several people.

Joan Paulson, who worked at the nursing home for 20-plus years, will talk about the facility’s 115-year history and also about caring for its residents.

Don and Tina Gensler once lived in a house on the site and will also speak.

“He worked there, and she eventually worked there as well,” Baehman said. “She was a seamstress and made drapes throughout the building and did mending.”

The Genslers have been married for 69 years and have photos from years ago, Baehman said.

Those photos will be incorporated into a PowerPoint presentation.

She said those who were part of the facility will be acknowledged during the program, and members of the Country Pride 4-H Club will also be a part of it.

For years, members of that 4-H club visited the nursing home and played bingo with residents.

A short break is planned to take place during the program, and the 4-H members will serve the snacks, Baehman said.

Those who attend the program will also have the opportunity to speak.

“There will be question and answer time after the speakers, followed by a time for people to share memories (including amongst themselves,” she said.

In early January the Waupaca County Board voted to close the 40-bed facility.

At the time of that announcement, the nursing home had 28 residents and 60 employees.

Since 1902, Waupaca County had operated a facility to help its citizens.

That was the year a building was constructed to care for the chronically insane.

The site initially comprised 480 acres and was a farm with cows and gardens, Baehman said.

It was originally in the town of Royalton, before eventually being annexed into the city of Weyauwega, she said.

In 1917, the county asylum provided a home to 80 men and 60 women.

After the asylum became the Waupaca County Hospital in 1947, it housed more than 225 residents.

When Wisconsin abolished county hospitals in 1974 to capture federal dollars, they became skilled nursing facilities.

In 1977, the new facility became Lakeview Manor and had 103 residents.

When the Weyauwega Area Historical Society began planning for this year, it already knew of the county’s decision to close Lakeview Manor.

Members wanted to have presentations and Lakeview Manor came up during that discussion, Baehman said.

The group will also offer a program in the fall.

“We are excited to share the history of the community,” she said.

Weyauwega’s historical society formed in 2006, after the community celebrated its sesquicentennial.

“A lot of people don’t think about the historical society and the old things they have,” Baehman said.

The historical society is working with the city of Weyauwega to have three display cases throughout the municipal building, she said.

“Everybody is welcome,” she said of the March 28 program and others it will hold. “If you’re interested in history, you’re welcome to be a part of the historical society.”

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