Heritage Day, Rail Fest
Event planned for Saturday in New London
By John Faucher
Heritage Day and Rail Fest will be held Saturday, Aug. 6 at the New London Historical Village at 900 Montgomery Street.
Sylvia Stern, secretary of the New London Heritage Historical Society, said this year’s theme features life and culture of the 1920s.
Special events include 1920s dance demonstrations, food, games and clothing.
Historic items from the nearby Kist Bottling Works Museum in New London will be on display, with soft drinks and fudge available for tasting.
“Kist Kandies and Ice Cream, formerly known as the Kist Bottling Works, is the oldest business in New London still in operation today,” said Stern. “Visitors can also enjoy some of their salt water taffy and see live demonstrations on how it’s made.”
Other live demonstrations include working displays of Knuth’s old engines, Edison Phonographs and more.
In 1916, just a few blocks away from the current historical village site, the Wisconsin Cabinet and Panel Company of New London became Edison Wood Products Inc,
Phonograph cabinets were manufactured at Edison until 1929.
Edison Wood Products stayed in business by developing a line of juvenile furniture that became known as Edison Little Folks Furniture. Some of these products are on display throughout the village.
Village buildings open
All six of the village’s historic buildings will be open for public browsing and self-guided tours during the daylong event.
“Bring your family and come down to see some of the changes we’ve made at the village this summer,” said Stern.
Retired pastor Tony Fuller will conduct two non-denominational services in the newly improved village chapel at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Other buildings include an octagon house, one-room schoolhouse, log cabin, a garage from Simmons Juvenile Products factory and a railroad depot.
Resting on a length of railroad track parallel to the depot is a 1940 diesel locomotive, a 1924 wooden box car, and two cabooses built in 1967 and 1888.
The entire train will be open for exploration Saturday.
Historical Society members are hosting a bake sale, 50/50 raffle and a large rummage sale throughout the day near the railroad depot.
Billy Darren will also perform live music during the event.
Proceeds from the sale and raffle are used to support general maintenance of the village.
The event is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.