Our current project is focusing on the coming of the Interstate Highway System to Wisconsin and the impact this had on the Black River Falls region. The I-System was the largest infrastructure program in American history and changed the nation in dramatic ways. The final stretch of the nearly 350 miles of I-94 in Wisconsin was the segment running from Tomah to Black River Falls and was completed in the late months of 1968.
Senior Intern Sam Lund will be serving as our 20th FHP Intern and developing this project. Sam is an alumni of our AP US History program and a devoted student of history. He will begin work in earnest on the project in spring semester.
We are excited to announce that we are nearing completion of our 18th project — Black River Falls and the Vietnam War Experience. Sydney Sampson-Webb, class of 2019, is our intern this year and she has been working on the project throughout the year. This will be our 17th project overall and our 5th focusing on one of America’s major wars. World War II was our initial project in 2002. We explored the Korean War (2007), the Civil War (2010), and World War I (2014) in subsequent years.
Sydney has done a terrific job with the work and we hope to post the project by the end of the school year!
After a one year hiatus in which we worked on editing prior projects and refurbishing our web-site, our 16th project focused on the religious history of our community with a special emphasis on the three parishes represented atop Main Street — St. Joseph Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran (ELCA), and United Methodist. Senior Intern Elizabeth Pardoe brought enthusiasm to the effort! Elizabeth recently graduated from BRFHS and will continue her education in the fall at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Check out our final paper here!
Our 15th project focused on the life and times of Frances Perry (1897-1996). Perry was born on a farm in the Kenyon Valley, taught in one-room schools prior to World War I, graduated from Columbia College of New York in the late 1920s, and returned to Wisconsin, living the humble life of a farm-wife and town librarian. From her days as a teenage schoolteacher, Perry developed a fascination for Ho-chunk language and culture and was instrumental in helping to identify hundreds of photographs that document the lives of Ho-Chunk residents of our region. We interviewed several people who knew Frances Perry while researching local archives at the Jackson County Historical Society and the Jackson County History Room. Senior Michaela Custodio served as project intern in 2015-16. As part of the project, Michaela researched the photographs that Frances helped to identify and we chose two of them that will be enlarged for display at BRFHS in the fall of 2017!