Falls History Project

Welcome to the Falls History Project!

Since 2000 we have been exploring and documenting the history of our region with the goal of establishing a research archive for future students and community members.  We have compiled more than 600 pages of material through our annual projects, including 44 interviews with local residents on a variety of topics.

The photograph below is from a 1952 edition of the Banner Journal, and was included in our 2004 project.  The three local citizens are "skywatchers" who were trained to spot Soviet aircraft in the early 1950s during the period of the "Red Scare."   

Thanks for your visit and check out the many and varied projects that we have been working on in the early years of the 21st Century!  Links to each project are available below and hard-copies are available at the Jackson County History Room at the BRF Public Library.   

Skywatchers 


INDEX TO THE PROJECTS
  (under construction)
Since 2002 we have interviewed 44 people and compiled more than 600 pages of material for the project.  Interviews ranged in length from 45 minutes to an hour.  The final projects are listed here and we are working to update our index to make the projects more accessible and user-friendly.  That work will be done in 2016-17!   

2002:  THE WORLD WAR II EXPERIENCE
2003:  BLACK RIVER FALLS IN THE DEPRESSION
2004:  BLACK RIVER FALLS IN 1952
2005:  REGIONAL MUSIC HISTORY
2006: BLACK RIVER FALLS IN 1968
2007:  THE KOREAN WAR EXPERIENCE
2008: THE JACKSON COUNTY FAIR  
2009:  INTEGRATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN BRF
2010: BRF AND THE CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCE
2011:  BRF IN 1875:  SPAULDING AND THE REMOVAL EPISODE
2012:  THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MERLIN HULL
2013: THE CHINA CONNECTION: BLACK RIVER TO SHANGHAI
2014: BLACK RIVER FALLS AND THE GREAT WAR
2015: WILLIAM THOMPSON PRICE
2016: EDNA FRANCES PERRY


Mr. Rykken smiling in front of a door and brick wall.Paul Rykken directs the Falls History Project.  He and former colleague John Pellowski established the project as a way for young history students to connect more authentically with the history of their local community.  The following papers and document studies by Rykken coincide with work that has been done through the project since 2000.

Jackson County Interprets Bleeding Kansas
War and Memory:  Jackson County and the Civil War
Letter from Spaulding to U.S. Grant:  1873
Spaulding's Funeral 1876
FDR's 1942 Fireside Chat (WW II)
Eisenhower, McCarthy, and the Election of 1952
Mitchell RedCloud and the Power of Memory

CORPORAL MITCHELL REDCLOUD, JR.

CORPORAL MITCHELL REDCLOUD, JR.
MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT
GRADUATE OF BRFHS

OUR 2015-16 PROJECT:  Edna Frances Perry
Edna Frances Perry

This is a school photo of project intern Michaela Custodio.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 teen-age 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!  

Looking Ahead to 2017-18:  "Holy Hill" in BRF

This is a school photo of Elizabeth Pardoe, 2017-18 project intern.After a one year hiatus in which our senior intern Jacob Markhardt edited the majority of our projects for a more professional on-line presence, our 16th project will focus on the religious history of our community with a special emphasis on the three parishes represented atop Main Street -- St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran (ELCA), and United Methodist.  Senior Intern Elizabeth Pardoe will lead this year's effort. Elizabeth recently completed AP US History.  Preliminary research will begin in the summer of 2017 with interviews to be conducted during fall semester.  Check back for our progress!    

The Falls History Project Interns 
The following young men and women have contributed to our growing local history archive since 2002.  We thank them for their time and their enthusiasm for history.      

2002:  Andi Jo Cloud
2003:  Kristen Boehm
2004:  Jill Janke
2005:  Kirsten Bjerke  
2006:  Cory Schultz 
2007:  Katie Norton
2008:  Max Hart
2009:  Alex Zank
2010:  Levi Miles, Megan Rykken 
2011:  Erick Conrad
2012:  Josh Hanson
2013:  Sandy Lin
2014:  Dominic Vase
2015:  Zane Dukes
2016:  Michaela Custodio
2017:  Jacob Markhardt
2018:  Elizabeth Pardoe 

 

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