Making History Relevant
One of the biggest challenges facing local landmark commissions is apathy. Not on the part of the commission members but of the citizens they serve. Many people do not realize how the history of a community can be used as a promotional tool nor that others may be interested in it. This history is what gives a community its identity and makes it a desirable place to live and shop.
Stoughton is a Wisconsin community that has learned this lesson well. Since achieving CLG status in 1988, the local landmark commission has undertaken a number of historic preservation projects. Many of these projects were funded, at least in part, with moneys provided by the Division of Historic Preservation. All of these projects have been geared towards promoting the history of the community. Probably the most visible of these undertakings have been the publication of a series of walking tour brochures. These brochures highlight the four National Register of Historic Places historic districts found in the city. Jackie Harrison-Jewell, Visitor Services Coordinator for the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, understands the value of these brochures. She states, “The Chamber of Commerce recognizes the attraction of Stoughton's Victorian Era architecture and actively promote it. For example, when we go to the Rockford Travel and Sports Show we hand out the walking tour brochures along with brochures highlighting local fishing opportunities and cultural events. We like to promote the diversity of activities to experience in Stoughton.”
Detail of a typical page
found in the brochure
Map of the East Side Historic District