Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

206 Second Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
206 Second Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:New Glarus Town Hall
Reference Number:08000286
Location (Address):206 Second Street
City/Village:New Glarus
New Glarus Town Hall
206 Second Street, New Glarus, Green County
Date of construction: 1886

When settlers from Glarus, Switzerland founded the community of New Glarus, Wisconsin in 1845, their first concern was getting through the winter and producing enough food for their families. Nearly forty years later in 1886, this thriving community of over 1000 residents prepared to build their very own town hall.

During the 19th century the New Glarus community had found economic success in farming and cheese-making, which required supplies, such as lumber, wagons, barrels, metal fabrication, and special farming equipment. Many of the people that made, built, and supplied these items formed fraternal benefit societies where they could socialize, help provide for each other's long-term financial needs, and improve their community. One such popular club was the Ancient Order of United Workmen (A.O.U.W.), the largest of its kind in Wisconsin during this time. In the 1880s, the recently formed New Glarus A.O.U.W. club was looking for a more permanent meeting space, while the Town was hoping to build a town hall. Partnering with the A.O.U.W. in 1886, the Town bought the land and paid for the construction of the building up the second floor. The A.O.U.W. paid for the rest, as the second floor was their private meeting place. The space was decorated with a colorful, geometric patterned wall paper and the club built their own special furniture, much of which remains in the building today.

The New Glarus Town Hall resembles other American civic or community buildings of the 19th century. As a civic building, it not only served the town for town meetings and voting, but it was also New Glarus' early jail (it still retains jail bars on its basement windows). As a community building, the A.O.U.W. came to share its space with many other groups. These included the Women's Relief CORP; the International Order of Odd Fellows; Sisters of Rebeka; the GeĀ¬genseitige UnterstĆ¼tzungs Gesellschaft Germania, a German/Swiss women's fraternal group; the Wilhelm Tell Guild, an early shooting club; the New Glarus Maennerchor, a Swiss men's choir; the Edelweiss Stars, a Swiss choir; the Cub/Boy Scouts; and the local 4-H club.

Today the building is owned by the New Glarus Town Hall Preservation Society.

Period of Significance:1886-1957
Area of Significance:Politics/Government
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Social: Meeting Hall
Historic Use:Government: City Hall
Architectural Style:Mid 19Th Century
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:04/11/2008
State Register Listing Date:10/19/2007
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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