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Wascott opens doors to history

The old Hoffman School and Wascott Community Church inspire the Wascott Heritage Park. An open house is planned for this weekend. (Courtesy of Jan K. Jenson)

After years of hard work by Wascott's dedicated volunteers and the Wascott Community Club, the vision for the Historical Park has become a reality. It would not be possible without many donations from community members and organizations.

The first open house runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 17 across the road from the Wascott Town Hall, 16362 S. Town Hall Road. The public is invited to stop in to step back in history — back into the early 1900s. Cookies and lemonade served.

Nestled in a peaceful setting amongst towering trees, the Historical Park consists of the Hoffman School, a one-room country schoolhouse built in 1896; and the historic Wascott Community Church, which was dedicated in 1914. A children's playground was added recently, and picnic tables will be installed soon.

The schoolhouse has been renovated lovingly and furnished with period schoolhouse antiques, thanks to the endless labor and support of residents Patti and Chuck McDermott. It now boasts a pot-bellied stove, old wooden desks complete with inkwells, a chalkboard and an American flag. The children would recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning as the school day began. Some hiked miles to get there. Some were transported by a horse-drawn wagon or sled.

The century-old church is a clapboard-sided structure with a front gable roof and square bell tower. It houses the original carved wooden pews, a piano, organ, old religious paintings on the walls and several stained glass windows.

Agnes Kennard, along with the McDermotts, served as the inspiration and a driving force behind the acquisition and relocation of this historic landmark. One wedding and one funeral have already taken place at the church.

This church once served all the early settlers, regardless of denomination. Reverend Engvald Iverson, a traveling clergyman and Sunday School missionary, traveled by horse and buggy, on horseback or snowshoes to get there. He also visited logging camps and shacks tucked into the woods, carrying a supply of Bibles and school supplies with him.

The public is invited to attend any or all of our scheduled open houses. They 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 17, July 2 and Aug. 5.

The Wascott Historical Park is also available for weddings, funerals, family picnics, school tours and other events. For more information, contact the Wascott Town Clerk at (715) 466-4252.

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