This year marks the centennial of our historical society. On November 22, 1919, a meeting was called to organize a branch of the State Archaeological and Historical Society in Winnebago County. The original founding members were Arthur Kannenberg (secretary & treasurer), Charles Koehn; Clarence T. Olen (president); Ralph Buckstaff; Nile Behncke; Ed Crane; Mrs. Ed Crane; Ellis Roberts; Fred Walker; J. T. Armstrong; Publius V. Lawson and Florence Josephine Lawson. At that time the organization was called the Winnebago Archeological and Historical Society, and the purpose was to engage in identifying and researching the many important historical sites in Winnebago County.
The first marker placed by the society was on April 24, 1921 in Menominee Park, Oshkosh--which is still there today! The historical marker was a memorial to the first Catholic mass held in the area by Father Claude Allouez in 1670. An article in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern described the day’s festivities in detail and approximated nearly 1,500 people attended.
Since our founding 100 years ago, the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society, as we are now known, has done a tremendous amount of work to preserve and share our local history. What is the secret to our century of success? It is our dedicated volunteers and supporters with a shared passion for preserving our past. It will be these same historical mindful people who see the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society through the next century.