Old World Wisconsin was established in 1976 commemorating 200 years of American History. Old World Wisconsin is the largest museum of rural life history in the world. European Immigrants, from the late 19th century to early 20th century, have been preserved on 600 acres of land in Eagle, WI. The natural prairie and woodlands have been untouched to represent the rural heritage of the 1870’s villages.
Countless historians searched, documented, and authenticated historical buildings of the Midwest. The over 60 historical structures were relocated to Old World Wisconsin. The reconstructions of the buildings were perfected to original form. Upon moving the buildings and ethnic farmsteads, the bricks, boards, logs, and stones were numbered to assure precise reconstruction.
To visit Old World Wisconsin is to take a walk into history. The 2 ½ mile walk from settlement to settlement is astonishing. There are live oxen and horsed tilling the land showing the traditional farming methods. Dressed in full costume the wives are preparing dinner over a wood burning stove. You can visit the general store, observe a school classroom, and walk inside the church. The blacksmith will teach and talk to you about blacksmithing as he has his irons in the coal fire. The ladies will shear the wool from the sheep, spin it on the spinning wheel, and make hand crafts.
In 1998, Old World Wisconsin added Pleasant Ridge. This replica of an African-American homestead was originally located in Grant County near Lancaster. Freed slaves from Virginia arrived in 1850 and helped found Pleasant Ridge. Pleasant ridge consisted of over 50 African-American, Germans, Irish, and English farmers. The diverse group bonded and built a log schoolhouse in 1873 and the United Brethren Church in 1884. This group of dedicated farmers formed and shaped a community.
Old World Wisconsin is dedicated to the immigration and resettlement of America. It is a piece of American History for all immigrants. The 10 farmsteads have furnished log houses, barns filled with hay and animals, a school, a church, a shoemaker, a blacksmith, a general store, and a well tended garden with heirloom plants. The furnished houses and costumed workers bring back American History for yesterday, today, and generations to come.