Disaster!

Third Saturday program at museum to highlight calamities


This 2007 fire at Globe Lanes in Random Lake is just one of the disasters, natural and manmade, featured in the Third Saturdays program at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum. This 2007 fire at Globe Lanes in Random Lake is just one of the disasters, natural and manmade, featured in the Third Saturdays program at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum. Calamities: Wind, Fire, Water and Human Error is the focus of the Feb. 16 “Third Saturday” program from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum at 3110 Erie Ave. in Sheboygan.

Whether brought about by Mother Nature or human error, Sheboygan County has had its share of disasters over the years. Tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding rains, fierce storms on Lake Michigan and major fires in almost every community, have caused property damage and injury.

The influenza epidemic of the early twentieth century struck the area hard. Break-away train box cars, a runaway city bus hitting a house, a street car plunging into the Sheboygan River, a collapsed steel smoke stack and numerous train derailments – all left their mark on Sheboygan County.


The new year 1942 started off white in Sheboygan County as a major snowstorm paralyzed the area. The new year 1942 started off white in Sheboygan County as a major snowstorm paralyzed the area. The Phoenix, a ship with mostly Dutch immigrants, was consumed by fire on Lake Michigan, a few miles off Sheboygan in 1847. They were within sight of their destination, Sheboygan County.

Mary Lou DuMez and Mary Jane Gruett will host a display about this tragedy that shaped the history of the Dutch community in Sheboygan County. Mary Jane authored a children’s book about the Phoenix. It was published in 2011. A bible, which was on board the Phoenix, is on loan for the day from the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center for display.

Sheboygan City Historian Bill Wangemann will presentation information on a street car sliding into the Sheboygan River Feb. 9, 1911, the flu epidemic of 1917-1918 that swept the country and the collapse of the Fox Theater canopy in Sheboygan in the 1930s. Charlie Schwinn, long-time resident of Howards Grove, and Edgar Karsteadt, former Sheboygan County highway crew member, will host a display and share stores of area snowstorms and tornados in the 1970s.


This interurban car slid down the Eighth Street hill in Sheboygan on icy rails and slid into the Sheboygan River Feb. 9, 1911, killing three women passengers. This interurban car slid down the Eighth Street hill in Sheboygan on icy rails and slid into the Sheboygan River Feb. 9, 1911, killing three women passengers. In addition, Larry Schneider, a former Sheboygan Fire Department officer, and Herb Herman, former SFD chief, will highlight Sheboygan area fires with photos and film. Darla Jean Kraus will focus on the Globe lanes fire in Random Lake in 2007 with photos and film. Jack Johnson, resident of Waldo, will share his stories of calling in the Waldo Feed Mill fire in 1989 and rescuing a mother and her son, the two survivors of the fire.

Steve Sharpe, former officer of the Sheboygan Fire Department, will host a film from the Discovery Channel on the rescuing of Dr. Ashton Wick from the rushing waters threatening to destroy his house during the flood of 1998 in Sheboygan. Other displays include photos and information on many other calamities and the I-43 accident in October of 2002.


The Phoenix Chair Co. was destroyed in this 1962 fire that drew crowds of curious onlookers. The Phoenix Chair Co. was destroyed in this 1962 fire that drew crowds of curious onlookers. “Third Saturdays” start at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Guests are welcome any time throughout the day. Lunch is available. The admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 7 to 12. Children ages 6 and under are free. Members and their guests are free.

The event is sponsored in part by H. C. Denison, Kohler Foundation Inc, Sargento Foods Inc, Windsor Family Foundation, Sheboygan Press, Alliant Energy Foundation, Great Lakes Blue Printers and Radio 1420 AM The Breeze. “Third Saturday” programs extend from January through October.


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