The Verona Area Historical Society
Verona, Wisconsin
"Celebrating the story of Hometown U.S.A."

Check out our ongoing cemetery restoration project: Bringing Their Stones Home

Farmhouse tour handout:  Here is a link to the handout from the farmhouse tour.

Next VAHS Events: All events are free and open to the public!

*Saturday 8/11/18, 10am:  "One Vulture's War", with guest Bill Rettenmund.  Verona Senior Center.

The idea of being drafted into war seems foreign to the young people of today.  But just a couple generations ago in the 1960s it became a reality for many of our nation’s youth, including those from our area.  Our guest in August will be Bill Rettenmund, who will talk about what it was like to be drafted as a young man and suddenly find himself transported from a quiet rural life in Black Earth, WI to leading a crew on an assault helicopter across the world in Vietnam.

Bill has lived in Verona since the 1990's, having grew up in Black Earth.  He was drafted into the army in May of 1965 and trained as a helicopter mechanic and crew chief.  Bill landed in Vietnam in February of 1966 as part of the 162nd Assault Helicopter Company "The Vultures", which belonged to the 11th Aviation Company.  Through January of 1967 he flew air assault and transport missions on a D-model Huey helicopter from a base camp in Phouc Vinh.

Bill will talk about surviving two helicopter crashes in Vietnam in 1966, and the injury caused by shrapnel during a mortar attack that led to him receiving a purple heart.  He will also discuss the “on the job training” he had to learn on the fly, such as what to do with mechanical failures, strike damage, gun jams, and how he helped his injured door gunner survive using lessons from high school biology.

Please join us to learn about Bill’s experience and again renew our admiration and respect for the men and women of our armed forces.

*Saturday 9/29/18, 10am:  Volunteer Day - Historic Cemetery Restoration in Verona - In the field next to Gus’s Diner in Verona.

The Verona Area Historical Society’s “Bringing Their Stones Home” project is bringing back names and identities to the nearly-forgotten asylum and poor house cemetery in Verona, next to Gus’ Diner.  From the 1880s to the 1940s, this plot of land became the final resting place for over 400 residents of the then Dane County Asylum and “Poor House”.  For unknown reasons, all headstones were removed and discarded, probably in the 1960s.  70 of them have recovered, and we’re putting them back where they belong, based on a historic cemetery map.

Bring work gloves and a shovel or wheelbarrow if you have one.  There will be opportunities to dig the small holes for the stones, shovel and move gravel or mulch, and generally help clean up the site.  This project is entirely volunteer-driven, and we could really use your help.  Thank you!

*Saturday 10/20/18, 10am:  "History of the Verona Public Library", a joint event with the Friends of the Verona Public Library.  This event will be held at the library and will feature stories, photos, and memories detailing its long journey from a cart of donated books in a bank vault on Main Street to the wonderful facility we know today - and the people who made that happen.

*Saturday 11/10/18, 10am:  "Saving the Old House; a 'Moving' Story", with guest Mike Hankard.  The Verona Senior Center.  Our guest will talk about his experience saving, relocating, and re-purposing an old house that was headed for demolition on South Shuman Street not too long ago.  The house currently sits on East Verona Avenue and is occupied by the Branded Image.

About the Verona Area Historical Society:

President - Jesse Charles
Vice President - Art Cresson
Secretary - Ruth Jensen
Treasurer - Beverly Beyer
Board:  Lisa Olmsted

Contact Us:

By Mail:
    Verona Area Historical Society
    c/o Jesse Charles
    1234 Cathedral Point Drive
    Verona, WI