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

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

*Saturday 8/17/19, 10am:  "Outdoor Classrooms - From the School Forest to Whalen Pond" The Verona Senior Center.

Our guest this month is Matt Tiller, a Verona High School science teacher who manages the school forest and has coordinated the restoring of small patches of native prairie near various Verona parks and retention ponds.  And we really mean "native" prairie - some combinations of plants he's put in these areas were inspired by notes taken by a Jesuit priest on a missionary trip through this area back in the late 1600s!

Matt started teaching in Verona in 1995 - around the time longtime science teacher Jerry Dahlen was retiring.  Jerry and others (including our member Randy Marks) had started the current high school forest back in the 1960s as a sort of outdoor biology lab and recreational space, and he asked Matt if he'd like to take over managing it.  Matt will tell the story of how this unique school property came to include 15 acres of wetlands, forest, and native prairie ecosystems - and discuss plans currently forming to create a similar area at the new high school being constructed.

*Saturday 9/14/19, 10am:  "The Dane County Asylum Demolition" The Verona Senior Center.

Most of us who grew up in Verona remember the front facade of the former Dane County Asylum as being the first major landmark you'd come across when approaching town from the East.  In 2004, the oldest part of this iconic building was demolished, having long been known to be beyond repair.  What was NOT known at the time was a treasure trove of genealogical information in the basement, which was nearly lost in the rubble!

Our September guest will be Sandy Everson, who worked at the Badger Prairie Healthcare center during this time period.  Sandy visited the abandoned halls of the old structure in the weeks before demolition, and discovered a forgotten basement records room still containing files representing old admissions and patient records from the asylum dating back to the 1800s.  She took on saving and organizing these files, which in the years since have proven valuable to genealogists as well as to our asylum cemetery restoration project.

Sandy will discuss her effort to save this important history, and show off many dozens of pictures she took of the asylum demolition from ground zero.

*Saturday 10/12/19, 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 in the 1950s.  79 of them have been 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! 

About the Verona Area Historical Society:

President - Jesse Charles
Vice President - Art Cresson
Secretary - Ruth Jensen
Treasurer - Lisa Olmsted

Contact Us:

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