The Peshtigo Fire Museum is dedicated to the fire that very nearly destroyed the community in 1871. It was the same day as the Great Chicago fire but was greatly overlooked. Admission is free but donations gratefully accepted. It has become more known since then, and the museum has had visitors from all 50 states and other countries as well.
Peshtigo even was featured in the TV show “Diggers“. The hosts Tim “Ringy” Saylor and “King” George Wyant managed to find artifacts from the fire, which have been few and far between. In the museum they have a monitor set up so you can watch the show there. Here is the same episode below. The artifacts found are available for viewing inside the museum in a nearby display case.
In the back of the main display room is a large mural depicting the fire. It was completed 7-4-67 and the artist was Luanne Harff-Burchinal.
This is the view from the mural looking back toward the entrance.
Doll and toy display.
Kitchen display, complete with baby in high chair.
A plate in a display case, commemoration the centennial of the fire in 1971.
The kitchen display led to the next room, seemingly even larger. We were amazed at how many artifacts were here. We only took a quick view here since we also wanted to see the cemetery outside.
Blacksmith display in the third display room
After 1 hour and 15 minutes of seeing the inside of the museum, we moved outdoors to pay our respects to the fire victims buried in the cemetery. There is a historical marker here commemorating the fire.
The mass grave, may they all rest in peace.
We are fortunate to have been able to come to this museum during our visit here. We came away with a lot of knowledge of how a catastrophic event can change a community. Like a Phoenix, they rebuilt and today is a thriving community of 3,500.
On our way back to Crivitz we came across a very old historical marker that we don’t think is well known. It is affixed to a large rock between two trees. It is from 1939, dedicated to Andrew Eklund. He was Wisconsin’s first Highway Commissioner. Here is the location if you want to see it too.
A very interesting and educational day.