Tag Archive | McFarland

McFarland Historical Museum


McFarland has  a very active Historical Society, and now owns two museums dedicated the history of the village.  The newest one, the Larson House, we visited on July 13 of 2014. This is the older one. The McFarland State Bank donated the lot that the museum was built on in 1971. It is located on 5814 Main Street, not far from the Larson House. Hours are Sundays from 1-4 PM, Memorial Day through September and by appointment. The museum hosts two events, the Memorial Day Bake Sale and Pioneer Days in the 3rd Sunday in September.

McFarland Historical Museum

This is the main museum building which we toured first.  Exhibits consist of items donated by past and current residents of the village.  The first displays you see are from  1964, when the McFarland Historic Society was granted it’s charter to aid in the development of the museum.

Sizties display at McFarland Museum

 Many of the early residents of McFarland came from Norway, and many artifacts reflect that.

Norwegian display at McFarland Museum


The Norwegian instrument Psalmodikon was also on display, a simple string instrument.

Also a display of McFarland residents’ service in the Armed Forces.

Wisconsin Civil War display McFarland Museum

The railroad was how McFarland came to be, the track is still active even now, though just for freight trains.  It goes right by the McFarland House, former home of William McFarland, founder of the village.

McFarland Museum railroad display


McFarland House Cafe


Here is a family photo taken outside of the house of William McFarland and his family.

McFarland family

We also saw a display of what a parlor might look like.

Parlor in Mcfarland museum

A 1920’s kitchen exhibit.

McFarland museum 1920's kitchen

Just beyond the kitchen is a Blacksmith Shop and woodworker tool display.

Blacksmith Shop and Woodworking tools at Mcfarland Museum


And the General Store.

General Store at McFarland MuseumInside General Store at McFarland Museum


Don’t forget a toy for the kids!

Toy Display at McFarland Museum

During the winter, McFarland residents harvested ice off of Lake Waubesa and some loaded onto the train to be used elsewhere.

Ice Harvesting display at McFarland Museum


In the summer, recreation on the lake abounded. Lots of boating, swimming, and fishing. Some people had cabins on the lake they might live elsewhere during the rest of the year.

Summer Waubesa Lake display in McFarland Museum

Shoemaker Shop exhibit. Shoes were custom-made for everyone a long time ago.

ShoeMaker Shop at McFarland Museum


Displays of a typical bedroom in the 1800’s.

Bedroom at McFarland Museum


And a Norwegian-style kitchen with native equipment.

Norwegian kitchen a McFarland Museum

The historic society also honors the first settlers of the area, the Native Americans

Native American display at McFarland Museum

McFarland Museum overall view

That takes us through the first building of our tour, there are two others behind this one.

Our next exhibit, the historic Skare Cabin. It was originally located at Hidden Valley Farm off Elvehjem Road. It was donated by Albert’s niece Margaret Greene Kennedy in 1969 and it was dismantled and moved to the new Museum lot in 1973 and rebuilt.

Albert Skare cabin at Mcfarland Museum

Skare Cabin inside McFarland Museum


The high chair was carved from a large log!

Rope bed in Skare cabin  at McFarland Museum

Bed in one corner, a loft upstairs for the other kids.  There were 11 people living in this cabin before the Skare family moved into a larger house in 1887 200 feet from this cabin.

Skare new house 1887 photo McFarland


One more building left to see behind us, The Annex. This building houses the agriculture exhibits.

McFarland Museum Annex

Annex dispays Mcfarland Museum

Annex displays 2 McFarland museumThis pretty much wraps up our tour of the McFarland Museum.  We were surprised McFarland has so to see and do.  Get off the beaten path of the “new downtown” and visit the old downtown of McFarland. The had some items or sale as well, I got the Historic Mcfarland Walking tour booklet to easily find the other points of interest.

McFarland publications

McFarland is worth a closer look, we are sure glad we did!

Train painting

McFarland John Larson House Museum


Larson House in Window

A long time was spent restoring the Larson House in McFarland, and last fall there was a sneak preview of progress made up to that point. The grand opening was May 24-25th of this year.

John Larson was the 3rd owner of this house. He bought it in 1911 and has been in the family over 100 years. Now it is open and ready for tours from 1-4 PM between Memorial and Labor Day. Tours are free but donations encouraged, a few books about the house and McFarland history are also for sale.

We begin our tour as we go inside, we see the beautiful stained glass window you see here at the stairway landing.

Larson House Stairway

On the main floor is also the living room (picture by Larson House staff) and the kitchen.

Larson House Living Room

Larson House Kitchen


Pantry in the kitchen

Larson House Pantry

Also the Parlor and Dining Room.  The wallpaper is original to the home!

Larson House Dining Room


Larson House Parlor

On the left side of the room is John Larson’s Psalmodikon instrument from Norway, his homeland. Here is what is sounds like. It is a one-string instrument that can be either plucked or played with a violin bow.

Now we head upstairs to see the other rooms.

Larson House hallway

The largest is what may have been the master bedroom, and it is octagon-shaped, a popular feature at the time. Hanging up is a Norwegian dress. The three windows are facing the street.

Larson House Master Bedroom


Larson House Master Bedroom windows


Another bedroom. The bureau and mirror are original to the house.

Larson House bedroom

The office

Larson House office


Our tour here has reached it’s conclusion. We really enjoyed our visit here and we hope to come for any special events here in the future.

McFarland – Come Grow With Us


Photo by CityData

Photo by CityData

McFarland is a village of 7800 just 8 miles south of Madison along the shore of Lake Waubesa.  It was founded by  William McFarland in 1856. We have been here many times, but never really explored this town in depth.

 Before reaching downtown, exit 51 at Sigglekow Rd. for a great meal at the Green Lantern, a popular restaurant on Lake Waubesa for decades. You can even get there by water and dock on their long pier!

Green Lantern

IGreen Lantern Pier in McFarland

One thing we noticed is this town has an “old” and “new” downtown.  The new is along highway 51, straight down from Madison.

McFarland new downtown

To my left is the Maple Tree Supper Club, open for breakfast on Sundays also.

Maple Tree Supper Club in McFarland Across from here is the popular Babcock Park and campground. A historical marker is also in this park, for Stephen Babcock.

Babcock Park in McFarland

Stephen Babcock marker

Highway 51 is also a Blue Star Memorial Highway, dedicated to all vets.

Blue Star Memorial Highway in McFarland

 The “old” downtown is on Main Street, by the railroad track.  Here we find the historic buildings and a brief history of McFarland.

McFarland old downtown

McFarland Marker history

Left of the sign was the McFarland House, now the McFarland House Cafè (closed on Sundays). It was the home of founder William T. McFarland.

McFarland House Cafe

We were going to have lunch here. Since they were closed, we went next door to Byrne’s McFarland Tavern. This historic building was built in 1895 and began as a convenience store and has even been a post office before becoming a tavern.  Friendly folks and great food made us feel welcome here. You feel like you are a part of historic McFarland.

McFarland Tavern

McFarland Tavern lunch

Another historic building across the street, the Ole S. Olson building from 1897. It was a convenience store and then a grocer later. Now it is McFarland Antiques.

3-7-16 The building was sold. 

O.S. Olson Building 1897 in McFarland

2017-now Lakestone Properties

Lakestone Properties informer antique store in McFarland

Photo by Lakestone Properties

Across the street is the Ed Reed Building from 1900. It had been a grocery store, meat market, and has been Spartan Pizza since 1974!

Ed Reed Building 1900 McFarland

Now the most exciting reason for our visit, the historic John Larson House Museum, open for the first time after restoration this summer! They are open 1-4 on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. This is a stained glass window inside the house at the stairway landing. We took a tour here and it was fascinating! We hope to come back for any special events they will have later in the year.

Larson House in Window

Across from the house is Arnold Larson Park, where many events are held in the summer.

Arnold Larson Park in McFarland

 We sure learned a lot in McFarland, but we are not through yet. We plan on returning August 10 to see their other museum, also open on Sundays. We only had time to see one today.