TWO RIVERS – Memorial Day marks the start of some seasonal attractions in the area. And for the Rogers Street Fishing Village & Museum in Two Rivers, it’s the start of a long road of work.
For years, the museum has shined a light on the area’s commercial fishing industry; a 150-plus-year-old industry started by French-Canadian immigrants.
The museum can trace its own history back to the old red, wooden lighthouse that sits on the small riverfront campus.
“It was moved here. That was the beginning of Rogers Street,” said the museum’s executive director Greg Goodchild.
Now, an old wooden house – without lights and a finished foundation – is the latest addition.
“Well,” said Goodchild, searching for thought. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
The museum moved the white vinyl-sided, early 20th century French-Canadian home to its present spot last fall. The interior will be gutted and restored to mirror homes of the early 1900s, using the museum’s own collection.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Goodchild. “All the exterior siding’s coming off. It’s going to be brought back to the original wood.”
“There’s furniture, paintings, knickknacks, dishes, anything that would have been found in a French home – or any home back then.”
“And we have some other things stored that will go in,” said Maggie Becker-Koeppe, who is the past president of the French Canadian & Friends Organization. The group works to preserve the French-Canadian history of the area, runs the museum and was behind the effort to move the foreclosed home across the river into the museum’s collection.
“Instead of seeing something sterile, it’s so nice to see something that is real,” said Koeppe of the exhibits the museum displays.
Once the home installed, Goodchild says it will be another piece showcasing what life was like in the area many years ago.
“Quite a history going on here,” Goodchild said, “And what we’re afraid of, that’s going to be lost.”
Goodchild says the move and restoration could cost upwards of $30,000. However, a lot of work and materials are being donated by the community, he said.
The museum opens for the season Monday.