How to Donate

Make Donation to: 
Preserve the Water Tower Fund
C/O Village of Oregon/Preserve the Water Tower Fund
117 Spring Street
Oregon, WI  53575

For More Information

Randy Glysch
Friends of the Historic Oregon Water Tower
316 S. Main Street
Oregon, WI  53575
(608) 291-0648

 

Historic preservation reminds us what’s special about our home

Four years ago, my partner and I moved to the Village of Oregon, into a historic 1905 four-square on South Main Street. After living in Madison for over 20 years in an 1936 bungalow, we knew we wanted to live in a small town with great character and charm. We’d noticed some older homes in our Madison neighborhood, but Oregon’s neighborhoods were full of them.  Shortly after we moved here, I mentioned I was a Master Gardener to a new neighbor, and she suggested I could help out with the 1899 Pump House building downtown. Having been abandoned and used by the village as a storage shed, she said, it could use some planting of perennials around the building.  This is how I ended up getting involved in community-wide historic preservation efforts that have led to the restoration of both the Pump House and the water tower above it.

This experience showed me how lucky we are to be living in a community that appreciates and embraces its history. We have a great Historical Society, a great historic downtown and neighborhoods full of older homes with character and charm.  We also have a community that was surprisingly responsive to this opportunity to cherish its history.

After I took on the task of improving the aesthetics around the Pump House, I met with local nursery owners and asked for donations of plants. Everyone kindly said yes. They all had a connection to Oregon and wanted to help preserve a piece of Oregon history. I also met with the Historic Preservation Commission, another new experience for me. I was excited, but scared while working on the Pump House.After the landscaping project was completed successfully, community residents encouraged me to take on the restoration of the Pump House.

I quickly learned about Joan Gefke and her attempt to save the Pump House and “Tin Man” water tower. As I read about Joan, I was inspired to try to save the Pump House.

I had many sleepless nights worrying about fundraising, wondering if I could do this. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But as things progressed, the community stepped up with funds and more encouragement.  This gave me confidence, and we dedicated the Pump House in May of 2016 as the new Oregon Welcome Center. I knew then that the residents of the Village appreciated and supported historic preservation, and this experience made me proud to be part of this community.  We accomplished this as a community. The village received an award for Best Historic Preservation from the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation.

The one comment we hear often at the Welcome Center, is how much visitors enjoy looking at the historic photos of the Village, which are on display. Parents bring their kids to show them and teach them about Village history. They say “Thank you for saving this village treasure.”   Each time I walk into the Welcome Center, I smile because we saved this important piece of history. The Welcome Center gives off a sense of place, of community.

After we finished the Pump House came our grand finale, the restoration, repainting and lighting of the “Tin Man.” We’ll celebrate the success of this effort next week, after the community band concert Tuesday, June 6. I’ve seen the Tin Man illuminated at night, and he looks awesome.

There’s something special about restoring historic buildings. Maybe it’s the warmth of the materials used, the quarter-sawn oak wood floors, the single pane-double hung windows, the locally made Cream City bricks, the stained glass windows. It’s also the scratches on the back door from the dog trying to come in from the cold, the old glass door knobs and skeleton keys and even the cast-iron radiators, the old-fashioned peonies and lilac trees in the yard. You can’t build this type of character anymore.

I see many young families embracing the idea of historic preservation in our village, they want us to continue the historic uniqueness in Oregon. We have to always remind ourselves about what makes the Village of Oregon special; it’s the appreciation for historic preservation and its past history.

As we prepare for the future, we should make a commitment to remember our past. Historic Preservation can mean patriotic, homey, warm or reassuring.  It’s about respect for our past, it’s about paying homage to those before us, who built our village. The heart and soul of Oregon can be seen in its historic buildings and homes, and we must continue our historic preservation efforts.  We must preserve our historic buildings and homes for future generations and honor the work of those who lived here before us.

Randy Glysch is a member of the Oregon’s Historic Preservation Commission.

 

 

We Did It! The Finale is About to Happen!

Next Tuesday, June 6th, 2017, at or about 8:30 p.m., the newly restored and repainted Tin Man will finally be lit for all to see.  After the Community Band Concert in Triangle Park, we will have a short program and then light the Tin Man.  The new lighting consists of 12 led lights around the entire catwalk, and a led light on each leg shining up to the botton of the tank.  Free cookies from HyVee, lemonade donated from Bill's Food, and Ice Cream cones will be provided.  There will also be glow sticks for the kids.  Come and join us for this important historic occasion.  This project has been years in the making.  Questions:  Randy Glysch, (608) 291-0648, rgbk316@charter.net.  Come and join the celebration on Tuesday, June 6th, at 8:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Taking a Stroll Through the Past

Have you ever wondered about the Village of Oregon's past?  We are holding the first ever Oregon Historic Walking Tour.  We'll start at the newly restored Oregon Welcome Center on Satuday, September 24th, from 11-Noon.

We'll walk, talk, and learn about the historic buildings that grace our beautiful downtown.  As part of the tour, we'll stop by the Chocolate Caper and try some of their delicious homemade chocolate.  Learn about the 1899 Pump House and Tin Man Water Tower, the Badger Bicycle Shop, and more.

We'll start promptly at 11 am. at the Welcome Center, 134 Janesville Street.

Tour lasts 1 hour, wear comfortable shoes.

 

Village of Oregon Residents and Businesses are the BEST

What a great feeling when your decide to take the lead on a community project such as the restoration of a 1899 Pump House and Water Tower, and you ask for  help, the people and businesses of your community asked you "How Can I Help."  I often will be given the credit for getting our 1899 Pump House fully restored and for becoming the Village of Oregon Welcome Center, and for then leading the charge in getting our historic Water Tower restored and repainted in 2016, but I've been so fortunate to live in a Village where residents and local businesses owners take pride in a place we call home.  I've met so many wonderful people who gave money and in-kind support to this Community Project.  

I'm very proud to call the Village of Oregon, Wisconsin, HOME!

Randy Glysch

 

Village Cub Scouts to Visit Historic Pump House

On Monday, February 8th, 2016, the Village of Oregon Cub Scout Troop 350 will visit the Historic Pump House/Welcome Center & Water Tower to learn about the history of the Pump House and Water Tower, and it's significance to the history of the Village of Oregon.