The Tripp Memorial Museum, almost a century old, located in the downtown business district of the riverside village of Praire du Sac, is an example of classic turn-of-the-last-century architecture. Architect Joseph Dresen (a member of the Dresen Brothers Lumber Company, Sauk City) designed this structure and many of the early homes in the community with his trademark use of wide millwork and simple elegance. The consulting architect, Alfred Clas, from a prominent Milwaukee firm, grew up in neighboring Sauk City, returned to collaborate with Dresen on this project. Clas is well known for his design of another prominent local structure, Park Hall, for the German Freethinkers Society.
The driving force behind the building of this grand structure was J.S. Tripp, a local banker, lawyer and public servant, who in 1912 donated $10,500 for the construction of a library and village hall. Tripp was not only a benefactor locally, but also donated a large sum of money for the creation of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison, Wisconsin, which at the time and still is on the forefront of prairie restoration and land conservation.
In October 1913 the JS Tripp Memorial Library and Hall was opened to the public with much fanfare. After many years of service as a village hall and library, in 1997 the building was sold to the Sauk Prairie Area Historical and renamed the Tripp Memorial Museum. The museum serves to collect and preserve items of local significance and houses artifacts of importance to the cultural and natural story of the Sauk Prairie Area as well as the largest collection of Ocshner mounted birds and animals (over 320) in the state. In 2003, during the 90th anniversary celebration of this building, the Tripp Memorial Museum was offically added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
E8336 Co Hwy C
North Freedom, WI 53951
Hours: Call 644-8444
Located 5 miles west of Prairie du Sac, the Salem Ragatz Historical Church is listed in the National Register of Historic places. The church was organized in 1844, meeting in the Bartholomew Ragatz home. He donated land in 1846 for the first church, which was a log building west of the current church next to the cemetery. It was replaced with a stone structure (pictured above) in 1875. Three Swiss Stonemasons, Caspar Steuber, John P. Felix, and Peter Kindschi, used the "block and stack" technique for the construction.
In 1904, the church was struck by lightning and burned, leaving only the stone walls. It was rebuilt soon thereafter in the same footprint as the older church with a slightly shorter steeple. In 1942, three gothic arches were added to the sanctuary of the church. Celebrations for the 125th anniversary and the 150th anniversary were held in 1969 and 1994. The church is now available for weddings and other events, and is a gathering place still for families coming together.
S9505 Church Rd
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578
Hours: Call 644-8444