(Pictured are images from the resetting of the Meeme House roof, which took place on August 3, 2018.)
The Manitowoc County Historical Society’s Meeme House project continues to make progress towards a restoration of the former stagecoach inn. With work from Ideal Crane Rental, Hamann Construction, and Eis Structure Movers, the roof was re-set on the historic structure and secured on Friday, August 3. Beloved by generations for its hometown gathering space and fish fry’s, the Meeme House Inn was built around 1855 along the Green Bay Road, connecting Fort Dearborn in Chicago, Illinois and Fort Howard in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was built by farmer and new immigrant, Michael Herr. The typical rate was around $1 a day, which included supper, lodging, breakfast, and feed and stabling for a team of horses. The building had several small overnight rooms, a tavern on the first floor, and a large beautiful ballroom on the second. Voting also took place inside until a new poll house was built in 1900. It has been said that during the Civil War a rally took place in the ballroom and the next day the Civil War volunteers walked to Manitowoc to join the unit.
The building was purchased in October of 2013 and moved almost 15 miles to Pinecrest Historical Village in October, 2017. The Meeme House will be restored to their glory in 1915, under the ownership of Joe Schwartz. The historic structure will serve as an interactive living history museum, where visitors of all ages can be transported back in time and discover the Meeme House Inn, livery stable, and poll house, in operation.
Funding continues for the interior restoration of the Meeme House Inn, for phase 3, with a goal of $700,000. One of the most notable aspects of the Meeme House Inn is the structure’s second floor. It consists of three small lodging rooms, an open ballroom, and a stage area. The Inn’s stage includes a canvas stage curtain adorned with a painting of a rural landscape. A pair of Moorish columns are present in the foreground, while a small bridge straddles a stream leading back into a mountain range. The mountain denotes the Swiss Alps in a German countryside, while painted details such as the tasseled teaser along the top of the canvas, and a butterfly curtain (popular through the 1870’s and 90’s) date the mural from the late 1890’s to the early 1900’s. Behind this cover, the stage consists of several sliding canvas panels stretched over wooden frames with painted woodland scenes.
Interior restoration of the Inn will also include humidity and temperature control for the museum space and increased storage for the Society’s historical, ethnographic, and archaeological collections. Emergency shelter space will be added in the basement of the Meeme House Inn, fulfilling a much needed aspect to Pinecrest Historical Village’s newly formed disaster plan. A wrap-around front porch will be a main feature of the historic structure as well.
To contribute to the Manitowoc County Historical Society’s Meeme House Project, please contact the Society at (920) 684-4445 or visit ManitowocCountyHistory.org/MeemeProject.